ČEPS half-year report: progress despite pandemic


The development of European electricity infrastructure cannot be delayed, even in the event of a pandemic. The Czech transmission system operator (TSO) ČEPS has therefore continued in the first half of 2020 – and thus in times of Covid-19 – to comprehensively expand the national transmission system to meet new customer requirements as well as demands arising from international cooperation in the electricity market and to keep pace with the changes in the energy landscape. Notwithstanding the increased challenges, the Czech transmission system was as reliable and efficient as usual during the unforeseen circumstances of the six months and the TSCNET shareholder transmitted 32,000GWh of power.

In the reporting period, the income of ČEPS increased, but also the expenses due to the corona pandemic. This was mainly caused by the need to purchase power balancing services to cope with the decline in electricity consumption during the tense economic situation. Nevertheless, with total revenues increasing in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year by nearly CZK 1.1bn to CZK 13,002.5m (about €479,243m), the TSO managed to make a respectable profit of CZK 1.8bn (about €66,344m). “In a year-on-year comparison, total sales from sold licensed services grew the most. After disregarding MC shipping, they accounted for 98% of our total revenues,” explains Martin Durčák, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČEPS.

ČEPS reports positive figures despite the Covid-19 pandemic for the first half of 2020 (picture: ČEPS)

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TenneT to invest up to €5bn p.a. for the energy transition


The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT has just published its first-half 2020 report. Needless to say, the second quarter of 2020 was characterised by the corona pandemic and the extensive measures taken to ensure a safe and healthy working environment, but despite this, the TSO has made significant progress in developing the transmission grid onshore and offshore and in integrating growing amounts of renewable electricity. At the same time, TenneT has maintained a high level of supply security of 99.99% for 42m end consumers in Germany and the Netherlands.

As Europe’s first cross-border TSO, TenneT promotes the European market integration. The TSCNET shareholder increasingly benefits from its binational integrated approach to grid planning, management, and operation. Manon van Beek, TenneT’s CEO, comments: “Sharing best practices and lessons learned between our German and Dutch operations is paying off more and more in terms of an integrated approach to offshore and onshore grid expansion, better grid utilisation due to European innovations and cross-border energy system planning.”

TenneT currently operates 14 offshore grid connections, twelve in the German and two in the Dutch North Sea. The twelfth offshore grid connection in Germany, BorWin 3, was handed over to TenneT in the first half of 2020. In Dutch waters, the Borssele Alpha grid connection recently transmitted offshore wind power for the first time and the Borssele Beta grid connection has now been commissioned well ahead of schedule. While in the offshore sector experience from the German market is used for the Dutch, the situation is the other way round when it comes to underground cabling. Here, expertise from the Dutch Randstadt project is applied for the DC connections SuedLink and SuedOstLink. These two largest projects of TenneT, which are being entirely installed underground, will be essential for the transmission of wind energy from northern to southern Germany.

Such efforts require huge investments – facilitated by solid financial results: The underlying operating result (EBIT) increased to €414m in the first half of 2020. During the same period, investments in the German and Dutch high and extra-high voltage grids also increased by approximately 30% compared to the first half of 2019, but will do so much more in the future. TenneT expects a further rise in the annual investment volume to €4 to 5bn in the next years. Otto Jager, CFO of TenneT, explains: “We are going to connect growing amounts of renewable electricity to the grid while facilitating the development of a borderless European electricity market. In light of future equity funding needs, the ongoing talks with the German government about a possible equity participation, next to the Dutch State, are welcomed by TenneT.”

TenneT presents Half-year Report 2020 (picture: TenneT)

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ČEPS half-year report: Profits support infrastructure


In 2019, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO) ČEPS continues its extensive infrastructure investment programme to ensure that the development of the Czech transmission system meets the increasing demands of the rapidly changing energy sector. The profits now presented in the company’s half-year report facilitate these efforts considerably.

The TSCNET shareholder concluded the first half of 2019 with a pre-tax profit of CZK 2.3bn (about €88.84m) and a total revenue of CZK 11,903bn (about €460m), an increase of CZK 1,54bn in comparison to the same period in 2018. “Cross-border auctions account for 38% of revenues,” explains Martin Durčák, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČEPS. As far as the TSO core business is concerned, a total of 32,760GWh was transferred in the first half of 2019.

An important infrastructure project completed in July 2019 is the connection of the Řeporyje-Prosenice line to the Mírovka substation. The branching of this almost 300km long line, which connects the periphery of Prague with the Olomouc region in the east of the country, will increase the safety and reliability of the Czech transmission grid. Other significant investment measures already implemented this year include the construction of the new Přeštice-Vítkov line linking the Plzeň to the Moravian-Silesian Region. In Vítkov, a new 420kV substation with a gas-insulated switchgear was installed to complement the new line construction.

ČEPS reports positive figures for the first half of the 2019 business year (picture showing Prague, Czechia: JÉSHOOTS)

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Remarkable ČEPS half-year report


Jan Kalina, Chairman of the Board of Directors at TSCNET shareholder ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), refers to the essentials of the TSO business by stating: “In the first half of this year, ČEPS fulfilled its mission and ensured secure and reliable national and cross-border power transmission.” Besides that, also the financial figures are most satisfactory with a profit of CZK2.15bn (about €84.4m) before tax and total revenues at CZK 10.36bn (about €407m). This positive performance is accompanied by the company’s improved Moody’s rating of A1.

In 2018, ČEPS continues to implement its extensive investment program based on a ten-year investment plan. In the first half of the year, investments already reached CZK923.1m (about €36.22m). The capex plan actively responds to changes in the energy sector at national and international level. It reflects the potential of the latest trends such as electromobility, renewable energies and battery systems, while maintaining the necessary parameters for a reliable and safe operation of the Czech transmission system.

Among the most important infrastructure projects carried out or to be carried out this year are the comprehensive reconstruction of the substations Čechy Střed (Bohemian Centre) and Otrokovice, as well as the extension and modernisation of the substation Kočín. The gas-insulated section of the Chodov substation is also under reconstruction, which will significantly improve the reliability of power supplies to the Czech capital of Prague.

The Czech TSO ČEPS reports positive results for the first half of the business year 2018

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Sustained benefits from grid extension


Apart from the generally positive company results, the half-year report of TSC member 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), makes one thing perfectly clear: The TSO’s persistent efforts in extending and improving the transmission grid of its control area in the north and east of Germany are continually paying off.

Despite the ever growing share of the renewables needed to be fed into the transmission system, the costs for congestion management are slightly below the level of previous year. This positive trend is partly due to the extra-high voltage line “Südwest-Kuppelleitung” from the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt to Bavaria, the first system of which has been commissioned in late 2015. Increased transmission capacities reduce the necessity of interventions, and thus the costs for the TSO – a further proof that grid extension makes effect. The second system of the “Kuppelleitung” will be completed this autumn and then further increase capacities before the coming winter.

Thanks to a sound financial structure, investions in the transmission system have been kept on a high level. A flagship project in this regard is the Combined Grid Solution for Kriegers Flak and Baltic 2. The first offshore interconnector in the Baltic Sea between German and Danish wind farms is realised jointly with the Danish TSO Energinet, a further TSC member. 50Hertz considers transparency and the involvement of the public as crucial for implementing infrastructure projects. To help fostering the acceptance of overhead power lines, the TSO is developing the compactLine, a new generation of less visible pylons with a low height and a narrow corridor. After having received official permit in April, 50Hertz intends to built a pilot model line in Saxony-Anhalt.

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

Picture: 50Hertz


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