High-Level Market Design finalised


It was only at the end of 2018 that the national regulatory authorities of Austria, Germany, Poland and the so-called 4MMC countries (Czechia, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia) requested the initiation of the interim project for an NTC-based market coupling (“Net Transfer Capacities”) between these countries. The parties involved in the DE-AT-PL-4MMC (“Interim Coupling”) project have completed the High-Level Market Design to be implemented and the national regulatory authorities have confirmed their support for the continuation of the project. This involves a total of eight TSOs that are shareholders and customers of TSCNET Services: 50Hertz (Germany), APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), MAVIR (Hungary), PSE (Poland), SEPS (Slovakia), TenneT (Germany), and Transelectrica (Romania).

The project aims to couple 4MMC and Poland as well as Multi-Regional Coupling (MRC) through the introduction of NTC-based implicit allocation on six borders (PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, HU-AT) and the implementation of a Single Day Ahead Coupling (SDAC). The project envisages a step-by-step transition at the above-mentioned boundaries from the current NTC-based explicit allocation to the flow-based implicit allocation to be implemented in the framework of the CoreFlow-Based Market Coupling Projectas target solution required by regulation. The Interim Coupling significantly contributes to the regional market integration and brings benefits to the market. The current planning envisages the go-live of the interim coupling for the second quarter of 2020.

The parties involved in the DE-AT-PL-4MMC project have completed the High-Level Market Design

> Open joint press release (pdf, 331kb)

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In court over Third Energy Package


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.

> See EC press release (html)
> Visit Tagesspiegel Background Energy & Climate, in German (html)

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TSCNET Services welcomes SEPS as shareholder


TSCNET Services is the result of an initiative of European transmission system operators (TSOs), and to this day our company is characterised by a particularly close relationship with our customers, most of whom are also our shareholders. Today we can proudly welcome the Slovak TSO, SEPS (Slovenská elektrizačná prenosová sústava, a. s.), as the new, 14th shareholder. To mark this occasion, we have published a press release on SEPS’ participation as a shareholder.

The Slovak transmission grid consists of 2.138 km of 400 kV lines, 826 km of 220 kV lines and from historical reasons also 80 km of 110 kV lines and is connected with four neighboring countries: Czechia, Poland, Hungary and Ukraine – Burshtyn island. With the exception of the Ukraine, all neighboring TSOs are shareholders and customers of TSCNET. SEPS is solely responsible for electricity transmission throughout the country.

“A quick glance at the map is enough to see that with SEPS’ entry we are now completing the electricity security coordination in the central-eastern part of the continental transmission system” says Uwe Zimmermann, one of the two Managing Directors of TSCNET. “This move will further foster the security of supply in this region and underpins our ambition to further improve the already high quality of our security coordination services.” As a shareholder with full voting rights, SEPS can now also actively contribute to steering and developing the service company.

View of the Slovak capital Bratislava as seen from the Danube. In the background the famous castle. Picture: Džoko Stach, Pixabay.

> Open TSCNET Services press release (pdf, 119kb)

Press contact: Christoph Meinersmann
E-mail: c.meinersmann@extern-tscnet.eu

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Electricity consumption in Hungary at record high


In 2017, TSCNET shareholder MAVIR, the Hungarian transmission system operator (TSO), was confronted with a national electricity consumption on a record level. According to preliminary data from MAVIR, total annual electricity consumption amounted to 45,057.4GWh, with production from solar microgeneration not even included. This is by 2.6% higher than in 2016. The outstanding day was 27 January with a total consumption of 146.87GWh, which is also a historical peak.

Although the Hungarian transmission system in 2017 was exposed to additional stress due to temporary extreme weather conditions, occasionally causing physical damage to network elements, the TSO was able to meet the demand without interruptions. As Zoltán Tihanyi, Deputy CEO for System Operation and Intersystem Cooperation at MAVIR, explains, this is by reason of the generally well-designed system, its thorough operation, and efficient regional cooperation.

> Open MAVIR press release (pdf, 55kb)


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New substation in Hungary


A new 400/132kV substation in Szigetcsép in Pest county near the Hungarian capital of Budapest has been put into operation by the Hungarian transmission system operator (TSO) and TSCNET shareholder MAVIR. As part of the national Network Development Plan mapped out by the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority, the Szigetcsép station is substantial for ensuring supply security in the Budapest metropolitan area and the regions of Százhalombatta and Ócsa.

Since the new substation is situated within a water protection area, environmental protection aspects had to be regarded during construction to a maximum extent. Nevertheless, the substation was completed on schedule, with a project budget of around HUF8bn (nearly €25.5m). Kamilla Csomai, CEO of MAVIR, emphasised during the commissioning ceremony the TSO’s continuous grid extension efforts, which allow MAVIR “to remain a reliable member of the increasingly integrated international electricity network”.

> See MAVIR press release (pdf, 81.85kb)

Picture: MAVIR


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XBID implementation project launched


The Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) initiative is a joint initiative by power exchanges and transmission system operators (TSOs) from eleven European countries, to create a joint integrated cross-border intraday market. Now TSOs and nominated electricity market operators (NEMOs) from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, and Croatia including six TSC members (50Hertz, APG, ČEPS, HOPS, MAVIR, and TenneT) have agreed to form a local implementation project named LIP 15. Together they want to implement continuous cross-border trading and to introduce implicit allocation of cross-border transmission intraday capacities on the Czech-German, Czech-Austrian, Austrian-Hungarian, Hungarian-Romanian, and Hungarian-Croatian borders fulfilling the requirements set by the EU-wide cross-border intraday XBID project.

The single Intraday cross-zonal market solution will be based on a common IT system linking the local trading systems operated by the NEMOs as well as the available cross-zonal transmission capacity provided by the TSOs.  The XBID IT solution is expected to be technically ready by the end of 2017. In the sequel, the local implementation projects will make their final go-live preparations.

> Open joint press release (pdf, 161kb)


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Prototype platforms for FutureFlow


The FutureFlow project explores innovative solutions for cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European transmission system operators (TSOs). It collates the expertise of twelve partners from eight countries, including three TSC members: The Austrian TSO APG, the Slovenian TSO ELES (the project coordinator) and MAVIR from Hungary. FutureFlow is progressing rapidly, and now the project partners have created the infrastructural research basis for further development.

A significant potential for flexibility services is hidden in the wide range of devices and processes in the industry, tertiary and household sectors. The FutureFlow partners are aiming at integrating this unused potential into their balancing concept by aggregating distributed generation (DG) and demand response (DR). To implement this ambitious goal, two prototype platforms have been designed. The first platform probes the aggregation of DG and DR involving renewable generation forecasting techniques. The second one is the prototype of the regional balancing and redispatching platform. Its main component is the Common Activation Function, which is destined for cross-border congestion management.

By no means, the participating TSOs would tolerate any risk to the stability of the national transmission systems or interferences with the live operational Load Frequency Control. Nevertheless, the FutureFlow partners want to carry out realistic tests in real time. That is why an innovative pilot test environment has been designed that allows lifelike interacting of adjacent TSO environments with the regional balancing platform.

> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit FutureFlow website


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BRIDGE projects presented


BRIDGE is an initiative by the European Commission for the cooperation of smart grids and energy storage projects under the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme. Now a first BRIDGE brochure has been published.

Among the represented projects are MIGRATE (“Massive InteGRATion of power Electronic devices”) and FutureFlow. The latter project is coordinated by TSC member ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO). ELES also plays a leading role in MIGRATE, that additionally includes further TSC members Amprion from Germany and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, while the Austrian TSO APG and MAVIR from Hungary participate in Futureflow.

> See ELES press release (html)
> Open BRIDGE brochure (pdf, 7.65mb)


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MAVIR copes with record consumption


The remarkably cold Central European winter of 2016/17 turned out to be a great challenge for TSC member MAVIR, the Hungarian transmission system operator (TSO). Never in the history of electric power in Hungary was the overall demand for electricity as high as in the last winter season. In January, the total electricity consumption reached an all-time peak of 4271GWh.

The Hungarian TSO met the ambitious challenges in a sovereign manner. Zoltán Tihanyi, Deputy CEO for System Operation and Intersystem Cooperation at MAVIR, emphasised that in spite of the transmission system being exposed to high and persistent loads, the security of electricity supply in Hungary has never been at risk.

> Open MAVIR press release (pdf, 270kb)


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New interconnectors for Hungary and Slovakia


The Hungarian transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member MAVIR intends to built two new extra-high voltage lines between Hungary and Slovakia in cooperation with the national Slovak TSO, SEPS. The signing of the related contract took place in the Slovak capital of Bratislava on 1 March. Not only the highest representatives from both TSOs attended the ceremony, but also high profile politcal players, such as Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, or Peter Kažimír and Peter Žiga, Slovak Ministers for Finance and Economy, respectively.

The interconnectors are graded as project of common interest by the European Commission and are part of the European Ten Year Network Development Plan. The first 400kV line will connect the substation Gönyű in Hungary to the hydroelectric power plant Gabčíkovó in Slovakia – both facilities are lying close to the Hungarian-Slovak border. The line will be continued til Velký Ďur in the Slovak region of Nitra. The second line is planned further east, connecting Rimavska Sobotá in the Banská Bystrica Region in Slovakia to Sajóivánka in the Hungarian county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén.

Hungarian Minister Péter Szijjártó acknowledges the cross-border connections as infrastructural key projects contributing to the increase of competitiveness and security supply inh both countries. MAVIR’s Chief Executive Officer, Kamilla Csomai, complements, that the two interconnectors will also facilitate the integration of regional electricity markets. According to the schedule stipulated in the contract, the interconnectors are expected to come into commission by December 2020.

> Open MAVIR press release (pdf, 86.5kb)

Picture showing Kamilla Csomai, CEO of MAVIR, and Miroslav Obert, President and CEO of SEPS.



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