Construction start of Slovenian-Hungarian interconnector

16.10.2020

A glance at the guest list of the official ceremony for the start of construction of the Cirkovce-Pince overhead line reveals that a major project has been launched here. The Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO) ELES had the honour to welcome both the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban to the opening event for the new construction. And indeed, the project is of historic proportions, as the 400kV AC line, a good 80 kilometres long, will be the first interconnector between the Slovenian and Hungarian transmission systems.

The double circuit line with 264 pylons will increase the operational reliability of the Slovenian transmission system and import transmission capacity, facilitate access to energy sources from the North and East, and allow for the integration of larger amounts of renewable energy from the whole region into the grid. The line runs from the Cirkovce substation in the northeastern Slovenian region of Lower Styria to the border settlement of Pince, which is not only on the Hungarian border, but also in the triangle of Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary. Therefore, in addition to the substation of the Hungarian TSO MAVIR in Hévíz in Zala County, the substation of the Croatian TSO HOPS in Žerjavinec near Zagreb can also be connected to the new line, truly a European Project of Common Interest (PCI). The power line will thus even interconnect three countries. The presence of Gordan Grlić-Radman, Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, confirmed the trinational dimension of the Cirkovce-Pince line.

At the ceremony with symbolic unveiling of the construction panel, Aleksander Mervar, CEO of ELES, illustrated the supraregional significance of the power line: “This project is of great importance not only for Slovenia but also for the wider region and Europe. That is why this project was included on the list of Projects of Common Interests in 2015, while in 2019 we managed to acquire €50m funds.” Mr Mervar also explained that the project, which includes major upgrades of switchgears in Cirkovce, is the largest investment in transmission infrastructure in the history of ELES, totalling some €150m. Finally, he emphasised the good cooperation of the three TSCNET shareholders ELES, HOPS, and MAVIR: “Without this cooperation, this project would surely not be happening today.”

ELES has started construction of the Cirkovce-Pince 400kV line, which will connect the transmission grids of Slovenia, Hungary, and Croatia (picture: ELES; from right to left: Gordan Grlić-Radman, Viktor Orban, Janez Janša; second from left: Aleksander Mervar)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit project website (html)

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Successful test run of SINCRO.GRID’s VVC function

07.10.2020

SINCRO.GRID is a smart grid project of the two transmission system operators (TSOs) HOPS from Croatia and ELES from Slovenia. With SINCRO.GRID, the two TSCNET shareholders are responding to the increasing lack of flexibility and reactive power in the transmission system, which in Croatia and Slovenia, as in many parts of Europe, results from the increasing integration of decentralised, volatile renewable energy sources (RES). Two distribution system operators (DSOs) from the respective countries are also involved in the European Project of Common Interest (PCI). The aim of the project partners is to optimise grid efficiency via advanced technologies and innovative data processing, including compensation devices, a dynamic thermal rating system, a battery power storage system, and a virtual cross-border control centre.

As HOPS reports, an important step has been taken towards the establishment of the binational SINCRO.GRID control centre, whose prime task is to integrate reactive power compensation devices in Croatia and Slovenia into a joint operation to fully exploit their synergy potential. The centre will thus enable voltage control and loss optimisation in transmission systems, better control and forecasting of electricity generation from RES, and the participation of RES in the provision of ancillary services.

On 30 September 2020, the SINCRO.GRID Q-U system with Volt Var Control (VVC) function was operated for the first time in fully automatic closed loop for four hours without any human intervention. All calculated VVC data were automatically sent by the Q-U system to seven transformers in three HOPS substations, optimising the transmission network in north-western Croatia. After successful testing in fully automatic mode, the test was continued in semi-automatic mode with transformers and two generators in one power station. The information and experience obtained from the test run will be used for the further analysis of the Q-U system and its application to the whole Croatian transmission system and finally for the implementation of the HOPS-ELES virtual cross-border control centre.

HOPS has carried out a successful test run of the Q-U system with VVC function within the SINCRO.GRID project (picture: HOPS)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> See SINCRO.GRID news (html)

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First successful device installation within FARCROSS

28.08.2020

The FARCROSS (FAcilitating Regional CROSS-border Electricity Transmission through Innovation) project, which started in October 2019, is a four-year project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme. The objective of FARCROSS is to find solutions for increased regional cross-border cooperation in electricity transmission. The connection of regional key players in the energy value chain and the introduction of integrated hardware and software solutions are intended to tap additional resources for cross-border electricity flows. The FARCROSS consortium of 31 partners includes the transmission system operators (TSOs) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, and Greece together with the TSCNET shareholders APG (Austria), Hops (Croatia), MAVIR (Hungary), and Transelectrica (Romania).

The three demonstration areas of FARCROSS are smart grid innovations, the development of regional system operations platforms to allow improved system operation forecasting on TSO level, and the optimisation of capacity allocation for regional cross-border trading. The technical grid solutions involve special line monitoring sensors, which are based on the Dynamic Line Rating (DLR) technology for real time overhead line monitoring. These sensors enable TSOs to optimise the utilisation of their transmission lines. The installation of DLR sensors is intended for four countries, and the Croatian TSO HOPS was the first to install such devices on the 220kV Senj-Melina transmission line a month ago. Since then, the sensors have been operating smoothly and the HOPS team of experts is pleased to have taken the first step towards the ambitious FARCROSS goals.

As part of the FARCROSS project, HOPS has installed monitoring sensors on the Senj-Melina overhead line to improve capacity utilisation (illustration using pictures by HOPS and FARCROSS H2020)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> Visit FARCROSS website (html)

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SVC for SINCRO.GRID in Konjsko

02.07.2020

As in many parts of Europe, the increasing integration of decentralised, volatile renewable energy sources has also led in Croatia and Slovenia to a lack of flexibility and reactive power. The two TSCNET shareholders HOPS, the transmission system operator (TSO) from Croatia, and ELES, the Slovenian TSO, react to this with their joint project SINCRO.GRID that also involves two distribution system operators (DSOs) from the respective countries. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) aims to optimise the efficiency of the two national electricity transmission networks through advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods. These include compensation devices, a dynamic thermal rating system, a battery power storage system, and a virtual cross-border control centre.

The start of construction of a static VAR compensator (SVC) in the Dalmatian substation in Konjsko on 30 June represents another significant milestone in the implementation of SINCRO.GRID. This state-of-the-art compensation system will support HOPS in actively controlling the reactive power flows in the Croatian power grid. The ceremony to mark the construction start was attended by high-ranking representatives of the Croatian government and the energy companies involved.

In addition to the SVC in Konjsko, SINCRO.GRID comprises three further main elements in Croatia: a variable shunt reactor (VSR) in the Mraclin substation near Zagreb, which was commissioned in January 2020, another VSR in the Melina substation, which is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2020, and finally a joint Croatian-Slovenian virtual control centre. Tomislav Plavšić, President of the HOPS Management Board, describes the latter as a unique solution for coordinated voltage regulation on the entire territory of both countries. The principal task of the binational virtual centre is to integrate three devices each in Croatia and Slovenia for reactive power compensation into one common operation to fully exploit their synergy potential.

HOPS has commenced construction of a SVC as part of the SINCRO.GRID project in Konjsko (picture with Tomislav Plavšić in the foreground: HOPS)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> Visit SINCRO.GRID website (html)

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HOPS commissions variable shunt reactor

22.01.2020

A further step for the successful implementation of the Croatian-Slovenian smartgrid project SINCRO.GRID has been taken. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) aims at optimising the efficiency of the Croatian and Slovenian electricity transmission grids through the application of advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods and is carried out by the two TSCNET shareholders ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO), and HOPS from Croatia.

At the beginning of December 2019, the ELES substation in Divača has been equipped with a variable shunt reactor, an effective compensation tool for reactive power control. Now HOPS has put the same technically advanced system into operation at its substation in Mraclin near Zagreb. With this, HOPS has concluded the first stage of SINCRO.GRID. After the implementation of additional measures and devices, including a static VAR compensator, the Croatian TSO will be able to actively manage the reactive power flows in the Croatian power grid. This will solve problems of overloads in the long term and thus have a positive effect on grid stability and security of supply for customers.

HOPS has commissioned a variable shunt reactor as part of the SINCRO.GRID project (picture: HOPS)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> Visit SINCRO.GRID website (html)

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Variable shunt reactor for SINCRO.GRID

03.12.2019

The two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders ELES from Slovenia and HOPS from Croatia are cooperating in SINCRO.GRID. This cross-border smart grid initiative is coordinated by ELES and comprises in addition to the TSOs also two distribution system operators (DSOs) from both countries. The objective of the European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is to optimise the efficiency of the respective national transmission systems by means of advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods.

Since the substantial allocation of EU funding to SINCRO.GRID under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme in 2017, the project has made significant progress. A vital component of SINCRO.GRID is optimising and installing compensation devices for reactive power control, e.g. variable shunt reactors, which are used in high-voltage transmission systems for voltage stabilisation during load variations. Now the ELES substation in Divača in south-eastern Slovenia has been equipped with such a technically advanced device manufactured by Siemens in Austria. The assembly work is in full swing and is expected to be completed by 12 December. Preparatory work for commissioning will then commence immediately.

Another major component of SINCRO.GRID is a dynamic thermal rating system for power grid operating limits. The aim is to evaluate marginal capacities of transmission system components considering weather influences and thus to improve operational safety and utilisation of overhead lines and transformers. In addition to hard- and software in control centres, atmospheric measuring devices, which are installed directly at the pylons, are also part of the system. Corresponding tests of innovative weather stations are underway. Last week, the substructure for the weather station on the Kleče-Divača overhead line was field tested.

SINCRO.GRID advances technical innovations (picture: ELES)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit SINCRO.GRID website (html)

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Vigour and wisdom – welcome, Kristóf and Ana!

08.07.2019

One male, the other female, one with decades of professional experience, the other with only three years in the profession at the beginning of her career – the two new hires in the Service Development Business Unit seem to be exemplarily diverse.

Let’s start with Kristóf Almási, the new Senior Business Implementation Manager. The 55-year-old Hungarian is well-known to many in our industry: For around 30 years he worked for one of our shareholders, the national electricity transmission system operator (TSO) MAVIR and its predecessor company. During this time, Kristóf also completed his MBA at the Technical University of Budapest, where he also earned an MSC in Electrical Power Engineering and a postgraduate MSC in Development Engineering. At MAVIR he has been involved in network operation planning since 2001, including network modelling and calculation, system protection, and international cooperation.

Assured of a good future
“For me, TSCNET is the company of the future that shapes the processes of the future,” says Kristóf, explaining why he moved here and thus abroad for the first time. In his function, he is primarily concerned with the implementation of new or changed tasks arising from the various requirements of the European institutions. The first task is the harmonisation of the system defence and restoration plans of the TSOs in cooperation with ENTSO-E. His experience and the fact that he knows the perspective of a TSO like the back of his hand are worth their weight in gold.

Is there anything else special about him? Definitely. He likes cycling, hiking, rowing and skiing – “with less and less intensity and more and more caution as I age,” he adds. He is a hobby musician, has been singing in a choir since his childhood and can even play the organ. And with one special aspect he has a real unique selling point: he is at least currently the only grandfather at TSCNET Services.

Don’t let the ball hit the ground
Ana Žanetić has been staffed as Business Analyst. In this function, the 28-year-old Croatian wants to continuously increase the efficiency of our company together with all her colleagues. After completing her Master’s in Electrical Power Engineering in 2015, Ana worked in planning and preparing the production of electrical generators and later as a software analyst for MES (Manufacturing Execution System) software and Business Intelligence Developer. At TSCNET, she can perfectly combine her professional interests in Power Systems and Business Analysis. And after work? Then she just loves to play volleyball (and is looking forward to some of her new colleagues on the court).

“A healthy mix of youthful vigor and traditional wisdom can give your business both stability and innovation,” writes the “D!gitalist Magazine”. We are delighted that with Kristóf and Ana we have brought on board just the right mix for Service Development.

TSCNET Services has welcomed Kristóf Almási and Ana Žanetić for the Service Development Business Unit

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News from PCI Energy Days

20.03.2019

The PCI Energy Days, organised by the European Commission (EC), offer promoters of European Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) the opportunity to present their projects and exchange experiences on how to build a future-proof and environmentally friendly energy infrastructure with innovative concepts. The inaugural PCI Energy Days took place on 19 and 20 March 2019 in the Belgian capital of Brussels and featured a policy conference as well as an exhibition on the practical implementation of specific PCIs. Among the attendees were the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE), the three transmission system operators (TSO) and TSCNET shareholders ELES from Slovenia, HOPS from Croatia and the Dutch-German company TenneT.

ELES took the opportunity to present in cooperation with HOPS the Croatian-Slovenian smart grid project SINCRO.GRID. Coordinated by ELES, SINCRO.GRID comprises in addition to the TSOs also two distribution system operators (DSOs) from both countries. The aim of the cross-border project is to optimise the efficiency of the respective national power transmission systems using advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods.

The Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), an association of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and TSOs from all over Europe, was also present at the PCI Energy Days to celebrate the signing of the Marine Grid Declaration. The Declaration sets out principles for grid development in the marine environment, such as promoting early mutual communication with stakeholders, adequate protection of the marine environment and knowledge sharing. The RGI members, which include the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, HOPS, Swissgrid and TenneT, recognise the cooperation between TSO and NGOs as a highly promising approach to building a sustainable marine grid infrastructure. The signatories to the Declaration commit themselves to developing marine projects in accordance with nature conservation principles and early stakeholder involvement. The Marine Grid Declaration builds on the principles previously agreed in RGI’s European Grid Declaration. If you are interested, you can still sign both declarations. In this case, please contact the RGI.

From 19 to 20 March, the inaugural EC PCI Energy Days were held in Brussels, Belgium (picture: RGI)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> See RGI press release (html)
> Open Marine Grid Declaration (pdf, 926,8kB)

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Kick-off for Croatian-Serbian-Bulgarian market integration

28.02.2019

A first group meeting in the Serbian capital of Belgrade was the initiation of the trilateral market coupling between Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The successful event was attended by representatives of the three national transmission system operators (TSOs), including the Croatian TSCNET shareholder HOPS, and the three respective electricity exchanges as well as regulatory authorities.

Together, the parties involved have committed themselves to make every effort and providing the necessary resources to ensure the feasibility of the project and its timely implementation. The final objective is to establish a trilateral market coupling according to the European Multi-Regional Coupling (MRC) specifications.

The Croatian-Serbian-Bulgarian market coupling was initiated by a first meeting of the main stakeholders (photo of Belgrade: falco/Pixabay)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)

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SIREN project successfully concluded

03.12.2018

After a term of three years, the Croatian research project “Smart Integration of RENewables” (in short: SIREN) has been brought to a satisfactory completion by the project partners, one of whom is TSCNET shareholder HOPS, the transmission system operator (TSO) from Croatia. Together with the Croatian Science Foundation, HOPS was also the funder of the scientific research on the optimisation of current and the development of new system management strategies for the large-scale integration of volatile electricity capacities from renewable sources.

An assessment of the capacity of the transmission grid and the production units was carried out in order to determine flexibility requirements. As second part of the project, the potentials of energy storage units in the transmission system – e.g. pumped-storage power plants, battery systems or flywheels – were evaluated. Finally, also regulatory aspects of the large-scale integration of storage solutions were subject of the research.

Notwithstanding the successful and timely development of solution models and implementation propositions, HOPS will by no means cease its activities in this future-oriented sector. The H2020 project within the CROSSBOW project (“CROSS BOrder management of variable renewable energies and storage units enabling a transnational Wholesale market”), in which HOPS is actively involved, is a kind of continuation of SIREN. The multi-partner project CROSSBOW with a focus on Southeast Europe was launched in November 2018 in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, with HOPS presiding over one subproject and one working package.

The SIREN project on the integration of the renewables and grid optimisation has been successfully completed

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> Visit SIREN website (html)

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