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Full article: News of 50Hertz
First joint German-Czech exercise proves importance of European interconnection and of transnational cooperation in emergencies
- An international safety drill was carried out by electricity transmission system operators CEPS (Czech Republic) and 50Hertz (Germany), the first one of its kind Europe. The exercise - code name DRILL - took place in the vicinity of Hora Sv. Šebestiána, a Czech municipality near the border with Germany, and offered some 200 German and Czech experts the opportunity to test the cooperation between both countries in actual practice. One of the demanding challenges the participating professionals were faced with was the construction of a cross-border emergency line to bridge the connection between the systems of 50Hertz and Czech transmission system operator CEPS.
During the drill, an extreme situation was simulated that might lead to an outage in part of the transmission system. The scenario was as follows: extreme weather conditions cause a series of emergency situations in the transmission grid of several European countries, including the Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. These lead to the outage of a transmission line between the substations of Hradec u Kadane and Röhrsdorf.
If such an incident was to actually occur, it would be essential to restore operation of the interconnection line as quickly as possible. In this case, both transmission system operators should immediately start building a cross-border emergency line. When this incident is aggravated by other factors, 50Hertz and CEPS have to be able to rely on the collaboration with rescue workers, fire brigades or police departments from both countries as well. In the two scenarios of this exercise, there was a fire in the vicinity and the terrain was not accessible.
In both cases, dozens of experts were mobilised at 50Hertz and CEPS, who received air support during their operations. This included a Czech police helicopter to extinguish the fire near the transmission line and a Czech army helicopter to transport the components for the new pylons to the intended location. Furthermore, three cranes were used to erect the pylons and dozens of rescue vehicles from both countries were put into operation.
"The exercise shows how close European collaboration can be when it comes to the security of supply. All European countries are in the same boat and have to work together even more closely in such critical situations as these. This joint exercise by CEPS and 50Hertz represents a new dimension of collaboration and we are proud that the authorities also participated in this drill, so that all parties involved are prepared if and when an incident occurs", said 50Hertz CEO Boris Schucht.
Today, the supply of electricity is considered a self-evident commodity. Thanks to the cooperation between the control centres of the national transmission system operators, who guarantee the balance in the power grid around the clock, citizens throughout all of Europe can rely on the flawless operation of the transmission systems.
Even when the system operators are aware of their great responsibility and do everything within their power to maintain and develop their facilities, technical disturbances can never be excluded completely. However, thanks to the transmission system's structure, the grids can usually be interconnected in such a way that system operation is not affected by the consequences of such a disturbance. Extreme situations such as the one simulated during the DRILL exercise clearly show just how indispensable the secure operation of the European power grids really is.
Given the development of the European energy industry, the international collaboration between the transmission system operators is more necessary than ever. As a result, the cooperation between CEPS, 50Hertz and the network control centres of other European countries is also becoming more important. "An exercise such as this to test the joint coordination in emergency situations is therefore more than justified", explains Vladimir Tošovský, CEO of Czech system operator CEPS.
CEPS, a joint stock company, is the sole Czech Transmission System Operator and holds an exclusive licence to that effect granted by the Energy Regulatory Office under the Energy Act. The Company is responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of 41 substations, comprising 71 transformers, which allow electricity to be supplied from the transmission system to the distribution network, as well as 400-kV lines with a total length of 3508 km and 220-kV lines with a total length of 1910 km. CEPS is a member of the major European international organisations. The Company is responsible for maintaining the balance of electricity supply and demand within the Czech power system in real time (system services) and for organising cross-border power exchanges, including transits. CEPS has traditionally been closely involved in the creation of liberalised electricity markets, both in the Czech Republic and in Europe.
With over 800 collaborators, 50Hertz takes care of the operation and the expansion of the transmission network. Furthermore, the company is responsible for the management of the overall electrical system throughout the German Länder of Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. As transmission system operator active in the Central European market, 50Hertz is responsible for the secure integration of renewable energies, the development of the European electricity market and for maintaining a high level of security of supply. Since 2010, Belgian grid operator Elia and Australian infrastructure fund IFM Investors are shareholders of 50Hertz, holding stakes of 60% and 40% respectively. As a European transmission system operator, 50Hertz is part of the Elia Group and a member of ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.