Nordic Power Solutions Report

29.04.2020

The Nordic transmission system operator (TSOs) of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the Danish TSCNET customer Energinet have updated their 2018 report “Solutions for a changing Nordic power system”. The Solutions Report 2020 provides an overview of the joint Nordic TSO projects that have been identified as crucial to address the challenges in the Nordic energy system.

As in the rest of Europe, the Nordic power system is undergoing the most significant changes since the liberalisation of the electricity markets, and here, too, these changes are mainly based on a new power generation mix with volatile generation and distributed resources. The Power Solutions Report 2020 draws a common picture of the progress of the new solutions in the Nordic power system that respond to these changes. In addition to reporting on the projects, the report also features comments from stakeholders on the tasks and the challenges they still see in the Nordic power grid.

Energinet and the other Nordic TSOs have published their joint Nordic Power Solutions Report 2020 (picture: Bo Kamstrup, Pixabay)

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> See Energinet press release (html)
> Open Nordic Power Solutions Report (pdf, 10.62MB)

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Launch of the Equigy balancing platform

25.04.2020

To ensure the stability of the grid frequency, transmission system operators (TSOs) all over Europe respond to the increasingly volatile generation of energy from renewable sources and to the loss of reactive power from large power plants. The challenge of keeping production and consumption in balance does not stop at national borders, for which reason the TSCNET shareholders Swissgrid, the TSO from Switzerland, and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, are cooperating with the Italian TSO Terna in the crowd balancing platform Equigy. The platform is based on blockchain technology and the internet of things. It is conceived as digital link between the so-called TSO ancillary service markets and the market players that deliver balancing services. TSCNET customer Energinet, the Danish TSO, has formally expressed its intention to join the consortium, which would extend Equigy’s roll-out to Denmark.

With their cross-border cooperation, the consortium of Swissgrid, TenneT, and Terna wants to set a new electricity-balancing standard, improve the integration of renewables, and provide more flexibility to reduce the renewables’ random impact on the grid. As with previous, regionally limited balancing projects, Equigy aims to unlock flexibility by actively involving small and distributed consumer-based generation and consumption units in grid stabilisation. This involvement enables owners of small-scale assets to play a key role in the transformation of the energy sector by optimising their interaction with the grid. Since Equigy processes multiple small transactions, it requires a secure and scalable solution that ensures trust and transparency between all parties involved. The common vision of the participating TSOs is clear: Millions of households will stabilise the electricity grid in the future.

Open and free of charge
Equigy is based on block chain technology to execute transactions from millions of individual systems securely, cost-effectively, and transparently. This creates a single, immutable, and secure data source from which all parties can benefit. Precise rules and regulations allow consumers, businesses, and manufacturers to easily market the flexible capacity of electric vehicles, household batteries, and heat pumps in all participating countries, regardless of location, thereby simplifying access to the electricity market. At the same time, all local or regional flexibility platforms can be connected to the Equigy platform so that as much flexibility as possible can be bundled. This means: Equigy is not exclusive and can be integrated into existing grid stabilisation processes. The technology and software are open-source and provided free of charge to promote the development of secondary applications in the energy value chain. Equigy has now been successfully launched, and the pilot project to test the technology will run until the end of 2020.

In Switzerland, the project has attracted a lot of interest. Numerous partners have expressed an interest in participating. Yves Zumwald, CEO of Swissgrid, comments: “We are proud to be a founding partner of Equigy. It’s only natural that this ambitious initiative is being driven by TSOs. We are not subject to commercial constraints and are able to operate the new platform adopting a neutral position.” Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, can also be pleased to have various Equigy partners in Germany and the Netherlands. She emphasises the European dimension of the project: “Equigy originated from European cooperation. In a common European market, we will have to develop solutions together. We already have the same sockets. It would be a shame and unnecessarily expensive to develop different systems.”

Expansion to the north
The Danish TSO Energinet recognises the potential of Equigy and is highly interested in participating. The consortium behind Equigy appreciates this interest. Swissgrid, TenneT, Terna, and Energinet have thus signed a Letter of Intent in which the parties confirm their common interest in including Energinet in Equigy. Energinet will now examine the possibilities of becoming part of the cooperation. All partners aim to take a decision on Energinet’s accession before the end of this year. Søren Dupont Kristensen, CEO of Energinet Electricity System Operator, explains: “We are now investigating the potential of this platform in the context of the Danish energy system. Based on our findings, we will decide on joining the collaboration regarding the platform.”

The blockchain based crowd balancing platform Equigy has been launched by Swissgrid, TenneT, and Terna

Linkup
> See Energinet news release (html)
> See Swissgrid news release (html)
> See TenneT news release (html)
> Visit Equigy website (html)

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Corona cuts consumption

26.03.2020

Electricity consumption in Europe has fallen significantly because of the restrictions imposed by the corona crisis. In particular, the drastic reduction in industrial production is likely to have a significant impact. The London-based think tank Ember has calculated that demand in the entire EU has fallen by 2 to 7% in the last week compared to the previous week. The analysts at Ember used data on electricity demand provided by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), adjusted for the weather-related factor.

A survey of 22 individual countries shows that Italy, France, and Spain are the most affected countries. In these countries, the decline in demand was twice as strong as in other countries. In Italy, which is currently most afflicted by the corona pandemic, electricity consumption fell by 20% within two weeks. TSCNET shareholder APG, the transmission system operator (TSO) from Austria, also reports that consumption data in some specific Austrian grid areas are 10 to 20% below the previous year’s figures. The national average is 10%, which according to Gerhard Christiner, CTO of APG, reflects the pan-European development.

Like all European TSOs, APG is confronted with major challenges, but considers that it is well prepared for the crisis, both technically and in terms of personnel. Of course, each individual TSO has to adapt its operations and measures to the conditions under the pandemic. TSCNET customer Energinet, the Danish TSO, for instance, has introduced special guidelines to avoid physical contact on its construction sites. Notwithstanding that a functioning transmission system is essential for modern life at all times, Henrik Riis, CEO of Electricity Transmission at Energinet, calls it “an important social task to keep the wheels turning and do our part to support the Danish economy.” However, this task is performed with all due care: “We take the risk on spreading of infectious disease very seriously.”

While the specialists from the TSOs and from TSCNET Services are on duty around the clock, many shops and production sites in Europe have to remain closed due to the corona pandemic

Linkup
> See Ember research on reduced electricity demand (html)
> See APG news release, in German (html)
> See Energinet news release (html)

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COBRAcable proves to be a great success

06.03.2020

It is now half a year since TSCNET customer Energinet, the transmission system operator (TSO) from Denmark, and TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, made COBRAcable available to the market. The high-voltage DC cable with a length of about 325km and a capacity of 700MW is the first direct connection between the electricity markets of Denmark and the Netherlands. The basic idea behind COBRAcable is to compensate for the volatility of wind power. Consequently, the Netherlands imports electricity via the cable on days with large Danish wind power generation, while on days with little wind in Denmark the electricity is transported in the opposite direction.

This works perfectly, as the interconnector’s transmission data from the first six-month period prove: In total, Denmark has imported almost 700GWh via the COBRAcable and the Netherlands almost 1,400GWh. On average, COBRAcable was operated at full capacity 79% of the time during the last half year. The impressive traffic on this binational connection proves its adequacy through its operation. The new interconnector therefore substantially contributes to the energy transition by exchanging volatile renewable energy across borders and additionally creates a trading profit on the spot market for electricity – a multiple benefit for nature, society and the companies involved.

The transmission data from the COBRAcable of Energinet and TenneT confirm a high level of traffic on the line (picture: screenshot taken from Energinet-video “Constructing the green COBRAcable”, Vimeo)

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> See Energinet press release (html)

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Onshore converter for the Combined Grid Solution

31.01.2020

The Danish-German Combined Grid Solution (CGS) in the Baltic Sea is the world’s first offshore interconnector to use national grid connections of offshore wind farms to link the transmission systems of two countries. For this purpose, submarine cables were laid between the offshore transformer stations of the German wind farm Baltic 2 and the Kriegers Flak wind farm in the Danish part of the Baltic Sea. The CGS is a joint project of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and TSCNET customer Energinet, the TSO from Denmark.

The Bentwisch substation near the Baltic port city of Rostock houses the German onshore converters for the CGS. Here 50Hertz has installed a double converter system including a back-to-back converter. This is essential for balancing the asynchronous transmission systems of Germany and Eastern Denmark: The AC from the Nordic synchronous area is converted into DC and directly back into AC, now adapted to the European synchronous area.

50Hertz has now successively energised and commissioned all converter components in Bentwisch. The new equipment and further extensions of the substation had to be individually synchronised with the control technology in a series of individual testing and commissioning steps. The operational readiness of the double converter system in Bentwisch marks another important milestone on the way to the commissioning of the entire CGS.

The German onshore converter for the Danish-German offshore interconnector Combined Grid Solution has been commissioned by 50Hertz (picture: Jan Pauls / 50Hertz)

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> See 50Hertz project news (html)

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RSC Conference 2019: Rush to Copenhagen

08.10.2019

The weather turned out typically Nordic with quite stormy wind and some rain, but otherwise host Nordic RSC could be more than happy about a great success and a fruitful gathering of our industry – about 250 participants from all over Europe came to the third “RSC Conference” today in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. The event was staged by Nordic RSC at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located in the Copenhagen Towers, which also house the offices of the Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) of the power transmission system operators (TSOs) of Denmark (TSCNET shareholder Energinet), Finland (Fingrid), Norway (Statnett), and Sweden (Svenska Kraftnät).

One of the key sentences fell quite early: “Nobody knows the future, but it will be electric!” In the European energy system that is already interconnected and will become even more so in future, coordination of cross-border electricity flows is one of the most crucial tasks for TSOs. To a large extent, this task is performed by Europe’s RSCs, with Coreso (based in Brussels) and TSCNET Services (Munich) as pioneers from 2013 onwards. In 2015, SCC for south eastern Europe followed in Belgrade and in 2016, Baltic RSC as well as Nordic RSC were established.

A good idea becomes a tradition
The RSCs have been holding conferences on system security since 2017, co-organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). TSCNET hosted the first RSC conference entitled “ElSeC” (Electricity Security Coordination) in Munich and one year later Coreso invited to “Power Coordination Europe” in Brussels.

The motto of “RSC 2019” was “Act locally, coordinate regionally, think European”. The event resulted in a closing speech by the CEO of the Finnish TSO Fingrid, Jukka Ruusunen, discussing how RSCs support efficient markets that in turn support security of supply. This core discussion was complemented by other general panel discussions and also by parallel, partly interactive sessions to cover as many interesting and relevant topics as possible. The topics were, for instance, “The Green Transition: The reason for change and innovation in TSOs”, “Ensuring the right competences in an RSC perspective”, “Critical Grid Situation Communication”, “Regional adequacy forecasting” or “Balancing projects and reserve sizing”. The key speakers came from the industry, EU institutions, markets and civil society.

Thomas Egebo, CEO of TSCNET shareholder Energinet, the Danish TSO, welcomed the participants and illustrated the importance of the regions using the example of the Nordic region. The ENTSO-E strategy paper on “Enhanced TSO coordination for Europe” was presented by Joachim Vanzetta, Director System Control at the German TSO and TSCNET shareholder Amprion and Chair of the ENTSO-E Board. Eryk Kłossowski, CEO of the Polish TSO PSE, and Ben Voorhorst, COO of the Dutch-German TSO TenneT – both are TSCNET shareholders – participated together with colleagues from further TSOs in the general discussion: “TSO regional cooperation and establishment of RCCs – learning from best practices”. This discussion was moderated by Laurent Schmitt, the Secretary-General of ENTSO-E.

Increasingly complex with rapidly rising requirements
Maik Neubauer, one of the two Managing Directors of TSCNET Services, held a presentation on “RSC complexities and future challenges”, focusing on the intricacy of the challenges faced by RSCs in the continuous implementation of services, in RSC collaboration and in the adaptation and integration of requirements from the EU “Clean Energy for all Europeans Package” (CEP).

On the conference website, all speeches and discussions were broadcast via live stream. Soon all presentations will be available for download as well as numerous photos from the event. All good things come in threes, as the saying goes. The third edition of the RSC Conference was indeed great, but we are all the more looking forward to next year.

Around 250 participants attended this year’s RSC Conference on 8 October in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen

Linkup
> Visit RSC Conference 2019 webpage, with videos (html)
> See conference picture gallery (Flickr, html)

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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)

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

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Danish wind power generation exceeds demand

23.09.2019

Sunday, 15 September 2019, now is a historical date for the Danish electricity market. Within the 24 hours of that day and during the first strong autumn winds of the year, wind power generation covered 130 percent of national demand, thus exceeding it for the first time for an entire day. According to preliminary figures from TSCNET shareholder Energinet, the Danish power transmission system operator (TSO), Danish wind turbines generated between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. early Sunday morning an impressive 60 percent more electricity than the Danish market actually consumed.

For one thing, this beats the previous record of 9 June 2019 (52 percent above demand), but what is even more significant for the Danish energy transition is this being the first 24-hour period ever in which surplus wind energy has been generated during all day and night hours. This surplus wind energy was further transmitted by Energinet and sold to other countries.

Carsten Vittrup, Energy Strategy Adviser at Energinet, comments on these groundbreaking figures: “A mere ten years ago, wind accounted for only about one fifth of our supply. But things have developed extremely fast, meaning that we now see not just hours, but entire days of wind turbines generating more electricity than we need.”

Energinet reports record in national wind power generation (picture: Energinet)

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> See Energinet press release (html)

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COBRAcable market launch on 7 September

02.09.2019

After three years of construction, including the laying of the submarine cables as well as the construction of two onshore converter stations, and a successful test phase earlier this year, COBRAcable will be available for the electricity market as of the delivery day of 7 September, which is exactly on schedule. The first direct connection between the electricity markets of Denmark and the Netherlands was jointly realised and is operated by the two TSCNET shareholders Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO.

The high-voltage DC cable with a length of about 325km has a capacity of 700MW. The Netherlands can import more sustainable electricity from Denmark through COBRAcable, mainly wind energy. In addition, the cable provides Dutch capacity on a structural basis for the Danish electricity grid, thus ensuring security of supply in Denmark, which of course also works the other way round. Moreover, the cable connection is designed in such a way that an offshore wind farm can be connected at a later date, so that COBRAcable contributes to a sustainable European energy landscape.

The COBRAcable interconnector of Energinet and Tennet is available to the market from 7 September (picture: screenshot taken from TenneT-video “First pile COBRAcable”, YouTube)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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Nordic TSOs present new development plan

26.08.2019

The four Nordic transmission system operators (TSOs), which include the the Danish TSO and TSCNET shareholder Energinet, Fingrid from Finland, Statnett from Norway, and Svenska kraftnät from Sweden, have published the new edition of the biennial Nordic Grid Development Plan. The four TSOs will continue to intensify their cooperation work in the future and shape it even more comprehensively.

It is planned to significantly expand the transmission grid. The main reasons for this are increased volatility due to the massive increase in renewable electricity generation, the decommissioning of fossil fuel facilities, the growth in consumption from increasing electrification and new industries, aging equipment and the need for reinvestment in existing grid assets, and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Sweden. The capacity for the import and export of electricity between the Nordic states and continental Europe is also to be substantially increased with several interconnectors. At the same time, several measures are being developed to make electricity markets and grid operations more effective.

The four Nordic TSOs have published the biennial Nordic Grid Development Plan (picture: Fingrid)

Linkup
> Open Energinet press release (html)
> Open Nordic Grid Development Plan 2019 (pdf, 17.85MB)

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