ACER consultation on Core Capacity Calculation methodology

04.12.2018

Complex issues require precise phrasing. Therefore the new public consultation of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) is called: “Public Consultation on the amendments of the proposal for common capacity calculation methodology for the Core region”. The consultation has opened on 4 December and will be accessible until midnight on Christmas Eve. Invited to participate are all interested stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, nominated electricity market operators (NEMOs) and transmission system operators (TSOs).

What exactly is the objective of the survey? The Capacity Calculation Methodology (CCM) quantifies the electrical capacity that can be offered across borders to the day-ahead and intraday markets. The Core CCM is valid within the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR), which comprises Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The TSOs from the Core CCR – among them are the twelve TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, Transelectrica and TransnetBW – have conceived and proposed amendments to the Core CCM.

The competent regulatory authorities of the Core CCR have not yet approved the TSO proposal and asked ACER to decide on whether the modified Core CCM complies with the European Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM) Regulation. Interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the consultation questions concerning the relevant aspects of the Core CCM.

ACER launches public consultation on the compliance of the Core CCM proposed by the Core TSOs with the European CACM Regulation

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> See ACER press release (html)
> Direct access to consultation (html)

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Amprion upgrades historic line

26.11.2018

The power line from Reutlingen-Rommelsbach to Herbertingen in the German state of Baden-Württemberg crosses the southwestern ridge of the Swabian Alb on a length of 61km. Dating back to the 1920s, the overhead line operated by Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is an innovative pioneering achievement in the German transmission grid. Already in the Weimar Republic (the German state from 1918 to 1933), it was used to balance electricity between generation and consumption by connecting the Rhenish mining area with water storage facilities in the Alps.

Now it no longer meets the requirements of the energy present and future. TSCNET shareholder Amprion is therefore dismantling the old line and replacing it with new pylons and conductor ropes. Instead of the current 380 and 220kV circuits, the line will in future be equipped with two 380kV circuits. It will then enable an improved exchange of electrical energy between the wind power generation sites in the north, consumers in the residential and industrial areas, and pumped storage plants in the Alps. The line will thus strengthen regional supply as well as supra-regional transmission and is an important component of the energy transition.

A symbolic cut of the spade on 23 November in Zwiefalten-Sonderbuch on the Swabian Alb marked the official opening of Amprion’s currently largest construction site. Over the next two years, 221 old pylons will be dismantled and 181 new ones will be built. The key figures of the construction project are impressive: The TSO is investing a total of around €85m, and over 11,000 tonnes of steel, thousands of tonnes of concrete foundation and around 1500km of aluminium conductor rope will be used along the route. Due to the significance of the Reutlingen-Herbertingen line for industrial history, four old masts will be preserved as industrial monuments.

Amprion is completely rebuilding the historic Reutlingen-Herbertingen overhead line and improving it for the energy future (picture: Amprion, exemplary picture of line installation work)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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Construction start for ALEGrO

30.10.2018

As a responsible and future-conscious transmission system operator (TSO), TSCNET shareholder Amprion is committed to the European Energy Union. An outstanding project in this respect is the Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO), the first interconnector to directly connect the German and Belgian electricity grids. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is being implemented jointly by Amprion and the Belgian TSO Elia. Following a pleasingly short approval procedure, the starting signal for ALEGrO was given today in the commercial area of the west German city of Aachen. Here, Amprion celebrated the start of construction with a symbolic turning of the first sod.

The ceremony was attended by numerous high-level representatives from politics, business and public life, among them Armin Laschet, Minister President of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, who commented: “ALEGrO is a milestone for cross-border power supply and not only connects North Rhine-Westphalia and Belgium, but also brings Europe closer together.” Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, complemented: “ALEGrO becomes part of the EU’s electricity highway system, which links the centres of renewable energy generation with the major consumption centres in Europe.”

For the entire ALEGrO route (about 49km in Belgium and 41km in Germany) underground cabling will be used. The cable laying work is accompanied by the installation of converters at the ends of the cable in Oberzier in Germany and Lixhe in Belgium, which convert AC into DC and vice versa. ALEGrO will have a transmission capacity of 1,000MW and thus provide urgently needed grid capacities for cross-border electricity flows. At the same time, ALEGrO will also strengthen supply security in the Aachen-Cologne region.

Amprion celebrated the start of construction of the Belgian-German interconnector ALEGrO (picture: Marcus Pietrek / Amprion; from left to right: Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion; Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia; Marcel Philipp, Lord Mayor of Aachen)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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German TSOs revise grid design principles

29.10.2018

The four German transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, Tennet, and TransnetBW have revised their plans for grid development in Germany and presented the new version of the “Principles for the Design of the German Transmission System”. This joint document of the four TSOs determines needs-based perspective concepts for secure and efficient grid operation in accordance with national and European legal frameworks and obligations.

With the first publication of the principles in 2012, the German TSOs presented the technical and economic basis of grid design in a transparent and comprehensible manner based on three equally important aspects: grid optimisation, reinforcement and expansion. Since then, the framework conditions have changed in several respects. The TSOs have therefore fundamentally revised and extended the common planning principles last published in the April 2015 version. The principles remain subject to continuous future review by the TSOs and will be adjusted if necessary.

The four German TSOs have released their revised “Principles for the Design of the German Transmission System”

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> See TransnetBW news release, in German (html)
> Open Principles, (pdf, 1,35MB)

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Acer decision on fallback procedures for Core CCR

09.10.2018

In March 2018, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) was asked by the competent regulatory authorities to decide on the amended proposal of the transmission system operators (TSOs) from the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) regarding the Core CCR fallback procedures. In the following August, ACER invited all interested stakeholders to share their views on the issue in a public consultation. After evaluating the survey, ACER has now published its decision on revisions to the methodology for fallback procedures.

The Core CCR consists of sixteen Central European TSOs, twelve of which are TSCNET shareholders: APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), ELES (Slovenia), HOPS (Croatia), MAVIR (Hungary), PSE (Poland), SEPS (Slovakia), Transelectrica (Romania), the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, and the three further TSOs from Germany 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW. ACER’s decision introduces minimal changes to fallback procedures in order to improve legal clarity and enforceability. Most importantly, instead of five different shadow allocation rules, only a single set of rules is adopted by the Agency, which specifies in its decision to which bidding zone borders these rules apply.

ACER has published its decision on the improvement of the fallback procedures proposed by the TSOs of the Core CCR

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> See ACER press release (html, with access to decision and consultation results)

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Commissioning of phase-shifter at Amprion substation

12.09.2018

The four German transmission system operators (TSOs) must react sustainably and future-oriented to the changes in the German energy landscape caused by the shutdown of nuclear and other large-scale power plants in the course of the energy transition. A major issue in this respect is the loss of reactive power and an appropriate technological response is provided by phase-shifters. Rotating phase-shifters are highly efficient and flexible reactive power systems for voltage maintenance to compensate the declining reactive power capacities from large plants.

For this reason, TSCNET shareholder Amprion has equipped its Oberottmarshausen substation with a new controllable rotating phase-shifter and the associated transformer. The substation near Augsburg is an important interface between the transnational 380kV grid and the regional grids. Amprion has been modernising the facility since 2016, and the new, state-of-the-art equipment is the centrepiece of the upgraded substation. The work was carried out in stages during ongoing operation and will be completed this year. Amprion is investing a total of around €65m in the expansion and modernisation of Oberottmarshausen.

On 11 September, Dr. Ulrike Wolf, Deputy Head of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology, Ralf Christian, CEO Division Energy Management at Siemens, and Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, jointly pressed the symbolic button for the official commissioning of the phase-shifter. Mr Kleinekorte explains the importance of the phase-shifter, that enables Amprion to precisely regulate the voltage in its own transmission system as well as in the subordinate distribution grids. “Voltage maintenance is an important element of grid stability, which we continue to guarantee for the citizens and the economy of Bavarian Swabia and in our entire network area.”

From left to right: Ralf Christian, CEO Division Energy Management at Siemens, MDirig. Dr. Ulrike Wolf, Deputy Head of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology, and Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion (picture: Amprion)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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Congestion management on Austro-German border

10.09.2018

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

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XBID is running stable

07.09.2018

The successful launch of the European Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) solution and ten XBID related Local Implementation Projects (LIPs) in June 2018 has marked a significant step towards the creation of a single integrated continent-wide intraday market. The aim of the XBID initiative is increasing the overall efficiency of cross-border trading and intraday coupling, which both are key components of the future European internal energy market.

The XBID solution has been running now for over two and a half months without any major incidents, delivering continuous trading of electricity across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Many other European countries are to follow in a second XBID-wave in 2019. Up to now, the number of trades in XBID has exceeded 2.5m. As a result of this satisfactory commissioning, the Steering Committee, in consultation with the Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and Transmission System Operators (TSOs) involved, decided to shut down the rollback systems.

Among the TSOs collaborating in XBID are the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, Energinet, TenneT, and TransnetBW, as well as TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. Together they have developed a common IT system including one shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module. XBID makes it possible to bring together bids of market participants from different market areas within the region covered by the project, provided there is sufficient cross-border transmission capacity. It thus bundles the whole European intraday continuous market and complements the existing day ahead market.

The XBID solution for a single integrated European cross-border intraday market is running stable and availability of rollback systems has ceased

Linkup
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See Energinet press release (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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Germany wants to speed up grid expansion

16.08.2018

Germany’s electricity transmission system operators (TSOs) repeat it like in prayer mills: If the energy transition in Germany is to succeed, the extension of the supraregional transmission system must keep pace with the expansion of renewable energy generation. This is mainly due to the special conditions in Germany, where the major renewable generation sites lie in the north of the country and thus far from the main consumption centres in the south and southwest. To ensure security of supply for the future, electricity must be transported reliably from north to south. This requires efficient power lines, such as the well-known line projects “A-Nord”, “SuedLink”, “SuedOstLink”, and “Ultranet”, or the “Südwest-Kuppelleitung”, which was completed in 2017.

Unfortunately, the expansion is lagging behind the set goals. The Power Line Expansion Act (EnLAG), which came into force in 2009, provides that by 2015 the transmission grid should have been extended by around 1,800km. Three years later, not even half of the total length has been realised: Of the 1,800km of power lines under EnLAG, around 1,150km have been approved and only about 800km have been completed. The German TSOs expect about 70 percent of EnLAG line kilometres to be completed by the end of 2020. There are many reasons for the delay, such as lack of political support, long approval procedures, complaints from citizens, or environmental issues. Already at the beginning of last year, the four German TSOs, 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW, submitted revised network development plans to the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), the competent German authority in terms of grid extension.

Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, has now expressed the political goal of significantly accelerating grid extension in order to guarantee a secure and affordable energy transition. The Minister took a visit to the Bundesnetzagentur on 14 August as an opportunity to declare the grid extension a top priority and to present the Ministry’s “Aktionsplan Stromnetz” (“Power Grid Action Plan”). Mr Altmaier added: “For a successful energy transition we need a modern and well-developed transmission system as well as the expansion of renewable energies. The power grids are the cardiovascular system of our power supply. This must function reliably from the wind turbine in the North Sea to the charging station in Bavaria.”

With his action plan, Altmaier is pursuing a double strategy: On the one hand, existing lines are to be optimised with the help of new technologies and operating concepts: e.g. line monitoring, new conductor cables, phase shifters, controllable transformers, or improved redispatching. Also the digitisation should help to enhance the grid capacity. On the other hand, the grid extension is to be accelerated. For this purpose, the so-called “Netzausbaubeschleunigungsgesetz” (“Grid Extension Acceleration Law”) is to be amended in autumn to facilitate approval procedures. In addition, effective and forward-looking controlling should be established for all grid projects.

According to a press release, TSCNET shareholder Amprion welcomes the efforts. “To speed up network expansion, we need a common understanding from Berlin to the local city halls,” said Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, Chief Commercial Officer of Amprion. “This is the only way we can solve the complex challenges of the projects.” Moreover, no fundamental new laws were needed to accelerate network expansion, but less bureaucracy. If the approval processes were made more efficient, more time would remain to develop the best possible solutions for new routes in dialogue with the citizens.

When designing the network expansion, Amprion focused on innovations – both in transmission and construction technologies as well as in system management. Nevertheless, not all the wishes of residents and interest groups could be fulfilled – for example, where physics or laws set limits. “We need demand-driven grid expansion in order to continue to operate the energy system in a stable manner in the future. At the same time, we are exploiting all possibilities to make our network even more flexible and efficient,” said Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, Chief Technical Officer of Amprion.

Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, presents a Power Grid Action Plan (illustration using a photo © German Federal Government / Kugler)

Linkup
> Open Power Grid Action Plan, in German (pdf, 1.47MB)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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ACER consultation on fallback procedures

02.08.2018

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.

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

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