RGI report on bird data collected by TSOs

04.06.2019

Collisions of birds with power lines and lethal electric shocks pose a threat to certain bird species. European transmission system operators (TSOs) are aware of this and in order to minimise bird mortality from planned or existing infrastructure, TSOs collect significant amounts of data on birds. However, these data are often limited to specific projects or regions and are not collated. To better utilise the potential of this dispersed data for the benefit of birds, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), an association of non-governmental organisations and transmission system operators (TSOs) from all over Europe, has initiated a collective data project.

Together with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union, RGI has compiled the report “Better utilisation and transparency of bird data collected by TSOs”, which has now been published. The aim of the joint effort is to provide the actors in the energy sector with the necessary information to reduce the negative impact of power lines on bird populations in the long term.

The data were collected through a questionnaire and a workshop session. The BTO and the RSPB have translated their findings into a comprehensive document which contains specific recommendations for market participants. The project partners intend to build on this work and contribute to the development of a tool to better understand the determinants of bird mortality and the effectiveness of mitigation measures.

RGI has published a report on the use of bird data from TSOs for species protection (picture: Pete Linforth, Pixabay)

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> See RGI topic site (html)
> Open Bird data report (pdf, 1.02MB)

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APG automates emergency messages

20.02.2019

“In emergencies involving high voltages, quick help from proper specialists is needed,” explains Stevica Rakic, Project Manager at TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO). As the emergency services need accurate information, all 12,000 pylons in the APG control area have been equipped with an individual QR code since summer 2018. A corresponding specially developed smartphone application enables a reliable and quick notification of the right personnel in an emergency.

The QR codes are located on the pylon number plates and can be read with a scanner or simply with the camera from iOS or Android smartphones. If a random passer-by notices a potentially critical incident, he can press “Emergency Message” after scanning the code and the information process begins with automatically forwarding the message containing the relevant information to APG, the police, ambulance services, and the fire department. Besides, the person reporting is connected directly to the APG Security Center by phone.

If professional personnel use the function, APG’s digital security platform opens immediately. Of course, one cannot always rely on the availability of modern technology. Internet connections can be interrupted or there might be no smartphone available. Therefore, the familiar pylon and line numbers, as well as the emergency telephone number, remain on the plates so that an emergency message can still be sent without a smartphone or internet connection.

APG has equipped each of its pylons with an individual QR code for the automatic forwarding of emergency messages (picture: APG/APA/Schedl)

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> See APG press release, in German (html)

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“compactLine” nearly ready for commissioning

10.06.2018

The “compactLine” pilot route at the substation Jessen/Nord in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt makes visible progress. With all pylons erected and the traverses installed, TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), now has started to equip the towers with cables. The unconventional “compactLine” is more than just a new design: The pylons are lower and the corridor width smaller than with conventional lines. This significantly reduces the impact on the environment and increases public acceptance.

As many components had to be especially developed for “compactLine”, it took three years of preliminary studies before the 380kV line was ready for the field trial. Mike Wildgrube, project manager for “compactLine” at 50Hertz, expects the cable work to be completed in a few weeks and the line commissioning in the second half of the year. The monitoring phase for the pilot line will take at least a year to thoroughly investigate how the individual components function as an entire system in continuous operation.

Since the very beginning of the project, 50Hertz has involved the public in research and planning and also conducted a representative population survey. The TSO continues this practice by running an open dialogue programme. Besides that, the TSO received several groups of visitors on the construction site on 5 June. Among them were not only delegations of other network operators, business associations, administration or politics, but also representatives of the German environmental organisation NABU and citizen interest groups.

Picture: 50Hertz

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

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First “compactLine” pylons erected

06.03.2018

The pilot route of the innovative “compactLine” is taking shape. After three years of preliminary studies, TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), started the construction of test “compactLine” last October at the substation Jessen/Nord in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. Compared with conventional lines, the “compactLine” pylons are lower and the corridor width is smaller, which is why the “compactLine” reduces the impact on the environment significantly.

According to Mike Wildgrube, project manager for “compactLine” at 50Hertz, the construction work is fully in schedule. The first pylons are assembled on the site and by mid-March, all masts should be ready-made, followed by work on the traverses and cables. In the summer, the pilot route is expected to be connected to the grid. Since the beginning of the project, 50Hertz has involved the public in research and planning and is continuing this practice with the publication of an information brochure on “compactLine”.

> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)
> Open “compactLine” info brochure, in German (pdf, 549kb)

Picture: 50Hertz

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Start of “compactLine” construction

08.10.2017

After three years of development, TSC member 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), finalises its research on the innovative overhead line project “compactLine” with the construction of a pilot route. The test “compactLine” comprises five pylons on a length of two kilometres and sets off at the substation Jessen/Nord in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, where 50Hertz can rely on safe test conditions. It is expected to go on-grid in summer 2018.

The prime objective of 50Hertz’ research activities is to provide an additional technical alternative for future overhead line projects. The pylons of “compactLine” are lower, and its corridor width is smaller in comparison to conventional lines, thus reducing the impact on nature and local residents significantly. This opens up a potential for sustainably promoting the public acceptance of grid extension measures, which is evident from a representative population survey conducted last year on behalf of 50Hertz.

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

Illustration based on a picture by 50Hertz

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Green light for “compactLine”

13.04.2017

Since 2013, TSC member 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is committed to the research and development project “compactLine”. The pylons of this innovative overhead line concept only reach a height of 30-36m. Furthermore, the narrow corridor width of only 55-60m reduces the impact on nature and local residents significantly in comparison to conventional overhead lines, thus helping to promote the public acceptance of the grid extension.

A representative population survey conducted last year on behalf of 50Hertz, showed a high degree of consent for the new design. Now “compactLine” has taken another important step: The competent local authority has approved the plans of 50Hertz to built a pilot model line at the substation Jessen/Nord in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The pilot line with a length of about 2km will comprise five pylons.

The commissioning of the test “compactLine” is scheduled for summer 2018. In a monitoring phase lasting at least one year, the entire system as well as its individual components are then being checked regularly by the German TSO. Dr. Frank Golletz, Chief Technical Officer at 50Hertz, emphasises the significance of the new line concept as “further technology option in addition to classic overhead lines and cables” which can be considered in future planning and approval procedures.

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

Illustration based on a picture by 50Hertz

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Swiss hybrid lines in the public eye

19.04.2016

Under the national “Energy Turnaround” research programme (NRP 70), the “Hybrid overhead power lines for Switzerland” project implemented by the ETH Zurich, one of the leading universities for technology and the natural sciences, is supported by TSC member Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO). The project is about the combination of direct and alternating current systems to increase the transfer capacity of existing 380kV overhead lines and became publicly known at the 10th Energy Research Conference held in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 14 and 15 April.

> See Swissgrid press release (html)

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