Paper on MRC extension

26.03.2020

The so-called 4M Market Coupling Countries (4M MC) – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – are to be connected to the Europe-wide Multi Regional Coupling (MRC) of the electricity market. This will introduce Single Day-Ahead Coupling across 23 European countries. The initiative to implement the MRC expansion is the DE-AT-PL-4M MC Project, also known as “Interim Coupling Project”. The relevant transmission system operators (TSOs) from Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, APG, ČEPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, and Transelectrica – are part of the project consortium.

The AT-PL-4M MC Project establishes implicit capacity allocation based on Net Transfer Capacity (NTC) at six borders (PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, HU-AT). The Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and TSOs participating in the DE-AT-PL-4M MC Project now have published an information paper for market participants containing key information on the project in a question and answer format. This information includes the main expected changes for the market, the planned communication methods with market participants and a high-level technical description of the market design to be implemented by the project.

The partners of the AT-PL-4M MC Project for integrating Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia into MRC have published an information paper

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> Open AT-PL-4M MC information paper provided by MAVIR (pdf, 732.98kB)

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COBRAcable proves to be a great success

06.03.2020

It is now half a year since TSCNET customer Energinet, the transmission system operator (TSO) from Denmark, and TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, made COBRAcable available to the market. The high-voltage DC cable with a length of about 325km and a capacity of 700MW is the first direct connection between the electricity markets of Denmark and the Netherlands. The basic idea behind COBRAcable is to compensate for the volatility of wind power. Consequently, the Netherlands imports electricity via the cable on days with large Danish wind power generation, while on days with little wind in Denmark the electricity is transported in the opposite direction.

This works perfectly, as the interconnector’s transmission data from the first six-month period prove: In total, Denmark has imported almost 700GWh via the COBRAcable and the Netherlands almost 1,400GWh. On average, COBRAcable was operated at full capacity 79% of the time during the last half year. The impressive traffic on this binational connection proves its adequacy through its operation. The new interconnector therefore substantially contributes to the energy transition by exchanging volatile renewable energy across borders and additionally creates a trading profit on the spot market for electricity – a multiple benefit for nature, society and the companies involved.

The transmission data from the COBRAcable of Energinet and TenneT confirm a high level of traffic on the line (picture: screenshot taken from Energinet-video “Constructing the green COBRAcable”, Vimeo)

Linkup
> See Energinet press release (html)

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ACER consultations on balancing market

20.02.2020

A core component of the European Energy Union is the integration of the national balancing markets into a pan-European market. To promote this essential objective, the European Commission Regulation establishing a Guideline for Electricity Balancing became effective in December 2017. The European transmission system operator (TSOs) are expected to work proactively towards this goal and have since responded to this expectation with transnational cooperation, proposals, innovative concepts and their implementation.

The Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) launched two public consultations on methodologies in line with the respective EU regulation. The first consultation concerns the way for establishing a list of standard products for capacity balancing of frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves. This methodology provides the rules for efficient cross-border exchange, sharing and procurement of reserves. The second deals with the methodology for establishing a co-optimised allocation process of cross-zonal capacity for the exchange of balancing capacity or sharing of reserves. All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 10 March 2020.

Before the results of the two consultations are published, ACER will organise a workshop in its premises in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana on 26 February. This workshop will give stakeholders an insight into the procedures related to these consultations and into the discussions between ACER, the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and the TSOs.

ACER has launched two public consultations on methodologies for the integration of balancing markets (picture of Europe from space by Alexander Gerst, ESA/NASA)

Linkup
> See ACER press release (html)
> Direct access to 1st consultation (html)
> Direct access to 2nd consultation (html)
> Visit ACER workshop webpage (html)

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ENTSO-E presents Annual Work Programme 2020

19.02.2020

The European network codes and guidelines as well as the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package pose considerable challenges for European transmission system operators (TSOs). It is thus not only reasonable for the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), but also mandatory under an EU regulation to propose an Annual Work Programme outlining the main TSO tasks.

Having been consulted by stakeholders and reviewed by the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) – the opinion of ACER was received on 7 February – the Annual Work Programme 2020 has now been published by ENTSO-E. The priorities set in the ENTSO-E programme are consistent with the objective of the European Council to complete the internal electricity market and the three-year plan for the work on network codes.

In the programme, ENTSO-E recognises an enhanced role of TSOs in the significant updating of the European electricity market design. Furthermore, the creation of a pan-European IT architecture for electricity is seen as one of the main drivers for the energy transition. In this respect, the Common Grid Model is a precondition for, inter alia, coordinated capacity calculation, operational security analysis, outage planning coordination, and adequacy analysis.

ENTSO-E has released the Annual Work Programme 2020 (picture: ENTSO-E)

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E Annual Work Programme site (html)
> Open Annual Work Programme 2020 (pdf, 2.83MB)
> Open ACER opinion (pdf, 170.7kB)

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Integrated market in Switzerland

13.02.2020

In Continental Europe, the synchronised frequency is of 50 Hz. It is a core task of every transmission system operator (TSO) to keep the balance between power production and consumption and the grid frequency stable. The Swiss TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the national TSO, operates a market for ancillary services for this purpose. Power plants and other auxiliary service providers (ASPs) in Switzerland hold primary, secondary and tertiary control reserve capacities on behalf of Swissgrid and, in case of frequency deviations, allocate them against compensation. Primary and secondary control energy is retrieved automatically and tertiary control energy manually.

Swissgrid is constantly striving to further develop the ancillary services market with innovative solutions. These include the bundling of manually retrieved products for frequency control and for international redispatch into a single integrated market. A market platform suitable for this purpose, which enables the retrieval of both, tertiary control energy and energy for international redispatches, was successfully launched by Swissgrid last week. This is possible because the two products have the same characteristics and can be called up with the same lead time of 15 minutes.

The specifications of the platform design allow the market offers to be freely changeable. This means, above all, that there is no longer any competition between the tertiary control energy market and the intraday market. ASPs can now offer the energy not sold in the intraday market on the integrated market. Another new feature is that tenders can be processed using the communication protocol of the Energy Communication Platform (ECP) of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), which enables direct communication between the IT systems of the ASPs and the Swissgrid bidding platform. This process automation leads to greater transparency.

Swissgrid has launched a platform for the integration of the tertiary control energy market and the international intraday market (picture of the Mettlen-Lavorgo powerline: Albinfo / CC BY 3.0)

Linkup
> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Austro-German cooperation on control reserve

05.02.2020

The Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) APG and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW are intensifying their cooperation in terms of balancing energy. Since December 2019, the five TSCNET shareholders have been exchanging minutes reserve, i.e. the provision of short-term power reserves to balance fluctuations in generation and consumption that affect frequency. Minutes reserve comes into play after primary control and secondary reserve, the two short-term effective balancing energies. Austria and Germany are thus the first countries in Europe to cooperate on all types of control reserve and make a significant contribution to secure electricity supply in Europe.

The cooperation with the project name “GAMMA” (German-Austrian Manual Merit Order Activation) is trendsetting, as it is the first collaboration in the field of minutes reserve to fulfil the objectives of the EU guideline for electricity balancing on a regional scale. Germany and Austria are testing a regional internal market for the joint utilisation of minutes reserve and will contribute their new experience with the integration of control energy markets to the European “MARI” (Manually Activated Reserves Initiative) project.

Beyond the requirements of the guideline, the Austro-German cooperation will be expanded in February 2020 to include the joint procurement of secondary reserves. It is intended that in an initial phase up to 80MW, later up to 280MW, can be procured across borders. The cost-benefit analysis for the allocation of cross-border transport capacities was jointly developed by the cooperating TSOs. It compares the market value of cross-border transmission capacity for the day-ahead market with that of the secondary reserve, thereby optimising procurement and determining the amount of cross-border transmission capacity allocated to the secondary reserve. This cooperation also represents a lighthouse project in Europe and anticipates the goals of the EU Clean Energy for All Europeans Package.

The Austrian TSO APG and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW exchange minutes reserve in a regional internal market

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

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New EU Electricity Regulation in place

17.01.2020

With the beginning of 2020, the recast of the European Electricity Regulation on the internal market for electricity (EU/2019/943) came into force. The regulation is important for the new electricity market design, which was adopted as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package” and aims at realising the European Energy Union with common market rules and an efficient and high-performing cross-border infrastructure.

The regulation sets out the basic principles for an efficient electricity market and should allow for improved integration of national markets. It should also create greater capacity for cross-border trade, thereby providing better access to renewable energy. As far as the business of transmission system operators (TSOs) is concerned, rules for better coordination and closer transnational cooperation are the core of the regulatory framework. Furthermore, the functions and tasks of the regional service coordinators (RSCs) are clearly specified.

Already on 10 January the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT and TransnetBW had submitted their draft scenario framework for the 2035 (2021) Network Development Plan (NEP) to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). With this, they want to “contribute to the success of the energy turnaround and the achievement of the climate protection goals”.

The revised European Electricity Regulation on the internal market for electricity entered into force on 1 January 2020 (picture: European Commission / Etienne Ansotte)

Linkup
> See press release of the European Commission (html)
> See Netzentwicklungsplan webpage, in German (html)
> Visit EUR-Lex site (html) for the full text of the Regulation in various languages and formats.

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Study on German-Polish TSO cooperation

16.01.2020

The two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz from Germany and PSE from Poland jointly conducted the “German-Polish Study on cooperation between TSOs PSE and 50Hertz in long-term and mid-term perspectives”, which now has been finalised. The study was supported by the respective national Ministries responsible for energy.

As its title suggests, the study is divided into an investigation of medium-term and long-term cooperation objectives. The mid-term part aims at improving the coordination of the operational planning processes. The following issues, among others, have been identified as important: improving the quality of forecasting of power flows at the German-Polish border and the coordinated use of cross-border remedial measures such as phase-shifting transformers as well as bilateral and multilateral redispatch. To better predict cross-border flows, PSE and 50 Hertz agreed to support the development of a flow-based methodology, and as far as the remedial measures are concerned, advanced software solutions are required. However, not only the development of an IT tool is needed here, but also advanced coordination and cost sharing in a region-wide mechanism.

For the long-term study, a modelling process carried out by the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Warsaw was used, which was consulted and monitored by experts from both TSOs. Using alternative scenarios, different time frames and market simulations, the main trends in German-Polish electricity exchange as well as future challenges for regional markets and networks were identified, such as interconnector capacities, growth of energy demands or deviating energy prices.

50Hertz and PSE have conducted a joint study on German-Polish TSO cooperation (picture: Andreas Vogel / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Linkup
> See PSE press release (html)
> See 50Hertz webpage on the study, in German (html)
> Open Executive summary (pdf, 538.47kB)

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TERRE platform launched

07.01.2020

The project “Trans European Replacement Reserves Exchange” (TERRE) is dedicated to implementing the exchange of replacement reserves (RRs) under the EU guideline on electricity balancing. The objective of TERRE is to establish the European RR balancing energy market via an RR platform and to create uniform conditions for market participants. TERRE has been confirmed by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) as the European platform for the exchange of balancing energy from RRs and is closely monitored by national regulatory authorities and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

TERRE involves eight European transmission system operators (TSOs). The three TSCNET shareholders ČEPS from the Czech Republic, PSE from Poland and Swissgrid from Switzerland are complemented by RTE (France), National Grid (United Kingdom), Terna (Italy), REN (Portugal) and Red Eléctrica de Espaňa (Spain). A further six TSOs with observer status include the TSCNET shareholders MAVIR from Hungary and Transelectrica from Romania.

The TERRE platform was launched on 6 January 2020. The platform ensures cost-effective balancing energy with service availability within 30 minutes in a European setting. ČEPS was the first TSO to connect to the platform, and is currently also the only one. Further members will follow. “The launch of TERRE represents the completion of several years of effort, from defining business rules to developing an IT solution to testing the system with market participants in Europe,” explains Zbyněk Boldiš, Member of ČEPS’ Board of Directors.

The TERRE platform for the balancing of replacement energy reserves has been successfully launched (picture showing Zbyněk Boldiš, Member of ČEPS’ Board of Directors)

Linkup
> See ČEPS press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E’s TERRE website (html)

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TSO proposals on capacity balancing submitted

20.12.2019

In December 2017, the European Commission Regulation establishing a guideline for electricity balancing came into force. The European transmission system operators (TSOs) were given two years to prepare two proposals aimed at promoting market integration through the procurement and use of standard products for capacity balancing in an efficient, economic and market-based manner. Considering feedback from stakeholders, public consultations and workshops, these two proposals have now been submitted by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) to the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

The “Proposal for a methodology for co-optimised allocation process of cross-zonal capacity for the exchange of balancing capacity or sharing of reserve” specifies how cross-zonal capacity should be allocated in a single optimisation process to bids for energy exchange as well as for the exchange of balancing energy or the sharing of reserves. The process suggested involves contracting on a day-ahead basis and meets the requirements of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package”.

The “Proposal for a list of standard products for balancing capacity for frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves” details the minimum harmonisation criteria for the exchange of balancing capacity set by all TSOs. To respect the specific conditions of each region, additional characteristics may be defined and harmonised by two or more TSOs deciding to jointly provide balancing capacity.

ENTSO-E stresses that substantial work still needs to be done on the implementation and application of these proposals. Close interaction between neighbouring TSOs is essential for the establishment of balancing capacity cooperation.

ENTSO-E has submitted two TSO proposals on capacity balancing to ACER (picture showing Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia and home of ACER)

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