Our mission: Enabling cross-border coordination of electricity security in Europe

Turning data…
into information for a secure, prosperous and sustainable Europe

Electricity is life! In today’s world, electricity has become almost as important as our daily bread. Light, computers, media, communication, traffic and nearly all means of production – almost everywhere we are dependent on a secure power supply around the clock every day. A society and economy without electricity is hardly imaginable.

The stability of the European electricity supply is organised on the level of the transmission systems.
European end customers are supplied with electricity via transmission and distribution networks. The high security of supply is the result of more than 80 years of development of low and high voltage distribution networks connected by 380/220kV transmission grids. On the one hand, the transmission grids enable the exchange of electricity between the regions with surplus generation and demand and are thus the basis for all electricity trade and the European internal electricity market. On the other hand, the stability of the electricity grid at the transmission level is ensured by the European transmission system operators (TSOs), which balance generation and demand – measured at a stable frequency of 50Hz – and keep power flows and voltages within safe limits.

The electricity exchange and its volatility have increased significantly.
The introduction of competition in the electricity supply sector at the end of the last century created the basis for today’s pan-European electricity trading, allowing traders to optimise their generation and supply portfolios through tradable electricity products at competitive market prices. In addition, the integration of renewable energy sources (RES) has been greatly facilitated across Europe, where installed wind and photovoltaic capacity in the EU has increased from almost zero in the last two decades to 236GW in 2015. The overlapping of both factors has led to a very volatile and increasing trade in electricity within and between EU Member States, while the physical performance of electricity grids cannot keep pace with these developments and market rules require further harmonisation.

Regional security coordination has become essential.
European electricity transmission system operators (TSOs) ensure the stability of our electricity networks. Due to the increasing and volatile exchange of electricity throughout Europe, a TSO is no longer in a position to guarantee security of supply in its area of responsibility on its own.

This was made clear on 4 November 2006, when a miscalculation of the operating staff led to a division of the continental transmission network with Europe-wide distribution among 15 million European households.

In their joint analysis, the European transmission system operators confirmed the demand for uniform criteria for regional and interregional TSO coordination approaches aimed at regional safety management, improved data exchange, the results of safety analyses and planned remedial measures.

This disruption was the birth of a stronger TSO security coordination than the one that led to the later establishment of TSCNET as a Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) in 2014.

In order to achieve a better integration of markets and renewable energies and their compatibility with physical laws, European legislation was continuously adapted. At the level of regional security coordination, the so-called 3rd EU Energy Package has led to important new regulations that also legally introduce the role of regional security coordinators. Although the current legislative package is still being implemented, the next legislative package, the so-called Clean Energy Package, is already in preparation.

A leading Regional Security Coordinator (RSC)
As one of the largest RSCs in Europe, TSCNET Services provides TSOs with forecasts on the security status and flow of electricity through their transmission grids. These forecasts cover the period from one year in advance to the intraday phase of an operating day. The results and evaluations from these forecasts are used to:

  • identify and relate to the expected security state of the electricity system at a given point in time and the potentially necessary corrective measures if the security of supply criteria are not met
  • assess the impact of the planned unavailability of transmission assets or large generating units, and
  • quantify the transmission capacities to be allocated to the electricity trading market.

Current EU legislation stipulates that the following concrete tasks must be performed by RSCs and Coordinated Capacity Calculators:

  • Calculation of cross-border capacities
  • Coordinated security analysis
  • Outage planning coordination for relevant transmission facilities
  • Generation adequacy assessment
  • Common Grid Model (CGM), which corresponds to the purpose of the tasks mentioned above.

All tasks are performed by the RSC on the basis of the methods defined by the TSOs of a relevant transmission system region or within the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), which are approved by the relevant regulatory authorities if necessary.

In order to obtain a forecast of the transmission situation and to establish a Common Grid Model, TSCNET collects forecast data from TSOs across Europe and takes care of the quality of data exchange on the basis of quality monitoring standards developed under ENTSO-E and taking into account regional specificities.

The corresponding safety calculations will be performed centrally at the level of the RSCs on the basis of these forecasting models, while the results will be shared with the TSOs. If corrective measures are needed to ensure security of supply after consultation of TSCNET, the TSOs will decide on the proposed measures as they have the ultimate responsibility for safe system operation.

As the transmission networks need to operate securely around the clock, TSCNET provides parts of its services around the clock.