ČEPS innovation projects

12.06.2019

As European transmission system operators (TSOs), the TSCNET shareholders must adapt to the changing energy landscape and find solutions for a successful sustainable energy future. The Czech TSO ČEPS is no exception to this rule and is actively involved in several innovation projects to respond to changes in the energy industry and to ensure the reliable operation of the Czech power system, as it was now pointed out by Karel Vinkler, director of the Innovation and R&D section of ČEPS. These projects include SecureFlex, MAFRI, Dflex, and BAART, which all are part of the national THÉTA program of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic to support research in the energy sector.

With the SecureFlex project, ČEPS recognises power flexibility as one of the most important grid stabilisation tools of the future. SecureFlex focuses on developing analysis, calculation and optimisation tools as well as targeted studies that contribute to the secure use of power flexibility in the context of new technologies and market themes. The MAFRI project (Mid-term Adequacy Forecast – Regional Indicators) aims to identify new reliability criteria for the production-capacity-adequacy evaluation. The outcomes of the project can contribute to future decisions on infrastructure investments and restorations.

In the Dflex project, the feasibility of active participation of smaller power sources will be investigated to provide flexibility for the operation and control of the power system. Through aggregation and active decentralised control systems, these energy sources will then be used to stabilise the system. Finally, the BAART project is concerned with the gradual development of the BSAE technology (Battery System Accumulation of Energy) and its potential regarding power balancing. The main purpose of this project, in which a 4 MW battery in the Tušimice power plant is being used, is the development, adaptation and modification of BSAE power balance services and their practical verification.

“ČEPS has been active in the field of innovation, research and development for a long time. The need to innovate comes naturally from the fundamental changes of the present power industry environment,” comments Vinkler.

ČEPS is conducting several innovation projects to respond to changes in the energy industry (picture shows the Czech capital Prague, where the TSO has its headquarters)

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> See ČEPS press release (html)

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High-Level Market Design finalised

11.06.2019

It was only at the end of 2018 that the national regulatory authorities of Austria, Germany, Poland and the so-called 4MMC countries (Czechia, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia) requested the initiation of the interim project for an NTC-based market coupling (“Net Transfer Capacities”) between these countries. The parties involved in the DE-AT-PL-4MMC (“Interim Coupling”) project have completed the High-Level Market Design to be implemented and the national regulatory authorities have confirmed their support for the continuation of the project. This involves a total of eight TSOs that are shareholders and customers of TSCNET Services: 50Hertz (Germany), APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), MAVIR (Hungary), PSE (Poland), SEPS (Slovakia), TenneT (Germany), and Transelectrica (Romania).

The project aims to couple 4MMC and Poland as well as Multi-Regional Coupling (MRC) through the introduction of NTC-based implicit allocation on six borders (PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, HU-AT) and the implementation of a Single Day Ahead Coupling (SDAC). The project envisages a step-by-step transition at the above-mentioned boundaries from the current NTC-based explicit allocation to the flow-based implicit allocation to be implemented in the framework of the CoreFlow-Based Market Coupling Projectas target solution required by regulation. The Interim Coupling significantly contributes to the regional market integration and brings benefits to the market. The current planning envisages the go-live of the interim coupling for the second quarter of 2020.

The parties involved in the DE-AT-PL-4MMC project have completed the High-Level Market Design

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> Open joint press release (pdf, 331kb)

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ČEPS and SEPS to participate in IPDE

05.06.2019

The International Phasor Data Exchange (IPDE) platform is a multinational project to facilitate and optimise the exchange of operational data within the European interconnected transmission system. More specifically, these data derive from time-synchronous voltage, current phasor and frequency measurements which are collected and used in Wide Area Monitoring Systems (WAMS). IPDE is now making significant progress as the two TSCNET shareholder ČEPS and SEPS, the Czech and Slovak transmission system operators (TSO) respectively, have signed an agreement on participating in the platform.

Martin Durčák, Chair of the Board of Directors of ČEPS, comments that the “participation in the platform is another of our continual steps in the introduction of technological innovations and shift towards a digitally managed and controlled grid”. Miroslav Obert, CEO of SEPS, complements: “The project we are undertaking in collaboration with our Czech partners ensures method simplification and uniformity of phasor data exchanges between individual TSOs.”

ČEPS and SEPS have signed an agreement to participate in the IPDE Data Exchange platform

Linkup
> See ČEPS press release (html)
> See SEPS press release, in Slovak (html)

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New hires: Heroic rendezvous in Service Operations

10.05.2019

It sounds like a brilliant mastermind with exceptional electromagnetic abilities in a superhero movie, but with a little goodwill you could say that he now works for TSCNET Services: Dr. Power (he usually prefers not to use any titles at all – also because they tend to be longer than his name, as he admits with a twinkle in his eye). We are talking about Martin Zak from Czechia, who hired as Junior Operations Manager in the Business Unit Service Operations. The 27-year-old has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and emergency medicine (and yes, he knows how strange this combination is). He comes from the other side of the desk and has worked as a control centre operator for our customer and shareholder ČEPS in Prague. So the die-hard board game fan has already known many of his new colleagues, and he is also very familiar with the topics of network security and operating principles.

Another new member of the Service Operations team is Jorge Alves. The 33-year-old Portuguese with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a major in Power Systems from the University of Porto previously worked as a High Voltage Network Operator at EDP Distribuição. His wife went to Germany for her doctorate as a biologist. When their son was born, Jorge followed his wife to the north and applied as Operations Manager to TSCNET. His greatest hobby is surfing, and even though the waves there are considerably smaller than on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, he is already eager for the famous river surfing on Munich’s Eisbach. On the one hand, this certainly helps as balance to office work, but on the other it seems to awaken the fighting spirit – Jorge’s superhero counterpart, the famous Silver Surfer, was known for that: “Others may battle with victory in sight – but the Surfer still strives when all hope is gone!”

The third newcomer in the group is Jonas Häusler, a 25-year-old Franconian from Erlangen near Nuremberg with a master’s degree in mathematics and power grid optimisation as his thesis topic. He starts as Junior Operations Manager and wants to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible and complement the team in the further “evolution of the European power system” with his special perspective of a strictly abstract and analytically thinking mathematician. But he has even more knowledge and experience to offer, and that falls under a term that best suits the world of superheroes: Jonas is a true Master of Disaster! As part of his many years of voluntary work for a German aid organisation, he has also worked as an instructor for disaster control units. Although TSCNET and our customers want to avoid catastrophes by all means his expertise is also extremely valuable – professionals agree that there is hardly anything as helpful in avoiding crises as the experience from crises that have already been mastered.

We wish all three new members of the team such a good start in our company, that all possible superhero forces can be fully channelled into the European power grid!

Fresh engagements for Service Operations (from the left): Martin Zak, Jorge Alves, and Jonas Häusler (picture: TSCNET Services)

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ČEPS: Solid finances and major investments

15.04.2019

The high revenues from cross-border capacity auctions and the higher than expected earnings from system services and transit flows were the main contributors to the successful business year 2018 of TSCNET shareholder ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO). The company’s profit of CZK3.307bn (about €129m) before tax represents an increase of 14% in comparison to 2017. The total amount of energy transmitted through the Czech high-voltage grid has risen to 65,825 GWh, with a peak load of 11.964MW in February 2018.

ČEPS has also maintained its high level of investment: The TSO expended more than CZK3.8bn (about €148m) in the further development and modernisation of its transmission system. The most important ongoing investment projects include European Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) like the new 400kV double circuit line from Kočín in southern Bohemia to the Mírovka substation near Havlíčkův Brod in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, or the interconnections between the 420kV substations at Vernéřov (Karlovy Vary Region), Vítkov (Moravian-Silesian Region), and Přeštice (Plzeň Region).

Also worth mentioning are the modernisation and expansion of the Kočín substation, which is an important node of the transmission network and due to be completed in 2023, the start of construction for the modernisation of the Horní Životice substation in the Moravian-Silesian region and finish of upgrading the gas-insulated, metal-enclosed Chodow substation in Prague. These and other projects are part of the TSO’s long-term investment programme, the implementation of which is made possible by ČEPS’s stable financial position, strict cost control and good financial performance.

ČEPS reports on the successful business year (edited picture of construction work at Vítkov substation by Lubor Ferenc, Creative Commons, Wikimedia)

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> See ČEPS press release (html)

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Martin Durčák elected as new ČEPS Chairman

21.01.2019

Ing. Martin Durčák has been a member of the Board of Directors at TSCNET shareholder ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), since November 2018, where he was responsible for Economics as well as Information and Communications Technology. Last week, Mr Durčák was elected Chairman of the Board. “I really appreciate the Board of Directors’ trust and the opportunity to preside over a company with such strategic importance to the flawless functioning of the whole country’s economy,” comments Mr Durčák on his election.

Martin Durčák started his career in controlling and project management at Aral in Austria, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. As CEO of Aral he joined the UNIPETROL holding company after the takeover of Aral. Durčák belonged to the Board of Directors of the parent company of the UNIPETROL Group before joining ČEPS. He was also executive manager of UNIPETROL RPA.

Prague-based ČEPS has elected Martin Durčák as new Chairman of the Board of Directors

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> See ČEPS press release (html)

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Remarkable ČEPS half-year report

17.09.2018

Jan Kalina, Chairman of the Board of Directors at TSCNET shareholder ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), refers to the essentials of the TSO business by stating: “In the first half of this year, ČEPS fulfilled its mission and ensured secure and reliable national and cross-border power transmission.” Besides that, also the financial figures are most satisfactory with a profit of CZK2.15bn (about €84.4m) before tax and total revenues at CZK 10.36bn (about €407m). This positive performance is accompanied by the company’s improved Moody’s rating of A1.

In 2018, ČEPS continues to implement its extensive investment program based on a ten-year investment plan. In the first half of the year, investments already reached CZK923.1m (about €36.22m). The capex plan actively responds to changes in the energy sector at national and international level. It reflects the potential of the latest trends such as electromobility, renewable energies and battery systems, while maintaining the necessary parameters for a reliable and safe operation of the Czech transmission system.

Among the most important infrastructure projects carried out or to be carried out this year are the comprehensive reconstruction of the substations Čechy Střed (Bohemian Centre) and Otrokovice, as well as the extension and modernisation of the substation Kočín. The gas-insulated section of the Chodov substation is also under reconstruction, which will significantly improve the reliability of power supplies to the Czech capital of Prague.

The Czech TSO ČEPS reports positive results for the first half of the business year 2018

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> See ČEPS press release (html)

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Phase-shifting transformers stand the test

29.08.2018

In Röhrsdorf in Saxony, Germany, the international conference “Controlling load flows. Strengthening European electricity trading”, organised by the German power transmission system operator (TSO) 50Hertz, a shareholder of TSCNET Services, brought together more than 40 experts to discuss the first experiences with the coordinated use of so-called phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) in Poland, Czechia and Germany. The PSTs put into operation in the past two years allow load flows in the alternating current grid to be better controlled, even between neighbouring countries. In the past, in connection with the German energy transition and electricity trading to southern Europe, there had been an increase in “unplanned loop flows” via Poland and Czechia, some of which had led to a high load on their grids and which practically brought cross-border electricity trade to a standstill.

The coordinated use of PSTs with the Czech TSO ČEPS and the Polish TSO PSE enabled a significant reduction in “unplanned loop flows”, said Dr. Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz. “This is a very pleasing development, because it has relieved the load on the networks of our Polish and Czech neighbours and we can also provide more capacity at the border coupling points for European electricity trading in the future,” explains Biermann. Load flow control with PSTs had very positive effects on the efficient use of the existing power grid. This will be even more important in the future in order to successfully advance the energy transition with an ever increasing share of renewable energies while maintaining a high system stability.

TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, ČEPS, and PSE draw a positive interim balance on the use of phase-shifting transformers (illustration using pictures of 50Hertz / Jan Pauls and www.siemens.com/press)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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TSCNET Services welcomes SEPS as shareholder

11.06.2018

TSCNET Services is the result of an initiative of European transmission system operators (TSOs), and to this day our company is characterised by a particularly close relationship with our customers, most of whom are also our shareholders. Today we can proudly welcome the Slovak TSO, SEPS (Slovenská elektrizačná prenosová sústava, a. s.), as the new, 14th shareholder. To mark this occasion, we have published a press release on SEPS’ participation as a shareholder.

The Slovak transmission grid consists of 2.138 km of 400 kV lines, 826 km of 220 kV lines and from historical reasons also 80 km of 110 kV lines and is connected with four neighboring countries: Czechia, Poland, Hungary and Ukraine – Burshtyn island. With the exception of the Ukraine, all neighboring TSOs are shareholders and customers of TSCNET. SEPS is solely responsible for electricity transmission throughout the country.

“A quick glance at the map is enough to see that with SEPS’ entry we are now completing the electricity security coordination in the central-eastern part of the continental transmission system” says Uwe Zimmermann, one of the two Managing Directors of TSCNET. “This move will further foster the security of supply in this region and underpins our ambition to further improve the already high quality of our security coordination services.” As a shareholder with full voting rights, SEPS can now also actively contribute to steering and developing the service company.

View of the Slovak capital Bratislava as seen from the Danube. In the background the famous castle. Picture: Džoko Stach, Pixabay.

Linkup
> Open TSCNET Services press release (pdf, 119kb)

Questions?
Press contact: Christoph Meinersmann
E-mail: c.meinersmann@extern-tscnet.eu

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Grid modernisation and profit increase in Czechia

23.04.2018

High revenues from cross-border capacity auctions and system services, sustainable business practices, and well-considered investments in the Czech transmission system belong to the mainstays of a very succesful business year 2017 for TSCNET shareholder ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO). The profit of CZK2.897bn (about €114m) before tax represents an increase of CZK824.6m (about €32.5m) in comparison to 2016. As in previous years, ČEPS continued to diligently maintain and expand the national grid in 2017 and spent more than CZK3.5bn (about €138m) on the transmission infrastructure. At the same time, ČEPS transferred a total of 63,372GWh of electricity through the Czech transmission system, which reached a peak load of 11.769MW on 24 January.

The most important milestone in grid modernisation was the installation of four new phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) in the northern Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně, which have been in full operation since September 2017. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, comments on the state-of-the-art PSTs: “These special transformers allow transferring maximum amounts of electricity without threatening the reliability of supplies in the Czech Republic and as such they significantly protect the Czech electricity system against dangerous electricity flows from abroad.” Other major projects completed in 2017 include the reconstruction of the Čechy Střed transformer station in the Central Bohemian Region and the construction of a new 400/110kV transformer station at Vernéřov in the region of Ústí nad Labem.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from video “PST transformátory v rozvodně Hradec u Kadaně z pohledu dronů” (ČEPS, YouTube)

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