Blog March 29, 2019

The share of renewable energy in electricity generation continues to expand in Europe, signaling a continued commitment toward a greener, emissions-free, and sustainable future. While a commitment, this energy transition is not a totally smooth ride due to infrastructure limitations and other factors impacting the evolution.

Looking at Germany in particular, large volumes of wind generation may be constrained due to the limitations of the electricity transportation infrastructure. Such congestion can be anticipated during the hours of high wind production, and lead to the activation of re-dispatch measures by the Transmission System Operator (TSO) ahead of physical delivery. Re-dispatch measures include curtailments of production from assets connected to the congested line and activation of secondary and minute-reserve balancing supply. All costs associated with the changes to delivery schedules caused by re-dispatch must be compensated by the grid operator. 

Total generation in Germany during week 11 of 2018 (Source: Fraunhofer ISE)
Figure 1: Total generation in Germany during week 11 of 2018. (Source: Fraunhofer ISE)

The cost of re-dispatch in Germany reached a staggering 1.4 billion euros in 2017 (880 million in 2016), according to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). The amount of curtailed generation can also reach impressive numbers.

Between 12:00 and 13:00 CET on 18 March nearly 5.9 gigawatts (GW) of wind production was curtailed due to a severe surge in renewable generation (Figure 1), according to Montel.

Most congested lines in Germany in 2017 (Source: BNetzA)
Figure 2: Most congested lines in Germany in 2017. (Source: BNetzA)

Line congestion tends to happen more frequently on certain connections, which signals the worst bottlenecks in the infrastructure. Figure 2 shows the map of the most congested lines in Germany for 2017, as reported by BNetzA. The map displays congestion in hours over the year, varying from 12 to 50 hours (green) to over 500 hours (dark red).

If you are a renewable asset owner or direct marketer in Germany, you want to know when your production may be curtailed due to congestion to better optimise your portfolio. Alternatively, if you own flexible, dispatchable generation capacity that can be called on during re-dispatch measures, you want to be able to anticipate this call and submit your bids accordingly. Knowing real-time capacity utilization of the grid will help you make these calls and keep you ahead.

Genscape PowerRT platform showing representation of real-time plant production.
Figure 3: Genscape PowerRT platform showing representation of real-time plant production.

At Genscape, we monitor real-time production from key assets across Germany as well as physical electricity flows on transmission lines. For instance, we monitor Franken and Sandreuth, both are pre-qualified power plants for the balancing market, located to the south of one of most congested lines (Figure 3). Both plants may be called on for redispatch at times of congestion.

You can gain insight into balancing market dynamics by following live generation of pre-qualified assets and physical flows on the critical lines with our solutions. To learn more, or to request a demo of PowerRT, please click here.