Imminent test operation for COBRAcable

24.06.2019

COBRAcable, the first direct interconnection between the electricity markets of Denmark and the Netherlands, is a joint project of the two TSCNET shareholders Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. Since spring, the partner TSOs have been preparing the commercial operation of COBRAcable. TenneT and Energinet have now launched an Urgent Market Messages (UMM) site for the commissioning of COBRAcable, which is scheduled to take place between 3 July 2019 and 6 September 2019.

A total of around 30 individual tests with different energy charges in the respective transport directions are planned. It is expected that the full capacity of COBRAcable will be available for the day ahead and intraday markets from 7 September. TenneT and Energinet then will offer financial transmission rights on COBRAcable at monthly and annual auctions. The first auction is expected to take place after a full month of stable operation, so probably the auction for November 2019, which will be held in October.

By promoting the exchange of surplus wind energy, COBRAcable will improve the cohesion of the European transmission system and the integration of the electricity market. It will also make a sustainable contribution to the low carbon energy future by allowing future offshore wind farms in the North Sea to be hooked up to the DC interconnector.

Energinet and Tennet will carry out individual tests of COBRAcable as of 3 July (picture: screenshot taken from TenneT video “COBRAcable Cable Pull Fano Denmark Film”, YouTube)

Linkup
> See Energinet press release (html)
> Visit REMIT UMM site (html)

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Laying of NordLink submarine cable near completion

20.06.2019

NordLink, the “green cable”, which for the first time will directly connect the electricity markets of Germany and Norway, has reached another important milestone. With the pull-in of the submarine cable beneath the dyke at Büsum in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein on 19 June, the 154-kilometre section from the cable landing point at the dyke through the Wadden Sea and the open sea to the Danish territorial waters is almost complete. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), which is cooperating with the Norwegian TSO Statnet on this European project of common interest (PCI), had started to install the submarine cables for NordLink in the German Bight last year.

“With today’s successful pulling of the subsea cable beneath the land protection dyke, we have practically completed the laying of the NordLink subsea cable,” comments TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens. Now the 54-kilometre onshore cable section will be successively laid from the dyke to the converter site in Wilster. Since the laying of the submarine cable in Danish and Norwegian waters is also almost concluded with only a few remaining works, and the construction of the 53km overhead line on the Norwegian mainland is progressing well, NordLink is expected to be commissioned as planned in 2020.

For the submarine cable work, TenneT was in close consultation with nature conservation authorities to ensure that operations in the Wadden Sea National Park were conducted as carefully as possible. Upon completion, the NordLink high-voltage DC interconnector will have a capacity of 1,400MW and a total length of 623km. By coupling different renewable energies and forms of storage – Norwegian hydropower plants with wind farms and solar parks from Germany – NordLink is a “green link” in the truest sense of the word.

TenneT has nearly completed the installation of the NordLink submarine cables (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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Tool for evaluating investments in storage facilities

19.06.2019

Wind and solar, the primary and volatile power sources of the energy transition, require more grid flexibility, which can be provided, for instance, by storage facilities. Energy storage technologies open opportunities for use in future energy markets and for a range of other system and grid-related purposes. For this reason, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is involved in many research initiatives on flexibility, e.g. to explore power-to-gas applications, electric vehicles and end-user participation in the energy system of the future.

TenneT has now introduced a new interactive assessment tool for storage investments, on which Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT, comments: “We want to support the electricity storage market. Storage facilities are an important source of flexibility for us to stabilise the grid. In the end, this can help to reduce the need for future grid extension.” Especially when it comes to questions concerning levies, charges or taxes as well as revenue opportunities, the TSO aims to assist market players and to create transparency.

This is why the tool, developed by TenneT in cooperation with Navigant Consulting, was specially designed for the economic evaluation of investments in grid-connected storage facilities. It compares technologies or types of financing and estimates maximum revenues based on an optimised use of storage units in different markets. The user can define individual key parameters or customise predefined projects to obtain a detailed breakdown of the results in terms of net present value and cash flow.

TenneT presents an interactive tool to evaluate investments in grid-connected storage facilities

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Visit site for free tool download with detailed instruction manual, 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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Second go-live wave of XBID

13.06.2019

The successful go-live of XBID, the European cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC) solution, on 12/13 June 2018 was a significant step towards a single integrated continent-wide intraday market. Such an integrated market increases the overall efficiency of intraday trade through effective competition, increased liquidity and more efficient utilisation of generation resources across Europe. Today the first anniversary of XBID is celebrated and over 16 million trades have been executed since its launch.

The SIDC partners look back on a successful first year of operation with a stable and robust system performance as well as a high and growing number of trades across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. The integration of seven additional countries into the SIDC region is expected in the fourth quarter of 2019. A pre-launch event for the second wave is planned for the beginning of October 2019 and a trial period will also be arranged with the market parties. The countries for this second go-live wave are Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia.

The TSOs already cooperating in XBID include the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, TenneT, and TransnetBW as well as the TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. Further shareholders are to follow with the second wave, namely ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, and Transelectrica.

XBID, the SIDC solution for a single integrated European intraday market, celebrates its first anniversary

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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AI for decentralised grid stabilisation

06.06.2019

In a sustainable energy future, small decentralised plants such as combined heat and power (CHP) plants, heat pumps or biogas units must assume the role of stabilising the transmission system, a task which is nowadays mainly performed by large, centralised power plants. To investigate the technical feasibility of decentralised stabilisation options, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), the distribution system operator (DSO) Bayernwerk and Consolinno Energy GmbH have now jointly carried out a successful test in the southern part of the TenneT control area, the German federal state of Bavaria.

Since there is a vital public interest in such future-oriented technological solutions, the test was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the framework of the research project “C/Sells” which is part of the innovation programme “Smart Energy Showcases. Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition” (“Schaufenster intelligente Energie. Digitale Agenda für die Energiewende” – SINTEG). During the test, at the request of TenneT, the feed-in of a CHP plant controlled by Consolinno and connected to the low and medium-voltage grid of Bayernwerk was increased in order to provide the grid with the electricity required for stabilisation in the event of a bottleneck.

What is new is that each plant autonomously determines its flexibility potential through artificial intelligence (AI). The respective potential of the individual plants can then be further aggregated by means of swarm intelligence. The plants are in normal marketing and operation mode and report free flexibility quantities to the grid operators. “In Bavaria alone there are several thousand CHP plants, heat pumps and biogas facilities, nationwide there are many thousands more. They can increase the flexibility of the energy system and thus contribute to a safe and decentralised energy system in Bavaria and Germany. David can thus become Goliath,” comments Tim Meyerjürgens, COO at TenneT. Also in several other cooperative pilot projects, the TSO is exploring the potential of decentralised flexibility.

TenneT has carried out a successful test on the deployment of small decentralised plants for grid stabilisation

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

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Core CCR project meeting hosted by HOPS

20.05.2019

Sixteen transmission system operators (TSOs) from the heart of Europe are participating in the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) project in order to implement a decision taken by the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in November 2016 to merge the existing regional initiatives of Central Eastern and Central Western Europe into the European core region. These TSOs – including the twelve TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, Transelectrica, and TransnetBW – are strongly committed to implementing all CCR-related obligations in accordance with the respective network codes and guidelines of the European Commission.

Last week, the Croatian TSO HOPS organised a two-day project team meeting with representatives of all 16 Core CCR TSOs to calculate long-term cross-border transmission capacities compliant with the specifications on Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM). As one of the two Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) for Core CCR TSOs, TSCNET Services was also part of the meeting. The concrete objective of the meeting in the Croatian capital of Zagreb was to prepare a proposal for an appropriate calculation methodology. This proposal will be open for public consultation from 10 June 2019. During the meeting participants also visited the HOPS control centre.

HOPS hosted a Core CCR project meeting in Zagreb (picture: HOPS)

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> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)

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Retrospect on Innogrid2020+

15.05.2019

This year’s Innogrid2020+ took place in Brussels on 13 and 14 May. Jointly organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) and the European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids (EDSO), the motto of the prestigious annual event for 2019 was “Connecting Physics and Digits: Power Platforms on the Rise”. So, it was about physical networks and their permeation with information and communication technologies, transforming the energy system into a cyberphysical system. Among the presented projects during Innogrid2020+ were several, in which TSCNET shareholders participate: “Crossbow” with Croatian transmission system operator (TSO) HOPS, “DA/RE” by German TSO TransnetBW, “FutureFlow” (ELES from Slovenia, APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary, and Transelectrica from Romania), “MIGRATE” (Amprion from Germany, ELES, and Dutch-German TSO TenneT), and SINCRO.GRID (ELES and HOPS). Besides, Yves Zumwald, CEO of Swissgrid, took part as speaker in the “CEO business track panel on innovation”.

In addition to informative sessions on disruptive technologies, innovation policy or targets for 2030, the event hosts also presented the 2nd European Power Network Awards during Innogrid2020+. The first winner is the Signposting Information project by the British Distribution System Operator (DSO) WPG, which aims to open new neutral markets around flexibility. The second winner is the digital platform “cyberNOC” by CyberGRID, a specialist in the development of virtual power plant solutions. cyberNOC stands for the seamless and secure integration of battery energy storage systems and electric vehicles with aggregators, electricity markets, and grid operators.

On the second day of Innogrid2020+, ENTSO-E and EDSO used the public interest in the event to present six recommendations on energy network innovation to the European Commission in the forefront of the Copenhagen Energy Infrastructure Forum on 23 and 24 May. These recommendations include the promotion of TSO-DSO cooperation, adequate support for research, development and innovation, of sectoral coupling and digitisation, or the linking of EU funding programmes.

This year’s Innogrid2020+ focused on the digitisation of power networks (picture of presentation by Yves Zumwald, CEO of Swissgrid: EDSO)

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Eco-friendly substation maintenance

13.05.2019

In total, TSCNET shareholder TenneT operates 462 high-voltage substations in the Dutch and German control areas of the binational transmission system operator (TSO). The operation of a high-voltage grid inevitably involves interference with ecosystems, but TenneT is investigating how to minimise and compensate for this. For this reason, the TSO has carried out a pilot project on biodiversity at three substations in the Netherlands.

The results of the pilot are impressive: The nature-friendly maintenance of the three facilities has preserved up to 72 percent of their insect populations. The respective measures to increase biodiversity can easily be replicated. Local seed mixtures were sown, and greens were mown in a meandering manner. Based on these encouraging results, TenneT will promote biodiversity at all of its 462 substations.

TenneT intends to establish biodiversity-friendly management as the corporate standard by 2025. This commitment to biodiversity is part of the TSO’s Corporate Social Responsibility approach for 2025 and reflects the company’s ambition to play a leading role in the energy transition as a “Green Grid Operator”. Ben Voorhorst, member of TenneT’s Executive Board, explains: “With our high voltage connections and stations, in addition to transporting green electricity, we can also contribute to the conservation of nature in another way.”

TenneT is introducing biodiversity-friendly substation maintenance (picture: kie-ker/Pixabay)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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High potential of blockchained home storage systems

09.05.2019

Maintaining the balance of the transmission system despite volatility of renewables and lack of conventional operating reserves is an essential future concern of European transmission system operators (TSOs). In search of adequate balancing solutions, a worldwide unique pilot project for the blockchain-based networking of home storage systems was launched in 2017. The cooperation partners are TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, and sonnen, a company specialised in smart power storage. The promisingly completed pilot demonstrates the potential of blockchain technology to become a key application for the efficient provision of network stabilising measures.

The aim of the pilot was to test the suitability of blockchained storage systems for preventing emergency measures in the event of bottlenecks, e. g. the throttling of wind farms. To this end, TenneT deployed a virtual power station comprising of home storage systems specially provided by sonnen with a blockchain solution by IBM. The intelligent charge management of the battery storage systems adapted itself individually to the respective situation in the TenneT grid, whereby the batteries absorb or release excess current within seconds if required.

Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, comments on the succesful project: “We’ve shown for the first time how it’s technically feasible to utilise blockchain technology so households can stabilise the power grid via their home storage systems.” Actually, the results are so promising that TenneT intends to undertake further blockchain programmes, especially as by 2030 there could already be decentralised battery storage facilities in Germany with a total capacity of up to 10,000MW.

A pilot project by TenneT on blockchained home storage systems for grid stabilisation has proven the high potential of this technological approach (picture: edited screenshot taken from sonnen video “The largest virtual battery to compensate for fluctuations in the power grid”, YouTube)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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