Automated intraday capacity allocation at Austrian-Swiss border


The separation of the bidding zones of Germany (including Luxembourg) and Austria on 1 October 2018 has imposed additional tasks on the transmission system operators (TSOs) directly concerned and also on neighbouring TSOs, notably as regards congestion management. Bidding zones are areas where a wholesale electricity market price applies, and the AT-DE/LU separation resulted in increased demand for intraday cross-border capacity at the Austrian-Swiss border. The two TSCNET shareholders APG from Austria and Swissgrid, the TSO from Switzerland, have reacted to this changed market situation and introduced automated, platform-based intraday capacity allocation.

A border-specific solution was necessary because the Austrian-Swiss border cannot be integrated into Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC, originally introduced as XBID in 2018). Therefore, the intraday allocation of cross-border capacities is still carried out via explicit allocations, but now in an automated process. On 23 September 2020, with the first delivery on 24 September, telephone allocation was switched to a platform-based allocation. The IT platform used – Intraday Capacity Service (ICS) – allocates capacities in accordance with the “first come, first served” principle. After almost two weeks of automated allocation, the two TSOs consider the new, easier intraday trading procedure a success. Swissgrid has already been applying this more efficient allocation of cross-border volume on the Swiss borders with Germany and France.

APG and Swissgrid have successfully introduced automated intraday capacity allocation at the Austrian-Swiss border (picture of the Austrian-Swiss frontier at Diepoldsau/Lustenau: Rikki Mitterer on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

> See APG market information, in German (html)
> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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ALEGrO on the final straight


Lichtenbusch near the westernmost German city of Aachen is located directly on the border between Germany and Belgium and is divided into a Belgian and a German part. Right here, on 16 September 2020, the final joint of the “Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay” (ALEGrO) was installed by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and its Belgian partner TSO Elia. Over a distance of 90 kilometres, the DC interconnector with a transmission capacity of 1,000MW connects the Oberzier substation in the German Rhineland region with the Elia substation in Lixhe in the Walloon province of Liège. ALEGrO is the first direct link between the Belgian and German electricity grids and was realised over its entire length by means of underground cables.

The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) provides much needed grid capacity for cross-border electricity flows, while strengthening security of supply in the German region of Aachen-Cologne and the Belgian province of Liège. The cable laying work for ALEGrO started in October 2018 and after twenty months of construction, the civil engineering work was concluded in June 2020. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, ALEGrO is thus on schedule and nearing completion. The binational power bridge will go into technical operation in October 2020 and will be available to the European electricity market from mid-November. The technical integration of the DC cable into the three-phase grid is a step by step process. The same applies to the parallel market integration. Here, day-ahead capacities are offered first followed by intraday capacities. The allocation of long-term capacities will start in early 2021.

Amprion and Elia installed the final link of the ALEGrO interconnector, which will go into technical operation soon (picture of the project managers Ingo Sander, Amprion, and Dirk Wellens, Elia: Amprion)

> See Amprion press release (html)

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First successful device installation within FARCROSS


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)

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

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ENTSO-E study calls for greater cross-border capacity


93GW by 2040 – that is the need for additional cross-border transmission capacity in Europe identified by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in the recently presented study “Completing the map. Power system needs in 2030 and 2040”. Just like the “Roadmap for a multi-sectorial Planning Support” published in July, the system needs study is related to ENTSO-E’s Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP). Capacity demand has been determined all across Europe, with a total need of 50GW at almost 40 borders by 2030 and 43 additional GW at more than 55 borders by 2040.

ENTSO-E considers this capacity expansion to be essential for implementing the EU Green Deal – i.e. achieving climate neutrality while controlling security and costs. To reduce energy consumption by 110TWh per year by 2040, avoid 53m tonnes of CO2 emissions, and promote market integration and price convergence between bidding zones, substantial investments are needed for additional cross-border exchanges. According to ENTSO-E, €1.3bn per year between 2025 and 2030 will reduce generation costs by €4bn per year, while investments of €3.4bn per year between 2025 and 2040 will reduce generation costs by as much as €10bn per year.

Power transmission projects currently in the design or development stage cover only about 43GW of the 93GW. The results of the ENTSO-E system needs study should lead to the design of new projects to meet newly identified demand. Project promoters may submit projects covering these needs for the TYNDP 2020 by the end of September. ENTSO-E emphasises that, in addition to increased transmission capacity, all other solutions should be considered to meet the identified needs, such as storage, hybrid offshore infrastructure, smart grids, and Power-to-X conversion technologies. The importance of coordinated cross-sectoral planning – including electricity and gas, but also transport and heat – has already been highlighted by ENTSO-E in the roadmap for multi-sectorial planning.

ENTSO-E has published a system needs study which identifies an additional demand for cross-border transmission capacity (illustration based on graphics by ENTSO-E)

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open System Needs Study (pdf, 6.21MB)
> Open study summary (pdf, 3.02MB)

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Agreement on minimum capacity at Danish-German border


In July 2017, the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate and the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy adopted a joint declaration on the increase of cross-border electricity trade between Western Denmark and Germany. The competent transmission system operators (TSOs), the TSCNET shareholders Energinet from Denmark and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, subsequently agreed to implement a joint countertrading programme. Energinet and TenneT have been meeting the requirements of the joint declaration since July 2017 and have since ensured minimum available hourly capacities for both directions at the border.

In addition, TenneT has committed itself to the European Commission (EC) in 2018 to further expand the coordinated trade programme and to implement the corresponding EC decision in cooperation with Energinet from January 2019. In order to better comply with TenneT’s additional obligations from the commitment, the two TSOs have now signed an extended agreement supporting TenneT in doing so.

Energinet and Tennet signed an extended agreement on guaranteeing minimum capacities for cross-border trade

> See Energinet press release (html)

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Danish-German countertrade models


The DK1-DE interconnector between Danish Jutland and the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein is the western link between the transmission systems of Denmark and Germany. This summer, the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate and the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in liaison with the respective national regulatory authorities declared their common aim to secure a minimum of available hourly import and export capacity on the DK1-DE interconnector. Subsequently, it was up to the two TCNET shareholders, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and the Dutch-German TSO Tennet to provide for the implementation of the governmental agreement.

The declaration stipulates that in cases of physical congestions the two TSOs are to perform countertrade operations to secure the minimum capacities. This is what Energinet and TenneT are doing since early July 2017, thus guaranteeing minimum available hourly capacities. While up to now, the TSOs bank on existing methods, this might not be sufficient in view of the expected growing amount of countertrade in the future. Energinet and TenneT have therefore compiled an Impact Assessment of various alternative countertrade options, which now has been published. The assessment serves as basis for selecting a definitive countertrade model.

> See Energinet press release (html, with access to the Impact Assessment document)
> See TenneT press release (html, with access to the Impact Assessment document)


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KONTEK interconnector under repair


There are two interconnectors linking the Danish transmission grid and the transmission system in northern Germany: In the west between Jutland and the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, and the eastern connection between Bjæverskov on the Danish island of Zealand and Bentwisch in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The latter one, named KONTEK, is a 400kV DC earth and submarine cable connection with a total length of 170km and a transfer capacity of 600MW.

Two oil-leaking sockets have been detected in the German land cable section of KONTEK in mid-July. Preparations for repair works started immediately and the subsequent mendings will probably continue til September or October. Hence, the interconnector had to be switched off for several times, and further switch offs will be unavoidable. It is for this reason and to avoid capacity curtailments, that TSC member Energinet, the national Danish transmission system operator (TSO), announced that no capacity will be offered in the monthly auction for September 2017 between DE and DK-2.

> See press release (html)


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TSOs guarantee Danish-German minimum capacities


Last month, the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate and the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy declared their common will to improve crossborder-exchange between West Denmark and Germany. The electricity trade between the two countries had been significantly low in the last years due to grid congestions in Northern Germany. The main reason for this is the mismatch between the increasing share of renewables and the inadequate grid extension in Germany. Hence, the respective ministries agreed to increase the capacities of the binational interconnectors. The long-term objective is to reach full capacity as soon as the relevant infrastructure has been provided.

The two TSC members, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and the Dutch-German TSO Tennet are the executing players of the Danish-German governmental agreement. The TSOs have taken responsibility by entering into an agreement on capacities for both transmission directions. Starting 4 July 2017, and TenneT guarantee minimum available hourly capacities. Those are intended to increase constantly till they have reached the final value of 1,100MW by the year 2020.

> See TenneT press release (html)

Illustration based on Google Earth


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Increase of Danish-German cross-border capacity


The two TSC members, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and the Dutch-German TSO Tennet welcome a joint statement by the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and by the respective national regulatory authorities, the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), and Energitilsynet from Denmark on cross-border electricity cooperation.

The cooperation’s main objective is to gradually increase the minimum day-ahead capacity in both directions to 1,100MW by the year 2020. The capacity increase is set to reduce the impact of several extensive grid projects in Germany – which are necessary to meet the future European energy demand – on the transmission system in northern Germany. Since the North German transmission network is highly burdened by the high feed-in of regenerative energies, both TSOs have been striving for years to improve cross-border capacities both technically and operationally. Now and TenneT are working together on a timely implementation of the official regulatory standards.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in English (html; added on 16 June)

Picture: Edited detail from TenneT’s gridmap


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