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.

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> 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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50Hertz PSTs in regular operation

18.01.2018

The transmission systems of the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), ČEPS, the Czech TSO, and PSE from Poland are interconnected in the tri-border region of Germany, Poland, and Czechia. To better control the cross-border electricity flows and to increase cross-border capacities, not only close cooperation between these TSOs is an absolute requirement, but also the appropriate technical features. For this reason, all three TSOs started to equip substations near the border with phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) a few years ago.

After a successful three-month trial, 50Hertz put two PSTs at its Röhrsdorf substation in Saxony into regular operation, additionally improving the control of electricity flows between Czechia and Germany. The two 50Hertz PSTs complement their northern Bohemian counterparts in Hradec u Kadaně operated by ČEPS. Further reconstructions in Röhrsdorf are still to follow, before the PSTs can also be switched into the directions of Dresden, Streumen, and Remptendorf. In an expected two years, the PSTs will thus also stabilise the transmission in the southern control area of 50Hertz and make the grid more effective.

> See 50Hertz press release (html)

Picture: 50Hertz

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50Hertz PST in test operation

12.10.2017

The transmission systems in the tri-border region of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic are constant subject to increasing strain, mainly due to the growing feed-in of wind energy in the control area of TSC member 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). At peak times, electricity from renewable sources had to find its way to the German state of Bavaria via Poland and Czechia. In order to better control these cross-border flows, 50Hertz and the fellow TSC members ČEPS, the Czech TSO, and PSE from Poland have aggred to foster their cooperation by means of deploying phase-shifting transformers (PSTs).

After less than two years of preparatory and construction works at the Röhrsdorf substation near Chemnitz in Saxony and close to the Czech border, 50Hertz now has entered into the final phase of the PST-installation. The last of the two PSTs had arrived in Röhrsdorf only in April 2017, and “on 9 October we put the first transformer into test operation – the second transformer will follow in November”, explains Thomas Karger, Project Manager Substations at 50Hertz. The two Röhrsdorf PSTs complement their counterparts at the northern Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně, which have been fully commissioned by ČEPS in September.

> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)

Picture: 50Hertz

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Modernisation and stable operation in Czechia

17.09.2017

A significant and future-oriented project, which TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), has long been advancing with great vigour, is finally complete: All four phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) with phase angle regulation at the Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně are now in full operation and regulate the electricity flows of two 400kV interconnectors between the Czech Republic and the eastern part of Germany. Not only do the PSTs contribute to grid stability in Czechia and beyond, but they also help to prevent expensive remedial measures.

This is the prominent feature of the ČEPS report on the second quarter of 2017, which also provides otherwise with good news, such as a profit before tax of CZK 1.5bn (about €57.5m). That is an increase of nearly CZK 275m (about €10.5m) compared to last year’s corresponding period. The ambitiuos grid investment programme of the Czech TSO can nothing but benefit from this gratifying development. The reconstruction of a gas-insulated section of the Chodov substation in Prague, the country’s capital and largest city, or the construction of a new transformer station in Vernéřov in the region of Ústí nad Labem are only two of several projects in order to maintain system security and increase transmission capacities.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: ČEPS

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Grand visit at ČEPS

29.07.2017

The management of TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), was honoured to welcome high ranking visitors in its headquarters in the Czech capital of Prague. Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and Jiří Havlíček, the Minister of Industry and Trade, obtained information on the operation of the national transmission system directly in the TSO’s main dispatcher’s hall.

The emergency availability of critical infrastructure was the visitors’ prime interest. Since a hassle-free grid operation is mandatory for the functioning of the whole society, nearly two hundred elements of the transmission system belong to the national critical infrastructure, some of which are also part of the European critical infrastructure. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, commented: “We are sharing real-time information with TSOs in neighboring countries as well as distributors, so that our systems are consistent and robust.”

In the ensuing discussion of the government members with the ČEPS representatives, also questions of regulation were addressed. Prime Minister Sobotka and Minister Havlíček assured to provide the regulatory framework for the development of the transmission system and to allow the fulfillment of the ČEPS investment plan.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: ČEPS

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PSTs stabilise the Czech grid

31.05.2017

The first quarter of 2017 was noteworthy for TSC member ČEPS: The Czech transmission system operator (TSO) put two technically advanced phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) with phase angle regulation into operation in mid-January. Since then, the PSTs have been regulating electricity flows from the eastern part of Germany, thus contributing not only to the stability of the national transmission system, but also preventing the Czech TSO from performing expensive remedial measures.

Consequently, ČEPS was able to save up tens of millions of Czech korunas (CZK). The TSO increased its profit before tax by CZK 235m (about €8.9m) compared to the first quarter of last year and achieved an overall profit of CZK 948m (about €35.9m). In March 2017, the last of altogether four PSTs arrived at the Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně, and all of them are expected to be in full operation by the end of June. Then, ČEPS will be able to transfer the maximum amount of electricity through its transmission system without compromising on the Czech supply security. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, explains that the regulatory parameters of the PSTs will be set up in coordination with foreign partners at the pre-launch phase. Prime objective is to ensure “the operational reliability of electricity networks throughout the region”.

In the first quarterly period of 2017, a total of 16,933 GWh of electric energy was transferred through the national transmission system. ČEPS can also report a historic high load on the power system: On 24 January, the load was going up to 11,769MW, thereby topping the previous record load from February 2012. “The new historical maximum was reached due to a very cold weather”, comments Miroslav Šula, Head of the System Operation Management section of ČEPS. The construction of the new 420kV Vernéřov substation near Kadaň in the region of Ústí nad Labem is also worth mentioning. Since investing into the Czech grid extension also means contributing to the transnational power system on a pan-European level, ČEPS benefited from EU grants of more than €4m for Projects of Common Interest (PCI). The ČEPS investement plan thus respects the TSO’s national responsibilities and also the “fulfillment of European objectives with regard to the safety of the whole interconnected system”, concludes Jan Kalina.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: ČEPS

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Satisfying year for ČEPS

11.04.2017

TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), has every reason to be content with the business year 2016. With a profit of CZK2.072bn (about €78m) before taxes, the company achieved an increase of CZK56m (about €2.1m) in comparison to 2015. As in previous years, ČEPS has continued its engagement in developing the Czech transmission system also in 2016 and spent about CZK4.7bn (about €176.8) on infrastructural measures. As far as the core TSO business is concerned, ČEPS transferred a total of 62,914GWh of electric energy through the national transmission system in 2016.

Last year’s profit increase is mainly due to reduced costs for redispatch measures. Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, is “satisfied with the results”, and explains that ČEPS “anticipated more significant expenses associated with international redispatching, however, this scenario did not occur”. The new phase-shifting transformers in the northern Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně – partially delivered in 2016 and expected to be in full operation by the end of June 2017 – will be additionally helpful in this matter since they are capable of limiting power overflows in the Czech transmission system. Another significant contribution to the grid extension in the Czech Republic is the completion of the new 440kV line from Krasíkov to Horní Životice linking the Olomouc to the Moravian-Silesian region.

In order to support financing the infrastructural investments, ČEPS issued bonds with a total face value of CZK500m (about €19m). The bond issue which is quoted on the Regulated Market of the Prague Stock Exchange is part of the TSOs long-term strategy, comments Jan Kalina.

> See ČEPS press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from video “Výstavba zdvojeného vedení V410/419” (ČEPS, YouTube)

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The last of four PSTs arrived in Czechia

13.03.2017

For the Bohemian substation in Hradec u Kadaně, a set of altogether four high performing phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) was ordered by Czech transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member ČEPS. The PSTs are intended for establishing two new interconnectors between the Czech transmission grid and the transmission system in the eastern part of Germany operated by further TSC member 50Hertz. Three of the PSTs reached Czechia in June 2016, but unfortunately the delivery of the fourth was delayed due to not passing the ČEPS acceptance tests. Now it finally has arrived in Hradec u Kadaně, and ČEPS expects all four of the PSTs to be in full operation by the end of June.

Two of the technically advanced PSTs with phase angle regulation have already been commissioned in January 2017, regulating the electricity flow on the first interconnector ever since. “The partial commissioning helped minimise the use of expensive emergency corrective measures,” explains Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors. The PSTs allow ČEPS to transfer the maximum amount of electricity without compromising on the supply security. In combination with similar devices on the other side of the Czech-German and at the Polish-German border, the PSTs will ensure the stability of the transmission grid and of transit electricity flows in East-Central Europe.

The total investment costs for the PSTs including all the necessary supplementary measures amount to a maximum of CZK 2bn (about €74m). Jan Kalina comments on this considerable large investment: “The costs for the construction of these transformers are high, but a possible widespread power failure in the transmission system would cause far greater damage.”

> See ČEPS press release (html)

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