Field of Action: Secure Power System
We are acting in the interest of the European energy transition and working to ensure system security while integrating renewable energy sources. To this end, we drive forward innovation and actively participate in industry collaborations. We are working to promote:
- Grid expansion and upgrade
- Grid and systems development
- System security
- European framework requirements
Grid expansion and upgrade
Amprion is working on innovative solutions that will enable the energy world to transform and help advance climate protection efforts. In order to integrate the increasing volumes of renewables into the energy system, we are developing our grid infrastructure and pressing ahead with its restructuring within the scope of our legal mandate. Since we want to conserve resources and keep the impact of our expansion work as low as possible, we make our decisions in accordance with the NOVA principle laid down by legislators in the Energy Industry Act (EnWG): namely, “Netz-Optimierung vor -Verstärkung vor -Ausbau” (first grid optimisation, then grid upgrade, and only then grid expansion). For example, we are now installing a new generation of conductor cables known as “high-temperature low-sag (HTLS) conductors”, which are capable of carrying more current.
We are deploying new technologies such as high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission systems to transport electricity efficiently over longer distances. These enable current flows to be better regulated, resulting in lower transmission losses over long distances.
Grid and systems development
The goal is for the energy system to become climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest. Amprion is playing an active role in shaping this transformation. In cooperation with the other German transmission system operators, we are fulfilling our mission – as defined in the Energy Industry Act – of preparing a Network Development Plan that takes a long-term view of the energy grid. At the same time, we are helping to prepare short-term scenarios, for example for calculating the required network reserve for the winter months on behalf of the Federal Network Agency.
Beyond the scenarios required by law, we also carry out other comprehensive and well-founded analyses. On the one hand we examine concrete issues, for instance in connection with the coal phase-out by 2030. On the other, these scenarios also take account of the systemic level, as in our Systemvision 2050. The project aims to identify and discuss the requirements for a climate-neutral energy system by interacting closely with politics, business and society. Another building block for integrating the energy system is the Systemmarkt developed by Amprion in 2022, which is a concept for a new, integrated and modular market design.
Night and day, engineers at Amprion’s System Operation & Control Centre in Brauweiler near Cologne monitor and control the current flows, voltage and frequency in the transmission grid. Switching measures or interventions in power plant schedules can be employed to regulate current flows. The generation of electricity from renewables fluctuates greatly depending on the weather. For this reason, Amprion utilises various forms of artificial intelligence in the System Operation & Control Centre to predict how much electricity will be fed into the grid the next day. In addition, the Brauweiler System Operation & Control Centre performs overarching coordination tasks not only for the four German control areas but also for northern Europe’s integrated grid. Through the Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) trading project, for example, we enable European market participants to engage in cross-border intraday electricity trading. To enable electricity from renewable energy (generated under feed-in regulation or tariffs) plants in the grid area that are supported by the feed-in tariff to be marketed at optimum cost and in a legally compliant manner, Amprion has been using a specially developed, automated trading algorithm (Auto-Trader) since the beginning of 2022. In the course of the energy transition, more and more electricity will flow through the cross-border grid and European congestion and frequency stability management will become increasingly important.
European framework requirements
Under the umbrella of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity ( ENTSO-E), we are pushing for the installation of European framework conditions conducive to the success of the energy transition – together with 38 other transmission system operators from 35 countries. Amprion’s grid lies at the very heart of Europe and is consequently the hub of European electricity trading. We are upgrading and expanding our cross-border power lines – the interconnectors – to Austria, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. One of them, for example, is ALEGrO, the first direct electricity link between Germany and Belgium.
System security requires European solutions. This is because cross-border electricity flows are on the increase, as is the volume of renewables being fed into Europe’s grids. It is therefore vital that the increasing, and at the same time fluctuating, volumes of wind and solar power are controlled better at European level. To this end, Amprion is working together with other European transmission system operators in regional system security cooperations, such as the TSO Security Cooperation.
The complexity of the energy system demands close cooperation between a large number of players. Amprion is working with distribution system operators (DSOs) on solutions to better integrate distributed power producers into our system operation and control processes. This is also the subject of the Connect+ project, in which distribution and transmission system operators have joined forces. Together with E.ON, Germany’s largest DSO, we are collaborating at the interface between the transmission and distribution grids to establish an energy system that is climate-friendly and fit for the future.
What’s more, together with partners from the scientific community, we are working to develop innovative solutions to support the energy transition. We aim to complete a total of five cooperation projects with research institutions by 2024. Together with the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, we have already tested how restarting the grid with 100 per cent renewables can work. We are also participating in the InnoSys 2030 research project together with transmission and distribution system operators and manufacturers of control systems. Amongst other things, this project was set up to test the potential of so-called curative congestion management. This differs from preventive congestion management in terms of the time window in which bottlenecks are eliminated. Curative measures are only used when a failure actually occurs. Higher utilisation of the existing grid is possible in this way and the costs for congestion management are reduced. In 2022, Amprion mapped and tested curative measures in a field test in its own control system.