23.01.2018

The energy grid of the future

Distribution system operators in eastern Germany and 50Hertz present solutions for stable grid operation.

The 25th Handelsblatt Annual Conference on the Energy Industry 2018 presents a range of arguments, topics, approaches and solutions put forward by energy companies. The Conference's main objective is to work together to continue shaping the energy revolution. Worth mentioning is the exemplary nationwide partnership between the consortium of network operators OST and the transmission system operator 50Hertz. Central to this partnership is the intensive cooperation on measures to maintain system stability, reliable grid operation and grid security.

The 110 kilovolt grid operators in eastern Germany (Avacon Netz GmbH, E.DIS Netz GmbH, ENSO NETZ GmbH, Mitteldeutsche Netzgesellschaft Strom GmbH, Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, Stromnetz Hamburg GmbH, Netze Magdeburg GmbH, TEN Thüringer Energienetze GmbH & Co. KG and WEMAG Netz GmbH) and the transmission system operator 50Hertz Transmission GmbH (50Hertz) signed up to a 10-point program for the continued development of system services back in September 2014 to work together to develop solutions for stable electricity grid operation. Over three years later, the distribution network operators in ARGE Ost and 50Hertz are now submitting another interim report in which they present solutions and suggestions for the four system services frequency maintenance, voltage maintenance, operation management and supply restoration.

For example, approaches to the system services frequency maintenance and voltage maintenance are currently being piloted for the first time. The distribution system operators have, among other things, introduced active reactive power management of generation assets. Indeed, this newly developed active reactive power management presents new challenges for grid management and requires intensive consultation between transmission and distribution system operators. A training concept was therefore developed too in order to convey the required expertise and demonstrate the necessary processes.

Looking to the future, decentralised generation will continue to increase and consumption will change significantly owing to electromobility and other new applications. This presents new challenges for network operators. More meter readings will be required than are currently available in order to improve forecasts. 50Hertz and the distribution network operators in ARGE FNB Ost have therefore agreed on a structure which has managed the transmission of meter readings from distribution system operators since mid-2016.

The four system services are necessary for secure operation of the electrical system. Nowadays, significant contributions are still made primarily by conventional power plants. The energy revolution, especially the generation of renewable energies, leads to a change in the structure of generators and network operation. Network operators for Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are leading the way in integrating renewable energies into the electricity supply. The figure was at 50% in 2015 and 2016, meaning the share of renewable energy sources in electricity consumption has already doubled since 2008. The energy revolution and associated increase in complexity present distribution system operators and transmission system operators in the operating regions of north-eastern and eastern Germany with particular challenges and necessitate intensive cooperation in order to maintain system stability. Overarching exchange of expertise and interoperability equip ARGE FNB Ost's distribution system operators and 50Hertz for the energy grid of the future.

The full interim report for the 10-point program, which looks at the ongoing development of the system services, is available to download here.