Phase-shifting transformers stand the test

29.08.2018

In Röhrsdorf in Saxony, Germany, the international conference “Controlling load flows. Strengthening European electricity trading”, organised by the German power transmission system operator (TSO) 50Hertz, a shareholder of TSCNET Services, brought together more than 40 experts to discuss the first experiences with the coordinated use of so-called phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) in Poland, Czechia and Germany. The PSTs put into operation in the past two years allow load flows in the alternating current grid to be better controlled, even between neighbouring countries. In the past, in connection with the German energy transition and electricity trading to southern Europe, there had been an increase in “unplanned loop flows” via Poland and Czechia, some of which had led to a high load on their grids and which practically brought cross-border electricity trade to a standstill.

The coordinated use of PSTs with the Czech TSO ČEPS and the Polish TSO PSE enabled a significant reduction in “unplanned loop flows”, said Dr. Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz. “This is a very pleasing development, because it has relieved the load on the networks of our Polish and Czech neighbours and we can also provide more capacity at the border coupling points for European electricity trading in the future,” explains Biermann. Load flow control with PSTs had very positive effects on the efficient use of the existing power grid. This will be even more important in the future in order to successfully advance the energy transition with an ever increasing share of renewable energies while maintaining a high system stability.

TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, ČEPS, and PSE draw a positive interim balance on the use of phase-shifting transformers (illustration using pictures of 50Hertz / Jan Pauls and www.siemens.com/press)

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> See 50Hertz press release (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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XBID go live-date confirmed

24.05.2018

Pan-European intraday coupling is crucial for the future European internal energy market. That’s why the Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) initiative was established with the purpose of increasing the overall efficiency of intraday trading. Several Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and nearly twenty transmission system operators (TSOs) from all over the continent collaborate in the XBID initiative, including the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, TenneT, and TransnetBW, as well as TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg.

On a technical scale, the XBID Solution is based on a common IT system comprising one shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module. The individual components must be perfectly matched, and in order for all parties participating in XBID to exercise due care, the go-live date for XBID Solution and ten related Local Implementation Projects (LIPs) was postponed earlier this year from March to June.

After a successful completion of additional testing phases as well as two market trial periods, the NEMOs and TSOs now have confirmed the go-live date for XBID. As of 13 June, the ten LIPs will deliver continuous trading of electricity across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Most of the other European countries will then follow in a second XBID-wave in summer 2019.

> See Amprion press release (html)
> See APG press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

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Grid modernisation and profit increase in Czechia

23.04.2018

High revenues from cross-border capacity auctions and system services, sustainable business practices, and well-considered investments in the Czech transmission system belong to the mainstays of a very succesful business year 2017 for TSCNET shareholder ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO). The profit of CZK2.897bn (about €114m) before tax represents an increase of CZK824.6m (about €32.5m) in comparison to 2016. As in previous years, ČEPS continued to diligently maintain and expand the national grid in 2017 and spent more than CZK3.5bn (about €138m) on the transmission infrastructure. At the same time, ČEPS transferred a total of 63,372GWh of electricity through the Czech transmission system, which reached a peak load of 11.769MW on 24 January.

The most important milestone in grid modernisation was the installation of four new phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) in the northern Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně, which have been in full operation since September 2017. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, comments on the state-of-the-art PSTs: “These special transformers allow transferring maximum amounts of electricity without threatening the reliability of supplies in the Czech Republic and as such they significantly protect the Czech electricity system against dangerous electricity flows from abroad.” Other major projects completed in 2017 include the reconstruction of the Čechy Střed transformer station in the Central Bohemian Region and the construction of a new 400/110kV transformer station at Vernéřov in the region of Ústí nad Labem.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from video “PST transformátory v rozvodně Hradec u Kadaně z pohledu dronů” (ČEPS, YouTube)

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First edition of the Bidding Zone Review

06.04.2018

With the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) as facilitator, fifteen European transmission system operators (TSOs) have published a first edition of the Bidding Zone Review in line with the European Commission guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management. Among these TSOs are the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ČEPS, ELES, Energinet, MAVIR, PSE, TenneT, and TransnetBW as well as the TSCNET customers Creos and SEPS.

The release follows a public consultation of the review, which lasted until 9 March. The involved TSOs have carefully considered stakeholder feedback and have now made their recommendation to the respective national government and regulatory authorities. The competent authorities have to reach an agreement by 30 September on whether to accept the bidding zone configuration or to request modifications.

> See ENTSO-E press release (html, with access to report on the review)
> See PSE press release (html, added on 10 April)

Picture: Illustration based on final ENTSO-E report

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Start of XBID solution postponed

01.02.2018

Wether technological innovation or business decision – it is always better to take the necessary time and go through conceptions thoroughly, than to compromise ambitious goals with a premature start. This is also the case with the Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) initiative. The original go-live date for XBID Solution and ten Local Implementation Projects (LIPs) has been postponed from March to June 2018, in order to allow for additional testing and two trial trading periods thus ensuring the robustness of XBID.

Nearly twenty transmission system operators (TSOs) from all over Europe are collaborating in the XBID initiative, among them are the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, Energinet, TenneT, and TransnetBW, as well as TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. Along with several Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and under the coordination of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) the partners are working on a single integrated European intraday market. The basis of this cross-zonal market solution is a common IT system comprising one shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module.

A pan-European coupling of intraday markets through cross-border trade is a key element in creating the European internal electricity market. Provided that the LIP testing phase will be completed successfully, highly efficient intraday trading will be possible across fourteen countries from 12 June. According to the current state of planning, most of the other European countries are to follow in a second XBID-wave in spring or summer 2019.

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Picture: Edited detail of an image by Craig Mayhew / Robert Simmon (NASA GSFC) courtesy Marc Imhoff (NASA GSFC) / Christopher Elvidge (NOAA NGDC) (Creative Commons)

Linkup
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> Open Amprion press release, in English (pdf, 97kb)

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50Hertz PSTs in regular operation

18.01.2018

The transmission systems of the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), ČEPS, the Czech TSO, and PSE from Poland are interconnected in the tri-border region of Germany, Poland, and Czechia. To better control the cross-border electricity flows and to increase cross-border capacities, not only close cooperation between these TSOs is an absolute requirement, but also the appropriate technical features. For this reason, all three TSOs started to equip substations near the border with phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) a few years ago.

After a successful three-month trial, 50Hertz put two PSTs at its Röhrsdorf substation in Saxony into regular operation, additionally improving the control of electricity flows between Czechia and Germany. The two 50Hertz PSTs complement their northern Bohemian counterparts in Hradec u Kadaně operated by ČEPS. Further reconstructions in Röhrsdorf are still to follow, before the PSTs can also be switched into the directions of Dresden, Streumen, and Remptendorf. In an expected two years, the PSTs will thus also stabilise the transmission in the southern control area of 50Hertz and make the grid more effective.

> See 50Hertz press release (html)

Picture: 50Hertz

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XBID solution to be launched in March

09.01.2018

Eighteen transmission system operators (TSOs) from numerous European countries, coordinated by the the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), and several Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) share the common vision of a single integrated European intraday market, which is considered to be a key component of a pan-European internal energy market. To make their vision a reality, the project partners collaborate in the Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) initiative.

An important step for XBID will be taken in March 2018, when the jointly developed XBID solution and ten Local Implementation Projects (LIPs) are scheduled to go-live. The core of the XBID solution is a common IT system comprising one shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module. The LIPs include the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, APG, TenneT, and TransnetBW, and the TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. They will establish continuous electricity trading across fifteen countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden), while most other European countries are to follow in a second XBID-wave in spring 2019. However, the March 2018 go-live date is still subject to the completion of a LIP testing phase.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

Picture: EC – Audiovisual Service

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50Hertz PST in test operation

12.10.2017

The transmission systems in the tri-border region of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic are constant subject to increasing strain, mainly due to the growing feed-in of wind energy in the control area of TSC member 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). At peak times, electricity from renewable sources had to find its way to the German state of Bavaria via Poland and Czechia. In order to better control these cross-border flows, 50Hertz and the fellow TSC members ČEPS, the Czech TSO, and PSE from Poland have aggred to foster their cooperation by means of deploying phase-shifting transformers (PSTs).

After less than two years of preparatory and construction works at the Röhrsdorf substation near Chemnitz in Saxony and close to the Czech border, 50Hertz now has entered into the final phase of the PST-installation. The last of the two PSTs had arrived in Röhrsdorf only in April 2017, and “on 9 October we put the first transformer into test operation – the second transformer will follow in November”, explains Thomas Karger, Project Manager Substations at 50Hertz. The two Röhrsdorf PSTs complement their counterparts at the northern Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně, which have been fully commissioned by ČEPS in September.

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

Picture: 50Hertz

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Modernisation and stable operation in Czechia

17.09.2017

A significant and future-oriented project, which TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), has long been advancing with great vigour, is finally complete: All four phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) with phase angle regulation at the Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně are now in full operation and regulate the electricity flows of two 400kV interconnectors between the Czech Republic and the eastern part of Germany. Not only do the PSTs contribute to grid stability in Czechia and beyond, but they also help to prevent expensive remedial measures.

This is the prominent feature of the ČEPS report on the second quarter of 2017, which also provides otherwise with good news, such as a profit before tax of CZK 1.5bn (about €57.5m). That is an increase of nearly CZK 275m (about €10.5m) compared to last year’s corresponding period. The ambitiuos grid investment programme of the Czech TSO can nothing but benefit from this gratifying development. The reconstruction of a gas-insulated section of the Chodov substation in Prague, the country’s capital and largest city, or the construction of a new transformer station in Vernéřov in the region of Ústí nad Labem are only two of several projects in order to maintain system security and increase transmission capacities.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: ČEPS

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