ENTSO-E pays tribute to the work done for IT tools

21.06.2020

As already reported in our news blog, the pan-European IT tools for Outage Planning Coordination (OPC) and Short-Term Adequacy (STA) are operational since the end of March and the end of May 2020, respectively. OPC and STA are services provided by Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) and transmission system operators (TSOs) to increase the operational security of Europe’s power system. The OPC tool allows all five European RSCs and 38 TSOs to coordinate outage planning on a weekly basis, while the STA tool provides them with daily calculations based on generation and demand forecasts of all ENTSO-E member TSOs. These calculations help to identify possible adequacy deficiencies for the coming week.

The tools that now work are based on prototypes developed by the two major European RSCs out of the five. The pilot of the OPC tool was created by TSCNET Services in Munich, Germany, while the STA tool is based on a prototype of CORESO, based in Brussels. Both tools run on the ENTSO-E Communication and Connectivity Service Platform (ECCoSP) and demonstrate the continuing commitment and efforts of the entire TSO community: TSOs, RSCs, and ENTSO-E.

Tahir Kapetanovic, Head of the Control Centre of TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian TSO, and Chairman of the ENTSO-E System Operation Committee, considers cross-border coordination and intensive cooperation to be essential for the smooth functioning of the European power system. “Jointly developed pan-European IT tools such as the OPC and STA tools, allow uniform norms and standards for network operation to be put into practice.”

ENTSO-E appreciates the cooperation between RSCs and TSOs in the development of the pan-European IT tools for OPC and STA

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Watch ENTSO-E video on the OPC tool (YouTube)
> Watch ENTSO-E video on the STA tool (YouTube)

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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 

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> See APG press release (html)

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ACER defines System Operation Regions

08.04.2020

To promote the implementation of the EU Regulation on the internal electricity market (2019/943), which is part of the “Clean Energy Package for all Europeans”, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) has just published an important decision. A significant part of the EU Regulation 2019/943 is Article 36 on the “Geographical scope of Regional Coordination Centres (RCCs)” and this is the very subject of the recent ACER decision, that defines this “geographical scope” – the so-called System Operation Regions (SORs).

Regulation 2019/943 calls for a higher level of coordination between transmission system operators (TSOs) at regional level. This is to be achieved by further developing Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) such as TSCNET Services into RCCs. The ACER definition of the SORs is the first step towards establishing the RCCs. The tasks of the RCCs are defined in Article 37 of the EU Regulation. Like RSCs, they are to identify and assess potential risks in support of the respective TSO in their area of responsibility. However, while RSCs leave the responsibility for implementing these recommendations to the TSOs, Article 37 provides for future RCCs to act more autonomously in terms of risk prevention.

Acer stresses that, despite some changes, it has broadly agreed to the proposal for the definition of SORs made by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) on behalf of the TSOs, which in particular takes into account the synchronous areas in the meshed European grid. The next step will be taken by the TSOs of each SOR, which are invited to submit a proposal on the establishment of RCCs to the relevant national regulatory authority (NRA) by 5 July.

ACER has published its decision on the configuration of the future SORs (picture showing ACER Director Christian Zinglersen at the Bonn Climate Change Conference (IISD))

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> See ACER press release (html)
> Open ACER decision 10/2020 (pdf, 267,58kb)
> Access to EU-Regulation 2019/943 (html)

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Kapetanovic: “European TSOs close ranks”

06.04.2020

Just like the Coronavirus (though fortunately without negative consequences), electricity flows do not stop at national borders. Cross-border coordination and intensive cooperation between all national transmission system operators (TSOs) are always the prerequisite for EU-wide security of supply, and all the more so in times of crisis with electricity consumption declining across Europe. According to Tahir Kapetanovic, Head of the Control Centre of TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian TSO, and also Chairman of the System Operation Committee, the top-level decision board for grid operations at the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), uniform rules and standards for grid operation are indispensable.

The timely identification of possible threats to the transmission system is also considered to be crucial for the security of electricity supply in Europe. In this context, Mr Kapetanovic directly refers to the field of supporting activities of the European Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs): “The European data exchange is largely automated and runs via state-of-the art IT systems. The evaluated data provide the basis for the planning of electricity transmission. In this way, we can forecast energy flows for the upcoming hours and, if necessary, initiate transnationally coordinated emergency measures in time, such as the starting up of power plants.”

Despite the drastic decline in electricity consumption in Europe due to the restrictions imposed by the Corona crisis, the exchange and trade of electricity across borders is running smoothly. Occasionally, lower power line utilisation offers additional potential for cross-border support. Surplus electricity from western Europe, for example, was redirected via the Austrian grid of APG and via Slovenia to the northeast of Italy. In the face of the pandemic, everyone has closed ranks: In addition to the best possible mutual support, all TSOs have jointly decided that line disconnections for refurbishments and modifications will be temporarily reduced to the absolute minimum. “In doing so, we maximise transport capacity and thus increase the security of electricity supply in Europe”, states Mr Kapetanovic.

The low electricity demand also influences the European generation mix. Renewable energies are still being fully utilised, but thermal power plants, for instance, are being scaled back for cost reasons. This also has an impact on electricity flows in the transmission system. The TSOs therefore continuously forecast electricity flows for the next 24 hours and coordinate possible measures via video conference every evening. To ensure that this is maintained during the crisis, the operational core staff is protected by strict hygiene and organisational precautions, such as team splitting. All TSOs regularly exchange information on their respective measures throughout Europe.

European TSOs strengthen their cooperation and ensure supply security during the Corona crisis (picture: screenshot taken from ENTSO-E video “Tahir Kapetanovic – Regional Cooperation in the Energy Union”(YouTube))

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> See APG news release, in German (html)

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RSC future perspectives: integrate, cooperate, and digitise

31.01.2020

The annual conference “Future Power Grids” (“Zukünftige Stromnetze”) brings together key players from the German energy sector with a focus on power grids to facilitate a prolific exchange between politics, research and industry. This was once again the case this year when, under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, energy experts met in the German capital of Berlin on 29 and 30 January. “Future Power Grids 2020” was technically chaired by Christian Schorn, Head of Asset Management and Operations at TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the transmission system operator (TSO) from the southwest of Germany.

Among the representatives of research institutions, ministries, authorities, NGOs and energy companies were Thomas Dederichs, head of energy policy at TSCNET shareholder and German TSO Amprion, and Maik Neubauer, one of the two managing directors of the Munich-based regional security coordinator (RSC) TSCNET Services. Mr. Dederichs spoke about the role of transmission grids in the further development of market design, while Mr. Neubauer, under the heading “The European Perspective – Integration of Renewables and Grid Security”, gave an overview of the history, services, tasks and challenges of European RSCs in general and TSCNET services in particular.

New Challenges for transmission infrastructures
Neubauer depicted the highly meshed European power transmission grid as one of the most complex critical infrastructures in the world and the function of the RSCs as an early warning system for the European TSOs to identify potential risks in the system. RSCs assess these risks continuously and in a coordinated manner and counteract potential congestions and power failures. The establishment of the RSCs was a reaction of the European Commission (EC) to a Europe-wide power outage in 2006 with under- and over-frequencies, which affected around 15 million people across Europe.

The increase in volatile renewable energies in the system further intensifies the need for the work of the RSCs. However, the tasks of the RSCs based on the third and fourth EC Clean Energy Package – e.g. security and risk analysis, capacity calculation, short term adequacy forecasts and longer-term outage planning coordination – depend on intensive cooperation between the European RSCs. The continuous collaboration of almost all European TSOs is essential, and the interests of the energy market and system security needs to be continuously balanced. In the long term, only the digitisation will be able to manage the increasing complexity of the grid. Neubauer points out the growing integration of OT (Operations technology) and IT (Information technology) layers and explicitly referred to the importance of artificial intelligence for congestions analysis and future network control and security.

Maik Neubauer presented RSC insights and future perspectives at the “Future Power Grids 2020” conference in Berlin (picture: Stefan Widua)

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> Visit conference website (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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New RSC to be established in Thessaloniki

23.12.2019

As reported by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), significant progress is being made on pan-European coverage with regional security coordinators (RSCs). The transmission system operators (TSOs) of the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs), namely ESO-EAD (Bulgaria), IPTO (Greece), Terna (Italy) and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania, have agreed to establish a new RSC in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

The new company will provide all regional RSC services for both CCRs according to the requirements of the EU guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management (CACM). In line with the experience gained in other CCRs, the RSC in Thessaloniki will promote regional TSO cooperation and strengthen system and market operations. The further development of the plans will be reported in the course of 2020.

The TSOs from the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy CCRs will establish an RSC in Thessaloniki (picture showing Thessaloniki, Greece)

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> See ENTSO-E press release, html

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Winter outlook: RSC monitoring for supply security

28.11.2019

Every year at the end of November, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) publishes its supply security forecast for the coming winter season. Like its predecessors, Winter Outlook 2019/2020 is a concise document that provides valuable information on where bottlenecks are most likely to occur, or which are the main risks to the security of the pan-European electrical transmission system. The Outlook forecasts have been carefully calculated on the basis of a comprehensive database to provide a reliable risk assessment for the next European electricity winter.

The main positive message is that general European security of supply is ensured under normal conditions. Nevertheless, the Outlook indicates that in the event of cold spells, i.e. temperatures 10 degrees below average, combined with unforeseen outages and low renewable generation, there are potential risks in Belgium and France in January 2020. Under these extreme conditions, both countries would be heavily dependent on imports and in some cases on available out-of-market measures. Furthermore, close monitoring would be required, and ENTSO-E explicitly requests in such cases the support of regional security coordinators (RSCs), such as the Munich-based TSCNET Services.

As usual, ENTSO-E presents the Winter Outlook together with the Summer Review 2019, an overview of last summer’s events. Some heat waves were registered, but without any impact on the power supply.

ENTSO-E has released the Winter Outlook 2019/2020 (picture: TenneT)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E seasonal outlook site (html)
> Open Winter Outlook 2019/2020 (pdf, 7.14MB)

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Key ENTSO-E report on regional coordination

07.11.2019

At national level, the main tasks of transmission system operators (TSOs) are the transport of electricity from producers to large consumers and distribution networks, ensuring the operational safety as well as the planning, development and modernisation of electricity grids to ensure security of supply and cost-efficiency. More recently, TSOs have also been held responsible for achieving climate and energy policy objectives. European TSOs have also long been thinking and acting across borders in an increasingly integrated energy market. To ensure safe operation at European level, national TSOs coordinate at regional and pan-European level.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) now has published the “Enhanced TSO Regional Coordination for Europe” report, coming with the suggestive subtitle: “Act locally, coordinate regionally, think European”. This report with a time perspective until 2030 describes the shift of the five European Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) such as TSCNET Services to Regional Coordination Centres (RCCs) in the wake of the Clean Energy Package (CEP). It focuses on operational and market needs, without disregarding the fact that regional cooperation between TSOs goes beyond these two issues. Nevertheless, the emphasis was put on these aspects, as markets and operations are more and more converging: Electricity is traded closer to real time, markets are more volatile, generation is more variable and cross-border and long-distance transmission are increasing. For this reason, the interfaces between market and physical infrastructure require to be consolidated.

The “Enhanced TSO Regional Coordination for Europe” report contains several recommendations and a roadmap for the coordination of TSOs to continue on the path towards a future European energy system that is sustainable, socially balanced and reliable. The five standard operational services of the RSCs – Common Grid Model, Coordinated Operational Planning, Security Analysis, Outage Planning Coordination, Short- to Medium-Term Adequacy Forecast, and Coordinated Capacity Calculation – and the Service for Organisational Support – Consistency Check of TSOs’ System Defence and Restoration Plans – are to be ported from RSCs to RCCs over the next decade.

ENTSO-E has released a report on enhanced TSO regional coordination (picture: ENTSO-E)

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> See ENTSO-E press release, html
> Open Enhanced Coordination Report (pdf, 804.86kB)

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RSC Conference 2019: Rush to Copenhagen

08.10.2019

The weather turned out typically Nordic with quite stormy wind and some rain, but otherwise host Nordic RSC could be more than happy about a great success and a fruitful gathering of our industry – about 250 participants from all over Europe came to the third “RSC Conference” today in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. The event was staged by Nordic RSC at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located in the Copenhagen Towers, which also house the offices of the Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) of the power transmission system operators (TSOs) of Denmark (TSCNET shareholder Energinet), Finland (Fingrid), Norway (Statnett), and Sweden (Svenska Kraftnät).

One of the key sentences fell quite early: “Nobody knows the future, but it will be electric!” In the European energy system that is already interconnected and will become even more so in future, coordination of cross-border electricity flows is one of the most crucial tasks for TSOs. To a large extent, this task is performed by Europe’s RSCs, with Coreso (based in Brussels) and TSCNET Services (Munich) as pioneers from 2013 onwards. In 2015, SCC for south eastern Europe followed in Belgrade and in 2016, Baltic RSC as well as Nordic RSC were established.

A good idea becomes a tradition
The RSCs have been holding conferences on system security since 2017, co-organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). TSCNET hosted the first RSC conference entitled “ElSeC” (Electricity Security Coordination) in Munich and one year later Coreso invited to “Power Coordination Europe” in Brussels.

The motto of “RSC 2019” was “Act locally, coordinate regionally, think European”. The event resulted in a closing speech by the CEO of the Finnish TSO Fingrid, Jukka Ruusunen, discussing how RSCs support efficient markets that in turn support security of supply. This core discussion was complemented by other general panel discussions and also by parallel, partly interactive sessions to cover as many interesting and relevant topics as possible. The topics were, for instance, “The Green Transition: The reason for change and innovation in TSOs”, “Ensuring the right competences in an RSC perspective”, “Critical Grid Situation Communication”, “Regional adequacy forecasting” or “Balancing projects and reserve sizing”. The key speakers came from the industry, EU institutions, markets and civil society.

Thomas Egebo, CEO of TSCNET shareholder Energinet, the Danish TSO, welcomed the participants and illustrated the importance of the regions using the example of the Nordic region. The ENTSO-E strategy paper on “Enhanced TSO coordination for Europe” was presented by Joachim Vanzetta, Director System Control at the German TSO and TSCNET shareholder Amprion and Chair of the ENTSO-E Board. Eryk Kłossowski, CEO of the Polish TSO PSE, and Ben Voorhorst, COO of the Dutch-German TSO TenneT – both are TSCNET shareholders – participated together with colleagues from further TSOs in the general discussion: “TSO regional cooperation and establishment of RCCs – learning from best practices”. This discussion was moderated by Laurent Schmitt, the Secretary-General of ENTSO-E.

Increasingly complex with rapidly rising requirements
Maik Neubauer, one of the two Managing Directors of TSCNET Services, held a presentation on “RSC complexities and future challenges”, focusing on the intricacy of the challenges faced by RSCs in the continuous implementation of services, in RSC collaboration and in the adaptation and integration of requirements from the EU “Clean Energy for all Europeans Package” (CEP).

On the conference website, all speeches and discussions were broadcast via live stream. Soon all presentations will be available for download as well as numerous photos from the event. All good things come in threes, as the saying goes. The third edition of the RSC Conference was indeed great, but we are all the more looking forward to next year.

Around 250 participants attended this year’s RSC Conference on 8 October in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen

Linkup
> Visit RSC Conference 2019 webpage, with videos (html)
> See conference picture gallery (Flickr, html)

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