EU supports research on power system interfaces


After implementing the network codes and the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, the European Commission is now funding INTERRFACE under the Horizon 2020 programme. The aim of this research project is to create new connections/interfaces in the power system. INTERRFACE has now been launched and will run for three years with a budget of €21m. It involves 42 partners from grid and market operators, aggregators, service and technology providers as well as universities.

The consortium includes the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE) and the two TSCNET shareholders ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO), and Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania. Together with their partners, they plan to develop an Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture to serve as an interface between customers and power system operators – TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) – to allow seamless, transparent and non-discriminatory exchange of energy services.

INTERRFACE is intended to demonstrate the added value of data exchange between all players involved in the value chain of the electricity system, and this from local, regional to EU level. This would be a first in the energy sector. INTERRFACE should also enable TSOs, DSOs and customers to fully exploit and coordinate the potential of decentralised energy resources.

The European Commission is funding a research project on creating a Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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TSO proposals for balancing market integration


To pave the way for a well-functioning energy union, there are eight European network codes: regulations that are intended to promote the integration and coordination of the various national European energy markets. One of these codes, the Commission regulation establishing a guideline for electricity balancing (EBGL), is intended – as the wording implies – to integrate the national European balancing markets.

Cross-border balancing is crucial for the transmission system operators (TSOs) to continuously ensure that the grid frequency is kept within a defined security range and that the required level and quality of power reserves are maintained. The European TSOs have now substantially advanced the guideline implementation by submitting six proposals for balancing market integration and the creation of platforms for the exchange of balancing energy products to the competent national regulatory authorities (NRAs).

With the assistance of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE), these proposals have been developed in close cooperation between all TSOs and consulted with stakeholders. Laurent Schmitt, ENTSO-E Secretary General, is convinced that the realisation of the TSO proposals will create a level playing field for all market participants and thus lead to increased cross-border participation, supply security, competition and share of renewable energy. Consequently, Mr Schmitt identifies a “true ‘win-win-win situation‘, good for customer, the environment and the economy”.

The European TSOs have submitted six proposals for balancing market integration to the competent NRAs

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit the EBGL website (html)

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Swissgrid pursues Strategy 2022


The Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, rightly considers itself as the backbone of supply security in Switzerland. In order to underpin this status in the future and to further increase the company’s efficiency and professionalism, Swissgrid designed the Strategy 2022. This entails corporate restructuring and new business unit developments as of 1 January 2019, especially in regard to system operation, asset management as well as development and digitisation.

To achieve the long-term goals in accordance with the TSO’s overarching Energy Strategy 2050, Swissgrid has defined four well-considered priority areas in which measures are to be implemented by 2022: “Safety for people, systems and the environment”, “Integrated plant and system operations”, “Intelligent use of new technologies” and “Close cooperation with partners in Switzerland and Europe”. Within these benchmarks, the main structural changes are the establishment of three newly designed operational divisions, namely the Market Business Unit, Grid Infrastructure, and a Research & Digitalisation team.

The new Market Business Unit allows integrated system operation by combining market and grid operation. The future task distribution within this unit ensures compatibility with the harmonised European network codes for cross-border electricity exchange. Secondly, Grid Infrastructure will focus exclusively on asset management, thereby significantly increasing the tasks and capacities for grid maintenance, extension and modernisation. Finally, the Research & Digitalisation team integrates all of Swissgrid’s applied research and development activities, which were previously spread across business units. This should promote innovation particularly in the areas of automation and digitisation.

Swissgrid reorganises its corporate structure by implementing the new Strategy 2022 (picture: Swissgrid)

> See Swissgrid media release (html)

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Smart TSO-DSO cooperation continues


The energy transition entails many changes for the energy industry, such as the increasing generation of decentralised and volatile renewables, new actors on the market like aggregators, or the active role of customers ‒ all these developments require flexibility and pose a challenge for every player in the energy market, but above all for those responsible for a stable grid and a secure electricity supply: transmission system operators (TSOs) and distribution system operators (DSOs) sharing similar obligations and interests.

To cope with the demanding future tasks, network operators need a common vision of active system management to increase the flexibility of transmission and distribution and to coordinate them closely. This is why ENTSO-E entered into an intensive cooperation with four associations representing European DSOs a few years ago, namely the European Distribution System Operators (EDSO) for Smart Grids, CEDEC, Eurelectric, and GEODE. A significant first step was the publication of a report on TSO-DSO data management on 19 September 2016.

By signing an updated Memorandum of Understanding on 23 October 2018, the partners expressed their commitment to maintain and enhance their collaboration. The focus is on measures to realise synergies in research, development and innovation, e.g. the exchange of data and information, the introduction of new communication devices and software, and the coordinated renewal of ageing grids. In addition, the TSOs and DSOs are also working together to implement network codes more efficiently. Further fields of cooperative activities will be defined at the beginning of 2019, taking into account the European Commission’s final Clean Energy Package.

ENTSO-E has signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding on close cooperation with four associations representing European DSOs

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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Get e-codes on your smartphone


The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) presents an appealing new technical feature for anyone taking part or just being interested in the European energy market: The e-codes application for smartphone. With the e-codes app, you get direct access to the articles of all eight European electricity network codes and the respective guidelines.

The European network codes are regulations for facilitating the integration and coordination of European energy markets. They are intended to sweep aside the many obstacles on the road to a well-functioning European Energy Union. The network codes for the electrical system have been developed by ENTSO-E in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

The last of the codes came into effect at the end of last year. Hence, it is high time to better involve market participants in code contents and implementation. Beyond the mere access to the code texts, the user of the e-code app has additional options such as tracking the implementation tasks, obtaining implementation deliverables and being informed about anything related to e-codes, e.g. public consultations or events.

ENTSO-E has developed a smartphone application to always keep users up to date with the European electricity network codes

> See ENTSO-E press release (html, with download options)
> Watch demonstration video on ENTSO-E’s YouTube channel

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TenneT proposes new rules for offshore connections


Last year, new European network codes on “Requirements for Generators” (RfG) and “High Voltage Direct Current Connections” (HVDCC) have been published. These regulations affect present and future offshore grid connection projects of TSC member TenneT. Hence, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) began to implement the new regulations with regard to its own offshore network immediately.

In aligning the new provisions with the existing technical rules, TenneT could rely on its expertise and complex operating experience in the field of offshore grid connections. The TSO now has presented a first draft of new offshore grid connection rules (“Offshore-Netzanschlussregeln”, O-NAR). These rules describe the technical and organisational minimum requirements for the construction and operation of connections to the onshore transmission grid. The next step for TenneT is a comprehensive consultation process with a variety of stakeholders.

Wilfried Breuer, member of TenneT’s executive board and Director Offshore, explains that the TSO contributes to the optimisation of grid connection rules proactively – for the general benefit of all future offshore grid connections. “With the early publication of the O-NAR draft, TenneT intends to ensure cooperation and coordination with the potential subscribers to rapidly bring new technologies to market maturity and to accelerate future consultation processes,” concludes Mr Breuer.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html, with access to draft)

Picture: TenneT


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Implementing network codes for the Energy Union


Congestions in cross-border energy exchange, lack of interconnectors, competition, and transparency: These are severe obstacles on the way to a European Energy Union. To overcome these barriers – and to achieve fair prices and more choices for customers – the European Commision, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) developed the network codes. These codes are regulations to facilitate the integration and coordination of European energy markets and systems. They are scheduled to be adopted in late 2017.

Today, a conference on the network codes was held in Brussels, Belgium. In close cooperation with the European Commision, the event was co-organised by ENTSO-E, ACER, and ENTSOG. The conference gave the various parties and stakeholders the opportunity to join forces on the implementation of the network codes. While it is ENTSO-E’s task to ensure cooperation among transmission system operators (TSOs) on a pan-European level, ACER provides coordination of national authorities in terms of regulation and legislation.

Powerful instruments
Alberto Pototschnig, Director of ACER, is pleased that the codes are now being implemented by national regulatory authorities. And they are paying off as early as now: “In the electricity sector, market coupling is already providing benefits in the order of €1bn per year.” Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of ENTSO-E, emphasises the increasing need for flexible services in times of the energy transition. In this matter, “network codes have proven to be powerful instruments in tackling market and renewables integration”.

As the Regional Service Coordinators (RSCs) play an important part in the implementation of the network codes, TSCNET Services has participated in the conference, too. “All staff looks forward to taking up these important tasks together with ENTSO-E and the other RSCs,” says Daan Belgers, Head of Finance & Organisation at TSCNET Services.

> See ACER press release (html)
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> See European Commision streaming service (html)


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Conference on EU Network Codes in May


Last week, the EU member states have approved the Balancing Guideline, the last of eight Network Codes. These Codes are regulations in order to facilitate the integration and coordination of European energy markets and systems. The Balancing Guideline, for instance, defines rules for competitive cross-border trading and balancing. With all network codes being approved, Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), has reason to be satisfied with the achievements so far, but he also points to the ambitious task of implementing “these innovative regulations ‘made-in-Europe'” that “pave the way to the active customer & renewables’ era”.

ENTSO-E organises in close cooperation with the European Commsion, the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSO-G) a conference and reception on the Network Codes in Brussels, Belgium. The reception will take place in the evening of 3 May and will be attended by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. The conference on the following day will provide an opportunity to celebrate the present achievements, discuss all questions related to Network Codes, and to consider the challenges of implementation. The thirteen TSC member transmission system operators (TSOs) are also member companies of ENTSO-E.

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

> See ENTSO-E event announcement (html)

Picture: European Union, EC-Audiovisual Service (Photo: Alain Schroeder)


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