Balancing Capacity in Germany

Main goal of the German transmission system operators (TSO) is to balance generation and demand of electricity within their load frequency control areas (LFC areas) at any point in time. In order to do so, TSOs use different types of balancing services (frequency containment reserve (FCR), automatic frequency restoration reserve (aFRR) and manual frequency restoration reserves (mFRR)), which differ with regard to type and time of activation. Since 2001, German TSOs’ have procured the required FCR, aFRR and mFRR on an open, transparent and non-discriminatory market according to the requirements of the national regulation authority. The overall amount of balancing capacity in Germany is reduced by the cooperation of the transmission system operators in the German Grid Control Cooperation (GCC).

Dimensioning

The FCR demand is determined on European level. According to the Guideline on Transmission System Operation (GL SO) the dimensioning incident in the continental European synchronous area is 3,000 MW. The distribution of the required frequency containment reserve to the LFC areas is annually calculated on basis of each LFC area’s power generation and demand.
For the determination of the required capacity of aFRR and mFRR, the German TSOs use a common dimensioning methodology. Since December 9th, 2019, the required balancing capacity is no longer dimensioned quarterly but dynamically for every four-hour block. This new dimensioning methodology takes into account the changing regulatory framework, especially GL SO.

Procurement

The procurement of balancing capacity is a two-stage bidding price procedure (capacity price and energy price) with participation of several balancing service providers. All types of balancing capacity are tendered on a daily basis (d-7). In the tender, different minimum bid sizes are defined, which have to be taken into account by the market participants. While the minimum bid size for FCR is 1 MW, bids for aFRR and mFRR have to have at least a size of 5 MW. A bid size of less than 5 MW is permitted under the condition that the provider submits only one bid per product in the respective LFC area.

Prequalification

In order to be admitted to the tenders of the different balancing services, power plant operators and customers have to meet various requirements. This is checked by the TSOs during the prequalification.
The common prequalification documents can be downloaded using the following link: https://www.regelleistung.net/ext/static/prequalification

Luxembourgian technical units will be given access to the FCR Cooperation by Amprion starting from 1st of June 2020. For this purpose, Creos and Amprion have developed a cooperation model. The model intends Amprion to take over the role of connecting TSO.

Activation of balancing energy

The activation of the procured balancing capacity differs depending on the type of the balancing services. While the FCR is activated decentrally in the entire synchronous area on the basis of the frequency deviation in accordance with the solidarity principle, aFRR and mFRR are activated in accordance with the polluter-pays principle. This means that aFRR and mFRR is activated by the TSO who is responsible for the LFC area which causes the imbalance. aFRR is activated automatically to replace the FCR, whereas the TSOs request the use of mFRR manually.

Publication

Tender results (e. g. quantities and prices) are published on www.regelleistung.net.

International Cooperation and Balancing Platforms

In addition to the cooperation of German TSOs at national level within the framework of the GCC, there are also various cooperation projects at international level. For example, the TSOs of Austria and Germany activate aFRR and mFRR energy from common merit orders, if cross-border transmission capacity is available. Since February 2020, a aFRR capacity is also commonly procured as part of a aFRR cooperation between Germany and Austria. Furthermore, Amprion is working together with the other European TSOs on the establishment of European balancing platforms to create a single European market for balancing energy within the framework of the implementation of the European Guideline on Electricity Balancing (GL EB).
Further information on the individual platforms can be found at:

  • Platform for the International Coordination of Automated Frequency Restoration and Stable System Operation (PICASSO)
  • Manually Activated Reserves Initiative (MARI)
  • Imbalance Netting
  • Frequency Containment Reserves (FCR)
  • Trans European Replacement Reserves Exchange (TERRE)

If You have further questions on balancing, please contact us using the following e-mail address: ten.noirpma@negnutsieltsneidmetsys