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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Swissgrid and hydropower storage plants agree on minimum production

20.12.2019

To avoid an overload of grid elements in western Switzerland during the winter holidays, TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), has agreed upon a minimum production with selected regional hydropower storage plants. This is intended to reduce the potential increased and costly need for redispatch during these low-consumption days.

The measure is also necessary because the availability of the transformer at the Bassecourt substation in the canton of Jura is currently limited and the new transformer at Mühleberg in the canton of Berne has not yet been fully installed. Both projects will be implemented in spring 2020. The agreed minimum production in the period from 20 December 2019 to 6 January 2020 is 200MW (off-peak) and 400MW (peak).

Swissgrid has negotiated minimum production from hydropower storage plants

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> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Final Conference of FutureFlow

10.09.2019

The FutureFlow project reaches the final straight: On 15 October, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO) ELES will host the final conference of the successful project in the Austrian capital of Vienna. FutureFlow was launched in 2016 and funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme. The twelve project partners from eight European countries will officially conclude the project in December 2019.

The increasing regenerative energy generation and decreasing flexibility from conventional power plants require innovative approaches by the players in the electricity market. This is where the FutureFlow project comes in by exploring innovative e-trading solutions for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European TSOs, all shareholders of TSCNET. In addition to the project coordinator ELES, the other TSO participants are APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary and Transelectrica from Romania.

At the final conference the FutureFlow partners will present the most important project results and options for their implementation. These include, for example, the real-time results of the cross-border pilot tests and the operation of the IT platforms developed as part of FutureFlow.

The final conference of the FutureFlow project is hosted by Eles in Vienna on 15 October (picture: Stefan Steinbauer, Pixabay)

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

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High growth in renewables in the 50Hertz area

17.07.2019

The generation of power from wind and sun is increasing steadily and strongly in the control area of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the north-eastern German transmission system operator (TSO). 21.6TWh of wind power were generated in the first half of 2019, compared with only 16.6TWh in the corresponding period of the previous year. In the same time, photovoltaic generation amounted to 6TWh, which is an increase of almost 170GWh. This corresponds with the rise in the installed capacity of onshore and offshore wind turbines, which totalled 19.6GW in mid-2019 (mid-2018: 18.9GW) and the installed capacity of photovoltaic systems, which reached 11.1GW (mid-2018: 10.6GW).

Despite this capacity increase and the incrementing feed-in of electricity into the grid, 50Hertz was able to maintain stable costs for congestion management, such as interventions in the operation of conventional power plants and the temporary shutdown of renewable energy facilities. In the first half of 2019, redispatch costs amounted to around €13m and the costs for feed-in management to around €48m.

This increase in renewable generation and installed capacity from renewable facilities shows that northern and eastern Germany make an indispensable contribution to achieving the German government’s target of a 65% share of renewable energies in nationwide electricity consumption by 2030. However, from the TSO perspective of 50Hertz, the necessary grid extension must be pushed ahead in parallel to be able to transmit the green electricity to the consumption centres in the south and to keep congestion management costs under control.

The generation of electricity from renewable sources is increasing in the control area of 50Hertz (picture showing the transformer platform of the Baltic Sea wind farm Arkona: 50Hertz)

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

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DA/RE project: first retrievals of redispatch capacities

11.07.2019

The Baden-Württemberg grid security initiative “DA/RE” (“DAta exchange/REdispatch”) addresses the increasing volatility and decentralisation of power generation. The aim is to stabilise the entire electricity system by utilising the flexibility potential of decentralised generation units from lower grid levels. Originally launched in the summer of 2018 by TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the German transmission system operator (TSO) from the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the southwest German distribution system operator (DSO) Netze BW, the project consortium was later expanded so that a total of three DSOs and four other partners from the areas of virtual power plants, home storage and energy trading were involved in the first DA/RE pilot phase from April to June 2019.

During this phase, the participants have defined and developed the method of data exchange and coordination. Following this successful implementation process, the first retrievals from pilot plants in the distribution network for redispatch purposes have now been initiated. Capacities were retrieved from battery home storage facilities, several biogas plants, a waste incineration plant and a cogeneration plant. The tests therefore involved both medium-voltage and low-voltage systems and the project partners have demonstrated that it is possible and important to make use of all flexibilities at all voltage levels for grid stabilisation.

“The retrievals from systems in the distribution network constitute a significant milestone for us, as they show that the concept is feasible and we are now able to gain initial experience in terms of practical suitability,” explains DA/RE project manager Florian Gutekunst from TransnetBW. The second stage of the pilot phase has thus begun. Further retrievals are now being carried out and various application cases are being tested. In concrete terms, the issue is how grid operators can trigger the retrieval of redispatch measures in a coordinated manner and how the information chain should be designed in order to guarantee all parties involved at all voltage levels complete transparency about the retrieval and the capacity provided. In the following third step, the retrievals are to be automated and the corresponding data paths implemented.

First retrievals of redispatch capacities have been carried out in the pilot phase of the DA/RE project (picture showing a scene from electricity trading: Next Kraftwerke)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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Connect+ for data exchange

14.06.2019

The four German transmission system operators (TSOs), the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW, together with 16 distribution system operators (DSOs) have launched the “Connect+” project to jointly implement the legal requirements of the German Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (Netzausbaubeschleunigungsgesetz – NABEG). The project is a reaction to the increased need for coordination due to the current legislative amendments and intended to facilitate a more transparent exchange of data between grid operators and market participants.

German legislation has specified that, in future, all facilities for the generation or storage of electrical energy with a nominal capacity of 100kW or more must be utilised to prevent foreseeable bottlenecks in the grid. The modified conditions for redispatch apply from 1 October 2021. As the present feed-in management of the grid operators only reacts to acute congestions, an even more intensive cooperation between TSOs and DSOs is required in the future.

The new processes to be developed and introduced within the time frame pose a challenge for all grid operators. In the “Connect+” project, TSOs and DSOs want to develop uniform solutions for data distribution to harmonise data exchange between market participants and operators for congestion management. In a first step, essential specifications such as interfaces and formats are developed and defined.

The four German TSOs and 16 DSOs launch the data exchange project “Connect+” for congestion management

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

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DA/RE enters pilot phase

02.04.2019

Following its launch in June 2018, the Baden-Württemberg grid security initiative “DA/RE” (“DAta exchange/REdispatch”) has entered the pilot phase on 1 April. The DA/RE initiators are TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the German transmission system operator (TSO) from the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the southwest German distribution system operator (DSO) Netze BW with the support of the State Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector. Meanwhile, several grid and facility operators are involved and actively participating in the pilot phase.

DA/RE responds to the increasing volatility and decentralisation of power generation. By utilising the flexibility potential of decentralised plants from lower grid levels, the entire electricity system is intended to be stabilised. Basically, DA/RE is an IT platform, through which grid operators can obtain information on flexibility potentials and coordinatedly retrieve them. In the trial phase, scheduled to last until the end of September 2019, two essential modules for data exchange and coordination between grid and facility operators are to be tested.

With its wide range of decentralised systems, DA/RE adequately represents the current market for flexibility. “Together we can thus test the processes with different DSOs up to medium voltage level and provide the further course of the project with valuable experience,” explains Florian Gutekunst, DA/RE project manager at TransnetBW.

The DA/RE initiative for grid security initiated by TransnetBW is entering the pilot phase

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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ELES presents FutureFlow progress

08.11.2018

The EU-funded FutureFlow project explores innovative e-trading solutions for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European transmission system operators (TSOs), all shareholders of TSCNET. The project is coordinated by the Slovenian TSO ELES, the other TSO participants being APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary, and Transelectrica from Romania. In times of increasing regenerative energy generation and lack of flexibility services from conventional plants, the FutureFlow consortium considers the prosumer as a new source of flexibility for the transmission grid.

A cross-border pilot with 48MW of flexible power capacity in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia has already proven that the involvement of the prosumers can save regulating energy. In order to communicate these and other results, ELES representatives took the opportunity to promote FutureFlow during the “European Utility Week” in the Austrian capital of Vienna. At the introductory panel “Interoperable Platforms and Data Exchange for Energy Services” on 6 November, mag. Uroš Salobir, Director of the Strategic Innovation Department at ELES, explained with regard to the cross-border integration of the system service markets: “For automatic frequency control, the FutureFlow project offers 60% savings and up to 57% for redispatching.”

Eles promoted the FutureFlow project for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching on the “European Utility Week” in Vienna (picture based on screenshots taken from FutureFlow promotional video)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit FutureFlow website (html)
> Watch FutureFlow promotional video “Prosumers as guardians of the power system” (YouTube)

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“Siglinde” brings record feed-in

25.10.2018

This week, the windstorm “Siglinde” has not only put the north of Germany to the test, but has also brought TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), a record feed-in of wind power as well as important insights. For the first time, 50Hertz has integrated more than 15,000MW of wind power securely into the grid, 15,382MW to be precise. This new record is roughly equivalent to the output of 15 large conventional power plant units.

However, this welcome development is accompanied by a downer: The transmission system under the responsibility of 50Hertz is reaching its limits and during the “Siglinde” storm, the TSO had to resort to redispatch measures and at times had more than 3,000MW of power output throttled and simultaneously increased in other grid areas. “We are now reaching dimensions that take network control with its current means to its limits,” explains Dr. Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz.

Without the “Südwest-Kuppelleitung”, a 380kV line from the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt via Thuringia to Bavaria (also known as “Thuringian Power Bridge”), which went into full operation in September 2017, the demand for redispatch would have been higher. Dr. Biermann comments: “Despite this additional transmission capacity and the massive interventions, all our lines to the south of Germany were operating at very high capacity.” This clearly illustrates that grid extension continues to lag behind the expansion of renewable energies. “We need additional instruments for safe system operation ‒ both in the grid as well as in the market,” appeals Dr. Biermann.

The windstorm “Siglinde” reveals the need to further increase transmission capacity in Germany

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

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“E&M Powernews”: “Excellent overview of the grid”

27.07.2018

Largely unnoticed by the broad public, five European regional security coordinators (RSCs) are working on what is arguably the most important task for ensuring the security of electricity supply at continental level: a stable and secure transmission system. RSCs analyse critical grid situations from a regional perspective and advise their customers in order to avoid bottlenecks or even blackouts. One of them is TSCNET Services. A detailed background article published by “Energie & Management”, a renowned daily German print and online newspaper for the energy market, portrays the company and presents the special challenges that an RSC has to face every day.

For example, a critical situation occurred in the very cold January 2017. “Even though the redispatch coordination functioned well at that time, the emergence of grid bottlenecks has shown that in the course of the expansion of renewable energies in Europe, we need to identify critical conditions and developments even faster”, explains Maik Neubauer, one of the two managing directors of TSCNET Services. For this reason, TSCNET, in close cooperation with the partner TSOs, has established the “Critical Grid Situation Service” to facilitate communication between the RSC and the TSOs.

Close and seamless communication is crucial for TSCNET Services, because the RSC does not intervene in the transmission network itself, but gives recommendations for action. The final decision, however, lies with the responsible TSO, which can always rely on the validity of the information provided by TSCNET. To ensure this reliability, the specialists at TSCNET monitor the network flows in Central and Eastern Europe. This involves a lot of data: More or less 600,000 data series with a volume in the double-digit gigabyte range yield around 300 prognoses every single day – a “big data company with top advisory expertise”.

Still, the volume of data will continue to increase, especially in view of the implementation of the Common Grid Model (CGM) under the EU network codes. “Today, we still lack some data, especially about the situation at the interfaces to the distribution grids”, states Maik Neubauer. Once the individual grid models of the respective TSOs and the CGM have been established, the additional data also flows into the calculations of TSCNET. This will expand the RSC’s perspective and further optimise system operation. While critical situations affecting only two TSOs can be resolved bilaterally, it becomes more difficult, if several parties are involved. An incident in Poland, for instance, may well affect not only Germany but also the Czech Republic. In such a case, the central coordination provided by TSCNET is essential to anticipate problems or to calculate short-term effects.

Every day at 9:00 pm, TSCNET’s Daily Operational Planning Teleconference (DOPT) with the TSOs’ experts will be held to summarise system occurrences and to coordinate possible compensation measures for the next day. Though everyone involved is quite satisfied with this daily routine, the EU is also pursuing divergent plans. In the context of the European Commission’s “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, the idea of Regional Operational Centres (ROCs) came into being, which would extend the role of current RSCs by giving them operational responsibility. The TSOs – who would have to hand over competences – are sceptical, and also Maik Neubauer has clear positions in this regard. He points out the complexity of the European power system and the valuable experience of national TSOs. Mr. Neubauer therefore prefers to further improve regional coordination and to leave the operational business to the TSOs: “A Europe-wide centralisation of grid control would be a mammoth project with many risks and unknowns.”

“Energie & Management”, the well-esteemed German trade magazin for the energy market, released an article on the Munich-based RSC TSCNET Services.

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> Visit “E&M Powernews” website, in German (html)
> See “E&M Powernews” article, in German (pay to read the article)

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