Successful start of FCR auctions

01.07.2020

The cooperation on regional procurement and exchange of frequency containment reserve (FCR) is a voluntary initiative of eight transmission system operators (TSOs): the six TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW from Germany, APG from Austria, Swissgrid from Switzerland, and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, as well as Elia from Belgium and the French TSO RTE. The FCR project is the first regional cooperation for a common market based on the methodology for the exchange of control reserves set out in the EU Guideline on Electricity Balancing. Within the scope of a cooperation model with Amprion, the Luxembourg TSCNET customer Creos is also involved.

The next milestone in the development of the largest European market for primary balancing power reserve has now been reached, as the first D-1 auction for FCR with 4-hour products was successfully conducted on 30 June 2020. This means, the FCR cooperation reduces the product length from one day to four hours and thus the market for primary balancing power is brought closer to real time.

Due to stronger competition between service providers and technologies, the joint auction allows TSOs to procure FCRs at minimum cost to end-users while offering a large common market for all providers of balancing services. It also increases the market attractiveness for short-term flexibility, limits price volatility and improves the security of grid operation by executing cross zonal procurement of FCR. The FCR market, already the largest in Europe, will be extended to western Denmark and Slovenia in the first quarter of 2021, so that with Energinet and ELES two further TSCNET shareholders will broaden the project.

The FCR cooperation successfully conducted the first D-1 auction for FCR with 4-hour products 

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> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Luxembourg integrated into FCR cooperation

01.06.2020

Eight central European transmission system operators (TSOs) cooperate in the regional procurement and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR). Their joint FCR project is the first regional cooperation in Europe to implement market harmonisation in accordance with the EU Guideline on Electricity Balancing. The participating TSOs are APG, 50Hertz, Amprion, TransnetBW, and Swissgrid – the Austrian, German and Swiss TSCNET shareholders –, the Dutch-German shareholder TenneT as well as the Belgian TSO Elia and the French TSO RTE. It is intended to extend the joint FCR procurement towards western Denmark, so that the central European TSOs are supplemented by Energinet from Denmark as a non-active member.

Luxembourg was missing in the cooperation so far, but cross-border primary control reserve (PCR) between Germany and Luxembourg is now also possible: Since 1 June 2020, balancing service providers (BSPs) from Luxembourg are participating in the joint tender for FCR cooperation. For this purpose, the TSO Amprion, whose German control area is bordering the Grand-Duchy, and the Luxembourgian TSCNET customer Creos have developed a cooperation model. Under this model, Amprion assumes the role of the connecting TSO, carries out the prequalification of the BSPs, concludes the framework agreement for PCR, and takes over the settlement with the BSPs from the Creos control area.

Since Amprion and Creos operate a joint load-frequency-control area, a pooling of technical units within this common area is permissible. Thus, a pool can include Luxembourgian as well as German units that provide balancing services. This means that a BSP may combine generation units or controllable consumer loads from both countries and offer them collectively on the PCR market.

The central European FCR cooperation was extended to Luxembourg (picture: Cedric Letsch)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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New FCR market design

04.07.2019

The collaboration of central European transmission system operators (TSOs) in the procurement and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR) is the first regional cooperation in Europe to implement market harmonisation in compliance with the EU Guideline on Electricity Balancing (EBGL). The TSOs that make up the FCR consortium are: the Austrian, German and Swiss TSCNET shareholders APG, 50Hertz, Amprion, TransnetBW, and Swissgrid, the Dutch-German shareholder TenneT as well as the Belgian TSO Elia and the French TSO RTE, which are supplemented by further TSCNET shareholder Energinet from Denmark as non-active member.

The FCR cooperation was founded in the summer of 2016 and has conducted two consultation rounds in the last two years, resulting in a final proposal, which was approved by all national regulators involved. The first milestone in the advancement of the largest FCR market in Europe has now been reached in the implementation of a new FCR market design. In addition to shortening the product length from a week to a day, the cooperation introduces a marginal pricing system. The aim is to reduce procurement costs and create incentives for new balancing power providers and technologies to enter the market.

The FCR cooperation introduces a new market design

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Cost-effective balancing in Austria

21.02.2017

The assiduous efforts undertaken by TSC member APG, the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO), to optimise control reserve are paying off. Since 2015, the costs for stabilising the Austrian electricity grid are decreasing significantly, and with €90m spent on control resrve in the last year, APG is able to announce a cost reduction of 37% in comparison to 2015.

The causes of this beneficial development are twofold. On a national level, several new suppliers have joined the balancing market. “The new participants in the regulatory energy market contributed to significantly more competition in this market”, explains Ulrike Baumgartner-Gabitzer, Chief Executive Officer at APG. Internationally – apart from individual agreements with neighbouring countries – APG participates in the largest European transnational cooperation on the procuration and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve. Also of particular importance is APG’s cross-border cooperation for automatic Frequency Restoration Reserve with the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW. “This means that Austria is actively involved in all relevant projects and is even an initiator,” complements Thomas Karall, APG’s Chief Financial Officer.

> See APG press release, in German (html)

Picture: Lukas Dostal / Austrian Power Grid AG (APG Control Centre)

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First cross-border FCR auction with France

17.01.2017

Several national transmission system operators (TSOs) from Central Europe form the largest European transnational cooperation on the procuration and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR). The Austrian, Dutch, German, and Swiss TSC members APG, TenneT, 50Hertz, Amprion, TransnetBW, and Swissgrid are part of this FCR consortium. In August 2016, the Belgian TSO Elia acceded to the collaboration, and now also the French TSO RTE has joined the fold.

On 10 January 2017, the first common cross-border FCR auction with RTE was succesfully held for the delivery period of the third week of 2017. The entry of West Denmark to the regional market – and thus the participation of further TSC member Energinet.dk – is firmly planned for the future. With their voluntary initiative, the partaking TSOs support the implementation of the European Electricity Balancing Guideline (EB GL) and also the EU Energy Package “Clean Energy for All Europeans”.

> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See Swissgrid press release (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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Public consultation on FCR cooperation

03.01.2017

The international cooperation of several national transmission system operators (TSOs) on the procuration and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR) came into being in the summer of 2016. To support the implementation of the Electricity Balancing Guideline (EB GL), TSOs from Central and Northern Europe form the largest transnational frequency containment reserve cooperation in Europe. Among the partner TSOs are the Austrian, Danish, Dutch, German, and Swiss TSC members APG, Energinet.dk, TenneT, 50Hertz, Amprion, TransnetBW, and Swissgrid. The Belgian TSO Elia and the French TSO RTE also take part in the cooperation’s weekly cross border FCR auction.

With the collaboration of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the nine TSOs start a public consultation on the future design of the FCR cooperation on 9 January 2017. The five-week long campaign is destined to assess the current cooperation status and to bring forth the market participants’ views on possible design options. Beneficial proposals will be taken into account for the next phase of the project. The accompanying consultation document has already been published on 2 January. It describes all the important FCR related topics in detail and adresses specific questions to stakeholders who are invited to comment and to answer the questions. The answers can be submitted through the ENTSO-E consultation interface.

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

> Open FCR cooperation public consultation document (pdf, 1mb)

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Belgium joins cross border trading

04.08.2016

Since late July 2016, balancing service providers from Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland are forming the largest transnational frequency containment reserve cooperation in Europe. Swiss transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member Swissgrid was satisfied to announce that also the Belgian TSO Elia has joined the collaboration now and takes part in cross border frequency containment reserve auctions.

The international cooperation of national TSOs – including the Austrian, Dutch and German TSC members APG, TenneT, 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW – results in a more liquid and efficient market and provides new sales options to the participants. Over and above, cross border auctions reduce the risk of supply shortage and ensure grid stability as well as system security. The joint market activities of the partaking TSOs meet the demands of present and future standards set by the European Network Code and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The French and the Danish TSOs are invited to the common auctions and expected to join in a later stage.

> See Swissgrid press release (html)
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