The Bundesnetzagentur is calling for congestion management at the German-Austrian border

Jochen Homann: "Electricity trade will only be capped on rare occasions"

Year of issue 2016
Date of issue 2016.10.28

The Bundesnetzagentur today called upon the four German electricity transmission system operators to lay the groundwork for transport capacity management at the German-Austrian border. The goal is to have a functioning capacity management as from 3 July 2018.

"Setting up congestion management at the German-Austrian border is intended to ensure that the electricity market stays functional long term and to guarantee security of supply in Germany and across the entire region," explained Jochen Homann, the Bundesnetzagentur President. "The groundwork for congestion management should be laid because electricity exports to Austria are increasing and rapidly leading to cases of network congestion between Germany and Austria. However, we expect exchanges in electricity between both countries will still be possible to a very large degree. The caps will merely apply to trade peaks," Mr Homann explained.

Congestion management a necessity

The introduction of congestion management at the German-Austrian border by summer 2018 is necessary because the transmission networks in Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic are technically not capable of transporting all the electricity exchanged and – even after successful grid expansion – will still not be able to cope long term. The provision for congestion management should cover day-ahead, intraday and long term trading.

Higher need for redispatching

At present, the transmission system operators have to carry out large scale, very costly redispatching measures to ensure system security.

"Up to now, the need for redispatching measures has largely come from our inability to manage this transport capacity at the Austrian border. Congestion management is in place at other borders. The Austrian border's special treatment is becoming more of a risk for secure network operation," said Mr Homann. "The need for redispatching drops considerably when congestion management is in place to ensure that exchanges in electricity are based on the transport capacity that is technically available."

Congestion management corresponds to European regulations

Setting the cross-border electricity trade cap at a level that corresponds to the available network capacity is in line with the requirements of European law. In fact it is necessary as the excessive trade between Germany and Austria threatens system security in several countries and hinders the participation of other states in cross-border exchanges in electricity.

The Bundesnetzagentur assumes that the introduction of congestion management between Germany and Austria will be endorsed by the current European processes on the bidding zones review and on the determination of capacity calculation regions. The transmission system operators will cease the preparatory work on congestion management should these processes indicate that it will not have any positive effect.

Moreover, ongoing network expansion in Germany and Austria makes the introduction of congestion management indispensable. In their network development plans both countries are assuming that exchange capacity will not be sufficient long term to safely transport trade peak capacity from Germany to Austria.

Transmission system operators should lay the groundwork

The Bundesnetzagentur now considers the transmission system operators together with the power exchanges as being tasked with laying the necessary groundwork to introduce congestion management. The Bundesnetzagentur is ready to support the transmission system operators in carrying out this task.

Austria's cooperation in this regard is both useful and desirable in order to design efficient procedures and to take effective account of Austria's interests.

The market players will be brought in to provide constructive support in appropriate form in subsequent stages of this transformation process.

Press release (pdf / 63 KB)