Expertise for maximum security of supply
Amprion GmbH operates a transmission system with the voltage levels of 380.000 and 220.000 volts. The key task of its some 900 employees is to transmit electricity at competitive prices safely and reliably any time.
With a length of around 11.000 kilometres and some 160 substations between Lower Saxony and the border to Switzerland and Austria, our extra-high voltage transmission system is the largest in Germany. The system connects power plants with the load centres and at the same time is an important pillar of the German and European transmission grid. Through its central position in Europe, our transmission system is an important hub for electricity trading between Northern and Southern as well as Eastern and Western Europe.
We are responsible for one of the largest grid areas in Europe and assume an important task in the european interconnected system.
Security of Supply
Stable system and reliable transmission
Amprion monitors the reliable transmission of electricity within the 380/220 kV grid. To keep the grid stable, we make sure that electricity consumption and electricity generation within our control area are balanced at all times. By transparent tendering, as per regulations, we procure the required control power – primary control, secondary control and minute reserve – as well as the energy needed to compensate for grid losses. Tendering for the minute reserve is done jointly with all German transmission system operators.
Coordinator for Northern Europe
We also coordinate the pluralistic load and frequency control for the four German control areas (TenneT TSO GmbH, 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, Trannet BW GmbH and Amprion GmbH). In addition, we are responsible for the coordination of exchange programmes and subsequent system accounting both for the entire German transmission grid and the northern part of the European UCTE interconnected system (Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary).
European electricity transmission
Germany is the No. 1 electricity transit country in Europe. Consequently no other country in the EU has developed its interconnections as effectively as Germany. Interconnection lines to nine foreign transmission system operators in five countries (NL, L, F, CH, A) enable Amprion to meet the specific transmission requirements of European power traders with utmost transmission reliability. In 2005, we extended the Gronau-Hengelo interconnection to the Netherlands, thus doubling its capacity. Interconnection capacities to France had already been increased by one third in 2003. An additional interconnection line is planned to further increase capacities on the Dutch border. We conduct auctions, conforming to EU-regulations, of transmission capacities to France, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Open grid access
The deregulated electricity market requires open and economically efficient grid access for our customers. We provide customers from industry, distribution utilities, power traders and producers with non-discriminating access to our extra-high voltage system via some 395 grid connections. We offer uniform and competitive prices: Our network usage charges have been calculated in strict compliance with the requirements of Germany's New Energy Industry Act (EnWG) and the German Network Fee Regulation (StromNEV). And we are rising to the challenges posed by the efficiency discussion around the incentive regulation started in 2008.
Some 700 balancing agreements concluded with 350 traders for the control area of Amprion prove that competition in our grid area functions well. These traders provide us with up to 3.500 schedule notifications every day which we check in each case.
To ease the burdens of high consumption industry, we contribute significantly by introducing highly innovative energy models. In agreement with the Federal Network Agency, we were able to reduce the transmission charges of such customers by up to 50 percent for the period of approval, simultaneously strengthening competitiveness. This concept has meanwhile been adopted by other system operators as a guideline to calculate individual transmission charges.
Our customers’ burdens are steadily increasing due to energy levies imposed by the government. This also affects, directly and indirectly, the transmission charges. One example is the burden sharing for electricity volumes from renewable energy generation and combined heat-and-power production as required by law. We are obliged to take around 38 percent of the total German generation from renewable energy plants into our grid. Despite improved wind forecasts, the supply of wind power to the grid considerably contributes to our costs and increases transmission charges: The balancing power needed for wind power in-feed accounts for almost one fifth of our grid costs. In addition, there are the costs for redispatch and grid development to meet the requirements of the Renewable Energy Act.
Forward-thinking and expertise
Geared up to face new challenges
The structural change of our grid customers requires, in turn, an adjustment of our grid structure in line with the new demanding tasks. This is why we are developing our extra-high voltage grid in a forward-thinking manner with a view to safety engineering, licensing law, ecological and economic aspects. For this purpose, we spend hundreds of millions on investments as well as maintenance and repair annually. The necessary grid budgets are determined by means of asset simulation. The simulation models are based on economically efficient grid development for new grid development projects or grid condition and expected lifetime for replacement projects.
Another example of our sustainable concepts is the improved quality of wind forecasting. As we compare the forecasts of several weather services, our wind forecast has meanwhile become more accurate than the forecast of many a weather report. This enables us to use and procure the balancing power required for wind power feed-in with greater economic efficiency.
Our know-how and long-standing experience form the basis for our cooperation in manifold national and international expert bodies where Amprion frequently takes up a pilot function when it comes to introducing innovation.
Sustainable resource conservation
Environmental protection and nature conservation are essential obligations for Amprion. As part of our energy supply responsibility, we are committed to environmentally sound and resource-conserving provision of energy on a sustainable basis.
Nature conservation and landscape protection
Electricity pylons and conductors of power transmission lines cutting through forests must be protected from falling or growing trees (see figure). By way of biotope management, we look after some 10.500 hectares of land below overhead transmission lines. We are the first power system operator in Germany to team up with the forest and nature conservation authorities to introduce an integral concept that takes into account both economical and ecological concerns.
We also sponsor research on electromagnetic fields (EMC), thus creating the basis for an objective discussion.