Data management in Europe’s transforming electricity system

Europe’s new decentralized and prosumer based energy system requires new rules on data management and exchanges.
Published: Thu 22 Sep 2016

In the new energy system – and the broader Industrial Internet of Things – data, and how it is handled, is the fuel that is going to drive it. [Engerati-Industrial Internet of Things brings opportunity, but ripples in the road ahead]

Increasing levels of decentralised renewables and growing number of prosumers are giving rise to the need for more flexibility and demand management in the grid, and new market players such as aggregators are emerging alongside the traditional transmission and distribution operators. Larger amounts of data are being generated and more and more frequent exchanges are being required between the parties.

While these transitional developments are still in the early stages, success will depend on the data management plan that is put into place. Moreover, increasingly central market platforms are being introduced in countries in Europe.

In order to develop an agreed framework for the European system, the region’s TSOs and DSOs through their respective associations ENTSO-E and EDSO along with the other local and independent distributor representative bodies CEDEC and GEODE, have developed a set of rules that they believe will “unleash all the potential of the demand side.” The intention is that these will be incorporated by the European Commission in the forthcoming ‘Market design and Renewables package’.

Principles for data management

For the purposes of the investigation, data isn’t categorized by source, e.g. from a smart meter, but instead is classified by type, either planning data (i.e. forecasts, scheduled data, master data (contractual), declarations) or measured data (i.e. real-time measurements, ex-post measurements: metered data).

Use cases that are assessed as relevant for data management are:

• Congestion management

• Balancing

• Use of flexibility

• Real-time control and supervision

• Network planning.

Some principles are also set for data management. In line with the Third Package, both TSOs and DSOs have to ensure neutrality (appropriate level of independence, confidential data protection, fairness regarding different market actors) and a level playing field that enables new market parties to emerge. They should also guarantee commercial confidentiality for all actors so to facilitate competition.

The activation of flexibility services will require a well-coordinated process between TSOs, DSOs and market parties, in order to avoid system disturbances.

Regarding grid operation, data exchanges should lead to an overall view of the grid state and allow TSOs and DSOs to perform actions on timeframes that could be very close to real-time. Regarding markets, the different market mechanisms need to be coordinated to efficiently deal with the interaction between different use options for flexibility, to ensure the optimal utilisation of flexibility services and to avoid counterproductive behaviour.

While respecting national requirements, the data exchanges should be based as much as possible on existing communication formats, standards and protocols. Furthermore, European harmonisation should be strived for.

Data management proposals

The output of the study is the recommendations for legislation, which while specific to Europe, nevertheless should have interest for other liberalized markets:

1. Data exchange has to support the efficient functioning of the market by enabling all parties to perform their tasks efficiently and by allowing the emergence of new market players.

2. The focus should be on services needed rather than on platforms. This would allow first to define what services are needed for the market and system operators before determining how these services are provided.

3. Third parties should be able to access grid data to perform their activities. EU principles on data privacy are highly desirable, including prior consent of customers before any commercial use of their data.

4. Parties responsible for data management should be neutral to all market players.

5. Standardisation and interoperability of data exchange is needed first at national and then at EU level.

6. Flexibility should be used where it maximises social welfare without putting system security at risk. Flexibility providers should be able to offer their service for different purposes, where they are valued the most and independently from the grid which they are connected to.

7. Harmful interference should be avoided between congestion management (mainly at distribution level) and balancing (at transmission level). New ICT between system operators should be designed.

8. TSOs need to access data of customers connected to the distribution grid if they become flexibility providers to the TSO.

Further reading

TSO-DSO Data management report

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