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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Study on German-Polish TSO cooperation

16.01.2020

The two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz from Germany and PSE from Poland jointly conducted the “German-Polish Study on cooperation between TSOs PSE and 50Hertz in long-term and mid-term perspectives”, which now has been finalised. The study was supported by the respective national Ministries responsible for energy.

As its title suggests, the study is divided into an investigation of medium-term and long-term cooperation objectives. The mid-term part aims at improving the coordination of the operational planning processes. The following issues, among others, have been identified as important: improving the quality of forecasting of power flows at the German-Polish border and the coordinated use of cross-border remedial measures such as phase-shifting transformers as well as bilateral and multilateral redispatch. To better predict cross-border flows, PSE and 50 Hertz agreed to support the development of a flow-based methodology, and as far as the remedial measures are concerned, advanced software solutions are required. However, not only the development of an IT tool is needed here, but also advanced coordination and cost sharing in a region-wide mechanism.

For the long-term study, a modelling process carried out by the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Warsaw was used, which was consulted and monitored by experts from both TSOs. Using alternative scenarios, different time frames and market simulations, the main trends in German-Polish electricity exchange as well as future challenges for regional markets and networks were identified, such as interconnector capacities, growth of energy demands or deviating energy prices.

50Hertz and PSE have conducted a joint study on German-Polish TSO cooperation (picture: Andreas Vogel / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Linkup
> See PSE press release (html)
> See 50Hertz webpage on the study, in German (html)
> Open Executive summary (pdf, 538.47kB)

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TERRE platform launched

07.01.2020

The project “Trans European Replacement Reserves Exchange” (TERRE) is dedicated to implementing the exchange of replacement reserves (RRs) under the EU guideline on electricity balancing. The objective of TERRE is to establish the European RR balancing energy market via an RR platform and to create uniform conditions for market participants. TERRE has been confirmed by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) as the European platform for the exchange of balancing energy from RRs and is closely monitored by national regulatory authorities and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

TERRE involves eight European transmission system operators (TSOs). The three TSCNET shareholders ČEPS from the Czech Republic, PSE from Poland and Swissgrid from Switzerland are complemented by RTE (France), National Grid (United Kingdom), Terna (Italy), REN (Portugal) and Red Eléctrica de Espaňa (Spain). A further six TSOs with observer status include the TSCNET shareholders MAVIR from Hungary and Transelectrica from Romania.

The TERRE platform was launched on 6 January 2020. The platform ensures cost-effective balancing energy with service availability within 30 minutes in a European setting. ČEPS was the first TSO to connect to the platform, and is currently also the only one. Further members will follow. “The launch of TERRE represents the completion of several years of effort, from defining business rules to developing an IT solution to testing the system with market participants in Europe,” explains Zbyněk Boldiš, Member of ČEPS’ Board of Directors.

The TERRE platform for the balancing of replacement energy reserves has been successfully launched (picture showing Zbyněk Boldiš, Member of ČEPS’ Board of Directors)

Linkup
> See ČEPS press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E’s TERRE website (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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New Nordic System Operation Agreement

04.10.2019

The five Nordic power transmission system operator (TSOs), including the Danish TSCNET shareholder Energinet, have signed a new Nordic System Operation Agreement. This agreement sets out the common operating principles of the Nordic TSOs to ensure that the Nordic interconnected system is operated reliably and efficiently in accordance with national and European regulations.

Against the background of the increasing volatility of electricity generation due to renewable energies and the reduction of balancing power generation, the Operating Agreement will further strengthen Nordic cooperation, harmonise grid operating practices between Nordic countries and within Europe, and ensure the system security of the Nordic electricity system.

The document will also contain several appendices, of which the appendix on reserves has already been concluded. The Nordic TSOs are in the process of finalising further appendices on all relevant operational issues. The new Operation Agreement will successively replace the existing one after the completion of the new appendices.

Energinet and the other four Nordic TSOs have signed a new Nordic System Operation Agreement (picture showing Copenhagen, Denmark)

Linkup
> See Energinet press release (html)
> Open Nordic System Operation Agreement (pdf, 894.16kB)

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Final Conference of FutureFlow

10.09.2019

The FutureFlow project reaches the final straight: On 15 October, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO) ELES will host the final conference of the successful project in the Austrian capital of Vienna. FutureFlow was launched in 2016 and funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme. The twelve project partners from eight European countries will officially conclude the project in December 2019.

The increasing regenerative energy generation and decreasing flexibility from conventional power plants require innovative approaches by the players in the electricity market. This is where the FutureFlow project comes in by exploring innovative e-trading solutions for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European TSOs, all shareholders of TSCNET. In addition to the project coordinator ELES, the other TSO participants are APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary and Transelectrica from Romania.

At the final conference the FutureFlow partners will present the most important project results and options for their implementation. These include, for example, the real-time results of the cross-border pilot tests and the operation of the IT platforms developed as part of FutureFlow.

The final conference of the FutureFlow project is hosted by Eles in Vienna on 15 October (picture: Stefan Steinbauer, Pixabay)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit FutureFlow website (html)
> Visit FutureFlow conference website (html)

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TSO proposals for balancing market integration

20.12.2018

To pave the way for a well-functioning energy union, there are eight European network codes: regulations that are intended to promote the integration and coordination of the various national European energy markets. One of these codes, the Commission regulation establishing a guideline for electricity balancing (EBGL), is intended – as the wording implies – to integrate the national European balancing markets.

Cross-border balancing is crucial for the transmission system operators (TSOs) to continuously ensure that the grid frequency is kept within a defined security range and that the required level and quality of power reserves are maintained. The European TSOs have now substantially advanced the guideline implementation by submitting six proposals for balancing market integration and the creation of platforms for the exchange of balancing energy products to the competent national regulatory authorities (NRAs).

With the assistance of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE), these proposals have been developed in close cooperation between all TSOs and consulted with stakeholders. Laurent Schmitt, ENTSO-E Secretary General, is convinced that the realisation of the TSO proposals will create a level playing field for all market participants and thus lead to increased cross-border participation, supply security, competition and share of renewable energy. Consequently, Mr Schmitt identifies a “true ‘win-win-win situation‘, good for customer, the environment and the economy”.

The European TSOs have submitted six proposals for balancing market integration to the competent NRAs

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit the EBGL website (html)

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ELES presents FutureFlow progress

08.11.2018

The EU-funded FutureFlow project explores innovative e-trading solutions for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European transmission system operators (TSOs), all shareholders of TSCNET. The project is coordinated by the Slovenian TSO ELES, the other TSO participants being APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary, and Transelectrica from Romania. In times of increasing regenerative energy generation and lack of flexibility services from conventional plants, the FutureFlow consortium considers the prosumer as a new source of flexibility for the transmission grid.

A cross-border pilot with 48MW of flexible power capacity in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia has already proven that the involvement of the prosumers can save regulating energy. In order to communicate these and other results, ELES representatives took the opportunity to promote FutureFlow during the “European Utility Week” in the Austrian capital of Vienna. At the introductory panel “Interoperable Platforms and Data Exchange for Energy Services” on 6 November, mag. Uroš Salobir, Director of the Strategic Innovation Department at ELES, explained with regard to the cross-border integration of the system service markets: “For automatic frequency control, the FutureFlow project offers 60% savings and up to 57% for redispatching.”

Eles promoted the FutureFlow project for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching on the “European Utility Week” in Vienna (picture based on screenshots taken from FutureFlow promotional video)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit FutureFlow website (html)
> Watch FutureFlow promotional video “Prosumers as guardians of the power system” (YouTube)

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ACER releases ITC report

02.11.2018

Every year, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) reviews the implementation of the Inter-Transmission System Operator Compensation (ITC) mechanism on behalf of the European Commission (EC). This also includes the monitoring of the management of the ITC Fund established by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The purpose of this fund is to compensate transmission system operators (TSOs) for the costs incurred as a result of the hosting of cross-border electricity flows.

ACER has now published the ITC report for 2017, in which the Agency concludes that the implementation of the ITC mechanism and the management of the ITC Fund in 2017 continued to comply with the requirements of the relevant European regulation. While the ITC Fund remained relatively stable at €259.35m compared to 2016, the volume of transitory losses increased significantly. However, the increasing impact on the losses component of the ITC Fund was almost fully offset by a notable reduction in the weighted average value of losses for the ITC parties. This average value of 35.36€/MWh was actually the lowest since 2011.

ACER has released its report on the Inter-Transmission System Operator Compensation mechanism in 2017

Linkup
> See ACER press release (html, with access to report)

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