Congestion management on Austro-German border


Congestion management will be introduced on the border between Austria and Germany on 1 October 2018. This go-live date was approved by the competent regulatory authorities at the beginning of September and has now been confirmed by all responsible decision-making bodies of the Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and the affected transmission system operators (TSOs), which are all shareholders of TSCNET: APG from Austria and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW.

Electricity exchange between Austria and Germany has increased in recent years. In order to ensure safe operation of transmission systems in Austria, Germany and neighbouring countries, and to reduce congestion management costs, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) included the introduction of a bidding zone split between Austria and Germany in the new design of the European Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs). Following successful testing of the systems, the operational procedures as well as the scheduling and nomination processes, the TSOs concerned now will implement this decision.

To ensure safe operation of transmission systems, congestion management will be introduced on Austro-German border on 1 October 2018

See article on single page

ACER consultation on fallback procedures


The relevant regulatory authorities have asked the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) to review the fallback procedures in the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) with regard to the European Regulation on Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM). The Core CCR consists of sixteen central European transmission system operators (TSOs), eleven of which are TSCNET shareholders: APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), ELES (Slovenia), HOPS (Croatia), MAVIR (Hungary), PSE (Poland), SEPS (Slovakia), the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, and the three further TSOs from Germany, 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW.

The Core TSOs prepared an amended proposal for the CCR fallback procedures. ACER now has been given the task of verifying that this proposal complies with the respective guideline on CACM Regulation of the European Union. Since ACER has to adopt a profound decision on this matter, the Agency takes interest in the comments from different parties on some elements of the amended proposal in order to substantiate this decision. The related public consultation is open til 24 August and all interested stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, nominated electricity market operators and TSOs, are invited to submit their comments.

ACER opens public consultation on the compliance of the fallback procedures proposed by the TSOs of the Core CCR with the CACM Regulation.

> See ACER press release (html, with access to consultation document)

See article on single page

In court over Third Energy Package


The European Commission (EC) is referring Germany to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with the rules for the correct implementation of the Electricity Directive (Directive 2009/72/EC) and of the Gas Directive (Directive 2009/73/EC). Both guidelines include important objectives for the proper functioning of the integral energy market and are part of the Third Energy Package. In the view of the EC, Germany has not ensured full compliance with the powers and independence of the national regulatory authority, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur).

As the “Tagesspiegel Background”, a daily decision-maker newsletter for the energy and climate sector, reports, the success of the lawsuit would mean a huge increase in power for the Bundesnetzagentur and fundamentally change the national network regulations. In fact, the alleged restrictions on regulatory independence in Germany are a crucial factor for the EC, which considers that the Bundesnetzagentur does not have full discretionary power in determining the conditions for network access, network tariffs, or balancing services.

The EC reproach refers to the customary regulatory practice in Germany, in which the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy specifies the respective rules in great detail by means of access and fee ordinances. The “Tagesspiegel Background” assumes that the claim must be seen in the context of a conflict over future network regulation at European level. Here, a decision is pending on the so-called Acer Regulation as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package. The EC would like to give ACER (Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators) more regulatory competences.

Besides that, Germany’s adherence to the European independent transmission operator (ITO) unbundling model is also subject of criticism. The EC states that it would be “incorrectly transposed into national law”. But the EC is not only targeting Germany, Hungary is also to be sued in the Court of Justice. The EC criticises the legislation on energy network tariffs and believes that Hungarian law infringes the principle of cost-recovery of tariffs by excluding certain types of costs from the tariff calculation. In addition, the EC deplores that the Hungarian energy legislation undermines the market participants’ right to a full judicial review of national regulatory decisions on network tariffs.

The EC is referring Hungary and Germany to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with the rules of the Third Energy Package.

> See EC press release (html)
> Visit Tagesspiegel Background Energy & Climate, in German (html)

See article on single page

EU proposal on capacity calculation criticised


With the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, the European Commision pursues the goal of providing a stable legislative framework for a sustainable European energy future as well as a reliable bundle of regulations for the market players. In December 2017, the Council of the European Union adopted the General Approach on package-related pieces of legislation, including article 14 of the Regulation on the internal market for electricity, which comprises capacity calculation provisions. On 2 February, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has issued a critical statement on the Council proposal.

ENTSO-E fears that Article 14, if implemented, will put the well-functioning of the internal market and the secure operation of the power system at risk. In particular, ENTSO-E criticises the target value for cross-zonal trade that obliges transmission system operators (TSOs) to offer at least 75% of capacities on interconnectors. To achieve this target, the TSOs might have to perform significantly more redispatch measures. Instead of the Council’s approach, ENTSO-E considers regionally differentiated minimum capacity targets more appropriate. In addition, the targets should be based on economic and physical analysis and must allow TSOs to occasionally deviate in favour of system security. On the basis of careful considerations, ENTSO-E calls on policy-makers to rethink the provisions to the benefit of the European electricity market and the consumers.

TSCNET shareholder PSE, the Polish TSO, has released a similar statement already on 18 January. PSE also criticises the capacity calculation provisions of Article 14 and is apprehensive of a further separation of market and system operation as a possible result of the calculation rules. PSE has thoroughly analysed the complex matter and suggests, that the TSOs themselves should define capacity calculation details through research and design activities, supervised by the national regulatory authorities and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).


Picture: Jennifer Jacquemart / EC-Audiovisual Service

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> See PSE press release, issued 18 January (html)

See article on single page

ElSeC 2017 turned into great success


After long and intensive preparations, ElSeC 2017, the highly anticipated Conference on Electricity Security Coordination, yesterday took finally place at the “Literaturhaus” in the very heart of the Bavarian capital of Munich. ElSeC 2017 was hosted by TSCNET Services, the Munich-based Regional Security Coordinator (RSC), and co-organised by ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity. The event was attended by nearly 100 leaders from European regulatory and political authorities, security initiatives and – this goes without saying – many different transmission system operators (TSOs).

ElSeC 2017 was organised by TSCNET in cooperation with Realize, one of the leading local event agencies. The conference was moderated by Melinda Crane, an experienced TV anchor, and a frequent guest and commentator on television. Marc Elsberg, the bestselling Austrian author of the disaster thriller “Blackout: Tomorrow Will Be Too Late.” about a power grids collapse across Europe, made a dramatically staged appearance along with – there are no marks for guessing! – a power outage. ElSeC 2017 had a powerful lineup of speakers and speeches:

  1. Welcoming Speech, Maik Neubauer, TSCNET Services, Managing Director
  2. “Our Vision for Europe’s Power System”, Ben Voorhorst, TenneT, Chief Operating Officer, and ENTSO-E President
  3. “Regional Security Coordination – Living the Strategy!”, Joachim Vanzetta, ENTSO-E, Chair System Operations Committee
  4. “Demonstration of Regional Solutions for Grid Security – Renewables Case”, Gerhard Christiner, APG, Chief Technical Officer, and Dirk Biermann, 50Hertz, Chief of Markets and System Operations
  5. “Demonstration of Regional Solutions for Grid Security – Increased Cooperation also in Case of Critical Grid Situations”, Chris Peeters, ELIA Group, Chief Executive Officer, and Jean-François Gahungu, Coreso, Chief Executive Officer
  6. “The full Roll-Out of RSC Services”, Jean-Philippe Paul, RTE, Operation Senior Advisor
  7. “Perspectives on the Institutional Framework – perspectives of the European Commission”, Matti Supponen, European Commission, Directorate-General of Energy
  8. “Perspectives on the Institutional Framework – perspectives of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators”, Uroš Gabrijel, ACER, System Operation & Grid Connection Network Codes
  9. “Perspectives of the Pentalateral Energy Forum”, Frederik Deloof, Benelux Union, General Secretariat
  10. Panel discussion “The Organisation of the European Power Grid in 2030” with Jens Møller Birkebæk (Nordic Regional Security Coordinator), Frederik Deloof (Benelux Union), Annegret Groebel (Council of European Energy Regulators), Juan José Alba Rios (Chairman Markets Committee, EURELECTRIC), Laurent Schmitt (ENTSO-E, Secretary General), and Matti Supponen (European Commission)
  11. Closing speech, Ben Voorhorst, TenneT, Chief Operating Officer, and ENTSO-E, President

The ElSeC Conference Dinner took place in the “Burger & Lobster Bank“, within close walking distance from the conference location. The evening before ElSeC, all particpants were invited to an Open Evening at the TSCNET premises.

All in all, ElSeC 2017 turned out just as the organisers had hoped for: The atmosphere was relaxed but highly professional, the presentations were intriguing, and the discussions were vivacious and offered plenty of room for both, constructive controversy and productive consensus.

> Visit ElSeC 2017 picture gallery (Flickr, html)
> Visit ElSeC 2017 in retrospect webpage (html)

Impressions from the first Conference on Electricity Security Coordination, ElSeC 2017


Impressions from the ElSeC 2017 Conference Dinner


See article on single page

ACER evaluates progress of PCIs


Affordable, secure, and sustainable energy in an integrated European market – in order to help achieving these goals, the European Commission has appointed numerous electricity and gas infrastructure projects, which are considered to be essential, as Projects of Common Interest (PCIs).

It is the task of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) to annually assess the progress of the PCI implementation. Now ACER has published its third consolidated report on the PCIs included in the second EU list of November 2015. The report covers the period from 1 February 2016 until 31 January 2017 and mentions projects of most of the TSC member TSOs.

As far as the 111 listed electricity PCIs are concerned, the Agency received reports from all but two of those. While several project promotors announced significant progress, approximately half of the PCIs fell behind last year’s schedule, mainly due to delays in permitting processes. The estimated investment costs for electricity PCIs amount to €49.8bn. ACER also calculated the presumable monetised benefits of the electricity projects, which sum up to €66.1bn.

> See ACER press release (html)
> Open PCI report (pdf, 2.2mb)

Picture: Screenshot taken from PCI interactive map (European Commission)


See article on single page

ACER annual conference in Slovenia


This year’s annual conference by the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) will be held under the title “REGIONS for the Internal Energy Market” and take place in Brdo Congress Centre near Kranj, Slovenia, on 29 June 2017. The registration for the event is possible as of now.

The Conference focuses on the “Clean Energy Package” of the European Commission and its impact on formal regional governance. Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, will provide a keynote speech via a video connection live from Brussels.

> See ACER press release (html, with access to registration form)

Picture: JGZ Brdo


See article on single page

ACER calls for market integration of the renewables


Yesterday, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) presented a “White Paper on Renewables in the Wholesale Market” in cooperation with national regulatory authorities in the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER). In order to expedite the integration of renewable energy sources (RES) into the market, the regulators suggest three changes in the Clean Energy proposals by the European Commission: Removing the priority dispatch for existing RES plants, avoiding non-market approach to redispatch and RES curtailment, and avoiding net metering to ensure fair share of network and system costs.

As regards the European transmission system operators (TSOs), ACER and CEER hold the opinion that TSOs should perform market-based curtailments instead of source- or technology-based approaches. According to Lord Mogg, Chair of ACER Board of Regulators and CEER President, the suggested measures would help the renewables’ integration to be “fair and cost-efficient and without cross subsidisation between renewable self-generators and other consumers”.

> See ACER press release (html, with access to White Paper)


See article on single page

Implementing network codes for the Energy Union


Congestions in cross-border energy exchange, lack of interconnectors, competition, and transparency: These are severe obstacles on the way to a European Energy Union. To overcome these barriers – and to achieve fair prices and more choices for customers – the European Commision, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) developed the network codes. These codes are regulations to facilitate the integration and coordination of European energy markets and systems. They are scheduled to be adopted in late 2017.

Today, a conference on the network codes was held in Brussels, Belgium. In close cooperation with the European Commision, the event was co-organised by ENTSO-E, ACER, and ENTSOG. The conference gave the various parties and stakeholders the opportunity to join forces on the implementation of the network codes. While it is ENTSO-E’s task to ensure cooperation among transmission system operators (TSOs) on a pan-European level, ACER provides coordination of national authorities in terms of regulation and legislation.

Powerful instruments
Alberto Pototschnig, Director of ACER, is pleased that the codes are now being implemented by national regulatory authorities. And they are paying off as early as now: “In the electricity sector, market coupling is already providing benefits in the order of €1bn per year.” Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of ENTSO-E, emphasises the increasing need for flexible services in times of the energy transition. In this matter, “network codes have proven to be powerful instruments in tackling market and renewables integration”.

As the Regional Service Coordinators (RSCs) play an important part in the implementation of the network codes, TSCNET Services has participated in the conference, too. “All staff looks forward to taking up these important tasks together with ENTSO-E and the other RSCs,” says Daan Belgers, Head of Finance & Organisation at TSCNET Services.

> See ACER press release (html)
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> See European Commision streaming service (html)


See article on single page

ACER on TYNPD 2016


Last December, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) presented the final draft of its Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) 2016 and submitted it to the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER). Now ACER has published its official opinion not only on the TYNPD, but also on the respective national network development plans and on their consistency with the supranational TYNPD.

The Agency praises the improvement in comparison to former plans and especially acknowledges the TYNPD’s scenario development, the identification of target capacities in terms of economic-efficient cross-border trading, and the clear classification of projects in mid-term, long-term, and future projects. However, ACER suggests some further improvements with regard to project selecting, technical-economic assessing, or calculation transparency.

Relating to the national plans, the Agency has discovered a few discrepancies between the projects in the EU-wide TYNPD and projects included in national plans. To enhance consistency on this matter, the Agency recommends ENTSO-E to include all projects with cross-border relevance listed in national plans in future TYNDPs.

> See ACER press release (html, with access to ACER opinion)

Picture: Edit of an illustration by Arnaud Gilon / European Union, EC-Audiovisual Service


See article on single page