Entso-E Winter Outlook 2013/14 Evalutates Potentially Critical Periods and Situations for Germany

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) presented its Winter Outlook 2013/14 and Summer Review 2013 on national and regional power balances. The detailed country by country assessments also describe the potentially most critical periods and situations in the upcoming winter season in Germany.

The analysis carried out showed sufficient generation capacity in Europe for both normal and severe demand conditions, with generally greater margins in the European power system over the coming winter as compared to winter 2012/13, the report says. Various countries might require imports to cover the expected demand, but cross-border capacity was expected to be sufficient to accommodate them.

Following the first step of the nuclear phase-out in 2011, Germany still lacked conventional power capacity, primarily in the south, while renewable energy sources continued to be installed at high speed, the report points out, concluding that “In the winter period the German TSOs may be faced again with problems to meet (n-1)-security rules, especially in situations with high wind feed-in in the North and high load in the South of Germany. In these situations, an excess of transmission capacities of network elements in the important transmission axes from North to South has to be expected.”

German TSOs were preparing for this situation, the report says. To cover the anticipated very high redispatch demand as for the last winter, the German TSOs determined the need of an additional reserve generation capacity of about 2.5 GW up to 4.5 GW under exceptional contingencies for the winter 2013/2014.

In September 2013, Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the German grid regulator, who is monitoring system adequacy closely, established a need for reserve capacity in the amount of 2,540 MW for the upcoming winter season, all of which has meanwhile been secured. (For the winter season 2015/2016, BNetzA expects a need for reserve capacity of 4,800 MW).

The report points out that  since an amendment of the German Energy Act passed in November 2012, power plants that are deemed “system-relevant” are subject to certain shut down restrictions, allowing instead a transfer into a TSO-controlled reserve. Besides generation adequacy was further improved by a new ordinance on interruptible loads.

Despite these precautions, Entso-E said that “from the experience of past winters the period around Christmas could be critical due massive oversupply of the German control area. This could result in strong negative prices for electricity and could contribute to a high upward frequency deviation. In such a case the German demand for negative control reserve might not be covered by the procured reserves and emergency reserve would have to be used.”

“Another critical situation would be posed by an unexpected strong cold-spell with little wind feed-in and a possible gas shortage, which could lead to an undersupplied control area”, Entso-E warned. In winter 2011/2012 a number of critical situations occurred in the electricity grids. To maintain a high security of supply level, the TSOs had to intervene frequently. The situation was compounded by an unexpected gas supply shortfall in February 2012, when Russia delivered less gas than usual during a cold spell. The most important gas power plants have meanwhile been equipped with new contracts, Entso-E says, adding that smaller gas power plants connected to distribution system operators were not observable for TSOs in terms of their supply contracts. Lately the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW) said that it believed the security of the gas supply for the coming winter season to remain high.

Concerning Germany, but also generally the report highlights the increased importance of interconnection capacity between countries to deal with what it calls “the marked change in Europe’s generation mix”.

Source: Entso-E

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