“RiffReporter” story: The more precise the forecast, the less intervention is required
A detailed article by freelance journalist Daniela Becker on the German reportage website RiffReporter, an innovative and award-winning project for “quality journalism on future topics”, presents TSCNET Services and the work of a Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) for the European power transmission grid. The article is based on thorough research and a talk with the two TSCNET managing directors, Maik Neubauer and Uwe Zimmermann. Besides the development of the company, the possible consequences of the EU package “Clean Energy for All Europeans” are also discussed.
An article on TSCNET Services has been issued on the reportage platform RiffReporter (picture: TSCNET Services / Quirin Leppert)
The European Commission (EC) is referring Germany to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with the rules for the correct implementation of the Electricity Directive (Directive 2009/72/EC) and of the Gas Directive (Directive 2009/73/EC). Both guidelines include important objectives for the proper functioning of the integral energy market and are part of the Third Energy Package. In the view of the EC, Germany has not ensured full compliance with the powers and independence of the national regulatory authority, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur).
As the “Tagesspiegel Background”, a daily decision-maker newsletter for the energy and climate sector, reports, the success of the lawsuit would mean a huge increase in power for the Bundesnetzagentur and fundamentally change the national network regulations. In fact, the alleged restrictions on regulatory independence in Germany are a crucial factor for the EC, which considers that the Bundesnetzagentur does not have full discretionary power in determining the conditions for network access, network tariffs, or balancing services.
The EC reproach refers to the customary regulatory practice in Germany, in which the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy specifies the respective rules in great detail by means of access and fee ordinances. The “Tagesspiegel Background” assumes that the claim must be seen in the context of a conflict over future network regulation at European level. Here, a decision is pending on the so-called Acer Regulation as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package. The EC would like to give ACER (Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators) more regulatory competences.
Besides that, Germany’s adherence to the European independent transmission operator (ITO) unbundling model is also subject of criticism. The EC states that it would be “incorrectly transposed into national law”. But the EC is not only targeting Germany, Hungary is also to be sued in the Court of Justice. The EC criticises the legislation on energy network tariffs and believes that Hungarian law infringes the principle of cost-recovery of tariffs by excluding certain types of costs from the tariff calculation. In addition, the EC deplores that the Hungarian energy legislation undermines the market participants’ right to a full judicial review of national regulatory decisions on network tariffs.
The EC is referring Hungary and Germany to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with the rules of the Third Energy Package.
After long and intensive preparations, ElSeC 2017, the highly anticipated Conference on Electricity Security Coordination, yesterday took finally place at the “Literaturhaus” in the very heart of the Bavarian capital of Munich. ElSeC 2017 was hosted by TSCNET Services, the Munich-based Regional Security Coordinator (RSC), and co-organised by ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity. The event was attended by nearly 100 leaders from European regulatory and political authorities, security initiatives and – this goes without saying – many different transmission system operators (TSOs).
ElSeC 2017 was organised by TSCNET in cooperation with Realize, one of the leading local event agencies. The conference was moderated by Melinda Crane, an experienced TV anchor, and a frequent guest and commentator on television. Marc Elsberg, the bestselling Austrian author of the disaster thriller “Blackout: Tomorrow Will Be Too Late.” about a power grids collapse across Europe, made a dramatically staged appearance along with – there are no marks for guessing! – a power outage. ElSeC 2017 had a powerful lineup of speakers and speeches:
Welcoming Speech, Maik Neubauer, TSCNET Services, Managing Director
“Our Vision for Europe’s Power System”, Ben Voorhorst, TenneT, Chief Operating Officer, and ENTSO-E President
“Regional Security Coordination – Living the Strategy!”, Joachim Vanzetta, ENTSO-E, Chair System Operations Committee
“Demonstration of Regional Solutions for Grid Security – Renewables Case”, Gerhard Christiner, APG, Chief Technical Officer, and Dirk Biermann, 50Hertz, Chief of Markets and System Operations
“Demonstration of Regional Solutions for Grid Security – Increased Cooperation also in Case of Critical Grid Situations”, Chris Peeters, ELIA Group, Chief Executive Officer, and Jean-François Gahungu, Coreso, Chief Executive Officer
“The full Roll-Out of RSC Services”, Jean-Philippe Paul, RTE, Operation Senior Advisor
“Perspectives on the Institutional Framework – perspectives of the European Commission”, Matti Supponen, European Commission, Directorate-General of Energy
“Perspectives on the Institutional Framework – perspectives of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators”, Uroš Gabrijel, ACER, System Operation & Grid Connection Network Codes
“Perspectives of the Pentalateral Energy Forum”, Frederik Deloof, Benelux Union, General Secretariat
Panel discussion “The Organisation of the European Power Grid in 2030” with Jens Møller Birkebæk (Nordic Regional Security Coordinator), Frederik Deloof (Benelux Union), Annegret Groebel (Council of European Energy Regulators), Juan José Alba Rios (Chairman Markets Committee, EURELECTRIC), Laurent Schmitt (ENTSO-E, Secretary General), and Matti Supponen (European Commission)
Closing speech, Ben Voorhorst, TenneT, Chief Operating Officer, and ENTSO-E, President
The ElSeC Conference Dinner took place in the “Burger & Lobster Bank“, within close walking distance from the conference location. The evening before ElSeC, all particpants were invited to an Open Evening at the TSCNET premises.
All in all, ElSeC 2017 turned out just as the organisers had hoped for: The atmosphere was relaxed but highly professional, the presentations were intriguing, and the discussions were vivacious and offered plenty of room for both, constructive controversy and productive consensus.
The European capital of Brussels in Belgium from now on hosts a representative office of TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). The company’s CEO Mel Kroon and Ben Voorhorst, Chief Operating Officer at TenneT, have officially inaugurated the venue in the presence of Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union. With the new office, TenneT wants to support its European activities targetting the integration of the continental energy market.
As TenneT has been evolving into a “real cross-border TSO”, Mr Kroon stressed the significance of running a representation in the “heart of the European energy policy”. He also expressed TenneT’s “conviction that the energy transition is a truly international endeavour”, resulting in an increasing irrelevance of national borders. Optimised international cooperation is the key for implementing “the energy transition more quickly, more efficiently and more cost-effectively.” According to Kroon, nothing less but a smart, efficient, job generating, and reliable energy market “with 100 percent renewable electricity production” is TenneT’s future vision and aim.
Maroš Šefčovič welcomed “TenneT’s ongoing efforts to further remove both physical and infrastructural barriers in the European electricity system” and particularly put emphasis on the TSO’s plans for the Power Link Island in the North Sea – a joint venture with Danish TSC member Energinet.dk. Mr Šefčovič called the ambitious Wind Power Hub “a project which has a purely European logic” and took it as an “emblematic example” of TenneT’s sustainable contributions to the Energy Union.
Three Czech power line projects have been graded as projects of common interest and transnational importance by the European Commission and are subsidised by EU infrastructure funds. With these new 400kV lines, TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), contributes not only to grid stability and supply security in Czechia, but also to cross-border electricity trading and the developement of the pan-European transmission system.
One of the three lines has already been put into operation in September 2016 (with concluding works still going on). It runs from the substation Krasíkov to its counterpart Horní Životice, thus linking the Olomouc to the Moravian-Silesian region. The line has been funded with CZK 90m (about €3.3m). ČEPS hopes for further €2m for the planning of the nationwide power lines from Vítkov to Přeštice and from Vernéřov to Vítkov connecting the Moravian-Silesian region in the very east of Czechia to the westward regions of Karlovy Vary and Plzeň. The line construction is to be accompanied by the construction of a new electrical substation in Vítkov and the expansion of the already existing substation in Přeštice. The EU funds ČEPS has applied for are intended to prepare the documentation of zoning permits.
Jan Kalina, Chairman of the ČEPS Board of Directors, comments on the EU fundings: “The investment plan of the ČEPS Company includes projects, which ensure reliable operation of the transmission system in the Czech Republic and also contribute to meeting European targets with regard to the security of the whole interconnected system.”
The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has developed a new methodology for the cost benefit analysis (CBA) of infrastructure projects. The new approach –referred to as CBA 2.0 – is a result of intensive assessment of projects from ENTSO-E’s 10-year network development plans and follows CBA 1.0.
Practical experiences from project realisations over the past two years suggest that improved analytical methods would be beneficial for a more consistent and comprehensive assessment of future transmission and storage projects. Suggestions from stakeholders were also taken into account. On 29 July 2016, ENTSO-E submitted a draft version of CBA 2.0 to the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) to receive the organisation’s official opinion. Only after consultations with member state representatives and the European Commission the final version of CBA 2.0 – scheduled for spring 2017 – is fit to be published.
On 27 and 28 June 2016, the 5th annual conference on innovation in electricity networks, InnoGrid2020+, took place in Brussels, Belgium. The event was jointly promoted by the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) and the European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids (EDSO). This year’s main focus was lying on “Digital Energy”. Two members of the European Commision were amongst the speakers: Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President and Commissioner for Energy Union, and Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.
Bente Hagem, Chair of the Board of ENTSO-E, opened the conference appealing to the European Comission to “anchor innovation in its upcoming legislative proposal”. Both system operators’ associations, ENTSO-E and EDSO, emphasised the necessity of an innovation push in the European power system combining the efforts of EU and national authorities, of private and public institutions. Regulators should encourage transmission system operators (TSOs) to become innovation leaders.
The second day of the event was dedicated to the desirable entry of the European energy grid sector into the digital era. Peder Andreasen, President of ENTSO-E, sees the “booming of data production” as an opportunity: “Big data will help us optimise the use of our networks, generation and consumption. This is good for the environment and good for the economy.” ENTSO-E and EDSO jointly kept focussing on the importance of the digital revolution for the TSOs. Christian Buchel, EDSO Vice-Chairperson, clearly pointed out: “Europe has not yet missed the digital revolution in the energy grid sector. But time is running.”
The European Commission has published the second of eight network codes in the “Official Journal of the European Union” on 14 April 2016 (Comission Regulation 2016/631: “Establishing a network code on requirements for grid connection of generators”).
The network code provides harmonised rules for connecting to the grid that will become legally binding in all member states of the EU on 17 May 2016. It is of special interest for suppliers of renewable energy as it sets a framework of operational requirements and obligations that will make it easier especially for renewables to connect to the grid system.
Konstantin Staschus, Secretary-General of the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) highly appreciates the regulation as a “great success for all the EU institutions” and as a reward for all those being involved in the process of taking “the electricity system a step forward in the renewables’ age”.
The international four-year FutureFlow research project kicked off about a week ago will be coordinated by TSC member ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO). The €13m project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme is designed to explore new solutions for balancing the electricity system and for managing the flows in the European electricity grid.
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme of the European Commission supports networks and infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy. TSC member ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), successfully applied for a grant for the construction and development of the Czech transmission system and received more than one million Euros from CEF in connection with the construction of two power lines.