A reliable power supply
The power grid is stable when the electricity that is generated corresponds with the electricity that is consumed. The grid operator is responsible for maintaining the balance. Because electricity producers cannot know exactly how much electricity will be consumed, TenneT must make up the difference with its own energy reserves. In the Netherlands TenneT is the sole grid operater, in Germany we therefore cooperate closely with the other German TSOs to limit the need for this control power. When we do have to buy electricity we do so on the market in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner. We announce how much power we require on the online balancing power market (www.regelleistung.net), where producers can offer capacity and customers can see the tenders.
About the electricity grid
The high-voltage grid is the backbone of the electricity supply system, connecting electricity producers to consumers, connecting and integrating electricity markets. TenneT manages the high-voltage grid in the Netherlands and large parts of Germany. A secure and continuous supply of electricity is the key objective of our operations.
50 Hertz: a delicate balance
The entire European power grid depends on a 50 Hertz frequency for the use of all equipment, devices, machines and electrical systems. The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) comprises five synchronous areas, of which the largest is continental Europe – which includes the Netherlands. If the frequency differs significantly within one of these areas – either upwards or downwards – it will lead to power failures and even blackouts with a total loss of power.
TenneT continuously monitors the quality and capacity of the high-voltage grid. Disruptions to the grid must be prevented at all times. To guarantee a continuous flow of electricity, supply and demand have to be balanced 24 hours a day, seven days per week. In areas of high electricity consumption or supply, the grid must have sufficient transmission capacity. An increase in capacity can be achieved by transmitting electricity at higher voltages, or by connections with a higher capacity.
Storing electricity is complicated, especially large-scale storage. To offset fluctuations in supply and demand, TenneT uses tools such as regulating capacity, reserve capacity and emergency capacity.
It is the responsibility of the TSOs to monitor the balance between production and consumption on an international level. Therefore we work with our European counterparts to compensate for electricity surpluses and shortages across national borders.
There are clear rules and procedures in place to ensure the security of the electricity supply. These provide clarity on the tasks and responsibilities of all the parties involved in the transmission of electricity. They define each party’s role, ensure effective communication between all parties, provide transparent tariffs and enable the electricity market to operate freely.
As the network operator, we determine the minimum technical requirements for connecting to our onshore grid, as stipulated in the Energy Act. The minimum requirements for connecting to the onshore grid are set out in the extra-high voltage grid code, while the ‘requirements for offshore grid connections in TenneT’s network’ apply to offshore installations in the North Sea.