Market area consolidation: TSOs are facing numerous IT implementation projects



Due to changing gas market regulations in Germany, transmission system operators are obliged to merge the two market areas GASPOOL and NetConnect Germany (NCG) into a joint German market area, the Trading Hub Europe (THE). The merger is currently planned to take effect on 1 October 2021. 

Consequently, all shareholders of GASPOOL and NCG are currently working at full speed on the implementation of the market area merger. Sopra Steria's GAS-X team is also providing support in various IT implementation projects to adapt the processes of GAS-X Grid customers to THE's management model and to adapt their gas industry IT systems.  

  

The most important changes: 

  1. Creation of a market area delivery schedule tool 

For optimal management of the market area, THE's central market area delivery schedule tool calculates the optimal delivery schedules for the system operator zones and the interruptions necessary to avoid bottleneck situations as well as control energy deployments, and deployments of so-called market based instruments. Transmission system operators must implement the processes of THE’s management model in order to provide calculation data and to adjust the management of their system operator zone to THE’s management model. 

  1. Setting up new VIPs 

As a result of the merger, new Virtual Interconnection Points (VIPs) must be created at the borders to the Netherlands and Denmark. This involves the transmission system operators coordinating their processes with each other in order to implement the new VIPs. 

  1. Migration 

For the consolidated market area, transmission system operators must change the balancing group codes of the old market areas to those of the new THE balancing groups. 

  1. Harmonisation 

The dynamic-allocation capacity control models of the former market areas must be harmonised. The model for GASPOOL is implemented exclusively in GAS-X Grid. 

   

The biggest challenges: 

The control over the gas grids is decentralised and lies with the individual system operators. Because supply management in Germany is such a highly complex process, it is the task of the market area managers to keep track of the overall situation in the market area. This requires countless interfaces between the respective companies. As a result, the greatest technical challenge is to carry out the processes that today only have to be carried out for a part of Germany in the same time for the whole of Germany after the market areas have been merged - which basically doubles the amount of data that needs to be processed. 

Another major challenge is that the existing VIPs have been implemented differently in the current two market areas and that the processes of the new management model must also be taken into account in the VIP processes.  

   

Next steps: 

The next important milestone is the start of parallel operation of the market area THE. As of 1 June 2021, the new market area delivery schedule tool will be put into operation with the data of the transmission system operators (e.g. network balances, injection und withdrawal buffers of the grids). In the course of parallel operation, data such as capacity limits and interruption potentials are also sent, which the market area scheduling tool must use to calculate interruption requests, control energy requirements and market-based instruments requirements to resolve bottleneck situations. Parallel operation will take place to its full extent at the beginning of August 2021. 

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