Market-based procurement of black start capability

When is black start capability needed?

In the event of a large-scale power outage, each transmission system operator (TSO) responsible for the control area has a so-called grid restoration plan in accordance with "Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2196 of November 24, 2017, establishing a network code on the state of emergency and restoration of the transmission system". The grid restoration plan describes how the transmission grid can be gradually energized in the event of a large-scale power outage using a grid restoration strategy. Grid restoration requires black-start capable power generation systems (black-start units) that can independently energize a predefined part of the power network without an external power supply. In addition, black start units must be able to supply power and regulate the grid frequency and voltage. 

How is black start capability procured?

Until now, black start units have been contracted by the TSOs as part of bilateral contracts with operators of black start units. According to Section 12h EnWG, black start capability must in future be procured by the TSOs as a non-frequency ancillary service in a transparent, non-discriminatory and market-based procedure. The general conditions for the future procurement procedure have been announced in the Federal Network Agency's determination BK6-21-023. The basic prerequisite for participation in market-based procurement is that suppliers comply with the technical and organizational requirements in accordance with BK6-18-249. The market-based procurement of black start capability will take place region by region and staggered over time. A period of several years is planned between the time at which a provider is awarded the contract and the start of the provision period.  Due to this period providers with existing units that are not yet black start-capable, as well as new systems, can also participate in the tenders. The upgrading or construction of the black start unit by the operator must start after the award of the contract and then be completed at the latest by the start of the provision period.

Procurement schedule

The following procurement regions are defined:

Quelle: Übertragungsnetzbetreiber/FNN

An allocation of substations to the expected procurement regions can be viewed here.

The phasing of the procurement is currently planned as follows:

Procuring transmission system operator
Procurement region
Expected start of procurement (announcement)
50Hertz Transmission GmbH50Hertz Nord-OstProcurement process currently underway
50Hertz Transmission GmbH50Hertz Nord-WestProcurement process currently underway
50Hertz Transmission GmbH50Hertz MitteProcurement process currently underway
50Hertz Transmission GmbH50Hertz Süd-OstSeptember 2026
50Hertz Transmission GmbH50Hertz Süd-WestSeptember 2026
TenneT TSO GmbHTenneT Nord (includes the Hamburg region in the control area of 50Hertz Transmission GmbH)
Procurement process currently underway
TenneT TSO GmbHTenneT MitteJanuary 2027
TenneT TSO GmbHTenneT SüdJuly 2025
Amprion GmbHAmprion Nord 1Procurement process currently underway
Amprion GmbHAmprion Nord 2July 2025
Amprion GmbHAmprion Süd 1January 2027
Amprion GmbHAmprion Süd 2January 2028
TransnetBW GmbHTransnetBW WestProcurement process currently underway
TransnetBW GmbHTransnetBW OstJune 2025

The above information represents the current, non-binding planning status and will be updated as required.

Provider consultation on the model contract

For the future market-based procurement of black start capability, the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) have prepared a draft of the model contract, which was made available for public consultation from 15.11.2023.

Comments on the draft have been submitted to the TSOs up to and including 28.11.2023. Where possible and appropriate, they were taken into account during finalization.

Announcement of the procurement

On 12.01.2024, all four TSOs opened procurement procedures for the procurement of the non-frequency ancillary service "black start capability" in the procurement regions listed below. Detailed information on the respective procurement procedures can be found on the following websites of the individual TSOs:

Q&A on the black start capability procurement procedure

On this page, the 4ÜNB publish answers to provider questions of general interest in anonymized form on a regular basis. Provider questions can be addressed to the network operators using the contact details below.

Further publications of answers to provider questions are initially planned for the following dates:




Even after this date, an update will be carried out at regular intervals if necessary.

The provider questions are published in tabular form, with new publications including past questions and answers. Past answers are supplemented in new publications if necessary, and this is then indicated separately.

Contact to the TSOs

For questions regarding the market-based procurement of black start capability, interested providers are welcome to contact the responsible TSO: