Construction progress for Oradea-Békéscsaba line

02.11.2020

In July 2020, the Romanian transmission system operator (TSO) and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica finally was able to award the construction contract for the missing section of the 400kV Oradea-Békéscsaba power line. For more than ten years, the completion of the overhead line in the far west of Romania has been prevented due to unsettled property issues concerning this section, namely between the Oradea South substation and Nădab. Now that the ownership concerns have been resolved, the investment in the new line will ensure interconnection capacity in the region. Transelectrica expects the construction works to be completed by summer 2021.

Closing this transmission gap is important to Romania’s overall security of supply because the commissioning of the last 72 kilometres between the Romanian town Nădab and the Hungarian border town Békéscsaba not only completes the Oradea-Békéscsaba overhead line, but also contributes to the closure of the “400 kV Ring” in western Romania, a priority energy objective for Romania. The new line will also enable Transelectrica to reduce congestions and thus save considerable intervention costs. As regards European market integration, Romania’s interconnection capacity will be increased by 100MW in export and 300MW in import direction.

The management of Transelectrica represented by the Chairman of the TSO’s Directorate, Cătălin Nițu, and the members of the Directorate, Andreea Miu and Bogdan Marcu, have now informed themselves personally about the progress of the construction work. Mr Nițu emphasised the particular importance of the project for the Romanian energy landscape and the European electricity market

The management of Transelectrica has assessed the construction progress of the last section of the 400kV Oradea-Békéscsaba overhead line (picture: Transelectrica)

Linkup
> See Transelectrica press release, in Romanian (pdf, 188.5kb)

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New intraday products on German, French and Benelux borders under SIDC

29.10.2020

The European Transmission System Operators (TSOs) are jointly striving for an integrated European electricity market. A key component for market integration is cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC), which was introduced in June 2018, then called XBID. SIDC aims to increase the overall efficiency of intraday trading through effective competition, increased liquidity, and more efficient use of generation resources. Further progress has now been made along the path to a common market: On 10 December 2020, the competent Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs), the Belgian and French TSOs Elia and RTE and the two TSCNET shareholders Amprion, one of the four German TSOs, and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, will launch new cross-border intraday products at the borders of the bidding zones between Belgium, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

In concrete terms, 30-minute cross-border products are to be introduced in intraday continuous trading at the Belgian-French border and 15 and 30-minute cross-border products at the Belgian-German, Belgian-Dutch and Dutch-German borders. With the introduction of these intraday products, the TSOs fulfil their obligation to offer cross-zonal capacity for SIDC at their borders with least common multiple of the imbalance settlement periods (ISP) and this on both sides of the respective bidding zone borders. This innovation should improve the possibilities for imbalance management by market parties, closer to real time, as market participants will be able to sell or buy cross-border products with the same resolution as the ISPs of the Belgian, Dutch, French, and German-Luxembourg bidding zones.

Moreover, Belgian and Dutch market participants will then have access to the existing market liquidity of 15-minute products in Germany and Austria and 30-minute products in Germany and France respectively, where these cross-border products have already been established. The XBID platform for SIDC comprises a common IT system with a shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module. Via this platform, the new products will be available for cross-border trade in Belgium and the Netherlands from 10 December 2020 and will complement the currently existing 60-minute cross-border products. Bids for 15-minute and 30-minute products will be included in the NEMOs’ shared order books.

As SIDC represents a pan-European solution, numerous TSCNET shareholders are involved in the solution for market integration. In addition to the above mentioned TSOs, 50Hertz, APG, ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, Transelectrica, and TransnetBW as well as several TSCNET customers are also part of SIDC.

New cross-border intraday products will be launched in December 2020 under SIDC

Linkup
> See Amprion press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

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Substantial EU funding for Harmony Link

02.10.2020

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is an important financial instrument of the EU to support targeted infrastructure investments at European level. On 1 October 2020, the coordination committee of the CEF decided to allocate €719.7m for investment in electricity transmission infrastructure in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The granting follows an application for funding submitted at the end of May this year by the national transmission system operators (TSOs) of the three Baltic States and by PSE, the Polish TSCNET shareholder.

Harmony Link, which is to be the second interconnector between Poland and Lithuania, particularly benefits: €493m will be directly allocated to the project. Further funding is intended for the upgrading of infrastructure required for the integration of Harmony Link and for the installation of synchronous compensators in the Baltic States.

The first Polish-Lithuanian interconnector is LitPol link, an overhead line connecting the PSE substation in Elk and the Lithuanian Alytus substation, which has been in operation since 2016. Harmony Link is implemented in a different technical way, as a high voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine cable bypassing the Curonian Lagoon and the Gdańsk Bay. The new Polish-Lithuanian interconnector is crucial to enable the synchronisation of the Baltic electricity area with the Continental European (CE) area – an important objective in the framework of the European Energy Union to create a common European electricity market. It will also support regional and supra-regional supply security.

The EU is funding the Polish and Baltic electricity infrastructure with €719.7m through the CEF Energy programme (picture of Gdańsk Bay seen from Gdynia: NAC on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Linkup
> See PSE press release (html)

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ALEGrO on the final straight

17.09.2020

Lichtenbusch near the westernmost German city of Aachen is located directly on the border between Germany and Belgium and is divided into a Belgian and a German part. Right here, on 16 September 2020, the final joint of the “Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay” (ALEGrO) was installed by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and its Belgian partner TSO Elia. Over a distance of 90 kilometres, the DC interconnector with a transmission capacity of 1,000MW connects the Oberzier substation in the German Rhineland region with the Elia substation in Lixhe in the Walloon province of Liège. ALEGrO is the first direct link between the Belgian and German electricity grids and was realised over its entire length by means of underground cables.

The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) provides much needed grid capacity for cross-border electricity flows, while strengthening security of supply in the German region of Aachen-Cologne and the Belgian province of Liège. The cable laying work for ALEGrO started in October 2018 and after twenty months of construction, the civil engineering work was concluded in June 2020. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, ALEGrO is thus on schedule and nearing completion. The binational power bridge will go into technical operation in October 2020 and will be available to the European electricity market from mid-November. The technical integration of the DC cable into the three-phase grid is a step by step process. The same applies to the parallel market integration. Here, day-ahead capacities are offered first followed by intraday capacities. The allocation of long-term capacities will start in early 2021.

Amprion and Elia installed the final link of the ALEGrO interconnector, which will go into technical operation soon (picture of the project managers Ingo Sander, Amprion, and Dirk Wellens, Elia: Amprion)

Linkup
> See Amprion press release (html)

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Delay for Interim Coupling

11.09.2020

To introduce single day-ahead coupling in a total of 23 European countries, the so-called 4M Market Coupling Countries (4M MC) – Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia – are to be connected to the Europe-wide Multi Regional Coupling (MRC) of the electricity market. The initiative to implement the MRC extension is the DE-AT-PL-4M project, also referred to as “Interim Coupling Project”. It aims to establish implicit capacity allocation based on Net Transfer Capacity (NTC) at six borders: PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, and HU-AT. The TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, APG, ČEPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, and Transelectrica – transmission system operators (TSOs) from Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia – participate in Interim Coupling.

After the project had completed the design phase and entered the implementation phase at the end of 2019, Interim Coupling was actually supposed to start in September 2020. The TSOs and Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) involved have now announced that the kick-off must be postponed. This is due to several project parties experiencing local implementation bottlenecks in the first quarter of 2020 because of interrelations between ongoing parallel projects. This led to a delay of several months in the implementation activities for Interim Coupling. National regulatory authorities have asked the European Commission to provide guidance on how to proceed with this project. Market players will be informed as soon as possible about the next steps.

The start of the AT-PL-4M MC project has been postponed

Linkup
> See MAVIR press release, html
> See PSE press release, html
> See SEPS press release, html
> Open AT-PL-4M MC information paper provided by Transelectrica (pdf, 262.12kB)

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First successful device installation within FARCROSS

28.08.2020

The FARCROSS (FAcilitating Regional CROSS-border Electricity Transmission through Innovation) project, which started in October 2019, is a four-year project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme. The objective of FARCROSS is to find solutions for increased regional cross-border cooperation in electricity transmission. The connection of regional key players in the energy value chain and the introduction of integrated hardware and software solutions are intended to tap additional resources for cross-border electricity flows. The FARCROSS consortium of 31 partners includes the transmission system operators (TSOs) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, and Greece together with the TSCNET shareholders APG (Austria), Hops (Croatia), MAVIR (Hungary), and Transelectrica (Romania).

The three demonstration areas of FARCROSS are smart grid innovations, the development of regional system operations platforms to allow improved system operation forecasting on TSO level, and the optimisation of capacity allocation for regional cross-border trading. The technical grid solutions involve special line monitoring sensors, which are based on the Dynamic Line Rating (DLR) technology for real time overhead line monitoring. These sensors enable TSOs to optimise the utilisation of their transmission lines. The installation of DLR sensors is intended for four countries, and the Croatian TSO HOPS was the first to install such devices on the 220kV Senj-Melina transmission line a month ago. Since then, the sensors have been operating smoothly and the HOPS team of experts is pleased to have taken the first step towards the ambitious FARCROSS goals.

As part of the FARCROSS project, HOPS has installed monitoring sensors on the Senj-Melina overhead line to improve capacity utilisation (illustration using pictures by HOPS and FARCROSS H2020)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> Visit FARCROSS website (html)

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Way is paved for 400kV line in western Romania

29.07.2020

For more than ten years, the completion of the 400kV Oradea-Békéscsaba overhead line in the far west of Romania has been prevented due to unresolved ownership issues regarding the section Oradea South-Nădab. Because of this, the line could only partially be put into operation, that is between the Romanian town Nădab and the Hungarian town Békéscsaba, near the Romanian-Hungarian border. Now the property situation has been clarified and the Romanian transmission system operator (TSO) and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica was able to award the building contract for the missing section.

Transelectrica expects the construction work to be completed within twelve months. The commissioning of the last 72-kilometre section and thus the completion of the Oradea-Békéscsaba overhead line will contribute to the closure of the “400kV Ring” in the west of Romania. This project is a priority energy target for Romania, which will significantly improve the operational reliability of the national transmission system and security of electricity supply in the north-west of the country. The new Oradea-Békéscsaba line will also enable Transelectrica to eliminate congestions and thus save considerable costs for grid interventions. Finally, Romania’s interconnection capacity will be increased by 100MW in export and 300MW in import direction, which will not only contribute to compliance with EU regulations, but also make a sustainable contribution to the integration of the European electricity market.

Transelectrica has awarded the building contracts for the last section of the 400kV Oradea-Békéscsaba overhead line (picture of Oradea: Marculescu Eugen Iancu, Creative Commons)

Linkup
> See Transelectrica press release, in Romanian (pdf, 191.kb)

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TSOs of the Central SOR submit RCC proposal

29.07.2020

The EU Regulation on the internal electricity market (2019/943) calls for a higher degree of coordination between transmission system operators (TSOs) at regional level. This is to be achieved through the establishment of Regional Coordination Centres (RCCs). Regulation 2019/943 provides that the future RCCs will act more autonomously in terms of risk prevention than the current Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) like the Munich based TSCNET Services. On 6 April 2020, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) published a decision on the geographical scope of the RCCs (ACER Decision 10/2020) and defined the so-called System Operation Regions (SORs). The TSOs of each SOR were invited to submit a proposal on the establishment of RCCs to the relevant national regulatory authorities (NRAs).

The 19 TSOs of the Central SOR – including all TSCNET shareholders except the non-EU TSO Swissgrid from Switzerland and also three TSCNET customers – now have submitted their joint proposal for the RCC establishment in accordance with Article 35 of Regulation (EU) 2019/943. It was published by the German Federal Network Agency (“Bundesnetzagentur“).  The TSOs’ suggestion is to develop existing RSCs into RCCs by adapting them to comply with the requirements of the EU Regulation. The TSOs are of the opinion that despite their increased autonomy, the future RCCs should have their grid stability measures confirmed by the TSOs. The respective TSOs concerned should be able to carry out reviews where appropriate and to oppose RCC measures on well-founded reasons. This requires an intensive exchange of information between RCCs and TSOs.

The paper proposes working agreements and service contracts as basis for the TSO-RCC cooperation. The core tasks of the RCCs should remain those of the RSCs, such as security analysis, outage planning coordination, capacity calculation, adequacy forecasts, or grid modelling. In addition, the RCCs should assist TSOs in identifying transmission system extension and modernisation priorities. RCCs should also be involved in assessing the extent to which foreign capacity may participate in national capacity mechanisms. A proposal from the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), which is still pending, shall define which tasks the RCCs will perform in determining regional reserve capacity and in the regional procurement of balancing power.

The 19 TSOs of the Central SOR have published a joint proposal on the establishment of RCCs (picture: ENTSO-E)

Linkup
> Open Joint TSO proposal, in German (pdf, 535kb)
> Open ACER decision 10/2020 (pdf, 267.6kb)
> Access to EU-Regulation 2019/943 (html)

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New Local Implementation Project under SIDC

09.07.2020

European transmission system operators (TSOs) are committed to the European Energy Union by collectively working towards an integrated European electricity market. A key component for market integration is cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC), which was introduced as XBID in June 2018. SIDC is designed to increase the overall efficiency of intraday trading through effective competition, increased liquidity, and more efficient use of generation resources. Currently, the markets of 22 countries are coupled through SIDC: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. With the inclusion of the Slovakian Nominated Electricity Market Operator (NEMO) OKTE and TSCNET shareholder SEPS, the TSO from Bratislava, the project also extends to Slovakia.

Within the framework structure of the SIDC, Local Implementation Projects (LIPs) provide for the expansion of the market coupling, and a new project has now been established as LIP 17. The NEMOs and TSOs from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia – the TSCNET shareholders ČEPS, MAVIR, PSE, and SEPS – have proposed to implement SIDC across the borders between Slovakia-Czechia, Slovakia-Hungary, and Slovakia-Poland. The SIDC Steering Committee approved on 7 July and the LIP 17 roadmap will now be elaborated in more detail.

The SIDC solution comprises a common IT system with a shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module. In addition to the TSOs mentioned above, the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ELES, HOPS, TenneT, Transelectrica, and TransnetBW as well as the TSCNET customers Creos from Luxembourg and Energinet from Denmark are also part of SIDC.

A new LIP for the introduction of intraday trading across the borders of Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia has been established under SIDC

Linkup
> See MAVIR press release (html)
> See PSE press release (html)
> See SEPS press release (html)

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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 

Linkup
> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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