International Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR) cooperation: Belgium joining the coupled German, Dutch, Swiss & Austrian markets


Elia, together with its TSO partners, announces the succesful go-live of the first common cross border FCR auction held on the 26th of July for the delivery period of the first week of August.

Frequency Containment Reserves (FCR), also commonly known as Primary Reserves (R1) are fast acting capabilities of running power plants or load entities to increase/decrease power output at very short notice, within 0 to 30 seconds. FCR is crucial for the short term balance of generation and load. The volume of FCR to be purchased by each TSO is agreed at international level. For Elia, the FCR obligation amounts to 73  MW in 2016, of a total FCR obligation for all countries of the European Continental Synchronous Area fixed at 3000 MW.

The TSO partners cooperating in the procurement of FCR, announce the succesful go-live of the common cross border FCR auction, including Belgian demand, held on the 26th of July for the delivery period of the first week of August. As announced via the previous joint market information in mid-June, the common cross border FCR auction now includes participation of German, Dutch, Swiss, Austrian and Belgian balancing service providers (BSPs). The Belgian BSPs can participate to the common FCR market via the German tendering platform. This common FCR market is the largest FCR market in Europe, with a total demand of +/- 800MW, which is more than a quarter of the total demand of the synchronous area. It is planned that the French & Danish TSO’s will also join in a later stage.

With Elia joining the international cross border FCR cooperation, the total Belgian FCR obligation (73MW in 2016) will now be auctioned on a weekly basis via both a national and a cross border common auction (weekly variable volume of maximum 51MW). The FCR cooperation creates a more liquid market for the TSO demand side and unlocks new sales options to the participating BSPs. The FCR-obligations are shifted between countries while respecting the current & future ENTSO-E and European Network Code obligations. The FCR common market should result in a more efficient procurement of FCR and should at the same time reduce the risk of shortage in FCR supply for TSO’s, which increases overall system security.

Together with joining the international FCR cooperation Elia has also further opened the possibility for non conventional generation and demand side resources, whether connected to the TSO or the DSO grid, to participate to the FCR market.