Study on the operation of power grids at higher voltages

26.08.2020

In many regions of Europe, the expansion of the transmission and distribution networks is not up to the pace of the energy transition, which is why the existing grids must be utilised as effectively as possible for the restructuring of the energy system. Such increased utilisation may also include operation at higher voltage levels. To learn more about this, the German Association for Electrical Engineering, Electronics, and Information Technology (VDE – Verband der Elektrotechnik, Elektronik und Informationstechnik) – one of Europe’s largest technical-scientific associations with corporate and institutional members – has commissioned a study on this topic, entitled “Spannungsfestigkeit” (“Dielectric strength”). The findings of the now published study are intended to be incorporated into the European Network Codes and regulations.

The central result of the study is that grid facilities such as overhead lines, switchgears, and transformers can be operated for short periods at a voltage above their usual rated voltage. Operating equipment is actually designed for a certain maximum voltage, i.e. with this voltage it can be operated permanently, and the intended service life is achieved. The study reveals the conditions under which equipment in distribution and transmission systems can temporarily manage higher voltages that exceed the voltage levels and durations as well as their frequencies specified in the relevant standards.

However, it is important to limit the duration and frequency of higher voltage operation. If a device with a rated voltage of 420kV is operated continuously at a voltage above 420kV, its service life can be shortened by up to 50%. According to the study, special effects must be considered for individual operating equipment. Transformers and chokes, for example, can generate higher noise levels, and voltage converters may generate stationary relaxation oscillations. VDE recommends that network providers such as transmission system operators (TSOs) examine their own equipment for reserves and functionality at increased operating voltage.

VDE has published a study on the operation of grids and network systems at higher voltage levels

Linkup
> See VDE press release, in German (html)

See article on single page

New IT tools for Europe-wide supply security

08.06.2020

The digitisation of grid operation is constantly increasing and requires continuous optimisation, e.g. in terms of outage planning coordination and adequacy analysis – both aspects are integral parts of the Annual Work Programme 2020 of the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E). Two new IT tools to simplify the cooperation of transmission system operators (TSOs) and allow better anticipation of the balance between supply and demand are available since this spring and currently used by a total of 38 TSOs. Under the coordination of ENTSO-E, the “Outage Planning Coordination (OPC) Pan European Merge Tool” and “Short Term Adequacy forecast (STA) tool” have been developed jointly with the Munich based Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) TSCNET Services playing a leading role in the development of OPC.

Tahir Kapetanovic, Head of the Control Centre of TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian TSO, and Chairman of the ENTSO-E System Operation Committee, comments on the latest success: “The cross-border coordination and intensive cooperation of all national TSOs are the preconditions for a smooth functioning of the power supply across the European Union. By means of such jointly developed tools, uniform norms and standards for network operation can truly be implemented into practice.”

The launching of both tools may be considered as further evidence of the well-established pan-European cooperation of European TSOs and RSCs. STA enables a short to medium-term prognosis for load management, which is particularly important in view of the energy transition to compensate for the volatility of renewable power generation with innovative solutions and to integrate them smartly into the system. With the OPC Pan European Merge Tool, concept originally developed by TSCNET Services, the TSOs and RSCs can plan power outages on a regional level, including coordination of maintenance and inspections. Electricity supply and trade are thus ensured despite the necessary shutdowns.

The need for OPC on a pan-European level across the different RSCs and the corresponding concept of a harmonised outage planning process dates back to 2012, when the TSOs of the central and eastern European regions established the TSC (TSO Security Cooperation) area. The Medium-Long-Term Operational Planning (MLTOP) project of the TSC TSOs, which was started at that time, is the origin of the OPC tool. When TSCNET Services emerged in 2015 from the joint TSC TSO office in Munich, the MLTOP project was carried on by TSCNET for prototype and business process development in coordination with the TSC TSOs. In the same year, ENTSO-E launched the TSO Project for Coordination Strategy Implementation with the Regional Security Coordination Initiatives (RSCIs), which was continued later under the EU System Operation Guideline (SO GL). This extended the scope of the MLTOP project from the TSC area to the whole of Europe and it became the foundation of the OPC project.

In December 2017, the prototype resulting from the OPC project, owned and developed by TSCNET, went live on a pan-European scale and provided the initial service to all TSOs and RSCs in Europe. Now the prototype tool has been converted into and replaced by a fully-fledged industrial tool: the OPC Pan European Merge Tool, whose development represents a unique success story for TSCNET services and the associated TSOs. What was once an idea for cooperation in the TSC area has been further developed and prototyped by TSCNET in close cooperation with the TSOs and has now evolved into an industrialised pan-European tool used by the outage planners of 38 TSOs and four other RSCs.

TSCNET Services as a major contributor
The OPC project and its development process is a good example of what can be achieved through intensive cooperation between TSOs and RSCs. TSCNET successfully took the lead in this cooperative effort and managed not only to develop services on a pan-European level, but also to successfully coordinate with other stakeholders (RSCs, TSOs and ENTSO-E) and convince them to be part of the success. The development of the OPC project fits perfectly with the narrative of the definition of TSO, RSC and European coordination: The RSCs provide services to TSOs by setting up business processes and tools with their unique regional and technical expertise, thereby combining the knowledge of the individual TSOs – and if the concept has proven to work, they scale it up for the rest of Europe and centralise the infrastructure if necessary (and requested by ENTSO-E).

TSCNET is indebted to its Service Analytics & Quality Manager and responsible OPC Project Convener, Jayaram Anandha, to Sonja Tomić, Junior Operations Manager, and Jorge Alves, Operations Manager, for their input in the development of this highly efficient tool. The predecessor as OPC Project Convener, Tin Bobetko, and Michalis Stamoulis jointly led the business and data standard development of the OPC prototype tool, which was running perfectly until the industrialised version went live.

Two new IT tools for TSO cooperation, one of which developed by TSCNET, have been introduced and improve European supply security 

Linkup
> See APG press release (html)

See article on single page

“The grid demands digitisation and AI”

02.03.2020

Europe’s high-voltage grid has a total length of around 485,000km and continuously feeds in approx. 1,152,017MW of electricity. The transnational grid can be considered as the backbone of all European critical infrastructures, whose reliable operation is essential for Europe to function as an economic zone. Since this aspect is too often neglected, Maik Neubauer, one of the two Managing Directors of TSCNET Services, the Munich-based Regional Security Coordinator (RSC), has taken the opportunity to share his views on the prospects of the European electricity transmission system in an interview in the current issue (1/2020) of the “THEMEN:magazin”. This German-language medium bi-monthly provides reports on economic challenges and opportunities with a focus on energy policy.

Neubauer points out that, although the European interconnected grid is one of the most complex infrastructures in the world, there have so far hardly been any significant blackout situations – thanks to the cooperation of the European transmission system operators (TSOs), which has been well-established for decades. But since the energy transition is a pan-European project, the increasing flows of electricity from renewable sources do not stop at the border. European TSOs face the challenge of integrating numerous additional energy sources into the grid and operational control processes. Due to the predominance of nuclear and fossil power generation to date, the forecasting and control processes for optimum utilisation and balancing of the European grid have so far been rather deterministic, which is currently changing at a rapid pace with the volatile renewable energies.

Therefore, in addition to grid expansion and swift digitisation of control processes, increased European coordination of congestion and capacity management is essential. The EU network codes and, of course, the RSCs are crucial for this, as Neubauer emphasises. The RSCs receive data on expected grid situations from almost all European TSOs. This information is aggregated by the RSCs to provide an “early warning system” that identifies potential bottlenecks and threats to the grid. The RSCs thus support their TSO customers to counteract potential blackout situations in Europe by taking real- and near-time mitigation actions in their system operations and planning departments. Nevertheless, according to Neubauer, swift digitisation is inevitable to cope with the increasing data volumes in European grid management caused by the integration of renewable energy sources.

Without the seamless interaction of operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT), secure grid management will hardly be possible in the future. Neubauer also predicts that without a high level of artificial intelligence (AI), the complexity in critical infrastructures will no longer be controllable by humans in the medium term. Therefore, AI will soon also radically change the energy sector. Neubauer is well aware, however, that IT security and cyber security must have the highest priority in order to safeguard developments in AI and protect highly critical infrastructures from misuse or even terrorism.

“Artificial intelligence will be indispensable” – in an interview with the “THEMEN:magazin”, Maik Neubauer presented his view on the perspectives of the European electricity transmission system

Linkup
> Visit “THEMEN:magazin” webpage, in German (html)

See article on single page

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)

See article on single page

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)

See article on single page

ENTSO-E reports on implementation of market network codes

04.09.2019

The EU network codes are a concise set of rules to promote the harmonisation of national electricity markets and regulations on the way to the European Energy Union. A fully functioning and interconnected internal energy market will strengthen Europe’s competitiveness, contribute to the integration of more renewable energies and ensure security of supply.

The network codes are divided into three families: connection, operation and market. The guidelines for Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM) and for Forward Capacity Allocation (FCA) are an integral part of the market code family. The progress made by the European transmission system operators (TSOs) in implementing these regulations is documented in two reports which have now been published by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

The “ENTSO-E Market Report 2019” outlines the progress in day-ahead and intraday coupling as well as in FCA, and the “ENTSO-E Report on Capacity Calculation and Allocation 2019” covers the capacity calculation in the ten capacity calculation regions (CCRs). The latter report also assesses capacity calculation and allocation based on statistical and quality indicators.

ENTSO-E has released two reports on the TSO implementation of market network codes (picture: ENTSO-E)

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open Market Report (pdf, 2.85MB)
> Open Report on Capacity Calculation and Allocation (pdf, 2.97MB)

See article on single page

New syllabus for network codes

12.03.2019

The EU electricity network codes and guidelines are a detailed set of rules to promote the harmonisation of national electricity markets and regulations on the way to the European Energy Union. By the end of 2017, a total of eight network codes and guidelines have been implemented: three grid connection codes, three market codes and two operation codes. In order to raise awareness of these innovative pan-European rules for a more sustainable, reliable and interconnected power system and to better involve market participants in the code contents and their implementation, the Florence School of Regulation (FSR) has published a new syllabus as part of its online training on European network codes.

The online course partners of the FSR are those institutions that have developed the codes: the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Commission. The new manual deals mainly with market codes and discusses, for instance, the different European electricity markets and their establishment in the national context as well as their integration. Also, two connection codes are described and their technical requirements clarified. The syllabus is also a beneficial addition to ENTSO-E’s e-codes application for smartphones.

The FSR has published a new syllabus on the European electricity network codes (picture: photomontage using an illustration by the European Union / EC – Audiovisual Service)

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit Network codes syllabus website of the European University Institute (html, with access to download)

See article on single page

EU supports research on power system interfaces

17.01.2019

After implementing the network codes and the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, the European Commission is now funding INTERRFACE under the Horizon 2020 programme. The aim of this research project is to create new connections/interfaces in the power system. INTERRFACE has now been launched and will run for three years with a budget of €21m. It involves 42 partners from grid and market operators, aggregators, service and technology providers as well as universities.

The consortium includes the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE) and the two TSCNET shareholders ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO), and Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania. Together with their partners, they plan to develop an Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture to serve as an interface between customers and power system operators – TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) – to allow seamless, transparent and non-discriminatory exchange of energy services.

INTERRFACE is intended to demonstrate the added value of data exchange between all players involved in the value chain of the electricity system, and this from local, regional to EU level. This would be a first in the energy sector. INTERRFACE should also enable TSOs, DSOs and customers to fully exploit and coordinate the potential of decentralised energy resources.

The European Commission is funding a research project on creating a Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

See article on single page

TSO proposals for balancing market integration

20.12.2018

To pave the way for a well-functioning energy union, there are eight European network codes: regulations that are intended to promote the integration and coordination of the various national European energy markets. One of these codes, the Commission regulation establishing a guideline for electricity balancing (EBGL), is intended – as the wording implies – to integrate the national European balancing markets.

Cross-border balancing is crucial for the transmission system operators (TSOs) to continuously ensure that the grid frequency is kept within a defined security range and that the required level and quality of power reserves are maintained. The European TSOs have now substantially advanced the guideline implementation by submitting six proposals for balancing market integration and the creation of platforms for the exchange of balancing energy products to the competent national regulatory authorities (NRAs).

With the assistance of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE), these proposals have been developed in close cooperation between all TSOs and consulted with stakeholders. Laurent Schmitt, ENTSO-E Secretary General, is convinced that the realisation of the TSO proposals will create a level playing field for all market participants and thus lead to increased cross-border participation, supply security, competition and share of renewable energy. Consequently, Mr Schmitt identifies a “true ‘win-win-win situation‘, good for customer, the environment and the economy”.

The European TSOs have submitted six proposals for balancing market integration to the competent NRAs

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit the EBGL website (html)

See article on single page

Swissgrid pursues Strategy 2022

01.11.2018

The Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, rightly considers itself as the backbone of supply security in Switzerland. In order to underpin this status in the future and to further increase the company’s efficiency and professionalism, Swissgrid designed the Strategy 2022. This entails corporate restructuring and new business unit developments as of 1 January 2019, especially in regard to system operation, asset management as well as development and digitisation.

To achieve the long-term goals in accordance with the TSO’s overarching Energy Strategy 2050, Swissgrid has defined four well-considered priority areas in which measures are to be implemented by 2022: “Safety for people, systems and the environment”, “Integrated plant and system operations”, “Intelligent use of new technologies” and “Close cooperation with partners in Switzerland and Europe”. Within these benchmarks, the main structural changes are the establishment of three newly designed operational divisions, namely the Market Business Unit, Grid Infrastructure, and a Research & Digitalisation team.

The new Market Business Unit allows integrated system operation by combining market and grid operation. The future task distribution within this unit ensures compatibility with the harmonised European network codes for cross-border electricity exchange. Secondly, Grid Infrastructure will focus exclusively on asset management, thereby significantly increasing the tasks and capacities for grid maintenance, extension and modernisation. Finally, the Research & Digitalisation team integrates all of Swissgrid’s applied research and development activities, which were previously spread across business units. This should promote innovation particularly in the areas of automation and digitisation.

Swissgrid reorganises its corporate structure by implementing the new Strategy 2022 (picture: Swissgrid)

Linkup
> See Swissgrid media release (html)

See article on single page