ALEGrO on the final straight

17.09.2020

Lichtenbusch near the westernmost German city of Aachen is located directly on the border between Germany and Belgium and is divided into a Belgian and a German part. Right here, on 16 September 2020, the final joint of the “Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay” (ALEGrO) was installed by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and its Belgian partner TSO Elia. Over a distance of 90 kilometres, the DC interconnector with a transmission capacity of 1,000MW connects the Oberzier substation in the German Rhineland region with the Elia substation in Lixhe in the Walloon province of Liège. ALEGrO is the first direct link between the Belgian and German electricity grids and was realised over its entire length by means of underground cables.

The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) provides much needed grid capacity for cross-border electricity flows, while strengthening security of supply in the German region of Aachen-Cologne and the Belgian province of Liège. The cable laying work for ALEGrO started in October 2018 and after twenty months of construction, the civil engineering work was concluded in June 2020. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, ALEGrO is thus on schedule and nearing completion. The binational power bridge will go into technical operation in October 2020 and will be available to the European electricity market from mid-November. The technical integration of the DC cable into the three-phase grid is a step by step process. The same applies to the parallel market integration. Here, day-ahead capacities are offered first followed by intraday capacities. The allocation of long-term capacities will start in early 2021.

Amprion and Elia installed the final link of the ALEGrO interconnector, which will go into technical operation soon (picture of the project managers Ingo Sander, Amprion, and Dirk Wellens, Elia: Amprion)

Linkup
> See Amprion press release (html)

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Delay for Interim Coupling

11.09.2020

To introduce single day-ahead coupling in a total of 23 European countries, the so-called 4M Market Coupling Countries (4M MC) – Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia – are to be connected to the Europe-wide Multi Regional Coupling (MRC) of the electricity market. The initiative to implement the MRC extension is the DE-AT-PL-4M project, also referred to as “Interim Coupling Project”. It aims to establish implicit capacity allocation based on Net Transfer Capacity (NTC) at six borders: PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, and HU-AT. The TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, APG, ČEPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, and Transelectrica – transmission system operators (TSOs) from Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia – participate in Interim Coupling.

After the project had completed the design phase and entered the implementation phase at the end of 2019, Interim Coupling was actually supposed to start in September 2020. The TSOs and Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) involved have now announced that the kick-off must be postponed. This is due to several project parties experiencing local implementation bottlenecks in the first quarter of 2020 because of interrelations between ongoing parallel projects. This led to a delay of several months in the implementation activities for Interim Coupling. National regulatory authorities have asked the European Commission to provide guidance on how to proceed with this project. Market players will be informed as soon as possible about the next steps.

The start of the AT-PL-4M MC project has been postponed

Linkup
> See MAVIR press release, html
> See PSE press release, html
> See SEPS press release, html
> Open AT-PL-4M MC information paper provided by Transelectrica (pdf, 262.12kB)

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Southeast RSC established in Thessaloniki

28.07.2020

The four transmission system operators (TSOs) of the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs) – which are ESO-EAD (Bulgaria), IPTO (Greece), Terna (Italy), and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania – have established the sixth European Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. The new RSC goes by the name of Southeast Electricity Network Coordination Centre (SEleNe CC). Each TSO participates equally in the share capital of the new company.

SEleNe CC provides all regional RSC services for both CCRs according to the requirements of the EU guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management (CACM). The main tasks of SEleNe CC – just as with Baltic RSC, Coreso, Nordic RSC, SCC, and the Munich based RSC TSCNET Services – are: coordinated security analysis, outage planning coordination, coordinated capacity calculation, (very) short-term adequacy forecasts, individual and common grid modelling, and data set delivery. The Board of Directors of SEleNe CC consists of one member from each TSO with Ioannis Kampouris from the Greek TSO IPTO as Chairman and CEO.

Catalin Nitu, CEO of Transelectrica, comments on the establishment of SEleNe CC: „Improving energy security and cooperation at both organisational and technical level brings us one step closer to an energy-integrated Europe. This step is part of a normal and necessary evolution for regional energy security, in the light of the implementation of the common electricity market’s new model. I express my gratitude to our colleagues and partners who have consistently shown professional excellence and commitment to establish this security centre.”

The four TSOs from the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy CCRs have established SEleNe CC, the new RSC based in Thessaloniki (picture of Thessaloniki: Digio Lab on Unsplash)

Linkup
> See Transelectrica press release (pdf, 482kb)
> See Transelectrica press release, in Romanian (pdf, 238.1kb)

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Amprion Market Report shows encouraging trends

27.05.2020

The intermeshed European electricity market today requires constructive cooperation between all actors and organisations. Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), considers the efficiency of cooperation at European level a key prerequisite for continental security of supply and the success of the energy transition. For this reason, the TSCNET shareholder was and is involved in numerous regional and European initiatives on system operation, network planning, and market integration. Also, Amprion is an observant analyser of the European market development, especially in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region and annually provides the Market Report for the CWE countries. The 2020 edition for the period 2015 to 2019 has just been released.

The Market Report is based on data from Flow-Based Market Coupling (FBMC) introduced by the six CWE countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium) in May 2015. By involving the entire regional network in the coupling of electricity markets, FBMC allows TSOs to allocate cross-border capacity and maximise market efficiency without jeopardising grid stability. The Amprion report clearly indicates the progress of the CWE market integration, especially with the following figures: In 2019, price convergence on the day-ahead markets increased by a further 10%, reaching 42%. In other words, in almost every second hour, day-ahead prices in the CWE have been equal because the TSOs succeeded in making sufficient power transmission capacity available to meet the demand of the entire region at the same prices.

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, CEO of Amprion, comments on the positive development: “The Market Report furnishes proof that trade barriers could be decreased during the course of 2019.” Dr Brick places particular emphasis on the efficient and highly interconnected power grids in the CWE region and their “key role in ensuring Europe’s stable and secure energy system”. As regards Amprion’s individual contribution, the TSO was able to further improve the efficiency of its grid and thus strengthen European electricity trading. Whereas in 2018 the share of all active trade constraints caused by Amprion internal elements was 13.7%, in 2019 it was only 7.8%. This is due not only to the ongoing grid expansion measures, but also to the monitoring of overhead lines, which allows more efficient utilisation of the most important power lines.

Amprion has published the Market Report 2020 for the CWE region (picture: Daniel Schumann / Amprion)

Linkup
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> Open Amprion market report (pdf, 6.97MB)
> Open Amprion market report summary, in German (pdf, 524.8kB)

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Paper on MRC extension

26.03.2020

The so-called 4M Market Coupling Countries (4M MC) – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – are to be connected to the Europe-wide Multi Regional Coupling (MRC) of the electricity market. This will introduce Single Day-Ahead Coupling across 23 European countries. The initiative to implement the MRC expansion is the DE-AT-PL-4M MC Project, also known as “Interim Coupling Project”. The relevant transmission system operators (TSOs) from Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, APG, ČEPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, and Transelectrica – are part of the project consortium.

The AT-PL-4M MC Project establishes implicit capacity allocation based on Net Transfer Capacity (NTC) at six borders (PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, HU-AT). The Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and TSOs participating in the DE-AT-PL-4M MC Project now have published an information paper for market participants containing key information on the project in a question and answer format. This information includes the main expected changes for the market, the planned communication methods with market participants and a high-level technical description of the market design to be implemented by the project.

The partners of the AT-PL-4M MC Project for integrating Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia into MRC have published an information paper

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> Open AT-PL-4M MC information paper provided by MAVIR (pdf, 732.98kB)

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ACER consultations on balancing market

20.02.2020

A core component of the European Energy Union is the integration of the national balancing markets into a pan-European market. To promote this essential objective, the European Commission Regulation establishing a Guideline for Electricity Balancing became effective in December 2017. The European transmission system operator (TSOs) are expected to work proactively towards this goal and have since responded to this expectation with transnational cooperation, proposals, innovative concepts and their implementation.

The Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) launched two public consultations on methodologies in line with the respective EU regulation. The first consultation concerns the way for establishing a list of standard products for capacity balancing of frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves. This methodology provides the rules for efficient cross-border exchange, sharing and procurement of reserves. The second deals with the methodology for establishing a co-optimised allocation process of cross-zonal capacity for the exchange of balancing capacity or sharing of reserves. All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 10 March 2020.

Before the results of the two consultations are published, ACER will organise a workshop in its premises in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana on 26 February. This workshop will give stakeholders an insight into the procedures related to these consultations and into the discussions between ACER, the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and the TSOs.

ACER has launched two public consultations on methodologies for the integration of balancing markets (picture of Europe from space by Alexander Gerst, ESA/NASA)

Linkup
> See ACER press release (html)
> Direct access to 1st consultation (html)
> Direct access to 2nd consultation (html)
> Visit ACER workshop webpage (html)

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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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New RSC to be established in Thessaloniki

23.12.2019

As reported by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), significant progress is being made on pan-European coverage with regional security coordinators (RSCs). The transmission system operators (TSOs) of the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs), namely ESO-EAD (Bulgaria), IPTO (Greece), Terna (Italy) and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania, have agreed to establish a new RSC in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

The new company will provide all regional RSC services for both CCRs according to the requirements of the EU guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management (CACM). In line with the experience gained in other CCRs, the RSC in Thessaloniki will promote regional TSO cooperation and strengthen system and market operations. The further development of the plans will be reported in the course of 2020.

The TSOs from the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy CCRs will establish an RSC in Thessaloniki (picture showing Thessaloniki, Greece)

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> See ENTSO-E press release, html

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TSO proposals on capacity balancing submitted

20.12.2019

In December 2017, the European Commission Regulation establishing a guideline for electricity balancing came into force. The European transmission system operators (TSOs) were given two years to prepare two proposals aimed at promoting market integration through the procurement and use of standard products for capacity balancing in an efficient, economic and market-based manner. Considering feedback from stakeholders, public consultations and workshops, these two proposals have now been submitted by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) to the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

The “Proposal for a methodology for co-optimised allocation process of cross-zonal capacity for the exchange of balancing capacity or sharing of reserve” specifies how cross-zonal capacity should be allocated in a single optimisation process to bids for energy exchange as well as for the exchange of balancing energy or the sharing of reserves. The process suggested involves contracting on a day-ahead basis and meets the requirements of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package”.

The “Proposal for a list of standard products for balancing capacity for frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves” details the minimum harmonisation criteria for the exchange of balancing capacity set by all TSOs. To respect the specific conditions of each region, additional characteristics may be defined and harmonised by two or more TSOs deciding to jointly provide balancing capacity.

ENTSO-E stresses that substantial work still needs to be done on the implementation and application of these proposals. Close interaction between neighbouring TSOs is essential for the establishment of balancing capacity cooperation.

ENTSO-E has submitted two TSO proposals on capacity balancing to ACER (picture showing Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia and home of ACER)

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Multi Regional Coupling expanded by the end of 2020

17.12.2019

The Multi Regional Coupling (MRC) of the European electricity market is to be substantially enhanced by connecting the so-called 4M Market Coupling Countries (4M MC), i.e. the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, to the Europe-wide MRC. This will establish Single Day-Ahead Coupling across 23 European countries.

In preparation for this market integration, the so-called Interim Coupling Project (DE-AT-PL-4M MC Project) was launched. It has now completed the design phase and is entering the implementation phase. This provides the Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and transmission system operators (TSOs) from Austria (APG), Germany (50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW), Poland (PSE) and the 4M MC countries (ČEPS, MAVIR, Transelectrica and SEPS) with a sound basis for announcing the MRC inclusion for the third quarter of 2020.

The AT-PL-4M MC Project introduces implicit capacity allocation based on Net Transfer Capacity (NTC) at six borders (PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, HU-AT). The competent National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) welcome the progress made and the synergies from the project, which will facilitate the introduction of Flow-Based Market Coupling in the Core Capacity Calculation Region (Core CCR), which is the ultimate target.

The AT-PL-4M MC project for integrating Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia into MRC has entered the implementation phase.

Linkup
> See PSE press release (html)
> See SEPS press release (html)
> Open joint press release (pdf, 216.14kB)

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