BritNed, the pioneering High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector linking the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, has officially ushered in a new era of energy trading with the launch of Empire, the world’s first fully-integrated interconnector platform.
With the support of Supercharge, BritNed has replaced three legacy systems with a meticulously designed modern interface. Empire is poised to deliver unparalleled levels of performance and productivity within the interconnector sector, and will enable easier and new trading possibilities for BritNed’s participants.
As a result of the partnership, BritNed will soon launch the world’s first Buy Now Auction, offering both Day Ahead and Intraday capacity after the allocation period has closed, providing more flexibility for its customers.
Over the first 10 days of its operation Empire has allocated 892GW of Day Ahead and Intraday capacity with a total Allocation Revenue of €4.4M and 369MW of Long Term capacity for over €1.8M. The total Flow that was instructed by Empire was 184GWh which is equivalent to powering approximately 8,000 households every single hour.
BritNed operates the 1 gigawatt HVDC interconnector between Great Britain and the Netherlands, which provides an essential connection between the electricity grids of the two countries. The high-voltage cable allows over 70 participating organisations to trade power between the two markets. To fully utilise the capacity of the interconnector and ensure safe operations, sophisticated orchestration is necessary for capacity allocation, transfer fulfilment, and financial settlements.
BritNed had previously been using multiple platforms to run Long Term, Day Ahead and Intraday auctions, manage nominations, and control energy flow.
BritNed’s ambition was to move to a single platform to ensure that it could deliver an unprecedented level of performance and productivity in the interconnector industry. Its team is dedicated to innovation and aimed to develop a solution that prioritises the needs of its clients and employees, specifically tailored to their sophisticated operations and workflows.
An analysis led to the conclusion that the previous setup of multiple systems that somewhat restricted BritNed’s innovation to roll out new and flexible allocation products should be replaced by one integrated platform. This integrated platform promises to unlock significant productivity gains for both BritNed’s operators and clients alike, minimise curtailment losses, minimise process breakdown risks and remove technical bottlenecks that hinder the development of innovative offers.
To achieve this, BritNed sought a partner that could bring innovative ideas and facilitate a different angle of approach. Supercharge was asked to design and develop this uniquely powerful platform in close cooperation with BritNed’s experts.
The decision to select Supercharge as the digital product development partner was based on the vendor’s expertise in creating energy software that combines cutting-edge and robust technology with a human-centred design, resulting in tools that maximise efficiency in the field of critical infrastructure. BritNed and Supercharge have spent the 18 months working together to design and implement a solution that is geared towards efficiency and reliability down to its every detail. Through the cooperation the teams managed to bring together BritNed’s years of experience in energy system operation and process design, with Supercharge’s innovative new ideas to existing approaches to create a robust, user friendly and flexible future proof platform.
The resulting platform Empire features state-of-the-art API interfaces and a user experience focused on productivity. It offers an exceptionally efficient and seamless work environment for over 70 companies utilising the interconnector to participate in capacity auctions and manage nominations.
Additionally, the platform enables BritNed to maximise financial performance by optimising internal operations and enabling commercial innovation in a landscape that is rapidly changing in the wake of the sustainable energy revolution.
Empire offers a single-window solution for BritNed’s clients, including energy generators and traders, as well as the BritNed operators, allowing them to manage both long and short-term auctions and nominations from one place. The platform is seamlessly integrated with BritNed’s Control Point System and various Third Parties in the European Energy Industry, enabling highly automated operations. Each component of the platform has been meticulously designed to meet the specific needs of energy sector participants, resulting in streamlined workflows and reliable performance. This solution benefits both BritNed and its customers, creating a win-win situation.
Empire has been designed by UX experts after carefully understanding the needs and ideal workflows of the various users. By replacing fractured and cumbersome multi-platform workflows with efficient integrated journeys, the platform significantly reduces the workload of traders and operators. This frees up capacity and allows human experts to focus on critical decisions and have access to relevant data when needed on a single easy-to use platform.
By consolidating all information into one integrated platform, it becomes possible to create dashboards that provide a comprehensive overview of relevant auctions, allocations, and nominations to all participants, encompassing all timescales within a Delivery Day. This enables faster and more accurate decision-making, observing and setting the position for each participant in a more comprehensive way, and ultimately leading to improved business outcomes.
The new platform offers well-documented APIs that enable seamless integration for companies participating in auctions through its own internal systems. These modern interfaces reduce IT operational costs for customers and establish reliable, real-time data connections, enabling the customers to extract more data than previously. This departure from outdated and isolated legacy solutions, which previously hindered or even prevented modern integration practices, has received highly positive feedback from BritNed’s partners who are now beginning to utilise the new APIs.
Empire launches following rigorous customer testing throughout July & August and the successful deployment of the 24/7 helpdesk.
As a result of optimised and automated workflows in case of unplanned outage/asset failure of BritNed’s undersea cable, BritNed’s operators are now able to react and fully take control of all operational aspects of such unforeseen consequences in a matter of minutes. This quick action can result in BritNed’s position being closer to its operational flow, which in turn causes a smaller imbalance and issues in the wider European Energy Market. It also helps to significantly decrease potential financial losses through curtailment compensation and Backup Power Purchase agreements for all involved parties.
Commenting on the project, Nils Teipel, Commercial Operations Manager at BritNed said: “Working with Supercharge was an exceptional experience. We swiftly established common goals building a platform which stands out from what’s currently in the market, fostering a collaborative environment focused on innovation and quality. Supercharge’s rapid knowledge acquisition, clear vision, and user-centric approach ensured the seamless delivery of the Empire platform not only on time but also at a great quality level, which in the end led to a very smooth and uneventful go live despite the huge complexity of such a transition. We are convinced that the Empire platform will step up our business to a new level and help us to deliver a wider range of products and enhance customer support.”
Commenting on the project, Daniel Homoki-Farkas, Managing Director at Supercharge said: “It was an absolute pleasure to work in such close collaboration with BritNed in building Empire, the Next-Generation Trading and Nomination Platform over the last one and a half years. The partnership has really benefited both BritNed and Supercharge, as Supercharge gained a deep understanding of the role of Interconnectors and their day to day operations in the wider European Energy market, whilst BritNed was able to leverage Supercharge’s design and technical excellence on this journey. I am very proud of what we have achieved together; it is a great testament to how long term and meaningful partnerships can be forged. We are very excited to keep building our Energy Practice within Supercharge and bring similar collaboration opportunities to other players globally.”
BritNed’s commercial team is passionate about developing new products to better serve the shifting needs of its clients who operate in a rapidly changing energy market. In the past, rigid IT solutions were often the roadblocks in the way of changing the established allocation product offering. With a modern, scalable platform BritNed’s team can bring ground-breaking new products to the market faster and easier.
Now, if BritNed is able to return to service from a planned or unplanned outage, BritNed has the option to utilise its spare capacity and offer it to its customers – whilst currently other interconnectors are not able to do such. Further future product considerations entail new customised Long Term Auction products such as ‘Winter Period Auction’, shorter lead time Intraday Allocations and utilising the cables dynamic overload capacity mechanisms to offer additional capacity to the Intraday Auctions.