Frequently asked questions about Frequency Containment Reserve

1) What is Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR) ?

FCR is provided by power plants and used to automatically compensate an imbalance between generation and consumption within a few seconds through corresponding activation (control) thus leading to the stabilisation of the frequency in the interconnected electricity grid. FCR is – starting from the respective operating point – activated automatically through the utilisation of turbine control units in power plants. Activation is triggered when the frequency deviates from the target value (50 Hz), whereby the activated FCR increases proportionate to the magnitude of the deviation.
Maximum activation (corresponds to design-basis fault) takes place in the event of a frequency deviation of 200 mHz or more – the FCR is then fully exhausted. Maximum activation must be reached, at latest, 30 seconds after the corresponding frequency deviation occurs. It must remain available for at least 30 minutes.

2)  What is the range for reserved power for FCR?

In order to stabilise the grid frequency using FCR, it must be possible to activate the control reserve in both directions (increased/reduced generation). Therefore a power range is reserved for a possible activation of FCR.

3) Do power plants that provide FCR have to operate continuously?

Suppliers who have entered an obligation to provide FCR must meet this obligation over the entire delivery period without interruption. FCR can only be generated in plants that are in operation. The decision as to which of the prequalified power plants are used at any given time to provide the FCR lies, however, with the supplier. The concern is to ensure that the agreed volume can be provided in full.

4) What happens when a supplier cannot meet his obligation to provide FCR due to technical problems?

A supplier who cannot meet the obligation to provide FCR due to technical problems must inform Austrian Power Grid AG immediately by telephone and also by e-mail.
If the failure can be attributed to gross negligence or intent, Austrian Power Grid AG can obligate the supplier to pay a contractual penalty and compensation.
In the event that the contractual obligations are breached repeatedly, Austrian Power Grid AG has the right to terminate the framework agreement with the supplier.

5) Can a power plant that provides FCR also be used for other purposes?

Generation units that provide FCR can also carry out numerous scheduled and reserve deliveries. It must, however, be ensured that the agreed reserved FCR range is verifiably available at all times, i.e. starting from the current operating point, a power increase or a power reduction within the agreed range and quality must be possible at all times.

6) How is the quality of the FCR checked?

The supplier must provide Austrian Power Grid AG with up-to-date status information that reports the activation status with regard to FCR for the specified generation units.
Furthermore, for monitoring purposes, the supplier must provide Austrian Power Grid AG with time-stamped measured values for frequency, operating point and generation of the individual generation via online transmission.
The supplier must also record these values to ensure that he can also subsequently provide Austrian Power Grid AG with values that may not been transmitted.

7) Is there an energy price for FCR?

No, settlement is based solely on the power price, i.e. the price offered for the provision of FCR ("pay as bid"). As the actual grid frequency hovers around an average value of 50 Hz, the FCR that has to be delivered, after accounting for positive and negative counting directions, comes to a time-weighted average of zero.

8) Which price is published on the homepage under Tender results?

At the end of the bidding period the bids are ranked according to prices – starting with the cheapest bids – until the total volume of FCR put out to tender is reached. Each supplier is paid the price he offered. The volume-weighted average price of all accepted offers is then published on the homepage (see Tender results). The total (weekly) costs paid to the suppliers and producers of FCR can be calculated by multiplying the accepted volume with this price.

9) Are the individual bids submitted during the tender also published?

No, only the volume-weighted average price of all accepted offers is published to ensure to the greatest extent possible that no conclusions can be drawn with regard to the bidding strategy of the supplier.

10) What happens if there are not enough bids to provide the required volume of FCR?

In the event that the number of accepted bids for FCR does not cover the volume put out to tender, a second tender will be opened on the following day to cover the shortfall. If the shortfall is not cleared in the course of the second tender, the tender for the corresponding delivery period (CW xx) is deemed to be unsuccessful.

In the event of an unsuccessful tender, suitable suppliers will be instructed to provide the shortfall in FCR in accordance with the provisions in ElWOG 2010 (obligation to supply).