Does power supply only work at a European level?
The integration of the electricity market, triggered by political decisions in the 1990s, gathered momentum from the 2000s onwards and made good progress. An important milestone for Austria in this process was what was known as “unbundling”, the separation of the power grid from the areas of electricity generation and electricity trading. Today, similar to telephone and Internet services, it is quite normal for customers to be able to choose their electricity provider anywhere in Europe. By law, there are independent operators of the large electricity transmission networks everywhere in the European member states that guarantee all European electricity suppliers non-discriminatory access to their networks.
Nowadays, power supply is only conceivable at a European level. In the years following World War II, an integrated European electricity supply system evolved over time. The central idea here was the insight at a relatively early stage that a European power grid connected across national borders provides great advantages. For example, it allows mutual assistance to be provided when a supply shortage arises in any European country. Austria benefited from this when Hurricane Emma hit in 2008, for instance. The larger a physically connected grid is, the more stable and resistant it is to any disruptions that arise.
Today Europe has one of the most reliable electricity supply systems in the world. Its pan-European integration is a key component. In addition, a secure, affordable power supply is an important location advantage for any modern economy in global competition: this strength must be safeguarded for the future.
Common standards for maximum security of supply
The ENTSO-E has an important role to play in the implementation of the deregulation of the European electricity market. Over the past few years, it has arranged for dozens of working groups to flesh out uniform European standards for the operation of Europe’s power grids. At ENTSO-E level, generally binding rules for the players in the single European electricity market have been worked out in detail. These European standards are referred to as network codes. Ultimately, the ENTSO-E is concerned with maintaining and continuously improving the stability of the power grid and thus increasing security of supply.
TSO Security Cooperation (TSC) – international cooperation for greater grid security
Security is the overriding principle in the area of power supply. This is the reason transmission system operators are also investing heavily in grid security. One example of this is the TSC – a security cooperation of 15 transmission system operators from 12 European countries, including APG. Headquartered in Munich, the TSC works with its specialists on joint grid security analyses, capacity calculations, coordinated planning of necessary power line revisions and many other issues. The aim is to achieve closer coordination between the member transmission system operators in their day-to-day business and ultimately increase security of supply.
Joint network development planning
The European power grid must continue to develop in line with new requirements. The driving force behind recent developments is the European energy transition. Experience with the expansion of wind and solar power, particularly in Germany, has shown that the energy transition is only conceivable at a European level. This is because the expansion of renewables in one country has repercussions for the whole of Europe.
In order to create a shared vision of the developments in the energy industry throughout Europe and to base them on an overall planning of the power grid, the ENTSO-E draws up a ten-year network development plan (TYNDP) every two years. The national grid planning of all member TSOs flows into the TYNDP.
ENTSO-E - European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity
Forty-three transmission system operators (TSOs) in 36 countries are responsible for the secure supply of electricity in Europe to over 500 million people and thousands of companies. International cooperation is a key success factor in an integrated European electricity supply system. Headquartered in Brussels, the ENTSO-E represents the interests of its members vis-a-vis the European institutions and coordinates the European developments.