Blog March 26, 2018

Outage Messages

Following the REMIT regulation in 2011, outage messages have become an integral part of the European power market. This is truly a case where, if you do not know something, it might work against you.

Therefore, it is of paramount importance to make sure that you are in a position to learn about any new outages or changes and updates to previously announced ones. This is easier said than done. Many sources publish data about the same outage information, but the format and style of published messages can vary wildly. You will need a clever and flexible system to collect the relevant messages and process them for reporting in a unified format.

Outage Messages for German Plants

Availability Curves

The outage messages by themselves are valuable information. However, automated processing of individual messages into an availability curve that uses messages over time is a must to receive a comprehensive and insightful view on a market. Availability curves show market supply at any moment in time and, when stacked in the merit order and balanced with residual demand, directly signal the expected price level for that point in time. The processing and curve building must happen in close-to-real-time to ensure the latest view on either the market or a generation asset’s availability for the timeliest trading decisions.

outage messages converted to availability curves

Analyzing Outage Messages

To quickly assess the impact of any extension of, or change to, maintenance schedules, such extensions or changes must be interpreted in the context of the previously reported availability, as well as the demand and supply levels in the market as a whole.

For example, the availability of French nuclear power plants is a major factor in setting market price, for not only France but also for the neighboring markets. Even if you are not trading power in France, you still need to know about any outage schedule changes there and how they may impact supply in the French and, by extension, the interconnected markets.

Sources of Outage Messages

The challenge with outage messages is knowing which source to trust given that key messages about an outage can be different. For example, several sources can report the same planned maintenance event, but the start and end time of that outage and extent of unavailability may differ at the same point in time.

We can see such a mismatch by looking at a planned outage at a Hungarian nuclear plant, Paks Units 2 (a.k.a. 3&4 Turbines). Three sources report outage information for this plant: Inside Information, the Hungarian TSO MAVIR and ENTSO-E. On 6 March 2018 at 11:00 CET, a planned event was reported where the unit was to be offline from late February to late March 2018. If you compare the outage details provided by each source, you can see that there were differences between outage start and end dates, and the size of unavailability.

Source: Inside Information

PAKS outage message by Inside Information

Source: MAVIR

Outage messages by MAVIR

Source: ENTSO-E​

PAKS outage messages by ENTSO-E

The only way to tell which source is correct is to compare the corresponding curves for each source against an actual generation profile of an asset (Figure 6).

ENTSO-E unit level  generation

Availability Curves from Plant Level to Market View

Genscape’s PowerRT, a web-based platform for superior fundamental data, market intelligence and analytical capabilities, optimizes the effort to get a faster view on generation availability, starting from unit level to plant level.

ex of difference between reported availability and actual generation

Plant level availability is aggregated to present market level availability stacked by fuel type, with both historical and forward view in the same chart. This aggregated view is built using defined sources for each asset, based on the historical performance, reliability, accuracy and timeliness of each source. You can quickly visualize what is realized historically in terms of planned and forced outages next to announced future unavailability for an entire market in real-time.

aggregated availability view for Germany

In the example in Figure 8, German nuclear supply is expected to increase by about 1,000 MW on 19 March 2018. The charts in PowerRT provide drilldown functionality from fuel-level to plant-level availability with a source indication; this makes for an easy examination of aggregated series and for determining that the increase in nuclear capacity is driven by Grohnde coming back from an outage. As a market participant, you would want to ensure you are aware of this change in baseload supply availability for potential price impacts.

Visit Genscape's PowerRT and EPSI for additional information on how to identify and understand patterns and trends to strengthen your power market analysis, and achieve unparalleled insights into European power markets.