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electric interconnection

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The Spanish electricity system will receive 38 million euros as a result of the interconnection capacity auctions between Spain and France and Spain and Portugal for 2019. This amount is earmarked for reducing the regulated costs of the system. The interconnection capacity auctions with our neighbouring countries are a tool by which market agents (generators and retailers) bid to acquire the transmission rights to transfer energy from one country to another in order to guarantee a stable price of such energy exchange. This process helps set the marginal price for each interconnection and for each direction.

In the Spain-France direction, 600 megawatts (MW) were offered and allocated for each hour of the year, establishing a final price of 4.36 euros/MW per hour. In the France-Spain, 800 MW were offered and allocated, with a final price of 7.51 euros/MW per hour. Twelve of the thirty participating agents obtained capacity in both directions.

With respect to the Spain-Portugal direction, 250 MW were offered and allocated for each hour of the year, establishing a final price of 0.12 euros/MW per hour, with 8 of the 16 participating agents having obtained capacity in this direction. In the Portugal-Spain direction, 350 MW were offered and allocated, with a final price of 0.08 euros/MW per hour, with 9 of the 16 participating agents having obtained capacity.

In this way, Red Eléctrica de España (REE) and Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE), operators of the Spanish and French systems, respectively, have allocated physical transmission rights (exchange capacity) whereby the bidders allocated this type of capacity and who have paid in full the auction price, have the option of nominating long-term physical energy exchange schedules through the interconnection, or receive the positive price in the Day-ahead Market spread between the Spain and France zones in the direction of the allocated capacity.

Regarding the interconnection with Portugal, Red Eléctrica de España and its Portuguese counterpart, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN), have allocated financial transmission rights (product based on exchange capacity that is protected from the fluctuation of the future value of said capacity) whereby the bidders allocated this type of capacity and who have paid in full the auction price, are entitled to receive the positive price in the Day-ahead Market spread between the Spain and Portugal zones in the direction of the allocated capacity.

These annual exchange capacity allocations between Spain and France generated congestion rents (revenues) totalling 75.5 million euros, half of which correspond to the Spanish electricity system. Similarly, the congestion rents generated by the electricity interconnection between Spain and Portugal reached a value of 500,000 euros, half of which correspond to the Spanish system.

In 2018, the hourly exchange capacity of electricity between Spain and France has reached values ​​of up to 3,600 MW and 3,500 MW, in the direction from Spain to France and from France to Spain, respectively, under favourable operating conditions. For its part, in 2018 the hourly exchange capacity of electricity between Spain and Portugal reached values ​​of up to 4,000 MW and 3,800 MW, in the direction from Portugal to Spain and from Spain to Portugal, respectively, under favourable operating conditions.

These annual auctions were held on 10 and 11 of December through the company JAO (Joint Allocation Office), recognised as Europe’s Single Allocation Platform (SAP); noteworthy is that for the first time these auctions included the long-term products for the Portugal-Spain interconnection. In addition to these annual auctions, JAO will also hold monthly auctions in 2019 for the interconnection with France and quarterly and monthly auctions for the interconnection with Portugal.

Source: REE

Flexible energy options, such as energy storage, smart-charging electric vehicles, demand response and interconnectors, are needed to ensure that the energy transition proceeds on an optimal path. Our expensive power system would otherwise be reliant on fossil-fueled backup and installing excess wind and solar capacity.

The four types of flexibility mentioned above can accelerate the transition to a cleaner power system and ultimately enable the efficient integration of 80% or more renewable energy by 2040, according to two reports published today by BloombergNEF (BNEF) in partnership with Eaton and Statkraft.

The Flexibility Solutions for High-Renewable Energy Systems reports model a number of alternative scenarios for future power systems in the UK and Germany, respectively, depending on how each flexibility technology might develop in the coming years.

Energy storage and smart electric vehicle charging provide flexibility by moving large volumes of renewable energy to periods of high demand, or moving demand to periods of high renewable generation. Dispatchable demand response reduces the need for fossil-fired backup plants in the power system, reducing emissions. Interconnecting to Nordic hydro can address periods of both excess supply and excess demand, providing different benefits over the decades as the needs of the system evolve.

The two studies – focused on the UK and Germany – highlight that policies and regulation accelerating the adoption of these technologies are key to make a cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient power system possible.

Specific findings for the UK include:

•None of the scenarios halt the transition to a low-carbon power system. In all scenarios, the renewable share of generation exceeds 70% by 2030 as wind and solar become dominant, thanks to their dramatic and ongoing cost improvements. However, without new sources of clean flexibility, the system will be oversized and wasteful, making it 13% more expensive by 2040 and with 36% higher emissions.
•Greater electrification of transport yields major emissions savings with little risk to the power generation system. Avoided fuel emissions far outstrip added power sector emissions. The power generation system will comfortably integrate all these electric vehicles, and the system benefits are even greater if most EVs charge flexibly. However, local distribution networks are likely to face challenges.
•Accelerated energy storage development can hasten the transition to a renewable power system, with significant benefits by 2030 including a 13% emissions reduction and 12% less fossil backup capacity needed.

Specific findings for Germany include:

•In Germany, adding flexibility supports coal through 2030, even as renewables grow to dominate the market. This counterintuitive finding is not due to a problem with batteries, EVs, demand response or interconnectors – cheap coal is the culprit. Flexible technologies are important because they can integrate inflexible generation – and in Germany’s case, its inexpensive lignite plants also benefit. To decarbonize, Germany needs to address existing coal generation while investing in renewables, flexibility and interconnection.
•Still, by 2040, adding more batteries, flexible electric vehicles and interconnections with the Nordics all enable greater renewable penetration and emissions savings. More flexible demand, on the other hand, reduces the need for battery investment.
•Even with coal-heavy power, adding EVs reduces transport emissions.

ABB has received an order worth around $140 million from transmission system operators Energinet.dk in Denmark and 50Hertz Transmission in Germany to design, supply and install an HVDC (high voltage direct current) converter station in Bentwisch, Northern Germany. The HVDC Light “back-to-back” converter station, the first of its kind in Europe, will allow the connection of the asynchronous AC power grids of Eastern Denmark and Germany.

By providing the HVDC system, ABB is a key technology contributor to the “Kriegers Flak combined grid solution” project, which establishes the world’s first offshore interconnection by using the national grid connections to the future Danish Kriegers Flak and operating German Baltic 1 and 2 offshore wind farms. ABB was also previously awarded a $100 million AC subsea cable system order for connecting the Danish Kriegers Flak wind farm in 2015.

The interconnector will have a capacity of 400 megawatts (MW), equivalent to the energy requirement of more than 400,000 households. This critical infrastructure development is co-financed by the European Union and will mark a significant step towards European renewable energy targets. In addition to allowing the integration of more renewable energy into the grid, the interconnector project will provide enhanced power security and offer additional opportunities for energy trading.

“ABB has an unparalleled track record of HVDC interconnections and is playing a key role in enabling the vision of a European grid,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Grids division. “The integration of renewable energy and the development of interconnections are key elements of ABB’s Next Level Strategy, addressing the growing need for electricity with minimum environmental impact.”

ABB will provide the complete HVDC station including transformers, converter valves, cooling systems, control and protection and other related equipment at the converter station. HVDC Light provides sophisticated features to the network such as the “black-start” power restoration capability and exceptional power control, to regulate the system with changes in the wind speed.

ABB has been awarded over 110 HVDC projects since it pioneered the technology more than 60 years ago, representing a total installed capacity of more than 120,000 megawatts and accounting for about half the global installed base. ABB further developed HVDC in the 1990s by introducing a voltage sourced converter (VSC) solution named HVDC Light and leads the way in this technology as well, having delivered 18 out of 24 VSC HVDC projects commissioned in the world.

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The new electrical interconnection between Spain and France begins its commercial operation on 5 October, whereby, under favourable operating conditions, the electricity exchange capacity between the two countries can be doubled. For the first week, the interconnection capacity will be increased up to 2,000 MW.

The line, with a length of 64.5 km, links the towns of Santa Llogaia near Figueras (Gerona), with the town of Baixas, near Perpignan. The route is completely underground and has been housed in a concrete trench, except for the stretch that crosses the Pyrenees that runs through an 8.5 km tunnel that runs parallel to the high speed train line.

This project, began in 2008, has been a technological challenge for Red Eléctrica de España (REE) and for Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE) and symbolises the three axes of the European energy policy, as it contributes to increase the security of supply of electricity in Europe, combat climate change and further the development of the single European electricity market.

At a local level, it guarantees electricity supply to the regions of Gerona and Roussillon and provides the energy needed to power the high speed train between Barcelona and Perpignan. In addition, its commissioning will allow a saving of one million tonnes of CO2 per year.

The construction works for the interconnection line concluded in February 2015, coinciding with the official inauguration of the same. Since then, the line has been in operation but in technical testing mode.

This new electrical interconnection between Spain and France represents the achievement of different technological milestones in the global arena, as it is the first time that an underground interconnection of this length with a power capacity of 2,000 MW has been carried out using the latest high-voltage direct current transmission technology available.

The technological development has also been applied to the converter stations which have been built at each end of the line, making them unique in the world due not only to their technology but also to their capability to reverse the direction of flow of the energy exchanges between Spain and France in just 50 ms.

The investment in the project has totalled €700 million, of which €225 million correspond to a financial subsidy from the European Union under the framework of the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR). Additionally, it has received funding from the European Investment Bank through a loan of €350 million granted to REE and RTE.

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Alstom has been awarded a contract worth over €300 million by TERNA Rete Italia, a company fully owned by TERNA, the Italian electricity transmission system operator, and Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE), its French counterpart, to build two High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter stations for the transmission link between France and Italy.
Alstom will design, manufacture and commission two converter stations (2×600 MW, +/- 320 kV) containing Alstom’s VSC MaxSineTM Voltage Source Converter technology. Alternating Current (AC) will be converted from each country’s electrical network into Direct Current (DC) for transmission and vice versa. Key equipment will be manufactured in Alstom’s facilities in the UK, Germany, France and Italy and the contract also includes maintenance for the converter station in France.
“Alstom is pleased to be working with TERNA and RTE on this project. Alstom’s VSC technology is both compact and versatile. As such, it will optimise the existing infrastructure, and preserve the Alps fragile eco system”, said Patrick Plas, Senior Vice President, Power Electronics and Automation, Alstom Grid.
Alstom has over 50 years of HVDC expertise and has delivered more than 40 HVDC projects worldwide. This is Alstom’s third VSC project in the last three years, following on from Sweden’s South West Link, a multi-terminal HVDC grid connecting central and southern networks in the country and the Dolwin3 project, connecting 900 MW offshore wind energy from the North sea to the German grid. Alstom is also in the process of executing large scale HVDC projects such as India’s Champa 1 & 2 (800 kV) and Brazil’s 600 kV Rio Madeira, which at almost 2400km, is the world’s longest transmission line.

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ABB has won an order worth about $450 million to link the power grids of the United Kingdom and Norway, increasing security of power supply for both countries and supporting the integration of more renewable wind and hydroelectric power into their networks. The order was placed by Statnett, the state-owned network operator in Norway, and National Grid, an international electricity and gas utility from the UK, and was booked in the third quarter of 2015.

The NSN link will have the capacity to transmit 1,400 MW of power passing through Norwegian and British waters. The 730 kilometer link will be the world’s longest subsea power interconnection, expected to enter commercial operation in 2021. When wind power generation is high and electricity demand low in the UK, power will flow via the link to Norway, allowing it to conserve water in its reservoirs. When demand is high in the UK but the wind isn’t blowing, electricity from Norway’s hydroelectric plants will flow to the UK.

As part of the order, ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission two ±525 kV, 1,400 MW converter stations, using its Voltage Source Converter (VSC) technology, called HVDC Light®. One station will be situated in Blyth, UK and one in Kvilldal, Norway.

ABB was recently also awarded the NordLink project, a 1,400 MW interconnection rated at ±525 kV to connect Norway and Germany. ABB has been awarded around 100 HVDC projects since it pioneered HVDC technology more than 60 years ago, representing a total installed capacity of more than 120,000 MW and accounting for about half the global installed base. ABB introduced voltage source converter (VSC) HVDC Light® technology in the 1990s and is a global leader in this field, having delivered 15 of the 21 VSC projects presently in commercial operation around the world. The NSN link is the fifth significant HVDC Light order awarded to ABB during the last year.

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