Integrated market in Switzerland


In Continental Europe, the synchronised frequency is of 50 Hz. It is a core task of every transmission system operator (TSO) to keep the balance between power production and consumption and the grid frequency stable. The Swiss TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the national TSO, operates a market for ancillary services for this purpose. Power plants and other auxiliary service providers (ASPs) in Switzerland hold primary, secondary and tertiary control reserve capacities on behalf of Swissgrid and, in case of frequency deviations, allocate them against compensation. Primary and secondary control energy is retrieved automatically and tertiary control energy manually.

Swissgrid is constantly striving to further develop the ancillary services market with innovative solutions. These include the bundling of manually retrieved products for frequency control and for international redispatch into a single integrated market. A market platform suitable for this purpose, which enables the retrieval of both, tertiary control energy and energy for international redispatches, was successfully launched by Swissgrid last week. This is possible because the two products have the same characteristics and can be called up with the same lead time of 15 minutes.

The specifications of the platform design allow the market offers to be freely changeable. This means, above all, that there is no longer any competition between the tertiary control energy market and the intraday market. ASPs can now offer the energy not sold in the intraday market on the integrated market. Another new feature is that tenders can be processed using the communication protocol of the Energy Communication Platform (ECP) of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), which enables direct communication between the IT systems of the ASPs and the Swissgrid bidding platform. This process automation leads to greater transparency.

Swissgrid has launched a platform for the integration of the tertiary control energy market and the international intraday market (picture of the Mettlen-Lavorgo powerline: Albinfo / CC BY 3.0)

> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Austro-German cooperation on control reserve


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

> 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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German TSOs open consultation on control reserve


The four German transmission system operators (TSOs) 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW have opened a public consultation on their draft for the revision of modalities for reserve control providers. The four TSCNET shareholders thus fulfill a requirement from the EU Guideline on Electricity Balancing of 23 November 2017. Market participants are welcome to comment on the draft from 12 April to 13 May.

At the core of the consultation are the modalities for providers of control reserve for primary control power, secondary control power, and minutes reserve. The consultation will be accompanied by a workshop on 23 April in Nuremberg in the German state of Bavaria. Here, market players have the opportunity to discuss the new rules for reserve control suppliers with representatives of the TSOs.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> Access to consultation and information on workshop at (html)

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Cost-effective balancing in Austria


The assiduous efforts undertaken by TSC member APG, the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO), to optimise control reserve are paying off. Since 2015, the costs for stabilising the Austrian electricity grid are decreasing significantly, and with €90m spent on control resrve in the last year, APG is able to announce a cost reduction of 37% in comparison to 2015.

The causes of this beneficial development are twofold. On a national level, several new suppliers have joined the balancing market. “The new participants in the regulatory energy market contributed to significantly more competition in this market”, explains Ulrike Baumgartner-Gabitzer, Chief Executive Officer at APG. Internationally – apart from individual agreements with neighbouring countries – APG participates in the largest European transnational cooperation on the procuration and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve. Also of particular importance is APG’s cross-border cooperation for automatic Frequency Restoration Reserve with the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW. “This means that Austria is actively involved in all relevant projects and is even an initiator,” complements Thomas Karall, APG’s Chief Financial Officer.

> See APG press release, in German (html)

Picture: Lukas Dostal / Austrian Power Grid AG (APG Control Centre)


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