In the next phase of work of the Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP), the European transmission system operators’ association ENTSO-E has released regional investment plans to 2030 for the six transmission regions along with the proposed transmission and storage projects.
These proposals build on earlier plans, taking into account the increasing penetration of renewables as well as the requirement for member states of a 10% of installed generation capacity interconnection ratio by 2020. [Engerati- European Energy Union Proposed To Transform Energy System]
The six regions cover the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Continental Central East, Continental South East, Continental Central South and Continental South West.
North Sea region - more interconnection and market cooperation
The North Sea region, comprising the UK and Ireland and northwest continental Europe, covers four separate synchronous power systems, which internally are linked by AC, and between the four systems by HVDC interconnectors. The major challenges faced regarding grid development pertain to determining the optimum solutions to facilitate an efficient European energy market and secure the European network whilst accommodating the connection of large volumes of renewable energy sources. Projects are thus aimed at maintaining security of supply, a higher integration of the European energy market, and increasing integration of renewables.
The additional interconnection capacity required to facilitate renewables integration is envisioned to result in increased power flows between the different synchronous areas and between the member states within each synchronous area. In particular this is expected to occur from Ireland and UK to continental Europe and along the north-south axis between Norway, Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. Thus, additional needs for higher interconnection capacities and improved market cooperation between the four synchronous power systems around the North Sea are foreseen.
Baltic Sea - further regional integration
There are several drivers for grid development within the Baltic Sea region, which covers the Nordics and Baltic states. Some relate to the current trends in the European energy markets and others due to the specific characteristics of the region. These include a possible need for new north-south interconnectors within the Nordics, further integration of the Baltic states and grid reinforcements to support increasing consumption in the Arctic areas of the region.
In particular the high proportion of renewables triggers increased interconnection requirements with continental Europe.
Continental Central East - a key role in market development
The Continental Central East region, with almost one-third share of all installed generation capacity in the ENTSO-E area, is expected to continue to play a key role in the European internal energy market. Connection of new generation capacities with a big share from renewable energy will continue to be a major driver for grid development in the region.
Borders where an increase of cross-border target transmission capacities is beneficial have been identified between Hungary and Romania and Poland and Germany.
TSOs have also identified the need for clear political willingness and commitment to build the required infrastructure, at EU, national and regional level, underpinned by more consistent regulatory frameworks, in order to overcome difficulties experienced such as lengthy permit granting procedures, public opposition and unprecedented capital requirements.
Continental South East - strengthened power corridors
The main drivers of grid development in the Continental South East region, which covers Italy and the Balkan area, include an increase of transfer capacities and market integration facilitation, massive renewables integration and evacuation of future conventional generation mostly in the west part of the region.
The region is also affected by the extensions of the ENTSO-E system, including the connection of Turkey and potentially of Ukrania and Moldova to the east and Cyprus and Israel to the south. Even with these, the predominant power flows from north to south and east to west will prevail and there is need for further strengthening of these corridors.
Continental Central South - additional transport and storage capacity
Some of the outstanding characteristics of the Continental Central South region that will challenge the transmission system include the large developments of variable wind and photovoltaic power especially at the corners of the region, the nuclear phase-out and the pump storage potentials in the Alps. At present the region imports energy from the rest of Europe, but in the long term this feature becomes less structural, due to the expected evolution of load and generation profiles, especially renewables development.
The progressing discrepancy in the time and location of generation and consumption will lead to wide area power flows through the region, requiring investment within the countries and at the borders, in particular the Italian northern border and the boundary between Italy and the Balkans, the French north-eastern border and the Austrian-German border. These include additional transport and storage capacities as well as other innovative measures. Whole system security has also become a key issue, and a broad consideration of all relevant parameters is necessary.
Continental South West - increased cross-border capacity
The main drivers for grid development in the Continental South West region, which comprises France, Spain and Portugal, are insufficient cross-border capacity between the Iberian Peninsula and mainland Europe and the integration of existing and future generation, mainly from renewable energy sources. The decrease in nuclear generation in France and central Europe and some pump storage potentials in the Iberian Peninsula are also some of the outstanding characteristics that will challenge the whole future electricity system in the region, especially transmission.
Cross-border analyses reveal a clear interest in increasing the capacity of the northern border of Spain, along with additional internal projects, in particular in France and Spain.
Transmission and storage projects
A total of 164 transmission and 14 storage candidate projects are put forward in the plans for inclusion in TYNDP 2016. A further 12 projects were registered as incomplete with missing documentation. Subject to consultation, these will go on to cost benefit assessment.