Karall: “All-time high for Austrian power exports”

30.06.2020

An exceptionally good water supply and wind peaks combined with low consumption during the night hours were the preconditions for a record, which TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO), registered between 10:30 and 10:45pm on 15 June 2020: A total of 3,943MW of electricity flowed abroad via the APG transmission grid during this quarter of an hour, more than ever before in history. Also in a European perspective, this capacity of nearly 4,000MW is considerable, as it represents about half of the Austrian peak consumption during the summer or almost twice the generation capacity of all Austrian Danube power plants.

“This figure marks a historic peak. Even though it is only a snapshot, it shows how volatile and unpredictable the new world of electricity and energy is,” comments Thomas Karall, CFO of APG. Before an import or export can be processed via APG’s transmission infrastructure, a detailed analysis of the expected electricity flows is required. Often, renewable production plants in Europe (including Austria) must be throttled due to insufficient grid capacities. “This underlines the particular importance of grid expansion and development projects for the success of the energy transition – because every MWh produced from renewables that is not used is a terrible loss,” notes Karall.

The all-time high clearly indicates how sensitive electricity management has become. While in the past few days generation surpluses in Austria had to be partially curtailed, only a few weeks earlier high imports and the start-up of conventional power plants had been necessary due to low winds and low water levels in the hydropower plants. Thomas Karall expects this situation to remain the same for the near future: “In certain situations generation from renewables has to be curtailed or conventional thermal power stations have to be powered up. This will be necessary at least until we dispose of an appropriate grid infrastructure with sufficient capacity and an adequate storage infrastructure.”

On 15 June, APG recorded an all-time high in exports with almost 4,000MW of exported electricity (picture showing Thomas Karall: Karl Michalski / APG)

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> See APG press release (html)

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Amprion Market Report shows encouraging trends

27.05.2020

The intermeshed European electricity market today requires constructive cooperation between all actors and organisations. Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), considers the efficiency of cooperation at European level a key prerequisite for continental security of supply and the success of the energy transition. For this reason, the TSCNET shareholder was and is involved in numerous regional and European initiatives on system operation, network planning, and market integration. Also, Amprion is an observant analyser of the European market development, especially in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region and annually provides the Market Report for the CWE countries. The 2020 edition for the period 2015 to 2019 has just been released.

The Market Report is based on data from Flow-Based Market Coupling (FBMC) introduced by the six CWE countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium) in May 2015. By involving the entire regional network in the coupling of electricity markets, FBMC allows TSOs to allocate cross-border capacity and maximise market efficiency without jeopardising grid stability. The Amprion report clearly indicates the progress of the CWE market integration, especially with the following figures: In 2019, price convergence on the day-ahead markets increased by a further 10%, reaching 42%. In other words, in almost every second hour, day-ahead prices in the CWE have been equal because the TSOs succeeded in making sufficient power transmission capacity available to meet the demand of the entire region at the same prices.

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, CEO of Amprion, comments on the positive development: “The Market Report furnishes proof that trade barriers could be decreased during the course of 2019.” Dr Brick places particular emphasis on the efficient and highly interconnected power grids in the CWE region and their “key role in ensuring Europe’s stable and secure energy system”. As regards Amprion’s individual contribution, the TSO was able to further improve the efficiency of its grid and thus strengthen European electricity trading. Whereas in 2018 the share of all active trade constraints caused by Amprion internal elements was 13.7%, in 2019 it was only 7.8%. This is due not only to the ongoing grid expansion measures, but also to the monitoring of overhead lines, which allows more efficient utilisation of the most important power lines.

Amprion has published the Market Report 2020 for the CWE region (picture: Daniel Schumann / Amprion)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> Open Amprion market report (pdf, 6.97MB)
> Open Amprion market report summary, in German (pdf, 524.8kB)

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New EU Electricity Regulation in place

17.01.2020

With the beginning of 2020, the recast of the European Electricity Regulation on the internal market for electricity (EU/2019/943) came into force. The regulation is important for the new electricity market design, which was adopted as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package” and aims at realising the European Energy Union with common market rules and an efficient and high-performing cross-border infrastructure.

The regulation sets out the basic principles for an efficient electricity market and should allow for improved integration of national markets. It should also create greater capacity for cross-border trade, thereby providing better access to renewable energy. As far as the business of transmission system operators (TSOs) is concerned, rules for better coordination and closer transnational cooperation are the core of the regulatory framework. Furthermore, the functions and tasks of the regional service coordinators (RSCs) are clearly specified.

Already on 10 January the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT and TransnetBW had submitted their draft scenario framework for the 2035 (2021) Network Development Plan (NEP) to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). With this, they want to “contribute to the success of the energy turnaround and the achievement of the climate protection goals”.

The revised European Electricity Regulation on the internal market for electricity entered into force on 1 January 2020 (picture: European Commission / Etienne Ansotte)

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> See press release of the European Commission (html)
> See Netzentwicklungsplan webpage, in German (html)
> Visit EUR-Lex site (html) for the full text of the Regulation in various languages and formats.

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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)

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

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Swissgrid adjusts export capacities to Germany

03.09.2019

All participants in the integrated European electricity market have agreed on common definitions of the transmission capacity for international electricity exchanges, including the Net Transfer Capacity (NTC). The NTC is an important basis to anticipate and plan cross-border transactions. Thus, the establishment of NTCs is one of the essential tasks of the transmission system operators (TSOs) to enable market participants to carry out energy trading without jeopardising grid stability. TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss TSO, along with the neighbouring TSOs, determines the NTC values on all four Swiss borders on an annual, monthly and daily basis.

In the summer of 2019, Swissgrid had to reduce the NTC on the national northern border to Germany to ensure reliable grid operation. Originally, a static NTC value of 4,000 MW for exports from Switzerland to Germany had been defined with the neighbouring German TSOs. However, the load flows between the two countries have changed in the last two years. Situations in which Germany is dependent on imports, especially from Switzerland, occurred increasingly in the summer months. As a result, the previously typical north-south flow towards Italy reversed to a south-north flow towards Germany.

Other simultaneous factors also affected the Swiss grid load, such as the high level of Swiss hydropower production, the inspection times of the Swiss nuclear power plants and the seasonal decommissioning and construction work on the grid. In combination with the growth in exports to Germany, this led to significantly higher load flows in the Swiss 220kV grid, which were additionally reinforced by increased export opportunities from France to Germany through Flow-Based Market Coupling (FMBC) in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region and transit through Switzerland.

In fact, exports of up to 8,000MW were recorded on several days this summer. For this reason, Swissgrid, together with its neighbouring TSOs, has limited the NTC values for a secure grid operation. Swissgrid continues to cooperate closely with these TSOs to optimise cross-border capacity. The current static value of 4,000MW is expected to be substituted by seasonally adjusted dynamic NTC values. However, due to the implementation of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package” (CEP) of the European Commission, it is not yet possible to predict exactly how the NTC values at Switzerland’s northern border will develop.

Swissgrid adjusts the NTC values for electricity flows at the Swiss-German border

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> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Amprion presents CWE market report

03.06.2019

Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), has published its market report for the period 2015 to 2018. In this comprehensive document, the TSCNET shareholder investigates the development of the electricity market in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region using data from Flow-Based Market Coupling (FBMC). The CWE countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) implemented FBMC in May 2015, which allows TSOs to allocate cross-border capacity and maximise market efficiency without compromising grid stability. This is due to the inclusion of the entire regional network in the coupling of electricity markets.

The control area of Amprion is a central hub for cross-border electricity trading in the CWE region. With its transmission capacities, the TSO can export up to eight GW of electricity at peak times and thus generate more than half of Germany’s total export performance. Transmission via the Amprion grid thus also supports security of supply in neighbouring countries, especially in critical situations such as winter 2016/2017.

Amprion’s analysis shows that the integration of the CWE markets is already well advanced and continues to progress. At the same time, the growing difference between positive and negative price peaks on the electricity exchanges also highlights the challenge of the highly volatile supply of renewable energies. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, Chief Commercial Officer and CFO of Amprion, comments: “The mutual dependency in Europe on system security will continue to rise. We are therefore doing everything physically possible to connect the national markets and networks even better.”

Amprion has published a comprehensive market report for the CWE region

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> See Amprion press release (html)
> Open Amprion market report (pdf, 3,43MB)

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“The backbone of cross-border trading” at Euroforum Conference

08.12.2018

Euroforum is a prestigious German promoter of first-class conferences, seminars and meetings and a subsidiary of the Handelsblatt Media Group, which publishes the leading German-language business newspaper. The Euroforum events bring together experts from business, science and politics and create forums for the transfer of knowledge and the exchange of opinions. This year’s Euroforum conference on 6 and 7 December in Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, was dedicated to the topic of “Intraday trading in the electricity sector – digitisation and automation as growth drivers”.

TSCNET Services as one of the five European Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) – with fifteen transmission system operators (TSOs) from eleven central and eastern European countries as shareholders – can offer significant contributions on this area, which is why Maik Neubauer, one of the two Managing Directors of the Munich-based company, gladly accepted the invitation of Euroforum to speak at the conference. Mr. Neubauer, who acted in the past also as Board Member of the European Energy Exchange EEX where he already was part of a task force to work on a concept for a pan-European Intraday Trading system, presented the work of the European RSCs to an audience of experts. He stated that the work of the RSCs – largely unnoticed by the general public – is important to ensure a stable transmission network for their TSO shareholders with regional risk analyses. “Without the 24/7 work of the European TSOs and the RSCs to keep the European grid stable there wouldn’t be a sustainable basis for an efficient energy market on the continent,” Neubauer said.

In the conference many discussions had been around the development of the new European Intraday Trading System XBID that helps traders, generators, but also TSOs, to balance out the grids within the day of delivery.

Maik Neubauer presented the transmission grid as backbone of cross-border trading at Euroforum Conference in Düsseldorf, Germany

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> Visit Euroforum Conference website, in German (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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Excellent review for FutureFlow

22.09.2017

The EU funded FutureFlow project has been going on for quite some time, which is why the European Commission audited the progress and the achievements made so far. FutureFlow explores innovative methods of cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European transmission system operators (TSOs). The project is coordinated by TSC member ELES, the Slovenian TSO. Two other TSC members – the Austrian TSO APG and MAVIR from Hungary – are also part of the consortium.

The FutureFlow presentation focussed on the design of the future secondary regulation market, platform development, and possibilities of involving final consumers. Sebastien Mortier, Research Programme Manager at the European Commission, expressed his satisfaction with the results, and commended the consortium as a whole as well as the project coordination.

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

Picture: ELES

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KONTEK interconnector under repair

18.08.2017

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 Energinet.dk press release (html)

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