ENTSO-E Annual Report 2019 released

01.08.2020

For transmission system operators (TSOs), Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs), and other players in the energy market alike, last year was marked above all by the entry into force of the EU “Clean Energy for all Europeans Package” (CEP). Actually, the TSOs and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) were still in the process of implementing the Third Energy Package, but work on meeting the requirements of the CEP has already commenced in 2019.

This is also reflected in the recently published ENTSO-E Annual Report 2019, which describes activities related to the legal mandates given to ENTSO-E. The report divides these activities into seven chapters: 1. System Operation; 2. Market; 3. System Development; 4. Transparency Regulation; 5. Research, Development and Innovation; 6. Cybersecurity, Interoperability and Data; 7. TSO-DSO partnership and demand side flexibility.

Prior to its release, the Annual Report was subject to a public consultation with stakeholders from 22 June to 20 July 2020, whereupon the comments received were taken into account and the Annual Report was submitted to the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

ENTSO-E has published its Annual Report 2019 (picture: ENTSO-E)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E Annual Report 2019 site (html)
> Open Annual Report 2019 (pdf, 6.7MB)

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Awards for ELES smart grid projects

30.07.2020

The International Smart Grids Action Network (ISGAN) is a technology cooperation programme on smart grids by the International Energy Agency (IEA). ISGAN provides a strategic platform to raise awareness and to stimulate action by high level governments for accelerated development and deployment of smart and clean electricity grids around the world. ISGAN initiatives include the annual ISGAN Award of Excellence in “Digitalization Enabling Consumer Empowerment”. On 28 July, the jury announced the winners of the 6th ISGAN Award, which focuses on digitisation at global level and for which nominations have been received from around the world. The first and second prizes were awarded to two projects in which TSCNET shareholder ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO), is significantly involved.

The first place goes to the NEDO project, a Japanese-Slovenian initiative whose main partners, besides ELES, are the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) and the multinational conglomerate Hitachi. The NEDO project introduces integrated and centrally managed cloud-based solutions to make better use of the existing network and provide customers with a higher quality electricity supply and the opportunity to actively participate in electricity markets and systemic services. ELES decided at the end of 2015 to participate in the project, whose main responsible partner, the namesake agency NEDO, received the award on behalf of the consortium.

The award for FutureFlow, which took second place, was received by ELES itself. The international project was conceived by ELES experts and involves twelve partners from eight European countries. The project implements innovative e-trading solutions for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central and southern European TSOs, which are all shareholders of TSCNET. Besides the project leader ELES, the other TSO participants are APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary, and Transelectrica from Romania. FutureFlow was launched in 2016 and successfully concluded in December 2019. Pilot tests in real time have proven that also small businesses and power generation units can be a reliable source of flexibility to maintain the balance in the electricity system. The project was funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme, in fact, it was the largest research project financed under Horizon 2020.

The ISGAN Award 2020 is exceptional in that it is the first time that one company receives two awards. After the announcement, the CEO of ELES, Aleksander Mervar, commented that with these two awards, ELES has obtained great international recognition for its activities in the field of innovation and development of smart networks. Mr Mervar complimented the partners in both consortia. By dedicating the two awards to all those who participated in both projects, he acknowledged their outstanding performance.

ELES received two ISGAN Awards 2020 for the smart grid initiatives FutureFlow and NEDO Project (picture: ELES)

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> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit ISGAN Award 2020 website (html)

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TSOs of the Central SOR submit RCC proposal

29.07.2020

The EU Regulation on the internal electricity market (2019/943) calls for a higher degree of coordination between transmission system operators (TSOs) at regional level. This is to be achieved through the establishment of Regional Coordination Centres (RCCs). Regulation 2019/943 provides that the future RCCs will act more autonomously in terms of risk prevention than the current Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) like the Munich based TSCNET Services. On 6 April 2020, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) published a decision on the geographical scope of the RCCs (ACER Decision 10/2020) and defined the so-called System Operation Regions (SORs). The TSOs of each SOR were invited to submit a proposal on the establishment of RCCs to the relevant national regulatory authorities (NRAs).

The 19 TSOs of the Central SOR – including all TSCNET shareholders except the non-EU TSO Swissgrid from Switzerland and also three TSCNET customers – now have submitted their joint proposal for the RCC establishment in accordance with Article 35 of Regulation (EU) 2019/943. It was published by the German Federal Network Agency (“Bundesnetzagentur“).  The TSOs’ suggestion is to develop existing RSCs into RCCs by adapting them to comply with the requirements of the EU Regulation. The TSOs are of the opinion that despite their increased autonomy, the future RCCs should have their grid stability measures confirmed by the TSOs. The respective TSOs concerned should be able to carry out reviews where appropriate and to oppose RCC measures on well-founded reasons. This requires an intensive exchange of information between RCCs and TSOs.

The paper proposes working agreements and service contracts as basis for the TSO-RCC cooperation. The core tasks of the RCCs should remain those of the RSCs, such as security analysis, outage planning coordination, capacity calculation, adequacy forecasts, or grid modelling. In addition, the RCCs should assist TSOs in identifying transmission system extension and modernisation priorities. RCCs should also be involved in assessing the extent to which foreign capacity may participate in national capacity mechanisms. A proposal from the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), which is still pending, shall define which tasks the RCCs will perform in determining regional reserve capacity and in the regional procurement of balancing power.

The 19 TSOs of the Central SOR have published a joint proposal on the establishment of RCCs (picture: ENTSO-E)

Linkup
> Open Joint TSO proposal, in German (pdf, 535kb)
> Open ACER decision 10/2020 (pdf, 267.6kb)
> Access to EU-Regulation 2019/943 (html)

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Southeast RSC established in Thessaloniki

28.07.2020

The four transmission system operators (TSOs) of the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs) – which are ESO-EAD (Bulgaria), IPTO (Greece), Terna (Italy), and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania – have established the sixth European Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. The new RSC goes by the name of Southeast Electricity Network Coordination Centre (SEleNe CC). Each TSO participates equally in the share capital of the new company.

SEleNe CC provides all regional RSC services for both CCRs according to the requirements of the EU guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management (CACM). The main tasks of SEleNe CC – just as with Baltic RSC, Coreso, Nordic RSC, SCC, and the Munich based RSC TSCNET Services – are: coordinated security analysis, outage planning coordination, coordinated capacity calculation, (very) short-term adequacy forecasts, individual and common grid modelling, and data set delivery. The Board of Directors of SEleNe CC consists of one member from each TSO with Ioannis Kampouris from the Greek TSO IPTO as Chairman and CEO.

Catalin Nitu, CEO of Transelectrica, comments on the establishment of SEleNe CC: „Improving energy security and cooperation at both organisational and technical level brings us one step closer to an energy-integrated Europe. This step is part of a normal and necessary evolution for regional energy security, in the light of the implementation of the common electricity market’s new model. I express my gratitude to our colleagues and partners who have consistently shown professional excellence and commitment to establish this security centre.”

The four TSOs from the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy CCRs have established SEleNe CC, the new RSC based in Thessaloniki (picture of Thessaloniki: Digio Lab on Unsplash)

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> See Transelectrica press release (pdf, 482kb)
> See Transelectrica press release, in Romanian (pdf, 238.1kb)

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Renewables surpass fossil fuels

27.07.2020

Analysts from the London-based think-tank Ember have for some time now been preparing annual reports on the European energy sector by collecting grid data from the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The mid-year analysis for 2019 has identified a positive trend for achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the European Commission’s Green Deal, which, however, also poses considerable challenges for European transmission system operators (TSOs): For the first time ever, electricity generation from renewable sources has exceeded that from fossil fuels. In the first half of 2020, wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy generated 40% of the electricity in the EU Member States, while fossil fuels accounted for 34%.

Europe’s power industry faced a dramatic first half of the year and it should not go unmentioned that the substantial decline in electricity demand across the continent because of the COVID 19 pandemic also has an impact on the development in 2020. Nevertheless, this is a symbolic moment for the transition of the European power landscape. Renewable energy generation increased by 11% in the first half of 2020, mainly because more wind and solar facilities have been installed. In addition, conditions were also quite favourable with a sunny second quarter and a very windy February. In contrast, fossil generation fell by 18% over the same period, forced by falling demand and the growth in renewable energy.

With their committed responses to increasingly decentralised and volatile generation – such as grid extension and modernisation, technological compensation for the loss of reactive power, smart grid control, or cross-border cooperation – European TSOs are supporting this development sustainably.

In the first half of 2020, European electricity generation from renewable sources has exceeded fossil generation

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> See Ember press release (html)

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“The pan-European market demands flexibility and efficiency”

17.07.2020

The current virus pandemic reminds some people in the energy sector of the 2006 incident, when a rather routine but postponed switch-off of a single power line led to a Europe-wide chain reaction due to misjudgements and lack of communication between energy suppliers and transmission system operators (TSOs). The resulting failure of further lines and under- and over-frequencies affected large parts of Europe and ten million people were without electricity for up to one and a half hours. The Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE), the predecessor organisation of the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), described the incident as one of the most serious failures ever to occur in Europe.

According to Klaus Lucas, Professor Emeritus at RWTH Aachen University and Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, the 2006 blackout was “the prime example of a systemic risk. Like a virus epidemic, a random harmful event can spread in a complex system and, in unpredictable ways, paralyse structures that were actually believed to be stable”. Mr Lucas expressed this view to Zweitausend50, the magazine of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft – BDEW), a business organisation representing over 1800 companies from the energy and water industry. And since the establishment of the Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) was a reaction of the European Commission to the 2006 incident, it is plausible that Zweitausend50 also made contact with TSCNET Services and had an interview with Uwe Zimmermann, one of the two Managing Directors of the Munich-based RSC, on this issue.

Europe’s highly meshed power transmission system is one of the most complex critical infrastructures in the world and the more intensive the interconnectedness, the more susceptible the network is to unwanted domino or feedback effects. The strain on the system has recently been further increased by the volatile generation capacities of renewable energy sources. The role of RSCs has thus become all the more important. The five European RSCs forecast the capacity utilisation of power lines based on expected electricity generation and consumption for the following day and determine the extent to which individual lines may be overloaded. In this way, the RSCs identify potential risks in the system, evaluate them continuously and counteract possible bottlenecks and power failures. They do this in support of the respective TSOs within their area of responsibility, in the case of TSCNET Services this is central and eastern Europe.

Uwe Zimmermann compares this function with a navigation system: “Basically, we continuously monitor traffic – i.e. the operational status of the grids, current capacities, consumption and market data – and proactively determine at which points a congestion could occur. Whenever we forecast such a congestion, we provide timely recommendations in coordination with the TSOs on how the traffic can be redirected – like an alternative route.” Zimmermann emphasises, however, that the responsibility for implementing these recommendations remains with the TSOs.

In view of the progressing energy transition in the course of which the number and volatility of generators is increasing and the transmission distances for electricity are becoming ever larger, Uwe Zimmermann does not deny the challenges for RSCs: “As a result, our lead times could become increasingly shorter and this would make it more and more challenging to predict the following day and take timely action.” Nevertheless, the TSCNET managing director remains confident about the performance of the RSCs: “Fortunately, however, we can respond to this. We are getting ready to accelerate our process cycles more and more and to process ever larger amounts of data to continue to ensure reliable forecasts.”

TSCNET Managing Director Uwe Zimmermann is confident that RSCs will continue to provide reliable support to TSOs and guarantee system security

Linkup
> Open BDEW Zweitausend50 webpage, in German (html)

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ENTSO-E roadmap for coordinated multi-sectorial planning

17.07.2020

Smart Sector Integration is an important topic on the European energy policy agenda and is recognised as a key factor for a climate-neutral energy system. Smart Sector Integration contributes to cost-effective solutions for system needs, supports system security and resilience, and facilitates the decarbonisation of other sectors through innovative, cross-sector solutions and synergies. For this reason, infrastructure planning for the future power system requires a multi-sectoral approach that includes facilities for electricity and gas transmission as well as for transport and heat. In recognition of and to promote the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has published a roadmap for the development of multi-sectoral planning support up to 2030.

Multi-Sectorial Planning Support (MSPS) constitutes a long-term, holistic view of system planning. It facilitates coordination and consistency between the different sectors in infrastructure planning. As basis for system and sector development plans, it allows for even more comprehensive and consolidated scenarios compared to the current joint scenarios of ENTSO-E and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG). In a screening process, projects which have relevant interactions with other sectors, or which compete with projects in other sectors are compared through a transparent cost-benefit analysis, taking the ENTSOs’ Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) to a new level.

ENTSO-E has published the “Roadmap for a multi-sectorial Planning Support” (picture: ENTSO-E)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open Roadmap (pdf, 2.07MB)
> Open Executive summary (pdf, 362.4kB)

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Swissgrid responds to revised legislation

15.07.2020

With the national “Energy Strategy 2050”, the Swiss electorate decided in 2017 to promote renewable energies. To extend the duration of the correlating support measures, create planning security for the energy market, and eventually achieve Switzerland’s climate policy goals, the Swiss Federal Council has developed a revision of the national Energy Act (“Energiegesetz”). The Swiss transmission system operator (TSO) Swissgrid appreciates that the Federal Council intends to create more incentives for the expansion of domestic renewable energies while at the same time ensuring long-term security of supply.

However, the TSCNET shareholder considers that the legal framework must also contribute to integrating renewable energies into the overall system. According to Swissgrid, this is the current situation in Switzerland: The combination of the absence of an electricity agreement with the EU, a significant increase in renewable energy with volatile generation, and the sluggish expansion of the grid affects the operation of the transmission system. Because even today, the grid expansion is not keeping pace with that of the renewables.

To meet the goals of the “Energy Strategy 2050”, it must first be ensured that approval procedures for grid projects are consistently optimised and accelerated. Secondly, innovative solutions for load management are needed to generate flexibility and provide frequency services to the transmission grid. The crowd balancing platform Equigy – a cooperation of Swissgrid, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, and the Italian TSO Terna – is one example of such a solution. Thirdly, an electricity agreement between Switzerland and the EU is essential, since import and export capacity will make an important contribution to Switzerland’s supply security given the significant expansion of renewable energies. Finally, Swissgrid considers the non-discriminatory availability, quality, and transparency of data to be increasingly important for secure grid operation. This requires a legal basis for regulating data transfer between TSOs, distribution system operators (DSOs), storage and power plant operators, and other parties involved.

Swissgrid comments on the revision of the national Energy Act by the Swiss Federal Council (illustration based on a picture of Lac de Moiry in Valais, Fotoauge, Pixabay)

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> See Swissgrid media release (html)
> Open Swissgrid position on Energy Act, in German (pdf, 212.6kb)

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RSC Conference 2020: A focus on digital cooperation

15.07.2020

The vital function of the European Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) has been and continues to be maintained despite the Corona pandemic. Regardless of the crisis, it is of great importance to exchange innovative concepts, significant insights, and daily practice in securing the European electricity system. For this reason, the annual RSC Conference will also take place in 2020, this time organised by the Baltic RSC and, as always, in cooperation with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). However, the pandemic certainly influences the organisation of the event, so that this year’s conference, the fourth in total, will be accessible as a podcast as well as live digital streaming from the Tallinn Creative Hub in the Estonian capital on 24 November 2020. Speakers and participants have the possibility to participate either remotely or physically.

The RSC Conference 2020 is entitled “Securing future power systems with digital cooperation” and thus will focus on the digital aspects of TSO regional coordination. A further emphasis will be given to the challenges of implementing the EU Green Deal, the large-scale integration of renewable energy sources, offshore deployment, and the implementation of the EU Clean Energy Package. A foresighted review of the COVID-9 pandemic and its impact on regional risk preparedness scenarios is also intended.

Baltic RSC and ENTSO-E have confirmed the keynote speech of the conference given by Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy in the von der Leyen Commission, and the participation of Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of the Estonian TSO Elering. Updates on other participants and further information will be made available regularly on the RSC Conference 2020 website, where you can register for the conference already now – for virtual or in person participation.

The RSC 2020 Conference on digital cooperation in electricity security coordination takes place on 24 November 2020 in Tallinn and is hosted by Baltic RSC (picture of Tallinn by Külli Kittus, Unsplash)

Linkup
> See Entso-E news release (html)
> See Baltic RSC news release (html)
> Visit RSC 2020 Conference website (html, with access to registration)

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ACER PCI Report: some delays with less rescheduling

10.07.2020

Europe-wide, there are currently 106 Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) for electricity in the implementation stage. PCIs are identified by the EU as a priority for interconnecting the infrastructure of the continental energy system and are considered worthy of public funding. The European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) annually evaluates these projects, together with the PCIs for gas (currently 32), for progress, delays, or rescheduling. This year’s “Consolidated Report on the progress of electricity and gas PCIs”, the sixth edition in total, has been published on 9 July.

The report covers the period from 1 February 2019 to 31 January 2020. Of the electricity projects, 79% were already included in the previous list. The ACER report provides an overview of the progress or the lack of progress in the implementation of the PCIs. It does not, however, contain an analysis of the possibilities for facilitating implementation, which would require a more in-depth analysis. To evaluate the status and progress of the respective PCIs, ACER verifies, among other things, the completeness and quality of the transmitted data and whether the projects have been included in the relevant network development plans.

The main result can be summarised as that delays are still very much in evidence – 27% of electricity PCIs are affected – but rescheduling has decreased. As public funding is easier to obtain for PCIs, there is a strong interest in infrastructure projects being classified as such. In this regard, ACER advises the project developers not to concentrate their efforts too much on the inclusion in the list and thus neglect the much more decisive matters like quality planning, permitting, and securing non-subsidised financing.

ACER has published the 2020 “Consolidated Report on the progress of electricity and gas PCIs”

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> See ACER press release (html)
> Open Consolidated PCI Report (pdf, 1.05MB)

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