Austro-German cooperation on control reserve

05.02.2020

The Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) APG and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW are intensifying their cooperation in terms of balancing energy. Since December 2019, the five TSCNET shareholders have been exchanging minutes reserve, i.e. the provision of short-term power reserves to balance fluctuations in generation and consumption that affect frequency. Minutes reserve comes into play after primary control and secondary reserve, the two short-term effective balancing energies. Austria and Germany are thus the first countries in Europe to cooperate on all types of control reserve and make a significant contribution to secure electricity supply in Europe.

The cooperation with the project name “GAMMA” (German-Austrian Manual Merit Order Activation) is trendsetting, as it is the first collaboration in the field of minutes reserve to fulfil the objectives of the EU guideline for electricity balancing on a regional scale. Germany and Austria are testing a regional internal market for the joint utilisation of minutes reserve and will contribute their new experience with the integration of control energy markets to the European “MARI” (Manually Activated Reserves Initiative) project.

Beyond the requirements of the guideline, the Austro-German cooperation will be expanded in February 2020 to include the joint procurement of secondary reserves. It is intended that in an initial phase up to 80MW, later up to 280MW, can be procured across borders. The cost-benefit analysis for the allocation of cross-border transport capacities was jointly developed by the cooperating TSOs. It compares the market value of cross-border transmission capacity for the day-ahead market with that of the secondary reserve, thereby optimising procurement and determining the amount of cross-border transmission capacity allocated to the secondary reserve. This cooperation also represents a lighthouse project in Europe and anticipates the goals of the EU Clean Energy for All Europeans Package.

The Austrian TSO APG and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW exchange minutes reserve in a regional internal market

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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Grid stability with three quarters renewables

04.02.2020

Keeping the mid-frequency of the grid stable at 50Hz is one of the core tasks of the transmission system operators (TSOs). In cooperation with the Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs), they operate the grid securely and keep it free of congestion. These tasks are becoming increasingly demanding due to the rising share of volatile renewable energies in the grid. Among the renewables, wind energy in quantitative terms plays the decisive role in Germany, and last weekend it was particularly windy – from the German coasts to the Alps – which led to a winter feed-in record for renewables: According to figures based on TSO data and provided by the renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE), on 1 February 2020 renewable energies accounted for 74.8% of net public electricity generation in Germany. Together, the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW and TSCNET Services mastered the situation very well: The grid was stable at all times.

Fraunhofer ISE continuously publishes German generation and other energy data on the Institute’s Energy Charts website. Theoretically, renewable energies can by now only fully cover power generation in Germany on spring holidays such as Easter or at spring weekends, when power consumption is low and photovoltaics make a larger contribution to generation. The fact that on a winter’s day at the beginning of February renewable energies can already cover almost three-quarters of electricity generation is a good sign that the energy transition in Germany is on track – and the German TSOs and TSCNET Services play an important role in this.

Despite record wind energy feed-in in Germany, there were no problems with grid stability (picture: Karsten Würth)

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> Visit Fraunhofer ISE Energy Charts Website, in German (html)

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RSC future perspectives: integrate, cooperate, and digitise

31.01.2020

The annual conference “Future Power Grids” (“Zukünftige Stromnetze”) brings together key players from the German energy sector with a focus on power grids to facilitate a prolific exchange between politics, research and industry. This was once again the case this year when, under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, energy experts met in the German capital of Berlin on 29 and 30 January. “Future Power Grids 2020” was technically chaired by Christian Schorn, Head of Asset Management and Operations at TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the transmission system operator (TSO) from the southwest of Germany.

Among the representatives of research institutions, ministries, authorities, NGOs and energy companies were Thomas Dederichs, head of energy policy at TSCNET shareholder and German TSO Amprion, and Maik Neubauer, one of the two managing directors of the Munich-based regional security coordinator (RSC) TSCNET Services. Mr. Dederichs spoke about the role of transmission grids in the further development of market design, while Mr. Neubauer, under the heading “The European Perspective – Integration of Renewables and Grid Security”, gave an overview of the history, services, tasks and challenges of European RSCs in general and TSCNET services in particular.

New Challenges for transmission infrastructures
Neubauer depicted the highly meshed European power transmission grid as one of the most complex critical infrastructures in the world and the function of the RSCs as an early warning system for the European TSOs to identify potential risks in the system. RSCs assess these risks continuously and in a coordinated manner and counteract potential congestions and power failures. The establishment of the RSCs was a reaction of the European Commission (EC) to a Europe-wide power outage in 2006 with under- and over-frequencies, which affected around 15 million people across Europe.

The increase in volatile renewable energies in the system further intensifies the need for the work of the RSCs. However, the tasks of the RSCs based on the third and fourth EC Clean Energy Package – e.g. security and risk analysis, capacity calculation, short term adequacy forecasts and longer-term outage planning coordination – depend on intensive cooperation between the European RSCs. The continuous collaboration of almost all European TSOs is essential, and the interests of the energy market and system security needs to be continuously balanced. In the long term, only the digitisation will be able to manage the increasing complexity of the grid. Neubauer points out the growing integration of OT (Operations technology) and IT (Information technology) layers and explicitly referred to the importance of artificial intelligence for congestions analysis and future network control and security.

Maik Neubauer presented RSC insights and future perspectives at the “Future Power Grids 2020” conference in Berlin (picture: Stefan Widua)

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> Visit conference website (html)

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Final MIGRATE conference

10.12.2019

The MIGRATE project (“Massive InteGRATion of power Electronic devices”) is the largest TSO project funded by the European Commission. It was launched in 2016 in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme. Among the 23 partners of the consortium from 13 European countries are twelve universities/labs, one manufacturer and ten transmission system operators (TSOs), including the TSCNET shareholders Amprion (Germany), ELES (Slovenia) and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT. Under the coordination of TenneT, the partners have researched technology-based solutions for an optimised linking of electricity generation and consumption by means of power electronics.

After four years of intensive work, the MIGRATE project will be successfully concluded by the end of 2019, implying that all project partners have developed innovative solutions in their respective areas of responsibility to gradually adapt the pan-European high-voltage AC transmission system to the requirements resulting from the increasing share of renewable energies and power electronic devices. At a final conference on 4 December in Brussels, the individual outcomes were presented to colleagues and anyone wishing to learn more about the power system stabilisation and grid monitoring capabilities. The keynote speech was given by Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

The final conference of the MIGRATE project was held in Brussels on 4 December (picture of the ELES delegation with presenter Dr. Blaž Kirn (third from right): ELES)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit MIGRATE website (html)

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525kV technology for Germany’s “power highways”

04.12.2019

SuedLink, SuedOstLink and A-Nord are large-scale DC connection projects that are essential for Germany’s low-carbon energy future, since these so-called “Stromautobahnen” (power highways) will transport green electricity generated in the north and east of the country to the consumption centres in the south and west. The three power lines will be implemented predominantly via underground cabling and are collaborative efforts of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). TenneT and TransnetBW cooperate on SuedLink, 50Hertz and TenneT join forces on SuedOstLink and A-Nord is carried out by Amprion. Together with Ultranet, a joint project with TransnetBW, A-Nord forms the Korridor A.

The four TSCNET shareholders intend to install innovative plastic-insulated DC cables with a voltage level of 525kV in these projects. So far, 320kV cables have been used for comparable DC connections in Germany. As a matter of fact, it will be the first use of 525kV underground cables worldwide, which underlines the pilot character of the three high-performance connections. The decision by the TSOs was preceded by an extensive test phase on the technical suitability of the 525kV cables. The pre-qualification tests according to international standards of the Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) were successful and proved that the 525kV cables are reliable and safe.

A higher voltage level of the cables translates into more transmission capacity. This has two possible effects for the planned DC lines, assuming technical feasibility for the entire system: On the one hand, more electricity can be transmitted in a certain corridor with the same number of cables. On the other hand, fewer cables are required to transmit the same power compared to 320kV cable systems. This allows the routing to be designed narrower, which reduces excavation work and environmental impact.

The four German TSOs opt for innovative 525kV solution for power highways with underground cabling (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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Single Intraday Coupling expanded

08.11.2019

Europe-wide intraday coupling is a key component for the completion of the European internal energy market. To help achieve this goal, the European cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC) solution was launched in June 2018 (then called XBID), standing for a significant step towards a single integrated continent-wide intraday market. A market of this kind increases the overall efficiency of intraday trading through effective competition, increased liquidity and more efficient use of generation resources across Europe. The SIDC solution is based on a common IT system with a common order book, a capacity management module and a shipping module.

The participating countries were initially Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. SDIC will now be expanded and continuous electricity trading will be possible across seven further countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. Nominated electricity market operators (NEMOs) and the participating transmission system operators (TSOs) have confirmed the go-live of the extended SIDC and two additional local implementation projects on 19 November with first deliveries on 20 November.

TSOs already collaborating in SIDC include the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, TenneT, TransnetBW and Energinet as well as the TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. With the second wave, six more shareholders follow, namely ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE and Transelectrica.

The SIDC solution for a single integrated European intraday market is expanded by seven countries, including Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia

Linkup
> See Energinet press release (html)
> See PSE press release (html)
> See APG press release, in German (html)

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New Amprion phase shifter in operation

06.11.2019

The German transmission system operators (TSOs) have to react with innovative technology to the changes in the German energy landscape caused by the shutdown of nuclear and other large power plants in the course of the energy transition. An important issue is the loss of reactive power, and an appropriate technological response are rotating phase shifters, which are highly efficient and flexible in the provision of reactive power to maintain voltage.

TSCNET shareholder Amprion has now commissioned such a high-performance system at its Illingen-Uchtelfangen substation in the German federal state of Saarland. It is the second rotating phase shifter in the Amprion grid after the TSO commissioned the first one in September 2018 in Oberottmarshausen (Bavarian Swabia). Amprion has invested €60m in the new state-of-the-art equipment, which keeps the transmission grid stable and thus further increases supply security in Saarland.

The commissioning ceremony was attended by Anke Rehlinger, Saarland Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour, Energy and Transport. Together with Amprion Managing Director Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, General Manager of GE Grid Solutions Gerhard Seyrling and representatives of district and municipal politics, she pressed the “red button”, which symbolically put the facility into operation. Mrs Rehlinger commented on the new device: “Against the backdrop of the energy transition, grid stability and security of supply are becoming increasingly important. With the installation of the rotating phase shifter, Amprion is making an important contribution to the future of power transmission grids.”

Amprion has commissioned a new rotating phase shifter at the Illingen-Uchtelfangen substation (picture: Amprion;  Amprion CTO Klaus Kleinekorte and Saarland Minister Anke Rehlinger in the middle)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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Two transformers reach Garenfeld

05.11.2019

The last weekend was literally “heavy” for TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Not one but two 276-tonne transformers were transported to Amprion’s Garenfeld substation in Hagen in North Rhine-Westphalia. It took both days of the weekend for the 30 kilometre stretch from the railway station to the substation. The special road transport units each had a total length of around 80 metres and together with the transformer each weighed 519 tonnes.

About 40 employees from various companies were involved in the transport during the two nights. At the end of August, the first of a total of five transformers had already been delivered to the substation. Amprion is currently planning to move the last two transformers to Garenfeld at the end of November.

Two transformers have been delivered to the Garenfeld substation operated by Amprion (picture: Amprion)

Linkup
> See last week’s announcement press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion tweet, in German (html)

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First cables of ALEGrO installed

27.09.2019

The “Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay” (ALEGrO) will be the first direct interconnector of the German and Belgian electricity grids. Its transmission capacity of 1,000MW is going to significantly increase cross-border electricity flows and security of supply in the regions surrounding the new converter stations at the respective ALEGrO end points, Niederzier in Germany and Lixhe in Belgium. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is jointly being implemented by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and the Belgian TSO Elia.

In the summer of 2019, several teams were working simultaneously at different points along the 41km-long ALEGrO section in Germany on the installation of the conduit system for the underground cables. Underground cabling is used exclusively for the entire German-Belgian power bridge. Due to the dry summer, construction work on the DC link has progressed rapidly: 60 percent of the cable conduits have already been completed. Amprion is now beginning to pull the 320kV cables successively into the conduits, initially in Niederzier, where the construction of the new ALEGrO converter plant is also progressing well.

Amprion starts the installation of ALEGrO underground cables (picture: Rheinhard Nießing / Amprion)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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Amprion commissions state-of-the-art technology

01.09.2019

The Kriftel substation between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden in the German federal state of Hesse controls power distribution for the greater Frankfurt area with its almost six million inhabitants. The station is operated by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), which has been expanding and modernising it since 2016 and has invested a total of around €34m. During a ceremony held on 30 August with representatives of state and local politics, the new, state-of-the-art equipment in Kriftel was put into operation.

Amprion’s substation not only secures the power supply in the northwestern Rhine-Main area but will now also play an important role in providing reactive power. The installation of the relevant technology in Kriftel became necessary due to the changes in power generation and feed-in in Germany. The declining reactive power capacities of large power plants, which are now being successively taken off the grid in the course of the energy transition, must be compensated by the national TSOs to keep the reactive power in balance with the active power and thus keep the grid voltage at the required level.

The hybrid reactive power compensation system installed in Kriftel is the most powerful of its kind in the German grid. It consists of two units: a static synchronous compensator system (Statcom) and a mechanical switched capacitor with damping network (MSCDN). Depending on requirements, they can raise or lower and secure the voltage in the grid. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, explained the importance of the new system technology: “By optimising the switching of many electronic modules, the new hybrid system in Kriftel will help to keep the voltage level in the grid stable and thus continue to guarantee a high level of supply security in the region.”

Amprion commissions the modernised Kriftel substation (picture of a Statcom system as installed in Kriftel: Siemens)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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