The security of the high voltage transmission system in Western Europe is to be bolstered through a new system security centre in Germany.

German transmission system operator (TSO) RWE TSO Strom and its Dutch counterpart, TenneT TSO are to establish the centre, which is intended to help the two companies to manage electricity flows and also support the integration of renewable energy plants into the grid.

The move by RWE and TenneT illustrates the increasing importance of grid security in Europe and follows a similar announcement by Elia of Belgium and France’s RTE.

RWE and TenneT’s joint system security centre will start operating in January 2009 and will be based near Düsseldorf, Germany. It will support the supra-regional security management of the two companies’ high voltage grids, providing security calculations, grid congestion forecasts and analyses to their respective control centres.

The increased level of wind power in Germany and the Netherlands, and the impact that this has had on the grid, was a major factor in the need for the new centre, say the companies.

“We have set up this co-operation in response to the increasing grid load as a result of the advanced cross-border power trade and the ongoing increase in wind energy,” said Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, managing director of RWE TSO Strom, and Mel Kroon, CEO of TenneT TSO. “Not only the 43 million inhabitants in the supply region will benefit from the improved security of supply but so will the entire European extra-high voltage grid.”

RWE and TenneT say that the joint system security centre is open to other interested TSOs. Last month Elia and RTE said that Vattenfall Europe Transmission – another German TSO – had expressed an interest in their joint regional technical coordination centre, which will start operating in February 2009.

RTE and Elia’s joint initiative was welcomed by the European Commission, which wants to see the creation of seven regional electricity markets in Europe as a first step towards the creation of a single market. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs is hoping to see similar examples of co-operation between TSOs in the region.