Synchronous grid of Continental Europe
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The synchronous grid of Continental Europe (also known as Continental Synchronous Area; formerly known as the UCTE grid) is the largest synchronous electrical grid (by connected power) in the world. It is interconnected as a single phase-locked 50 Hz mains frequency electricity grid that supplies over 400 million customers in 24 countries, including most of the European Union. In 2009, 667 GW of production capacity was connected to the grid, providing approximately 80 GW of remaining capacity margin. The transmission system operators operating this grid formed the Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE), now part of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).
The synchronous grid of Continental Europe covers territory of the ENTSO-E Continental Europe regional group and some neighboring countries not involved in the ENTSO-E. The synchronous grid includes part or all of Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark (western part), France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland as a members of the ENTSO-E Continental Europe regional group. In addition to the ENTSO-E members, the small west electricity island of Ukraine is synchronized with the grid of Continental Europe. Albania is mostly operating the national grid synchronously with the synchronous grid of Continental Europe. The grids of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are synchronized with the European grid through the Gibraltar AC link and form the SWMB.
Electricity island networks
The British grid is not synchronized with the Continental Europe frequency, but it is inter-connected via the HVDC Cross-Channel link and BritNed. Similarly, the Nordic regional group of ENTSO-E (former NORDEL), composed of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the eastern part of the Danish networks, is not synchronized with the Continental Europe, but has a number of non-synchronous DC connections with the Continental Europe grid.
The networks of Ireland and Northern Ireland form the ENTSO-E Irish regional group, which is not yet interconnected with the Continental Europe grid, but has interconnection with the British network through the Moyle Interconnector and the East–West Interconnector. Similarly, the network of ENTSO-E Baltic regional group, composed of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, currently part of the IPS/UPS system, is interconnected with the Nordic grid through Estlink cables and further through the future NordBalt cable. There is a plan to create an interconnection with the Continental Europe grid through the future Lithuania–Poland interconnection.
The networks of Iceland, Cyprus, and Malta are not yet interconnected with the other grids.
Future extension plans
UCTE/ENTSO-E and the corresponding partner TSO companies are planning the following extensions of the grid and synchronous frequency:
- UCTE-Turkey, planned to synchronize the transmission grid of Turkey with the UCTE block in 2013
- UCTE-Ukraine/Moldova, to disconnect only these networks from the IPS/UPS system and synchronously interconnecting them to the synchronized grid of Central Europe
- Tunisia-Libya synchronous connection, that would extend the Continental Europe frequency to Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon (the latter five countries constitute the SEMB of the Mediterranean Electricity Ring project.
- Syria-Turkey interconnection, completing the Mediterranean ring.
Studies are made on the synchronous connection between the Continental Europe and IPS/UPS networks . Separately, there is another option concerning Ukraine and Moldova, and the ENTSO-E Baltic regional group – to disconnect only these networks from the IPS/UPS system and synchronously interconnecting them to the synchronized grid of Central Europe. Further possibilities are extension to the Nordic regional group, the Turkey-Iraq interconnection, and the DESERTEC concept for interconnection with other countries in the Middle East. In the past Armenia and Turkmenistan networks were part of the Soviet unified system, but currently they are connected to the Iran grid.
- SuperSmart Grid – proposal for a Wide area synchronous grid combining European, IPS/UPS and Middle East networks
- Super grid
- European super grid