Competence Centre for Cognitive Energy Systems

10.08.2020

Those involved in the European energy sector are experiencing it with increasing intensity: The transition from centralised power plants based on fossil fuels towards a renewable energy system is a highly complex process that can only be mastered by intelligent control. Thus, it is generally recognised that a decentralised energy system requires artificial intelligence (AI). In the energy industry, AI has so far mainly been used for monitoring or forecasting tasks. However, as the share of electricity generated from renewable energies grows, it is evident that AI will in future also control the processes of the energy system on a large scale.

To explore new fields of AI applications in the energy industry, a Competence Centre for Cognitive Energy Systems (K-ES) has been established at the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (Fraunhofer IEE) in Kassel in the German state of Hesse. Fraunhofer IEE is a public research institution for solutions to secure the energy supply despite volatile generation, ensure grid stability, and make the energy transition a success. The new research centre is generously funded and seeking partners from the industry to combine the expertise of researchers with those of business experts. Transmission system operators (TSOs) play a key role in this respect, as the transmission infrastructure is a crucial factor in providing the required flexibility for decentral, small-scale, and volatile electricity generation from renewable facilities.

“A decentralised system can only function via digital processes in real time and automated decisions,” explains Prof. Dr. Clemens Hoffmann, Director of Fraunhofer IEE. In the grid segment, AI is already being used today to evaluate information, identify critical situations, and support their resolution – which is the primary area of responsibility of Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) such as the Munich-based TSCNET Services. The next step is to extend the range of applications. The K-ES examines the energy system from the AI perspective to advance AI deployment in the three areas of Cognitive Energy Economics, Cognitive Energy Networks, and Cognitive Energy System Technology. On 8 September 2020, Fraunhofer IEE will host a Web Expert Session, an online presentation of the K-ES with a discussion of cooperation possibilities.

The German research institution Fraunhofer IEE has established a Competence Centre for Cognitive Energy Systems to promote AI in the energy industry (illustration using graphics by Fraunhofer IEE)

Linkup
> See Fraunhofer IEE press release, in German (html)
> Visit K-ES website, in German (html)
> Visit Expert Session website, in German (html) with registration option

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ENTSO-E Annual Report 2019 released

01.08.2020

For transmission system operators (TSOs), Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs), and other players in the energy market alike, last year was marked above all by the entry into force of the EU “Clean Energy for all Europeans Package” (CEP). Actually, the TSOs and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) were still in the process of implementing the Third Energy Package, but work on meeting the requirements of the CEP has already commenced in 2019.

This is also reflected in the recently published ENTSO-E Annual Report 2019, which describes activities related to the legal mandates given to ENTSO-E. The report divides these activities into seven chapters: 1. System Operation; 2. Market; 3. System Development; 4. Transparency Regulation; 5. Research, Development and Innovation; 6. Cybersecurity, Interoperability and Data; 7. TSO-DSO partnership and demand side flexibility.

Prior to its release, the Annual Report was subject to a public consultation with stakeholders from 22 June to 20 July 2020, whereupon the comments received were taken into account and the Annual Report was submitted to the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

ENTSO-E has published its Annual Report 2019 (picture: ENTSO-E)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E Annual Report 2019 site (html)
> Open Annual Report 2019 (pdf, 6.7MB)

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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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Southeast RSC established in Thessaloniki

28.07.2020

The four transmission system operators (TSOs) of the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs) – which are ESO-EAD (Bulgaria), IPTO (Greece), Terna (Italy), and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania – have established the sixth European Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. The new RSC goes by the name of Southeast Electricity Network Coordination Centre (SEleNe CC). Each TSO participates equally in the share capital of the new company.

SEleNe CC provides all regional RSC services for both CCRs according to the requirements of the EU guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management (CACM). The main tasks of SEleNe CC – just as with Baltic RSC, Coreso, Nordic RSC, SCC, and the Munich based RSC TSCNET Services – are: coordinated security analysis, outage planning coordination, coordinated capacity calculation, (very) short-term adequacy forecasts, individual and common grid modelling, and data set delivery. The Board of Directors of SEleNe CC consists of one member from each TSO with Ioannis Kampouris from the Greek TSO IPTO as Chairman and CEO.

Catalin Nitu, CEO of Transelectrica, comments on the establishment of SEleNe CC: „Improving energy security and cooperation at both organisational and technical level brings us one step closer to an energy-integrated Europe. This step is part of a normal and necessary evolution for regional energy security, in the light of the implementation of the common electricity market’s new model. I express my gratitude to our colleagues and partners who have consistently shown professional excellence and commitment to establish this security centre.”

The four TSOs from the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy CCRs have established SEleNe CC, the new RSC based in Thessaloniki (picture of Thessaloniki: Digio Lab on Unsplash)

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> See Transelectrica press release (pdf, 482kb)
> See Transelectrica press release, in Romanian (pdf, 238.1kb)

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“The pan-European market demands flexibility and efficiency”

17.07.2020

The current virus pandemic reminds some people in the energy sector of the 2006 incident, when a rather routine but postponed switch-off of a single power line led to a Europe-wide chain reaction due to misjudgements and lack of communication between energy suppliers and transmission system operators (TSOs). The resulting failure of further lines and under- and over-frequencies affected large parts of Europe and ten million people were without electricity for up to one and a half hours. The Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE), the predecessor organisation of the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), described the incident as one of the most serious failures ever to occur in Europe.

According to Klaus Lucas, Professor Emeritus at RWTH Aachen University and Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, the 2006 blackout was “the prime example of a systemic risk. Like a virus epidemic, a random harmful event can spread in a complex system and, in unpredictable ways, paralyse structures that were actually believed to be stable”. Mr Lucas expressed this view to Zweitausend50, the magazine of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft – BDEW), a business organisation representing over 1800 companies from the energy and water industry. And since the establishment of the Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) was a reaction of the European Commission to the 2006 incident, it is plausible that Zweitausend50 also made contact with TSCNET Services and had an interview with Uwe Zimmermann, one of the two Managing Directors of the Munich-based RSC, on this issue.

Europe’s highly meshed power transmission system is one of the most complex critical infrastructures in the world and the more intensive the interconnectedness, the more susceptible the network is to unwanted domino or feedback effects. The strain on the system has recently been further increased by the volatile generation capacities of renewable energy sources. The role of RSCs has thus become all the more important. The five European RSCs forecast the capacity utilisation of power lines based on expected electricity generation and consumption for the following day and determine the extent to which individual lines may be overloaded. In this way, the RSCs identify potential risks in the system, evaluate them continuously and counteract possible bottlenecks and power failures. They do this in support of the respective TSOs within their area of responsibility, in the case of TSCNET Services this is central and eastern Europe.

Uwe Zimmermann compares this function with a navigation system: “Basically, we continuously monitor traffic – i.e. the operational status of the grids, current capacities, consumption and market data – and proactively determine at which points a congestion could occur. Whenever we forecast such a congestion, we provide timely recommendations in coordination with the TSOs on how the traffic can be redirected – like an alternative route.” Zimmermann emphasises, however, that the responsibility for implementing these recommendations remains with the TSOs.

In view of the progressing energy transition in the course of which the number and volatility of generators is increasing and the transmission distances for electricity are becoming ever larger, Uwe Zimmermann does not deny the challenges for RSCs: “As a result, our lead times could become increasingly shorter and this would make it more and more challenging to predict the following day and take timely action.” Nevertheless, the TSCNET managing director remains confident about the performance of the RSCs: “Fortunately, however, we can respond to this. We are getting ready to accelerate our process cycles more and more and to process ever larger amounts of data to continue to ensure reliable forecasts.”

TSCNET Managing Director Uwe Zimmermann is confident that RSCs will continue to provide reliable support to TSOs and guarantee system security

Linkup
> Open BDEW Zweitausend50 webpage, in German (html)

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RSC Conference 2020: A focus on digital cooperation

15.07.2020

The vital function of the European Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) has been and continues to be maintained despite the Corona pandemic. Regardless of the crisis, it is of great importance to exchange innovative concepts, significant insights, and daily practice in securing the European electricity system. For this reason, the annual RSC Conference will also take place in 2020, this time organised by the Baltic RSC and, as always, in cooperation with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). However, the pandemic certainly influences the organisation of the event, so that this year’s conference, the fourth in total, will be accessible as a podcast as well as live digital streaming from the Tallinn Creative Hub in the Estonian capital on 24 November 2020. Speakers and participants have the possibility to participate either remotely or physically.

The RSC Conference 2020 is entitled “Securing future power systems with digital cooperation” and thus will focus on the digital aspects of TSO regional coordination. A further emphasis will be given to the challenges of implementing the EU Green Deal, the large-scale integration of renewable energy sources, offshore deployment, and the implementation of the EU Clean Energy Package. A foresighted review of the COVID-9 pandemic and its impact on regional risk preparedness scenarios is also intended.

Baltic RSC and ENTSO-E have confirmed the keynote speech of the conference given by Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy in the von der Leyen Commission, and the participation of Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of the Estonian TSO Elering. Updates on other participants and further information will be made available regularly on the RSC Conference 2020 website, where you can register for the conference already now – for virtual or in person participation.

The RSC 2020 Conference on digital cooperation in electricity security coordination takes place on 24 November 2020 in Tallinn and is hosted by Baltic RSC (picture of Tallinn by Külli Kittus, Unsplash)

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> See Entso-E news release (html)
> See Baltic RSC news release (html)
> Visit RSC 2020 Conference website (html, with access to registration)

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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))

Linkup
> 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))

Linkup
> See APG news release, in German (html)

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