EIB promotes Czech grid

03.02.2017

TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), is lucky to report that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan of CZK 3bn (about €111m) for investments into the modernisation and development of the Czech transmission system. The credit agreement includes 25 grid projects and the first tranche is expected in June 2018.

In combination with other loans and the company’s own financial resources, ČEPS is now in the position to implement its investment program for the time period 2016-2020 entirely. Among the key projects are the construction of a new 420kV substation in Vítkov in the Moravian-Silesian region, the extension of the Přeštice substation in the region of Plzeň and the conversion of the Chodov substation in Prague, the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. All these measures contribute to the stability, safety and efficiency of the Czech transmission system.

Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, affirms that the loan complies with the TSO’s long-term financing strategy and comments that it “will ensure the reliable performance of our investment program under favorable conditions”.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: European Investment Bank

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Czech grid expansion funded by EU

29.01.2017

Three Czech power line projects have been graded as projects of common interest and transnational importance by the European Commission and are subsidised by EU infrastructure funds. With these new 400kV lines, TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), contributes not only to grid stability and supply security in Czechia, but also to cross-border electricity trading and the developement of the pan-European transmission system.

One of the three lines has already been put into operation in September 2016 (with concluding works still going on). It runs from the substation Krasíkov to its counterpart Horní Životice, thus linking the Olomouc to the Moravian-Silesian region. The line has been funded with CZK 90m (about €3.3m). ČEPS hopes for further €2m for the planning of the nationwide power lines from Vítkov to Přeštice and from Vernéřov to Vítkov connecting the Moravian-Silesian region in the very east of Czechia to the westward regions of Karlovy Vary and Plzeň. The line construction is to be accompanied by the construction of a new electrical substation in Vítkov and the expansion of the already existing substation in Přeštice. The EU funds ČEPS has applied for are intended to prepare the documentation of zoning permits.

Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, comments on the EU fundings: “The investment plan of the ČEPS Company includes projects, which ensure reliable operation of the transmission system in the Czech Republic and also contribute to meeting European targets with regard to the security of the whole interconnected system.”

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: ČEPS

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Two Bohemian PSTs in operation

17.01.2017

The Czech transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member ČEPS has accomplished the commissioning of two of the four phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) at the northern Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně. The PSTs are now regulating the electricity flow between the Czech transmission grid and the transmission system in the eastern part of Germany operated by further TSC member 50Hertz. In the second half of 2017, 50Hertz intends to start up similar transformers at the electrical substation Röhrsdorf near Chemnitz.

The technically complex PSTs with phase angle regulation are designed to control the electrical power flow in electric networks, in this particular case primarily between the substations Hradec u Kadaně and Röhrsdorf which are connected by two 400kV power lines. Since the delivery of the fourth of the PSTs has been delayed (due to not passing the ČEPS acceptance tests), only one of the two lines can be controlled by the PSTs right now. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, comments: “The current launch of the two machines is not as effective as the final deployment of all four transformers will be.” Nevertheless, the effects of the PSTs on the grid stability are already now perceptible. By helping to avoid expensive redispatch measures, they are also cost effective.

The delivery of the fourth PST is not expected before February 2017. Its installation and testing will take further time, so that its commissioning is scheduled for midyear. After the launching of the two supplementing PSTs in Röhrsdorf, “the coordinated PST investment project agreed between CEPS and 50Hertz will be completed”, complements Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz.

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

Picture: ČEPS

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Counter-terrorism exercise at ČEPS

01.12.2016

Thankfully it was only a joint drill by the Prague Regional Police Directorate and the Czech transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member ČEPS: On 28 November, terrorists were attacking the ČEPS head office in the Bohdalec district in Prague, disarming security guards, taking several employees hostage, and threatening to destroy the transmission network before being overwhelmed by units of the integrated rescue system.

The Czech TSO is glad to cooperate with the authorities. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, considers the reliability of the transmission system under all circumstances as crucial for the Czech and European critical infrastructure. Miloš Trojánek, Director of the Prague Regional Police Directorate, appraises the realistic exercise as “beneficial experience” and thanked ČEPS for its participation explicitly.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Illustration based on a ČEPS press picture

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ČEPS grows with its challenges

24.11.2016

Czech transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member ČEPS is satisfied with the development of the company in the third quarter of 2016. The TSO’s main outcome in this period is the extension of the national transmission grid by nearly 180km. In September, ČEPS successfully put two new power lines into operation: One line from northwest to central Bohemia, connecting the substations Výškov and Čechy Střed, and another line from Krasíkov to Horní Životice linking the Olomouc to the Moravian-Silesian region.

According to Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, the power line in Bohemia ensures “the reliable capacity transfer from both existing and prospective generation sources.” Furthermore, it can be regarded as part of a defense system against overflows from Germany. Further important instruments of the transnational grid stability management are the four phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) for the northern Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně. Although only three of them have been delivered in early June (the fourth did not pass the ČEPS acceptance tests at the Italian manufacturing site), the installation of the three delivered PSTs has been completed by the ČEPS engineers. The PSTs are the primary tool of ČEPS to avoid cross-border redispatching in the future. Redispatch measures are effective in securing grid stability but extremely expensive. For several times in the third quarter of 2016, multilateral redispatching has been necessary involving the Czech, Austrian and German transmission systems.

From January to September 2016, ČEPS transferred a total of 43,077GWh of electric energy. In financial terms – with profits reaching CZK 1.6bn (about €59m) – the third quarter of 2016 met the company’s expectations. What is more, the company succesfully entered into the bond market of the Prague Stock Exchange. On 30 September, ČEPS issued bonds with a total face value of CZK 500m. The carefully planned bond output belongs to a long-term strategy. Jan Kalina explains the modus operandi of the Czech TSO: “Upgrade and development of the transmission system and its safe operation, which is our first priority, is impossible without efficient collection of the foreign resources needed to finance our investment program.”

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: ČEPS

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Capacity calculation regions determined

21.11.2016

The European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) has published its decision on the proposal of the transmission system operators (TSOs) for the determination of the capacity calculation regions (CCRs). TSC member 50Hertz, one of the four German TSOs, announced that the Berlin-based company is a part of two CCRs: „Core“ und „Hansa“. The Czech TSO, TSC member ČEPS, informed about also being a part of the “Core” CCR formed by a merger of the current trading regions of Central Eastern Europe (CEE) and Central-west Europe (CWE), and that a congestion management system will be introduced on the German-Austrian border.

Capacity calculation regions are conceived as geographical areas in which coordinate cross-border capacity calculation, capacity allocation and congestion management is applied. ACER took the decision on the regions in accordance with the EU-Regulation 2015/1222 on Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM Regulation). The regulation prescribes the creation of the capacity calculation regions themselves and also the determination of bidding zone borders assigned to the competent TSOs of the respective regions. ACER’s ruling statement from 17 November 2016 implies the splitting of the common Austrian-German bidding zone and the creation of a new bidding zone border between the two countries. Zbyněk Boldiš, Executive Director of Energy Trade & International Relations at ČEPS, considers “the split of the German-Austrian bidding zone as crucial for setting up fair environment for power trading in Central Europe”.

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

> See ČEPS press release (html)

> See ACER press release (html)

> Open ACER decision on CCRs (pdf, 2.7mb)

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Safety of the Czech grid is put to the test

21.10.2016

“Don’t learn safety by accident,” is a well-known saying used by electrical workers. In the course of the Czech military safety program Safeguard, an exercise took succesfully place at the Kletné electrical substation near Ostrava in the eastern Czech region of Moravskoslezský. The substation is operated by the Czech transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member ČEPS. Safeguard features a series of security exercises to optimise the cooperation of the Czech Army with security-related institutions and corporations such as energy companies.

Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, expressed his hope that the critical situation practised on 17 October – with soldiers attacking the substation – will never have to be experienced in reality. Still, ČEPS is “aware that the transmission system is essential for the basic functioning of the country”. Therefore the Czech TSO considers the Safeguard program as valuable and is glad to participate.

The supranational significance of the Safeguard exercise was emphasised by the presence of staff members from non-Czech TSOs who witnessed the manoeuvre at Kletné. Among the invited guests were also representatives of the TSC members 50Hertz, one of the four German TSOs, Energinet.dk from Denmark, and the Hungarian TSO, MAVIR.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: ČEPS

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Slovakian neighbourhood connected

19.10.2016

One of the biggest benefits for TSCNET’s customers is this: Getting to know what is going on in the neighbouring national transmission grid. The more and the more precise the better. The Slovakian transmission system operator (TSO) SEPS is connected to the neighbouring TSC members ČEPS (Czechia), MAVIR (Hungary), and PSE (Poland), but did not take part in TSCNET’s most important operational forecast processes. Now this has changed. SEPS has “become operational”, as our experts put it: The TSO has been successfully connected to the AMICA system (Advanced Multisite Integral Congestion Assessment) and is now able to participate in most of the processes and services that TSC members use.

SEPS had been participating in the daily operational planning teleconferences (DOPT) via phone since 2013, but didn’t have access to TSC’s IT infrastructure. In April 2016, the negotiations and preparations for a six-month trial membership started. Last week, the Slovakian operators took part in a special training given by TSCNET, and prepared the ground for the technical go-live of the trial-phase. As a Slovak would say: Gratulujeme! Congratulations!

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High-performing power line for the Czech grid

02.10.2016

After six years of preparatory measures and three years of construction work, the new extra-high voltage line connecting the Bohemian substations Výškov and Čechy Střed has been formally put into operation by the Czech transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member ČEPS in late September 2016. The line from northwest to central Bohemia with a total length of about 95km marks the largest investment into the Czech electrical transmission system that has ever been made. Still, the overall costs did not exceed the anticipated 2,75bn Czech korunas.

The building of a completely new power line had become indispensable for ČEPS in order to ensure grid stability and supply security, especially with regard to the high transit flows through the Czech transmission grid and overflows from Germany. A new generation of pylons exclusively developed for ČEPS has been installed during the construction. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors appraises the company’s investment as systemic measure in the development of the Czech transmission system that will “increase and guarantee the reliability and efficiency of the operation”.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Pictures: ČEPS

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Bridging the east-west-divide

23.09.2016

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) hosts its second of three regional conferences in 2016 on 23 September in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The “Central East European Regional Conference” is devoted to the opportunities of an extended regional and supra-regional cooperation for the European electricity market from the perspective of Central Eastern Europe. The status, the progress and the perspectives of the power market integration between Central Eastern and Central Europe – 27 years after the end of the cold war – are the primary topics of the event.

Among ENTSO-E’s partners in the organisation of the event are the Slovakian Ministry of Economy, the Florence School of Regulation and several transmission system operators (TSOs) including eight TSC members: 50Hertz, one of the four German TSOs, the Austrian operator APG, the Czech TSO ČEPS, ELES from Slovenia, the Croatian TSO HOPS, the Hungarian Company MAVIR, PSE from Poland, and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT.

Numerous high-profile representatives from European and national politics, authorities, companies and associations contribute as speakers to the conference. Naturally, top executives from all the participating TSC members are to be found on the prestigious speaker’s list. Siem Bruijns, Managing Director of TSCNET Services, is also to make a contribution to the conference.

> See ENTSO-E conference page (html)

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