ACER consultation on Core Capacity Calculation methodology

04.12.2018

Complex issues require precise phrasing. Therefore the new public consultation of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) is called: “Public Consultation on the amendments of the proposal for common capacity calculation methodology for the Core region”. The consultation has opened on 4 December and will be accessible until midnight on Christmas Eve. Invited to participate are all interested stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, nominated electricity market operators (NEMOs) and transmission system operators (TSOs).

What exactly is the objective of the survey? The Capacity Calculation Methodology (CCM) quantifies the electrical capacity that can be offered across borders to the day-ahead and intraday markets. The Core CCM is valid within the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR), which comprises Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The TSOs from the Core CCR – among them are the twelve TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, Transelectrica and TransnetBW – have conceived and proposed amendments to the Core CCM.

The competent regulatory authorities of the Core CCR have not yet approved the TSO proposal and asked ACER to decide on whether the modified Core CCM complies with the European Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM) Regulation. Interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the consultation questions concerning the relevant aspects of the Core CCM.

ACER launches public consultation on the compliance of the Core CCM proposed by the Core TSOs with the European CACM Regulation

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> See ACER press release (html)
> Direct access to consultation (html)

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IE2S for smart system consulting

23.11.2018

Whole new challenges for the participants in the energy market arise in the context of intelligent networks, intelligent markets and intelligent products as well as their cross-sector and digital networking in a “Smart System”. TransnetBW, TSCNET shareholder and one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), strives to provide targeted advice to those of its customers, whose business models have undergone massive changes as a result of the transition in energy and mobility.

This is why the TSO from the German state of Baden-Württemberg has teamed up with the global consultancy MHP, a Porsche company which specialises in IT and process consulting in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. Under the brand “Intelligent Energy System Services (IE2S)”, TransnetBW and MHP are bundling their core and specialist competencies to develop customised consulting solutions for the energy and mobility market players. While the TSO incorporates the energy industry specific and process-related knowledge as well as the system view into the cooperation, MHP as digitisation and mobility expert has the experience and consulting competence of almost three thousand employees.

With this collaboration, TransnetBW is taking a first step towards strengthening its service business outside the regulatory sector and is also considering industries that have not yet participated in the electricity market but can contribute to grid stabilisation through smart load management at industrial and commercial locations or through the use of storage facilities in electric vehicles. “The energy industry and the automotive industry are moving closer together. There are many new topics that affect both sectors equally. It is therefore a logical consequence to work even more closely together,” explains Dr. Rainer Pflaum, Member of the TransnetBW Executive Board. The competent project manager at TransnetBW, Dr. Dominique Gross, adds: “With IE2S, we want to pursue a new path and bring our expertise in system responsibility and supply security into the context of increasingly digital, decentralised business models.”

TransnetBW cooperates with the IT and process consulting firm MHP in the IE2S project for smart system consulting (picture: screenshot taken from MHP image film, YouTube)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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TransnetBW pilot on eco-efficient insulating gas

06.11.2018

At its substation in Obermooweiler near the historic city of Wangen im Allgäu and north-east of Lake Constance, TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is planning nothing less than the world’s first gas-insulated switchgear at extra-high voltage level employing alternative and climate-friendly gas technology. The objective is to apply for the first time in practice an innovative type of insulating gas whose greenhouse effect is more than 99 percent lower than that of the currently used sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and which is equal to or lower than that of CO2.

There are obvious reasons why SF6 has been the industry standard as insulating gas in high-voltage systems for decades: It has excellent electrical properties, is non-toxic and chemically very stable. However, SF6 suffers from a strong greenhouse effect. For climate protection reasons, TransnetBW is thus looking for eco-efficient alternatives. The TSO’s research project aims to provide new insights into the use of an environmentally friendly alternative gas mixture in gas-insulated 380kV switchgears. TransnetBW’s partner in the project, the engineering company ABB, has experiences in the use of alternative insulating gases for switchgears in distribution grids at lower voltage levels. This expertise will now be jointly transferred to the 380kV level.

“The transmission grid integrates renewable energies and is a key element in implementing the energy transition. We also want to promote new solutions for more climate and environmental protection in the design of our grid infrastructure,” explains Dr. Werner Götz, CEO of TransnetBW. The first preparatory construction measures for the new facility are planned for March 2019. As early as 2021, the new switchgear will be connected in a first implementing step. This means an initial SF6 saving of around 55 percent. In the following second step, the existing installation will be converted. From 2026, the entire system will be SF6-free.

TransnetBW has started a research pilot for the use of climate-friendly insulating gas in gas-insulated switchgears at 380kV level (picture based on screenshots taken from video “ABB commissions world’s first switchgear installation with new eco efficient gas”; ABB, YouTube)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> See ABB press release (html)

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German TSOs revise grid design principles

29.10.2018

The four German transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, Tennet, and TransnetBW have revised their plans for grid development in Germany and presented the new version of the “Principles for the Design of the German Transmission System”. This joint document of the four TSOs determines needs-based perspective concepts for secure and efficient grid operation in accordance with national and European legal frameworks and obligations.

With the first publication of the principles in 2012, the German TSOs presented the technical and economic basis of grid design in a transparent and comprehensible manner based on three equally important aspects: grid optimisation, reinforcement and expansion. Since then, the framework conditions have changed in several respects. The TSOs have therefore fundamentally revised and extended the common planning principles last published in the April 2015 version. The principles remain subject to continuous future review by the TSOs and will be adjusted if necessary.

The four German TSOs have released their revised “Principles for the Design of the German Transmission System”

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> See TransnetBW news release, in German (html)
> Open Principles, (pdf, 1,35MB)

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Acer decision on fallback procedures for Core CCR

09.10.2018

In March 2018, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) was asked by the competent regulatory authorities to decide on the amended proposal of the transmission system operators (TSOs) from the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) regarding the Core CCR fallback procedures. In the following August, ACER invited all interested stakeholders to share their views on the issue in a public consultation. After evaluating the survey, ACER has now published its decision on revisions to the methodology for fallback procedures.

The Core CCR consists of sixteen Central European TSOs, twelve of which are TSCNET shareholders: APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), ELES (Slovenia), HOPS (Croatia), MAVIR (Hungary), PSE (Poland), SEPS (Slovakia), Transelectrica (Romania), the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, and the three further TSOs from Germany 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW. ACER’s decision introduces minimal changes to fallback procedures in order to improve legal clarity and enforceability. Most importantly, instead of five different shadow allocation rules, only a single set of rules is adopted by the Agency, which specifies in its decision to which bidding zone borders these rules apply.

ACER has published its decision on the improvement of the fallback procedures proposed by the TSOs of the Core CCR

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> See ACER press release (html, with access to decision and consultation results)

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Congestion management on Austro-German border

10.09.2018

Congestion management will be introduced on the border between Austria and Germany on 1 October 2018. This go-live date was approved by the competent regulatory authorities at the beginning of September and has now been confirmed by all responsible decision-making bodies of the Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and the affected transmission system operators (TSOs), which are all shareholders of TSCNET: APG from Austria and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW.

Electricity exchange between Austria and Germany has increased in recent years. In order to ensure safe operation of transmission systems in Austria, Germany and neighbouring countries, and to reduce congestion management costs, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) included the introduction of a bidding zone split between Austria and Germany in the new design of the European Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs). Following successful testing of the systems, the operational procedures as well as the scheduling and nomination processes, the TSOs concerned now will implement this decision.

To ensure safe operation of transmission systems, congestion management will be introduced on Austro-German border on 1 October 2018

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ACER consultation on fallback procedures

02.08.2018

The relevant regulatory authorities have asked the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) to review the fallback procedures in the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) with regard to the European Regulation on Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM). The Core CCR consists of sixteen central European transmission system operators (TSOs), eleven of which are TSCNET shareholders: APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), ELES (Slovenia), HOPS (Croatia), MAVIR (Hungary), PSE (Poland), SEPS (Slovakia), the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, and the three further TSOs from Germany, 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW.

The Core TSOs prepared an amended proposal for the CCR fallback procedures. ACER now has been given the task of verifying that this proposal complies with the respective guideline on CACM Regulation of the European Union. Since ACER has to adopt a profound decision on this matter, the Agency takes interest in the comments from different parties on some elements of the amended proposal in order to substantiate this decision. The related public consultation is open til 24 August and all interested stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, nominated electricity market operators and TSOs, are invited to submit their comments.

ACER opens public consultation on the compliance of the fallback procedures proposed by the TSOs of the Core CCR with the CACM Regulation.

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> See ACER press release (html, with access to consultation document)

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Investing in energy transition – TenneT report

25.07.2018

The Half Year Report of the Dutch-German TSCNET shareholder TenneT does not only provide satisfactory figures, but also shows that the business of a transmission system operator (TSO) with a control area from the seashores to the Alps is essentially divided into two parts: connecting offshore wind energy capacity to the onshore grid and ensuring the transport of sustainable generated electricity to wherever it is needed. To further support the energy transition, TenneT is accelerating the realisation of large-scale projects in the Dutch sector of the North Sea and on the German mainland. The TSO’s commitment to the European energy future is reflected with a total of €904m of investments in the transmission systems in the first half of 2018 ‒ not only impressive compared to the first half of 2017 (€750m).

By 2030, TenneT plans to have connected a total of 11.5GW of offshore wind energy to the grid in the Netherlands. Three years earlier, in 2027, the TSO aims to achieve a total transmission capacity of 11GW for the German North Sea. The most outstanding onshore infrastructural projects are the German supraregional extra-high voltage lines SuedLink and SuedOstLink with a length of 700km and 580km, respectively, and a combined capacity of 6GW. Both DC lines will partially be realised by means of underground cabling and are joint ventures of TSCNET shareholders. On SuedLink, TenneT cooperates with TransnetBW, and on SuedOstLink with 50Hertz. To help financing its investments in the transmission of the renewables, TenneT in March 2018 again has issued long term green bonds in two tranches with a nominal total value of €1.25bn. Altogether, TenneT has issued €6.25bn in green bonds to date.

Mel Kroon, CEO at TenneT, emphasises the company’s “central position in the energy transition” and considers that the construction of new infrastructure alone is not enough to meet the challenges of the future, “but also the development of innovative hard- and software systems for real-time coordination of the variable supply of green electricity.” Mr Kroon expresses the need for a new energy system, and points out the unexploited potential of green hydrogen for flexibility and storage solutions: “Following the successful development of offshore wind energy, we now need to focus on promoting the production of green hydrogen in order to facilitate long-term energy storage and make the industrial and transport sectors far more sustainable.”

TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, presents the Half Year Report 2018

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> Open Half year report 2018 (pdf, 803kb)

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Construction start for SuedLink information centre

24.07.2018

Innovation, grid extension, digitisation, smart grid solutions ‒ in fact, it is a long list of important measures to make the energy transition in Germany a success. Maybe as important as the technical aspects of the future grid is the accompanying publicity work. Transparency is the key to effectively involve citizens in the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects and to win them over to the goals of the energy transition. Against this backdrop, TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is building an information centre in Leingarten, the southwest German ending point and converter site of the SuedLink extra-high voltage line.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the centre in Leingarten took place on 23 July. The supra-regional SuedLink project is a joint venture of TransnetBW and further TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. The DC line will transmit green electricity from Schleswig-Holstein in the very north of Germany to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in the country’s industrially highly developed south. The scheduled commissioning date of this key project for a reliable and future-proof transmission system is 2025, and from April 2019 the interested public will be able to obtain information about the energy transition, SuedLink and the regional specifities in the centre.

Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector in Baden-Württemberg, commented during the ceremony: “In the future, SuedLink will make a crucial contribution to the electricity supply of people and industry in Baden-Württemberg.” The information centre allows citizens not only to inform themselves but also to get in touch with the TSO at a personal level. Dr. Werner Götz, CEO at TransnetBW explained: “This is how we make the energy transition project SuedLink as transparent as possible.”

TransnetBW, one of the four German TSOs, started construction of the information centre for the Suedlink extra-high voltage line. Picture: TransnetBW (from left to right: Klaus Wenninger, managing director of the construction company AMOS; Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector; Dr. Werner Götz, CEO at TransnetBW; Ralf Steinbrenner, mayor of Leingarten)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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Groundbreaking ceremony at Ultranet substation

02.07.2018

In June 2017, TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), applied for building permit for a new gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) at its substation on the grounds of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. One year later, the TSO has celebrated the start of construction with a symbolic turning of the first sod. The GIS replaces the existing open-air switchgear. One of the reasons why it is the technology of choice, is the system’s little space requirement ‒ it takes up only a fifth of the area of the open-air switchgear.

In Philippsburg, the supra-regional DC line Ultranet will be connected to TransnetBW’s regional 380kV grid. This makes the substation one of the most significant power hubs in Germany’s future energy landscape. Ultranet is a joint venture of TransnetBW and further TSCNET shareholder Amprion and destined to transfer renewable (primarily wind) energy from the northwest of the country to the industrially highly developed southwest. The GIS complements the new Ultranet converter, which is also to be built on the plant site. This device will convert the Ultranet DC into AC, which will then be fed into the transmission system by the GIS.

Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, referred to the Philippsburg upgrade as “central component” of the supply security in times of the energy transition. The reconstruction measures will “ensure that the electricity generated in the north reaches the local consumers safely”. According to the current state of planning, the GIS will be commissioned in 2021.

Picture by TransnetBW (from left to right: Norman Weber, Subproject Manager Ultranet at TransnetBW, Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, Stefan Martus, Mayor of Philippsburg, Dr. Martin Schumacher, Boardmember ABB AG, Joachim Schneider, Head of District Adminstration Karlsruhe, Klaus Kaufmann, Project Manager ABB)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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