TSOs release data under open license

03.02.2019

The European power transmission system operators (TSOs), represented by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE), have agreed on a new data policy for the reuse of TSO owned data. This new policy implies that the TSOs release their data on ENTSO-E’s Transparency Platform under an open data licence.

This allows TSO data to be easily reused for new services, research and applications, such as the “Wind Europe Map” and “Tomorrow’s Electricity Map” – just two examples of how the open TSO data can be used to better inform citizens about energy transition and to develop new services and transparency in general. The TSOs and ENTSO-E thus demonstrate their commitment to providing sound and reusable facts and figures to energy market players and the public.

The European TSOs have agreed to release their data on ENTSO-Es Transparency Platform under an open license

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> Open example file
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E’s Transparency Platform (html)

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TSO-DSO platform for congestion management

30.01.2019

Grid operators in the Netherlands and throughout Europe are working intensively on expanding grid capacity, which is urgently needed in the wake of energy transition and economic growth. However, this cannot be achieved in the short term, but the use of flexible electricity from the market can help to avoid anticipated grid congestions. GOPACS (“Grid Operators Platform for Congestion Solutions”) is the name of a new technological tool developed in the Netherlands for this purpose. It is the result of a unique, active collaboration between four Dutch distribution system operators (DSOs) and TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO).

GOPACS is not a market platform in its own right but uses orders on existing market platforms. And this is how it works: If congestion is foreseeable at some part of the grid, operators would like to see, for example, a reduction in production or an increase in consumption. Via GOPACS, an invitation to tender is sent to market participants concerned, who place an appropriate purchase order on a connected market platform. To avoid negative impacts on the balance of the national grid, the reduction of generation in the congestion area is combined with a contrary order from a market party outside this area. The price difference between the two orders is covered by the operators, the two orders are matched, and congestion is resolved.

The Dutch grid operators are currently looking for market players who want to participate and use their flexibility productively. Participation in GOPACS is interesting for any market party with the possibility to influence electricity consumption or generation and to provide this flexibility for trading.

Together with Dutch DSOs, TenneT has launched GOPACS, a smart platform for market players to solve grid congestions

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit COPACS website (html)

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TenneT performs blockchain pilots successfully

29.01.2019

The energy transition demands digital transition – the number of renewable sources is increasing, while in the future there will be less and less conventional plants available to ensure the required flexibility and stability in the grid for which the transmission system operators (TSOs) are responsible. As such, the Dutch-German TSCNET shareholder TenneT is constantly seeking new decentralised sources that can replace lost flexibility. In addition to wind and solar energy, these can include batteries, industrial plants or cogeneration. This is where digitisation comes in, because only through so-called “aggregator” and block chain technology the capacity and potential of all these sources can be combined and fully utilised.

TenneT has launched two pilot projects last year, one in the Netherlands and one in Germany, both employing blockchain technology. In the first case, e-vehicles and in the second case household batteries were used to balance the grid and avoid congestions. The blockchain application is an IBM development and the Dutch green electricity supplier Vandebron is the cooperation partner in the Netherlands. Vandebron provides battery capacity from e-car charging sessions at TenneT’s request. In this way, the TSO can draw on an additional electricity pool. In Germany, TenneT collaborates with Sonnen E-services, a company specialising in home energy storage systems. Decentralised household batteries from Sonnen are integrated into the TenneT network via a blockchain and interconnected. Through the smart use of these batteries, Sonnen contributes to facilitating power transmission in Germany.

Since both blockchain tests were successful, TenneT and IBM have signed a contract for the further development of blockchain technology. The companies will intensify the implementation so that many more parties can gain access to the electricity market. Three new partners have already been won as additional “aggregators” to ensure improved matching of electricity supply and demand. TenneT CEO Manon van Beek explains that the TSO offers not only “a new way of integrating decentralised sources”, but also “private individuals a good opportunity to participate actively in the energy transition, making the energy transition more affordable together”.

TenneT has successfully conducted two blockchain research pilot projects (picture: Sonnen GmbH)

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EU supports research on power system interfaces

17.01.2019

After implementing the network codes and the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, the European Commission is now funding INTERRFACE under the Horizon 2020 programme. The aim of this research project is to create new connections/interfaces in the power system. INTERRFACE has now been launched and will run for three years with a budget of €21m. It involves 42 partners from grid and market operators, aggregators, service and technology providers as well as universities.

The consortium includes the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE) and the two TSCNET shareholders ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO), and Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania. Together with their partners, they plan to develop an Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture to serve as an interface between customers and power system operators – TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) – to allow seamless, transparent and non-discriminatory exchange of energy services.

INTERRFACE is intended to demonstrate the added value of data exchange between all players involved in the value chain of the electricity system, and this from local, regional to EU level. This would be a first in the energy sector. INTERRFACE should also enable TSOs, DSOs and customers to fully exploit and coordinate the potential of decentralised energy resources.

The European Commission is funding a research project on creating a Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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Successful tests for the HeatFlex project

15.01.2019

Volatile and decentralised energy generation is an essential characteristic of the energy future. What is at first an evident risk to grid stability, could also prove to be an opportunity for smart and flexible grid management, since small and decentralised consumption devices, if actively involved, could even help to stabilise the grid. In order to explore this potential, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and the southern German distribution system operator (DSO) Bayernwerk Netz GmbH have launched HeatFlex last summer, a research project to increase the flexibility and stability of the entire transmission system.

TenneT and Bayernwerk jointly investigate how decentralised devices can be involved most effectively. The power users that HeatFlex is concerned with are, for example, electric storage heaters, heat pumps, water heaters and potentially also electric vehicles in the Bayernwerk area. They can be controlled by the DSO using ripple control. If a bottleneck in the transmission grid is to be expected, for instance due to a lot of wind power, decentralised consumption devices are used for grid control: At TenneT’s request, they will be triggered by Bayernwerk and then cease consuming too much electricity but instead supply the grid with the necessary electricity for stabilisation.

There are over 170,000 decentralised controllable devices with a total capacity of around 200MW in the Bayernwerk distribution area. A first test in summer already proved the technical feasibility of HeatFlex in cases of real bottleneck situations. It turned out that the communication between the control centres of both operators worked quickly and efficiently. “With this project, we are testing solutions for tomorrow already today. HeatFlex is one of the pilot projects with which we are investigating which decentralised flexibilities we can use in the future to stabilise the grid. These include, for example, projects with power-to-gas, with bidirectionally chargeable electric vehicles or with home storage and blockchain technology,” explains TenneT Managing Director Wilfried Breuer.

HeatFlex, the joint research project of TenneT and Bayernwerk on flexible grid control, is making progress (picture: Bayernwerk AG)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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WindNODE flexibility platform in trial operation

21.11.2018

The energy transition results in a rapidly growing share of volatile electricity volumes from renewable energy generation. The participants in the energy market are thus faced with new and challenging tasks that go beyond the mere safe operation of electricity grids. Optimum capacity utilisation and maximum use of renewable, weather-dependent energy instead of the throttling of sustainable plants are key requirements of today’s market. The TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), meets the new challenges through the systematic use of flexibility.

A single example from 2017 shows the extent of today’s throttling measures: 641GWh of renewable power generation were throttled in the 50Hertz control area for grid stability reasons. In order to use otherwise lost energy, more than 70 partners from all over East Germany are working on the WindNODE project promoted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. A central component of the project is the flexibility platform, a digital procurement system that is designed to reduce the throttling of wind turbines in the event of grid bottlenecks. Via the platform, regional generators, consumers and storage operators offer TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) flexible use of their facilities. TSOs and DSOs cooperate closely in the project.

The flexibility platform has now gone into test operation after almost two years of developing. The intention is to balance the load distribution of volatile generation quantities and to integrate them optimally into the system. By connecting or disconnecting flexible loads – for example industrial production facilities – the power consumption at appropriate grid nodes is regulated in such a way that bottlenecks and thus the throttling of wind energy are prevented and maximum use of green electricity is facilitated.

Dr. Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz, emphasises the importance of both, more efficient use of the existing grid and grid extension, to achieve the German government’s renewable share targets. “We need to get into Power-to-X applications and the systematic use of flexibility. This is why the WindNODE platform comes at the right time and can help to effectively use regeneratively generated ‘excess electricity’ instead of throttling it.”

The WindNODE flexibility platform for effective use of renewable energy and congestion management in east Germany has been put into trial operation

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

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TSO-DSO cooperation on flexible grid management

18.07.2018

Volatile and decentral energy generation is not only a concomitant of the energy transition, but also an evident risk for grid stability. Paving the way to a low-carbon energy future while ensuring the security of electricity supply is the current key challenge for many European transmission system operators (TSOs) such as the Dutch-German TSCNET shareholder TenneT, which is intensively involved in research on flexible grid management and smart grid solutions. The most recent example is “HeatFlex”, a joint project with the southern German distribution system operator (DSO) Bayernwerk Netz GmbH.

By mid-2019, the “HeatFlex” partners will explore to what extent the more than 170,000 existing controllable consumption devices in the area of the DSO can be used to increase the flexibility of the entire transmission system. These controllable devices ‒ for example, electric storage heaters, heat pumps or water heaters ‒ can be integrated into the grid management by means of ripple control utilising the already installed ripple control receivers.

“HeatFlex” is part of TenneT’s extensive digitisation program and the company’s strategy to actively and cost-efficiently involve smaller and decentralised flexibilities in the market. This has become necessary in order to compensate for the loss of grid stability formerly provided by large power plant capacities. Lex Hartman, executive board member at TenneT, explains: “More digitalisation and technological innovation not only secure tomorrow’s power supply, but also help to reduce additional grid extension in the future.” Currently, the TSO is conducting four other digitisation projects in addition to “HeatFlex”, including three blockchain solution pilots in Germany and the Netherlands.

TenneT cooperates with southern German DSO Bayernwerk in the HeatFlex project for flexible grid management (picture: Bayernwerk AG).

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TenneT identified as digital pioneer

26.06.2018

“Digitalisation is becoming increasingly important for the secure and efficient operation of the grid, which is why we are the first transmission system operator (TSO) to broadly explore the possibilities offered by digitalisation.“ Lex Hartman, executive board member of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, has every reason to make that claim, since the Dutch-German TSO has been designated one of the top 10 Dutch “Transformers” in the digital transformation.

For the annual “FD Transformers” survey conducted by the Dutch newspaper “Het Financieele Dagblad” and the Vlerick Business School, 200 of the largest Dutch companies have been taken into account. René Kerkmeester, Senior Manager Digital Transformation at TenneT, emphasises the essential contribution of TenneT‘s digitalisation team to the company‘s high ranking and concludes: “We are preparing our organisation and the electricity market for a sustainable future, with a greater share of renewable energy sources.“

Currently, the TSO carries out four digitalisation projects, including three blockchain solution pilots in Germany and the Netherlands to facilitate access to local and decentral electricity capacities. These projects involve home energy storage systems and vehicle-to-grid-technologies respectively. Another blockchain pilot focuses on e-car batteries to compensate for frequency deviations. The fourth project explores the potential of sensors in vehicles for the improvement of solar energy generation forecasts. TenneT has announced to launch more pilot projects in the coming months.

The Dutch-German TSO TenneT proves to be a digital frontrunner. Illustration on a digital enterprise (source: www.siemens.com/presse).

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Cooperation for the green and digital transition

25.05.2018

The European energy landscape is changing constantly and fast, and there are two main factors that radically influence the conditions for the players in the energy market: the energy transition and the digital revolution. New digital developments offer great opportunities for companies from the energy sector to closer cooperate with companies outside the sector’s traditional value chain in order to realise a smart and efficient green and digital transition. Modesty and professional ambition should balance each other in this challenging field of work, or in the words of Thomas Egebo, CEO at TSCNET shareholder Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO): “We don’t have all the answers, but we would like to be part of the solution.”

On behalf of Energinet and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), Thomas Egebo was the host of the Digital Round Table on 24 May in the Danish Capital of Copenhagen. High-level representatives from Microsoft, GE Power, Renault, Envision ‒ China’s second-largest wind turbine company ‒ and other international companies and organisations attended the event to discuss the impact of new technologies and digitalisation on the energy sector and the possibilities for new partnerships between companies from the traditional energy sector and other companies.

Many of the prospective solutions are still unknown to us today, but it is certain that data is essential for the energy future. Energinet wants to be a catalyst in this area to help market participants create products of the future. Thomas Egebo explained that a TSO such as Energinet can supply production data and information about the state of the network to businesses and consumption data to individual consumers. “Data is something that everyone can tap into, as well as a crucial element of the new business models, in which consumers can make a real difference in contributing to the integration of renewable energy,” commented Mr Egebo.

> See Energinet press release (html)
> Visit Energinet event website (html)

Picture: Digital Round Table by Energinet

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New “Technology” unit at Swissgrid

15.01.2016

As from 1 February 2016, TSC member Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), will merge “Information and Communication Technology” and “Project and Process Management” into a new “Technology” business unit to “expedite the digitalisation of business processes and the resulting transformation of the company”. The unit will be headed by Executive Board member Rainer Mühlberger, who joined Swissgrid in December 2011.

> See Swissgrid press release (html)

Picture: Swissgrid

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