Platforms – the DSO opportunity

Platforms will enable DSOs to transition to service providers in the new decentralised energy paradigm.
Published: Wed 13 Dec 2017

‘Platforms’ are the new service offering. From the operation of smartphones with their plethora of apps to marketplaces for products and services, they offer for the user convenience and speed in a format matched for its practicality and ease of use.

With digitalisation at the core of the utility transformation, platforms offer the opportunity for both own and shared initiatives, particularly in regions such as Europe where information sharing needs to take place for cross-border and generation-transmission-distribution cross system activities.

Data exchange

Data and analytics are key for utility platforms. In preparation for its Operational Planning Data Environment (OPDE) platform, the European transmission system operator (TSO) organisation ENTSO-E has developed the Common Grid Model Exchange Specification (CGMES), to which all the data and grid model applications must conform, in order to facilitate data exchange and ensure interoperability.

With the CGMES recognised by the IEC as an international technical specification for electricity data exchange, we expect it be widely implemented in Europe not only by the TSOs but also by the region’s distributors (DSOs) and other players such as aggregators.

Platform architectures

While the TSOs are industry facing with their platforms, the DSOs are both industry and consumer facing, which brings additional challenges. One is the need for digital trust, its extent highlighted by the uphill battle that in many instances the sector seems to face in obtaining agreement for a smart meter installation.

Another is the need for a platform architecture that is future proofed to new technologies, given the pace and breadth of innovation. New utility and consumer technologies are constantly emerging which will be connected to the distribution network and interoperability and the flexibility of user choice will be key.

In the near future e-mobility is likely to be the most important and impactful of these.

Successful platform design will be based on two fundamentals, Engerati believes. One is an understanding on what is happening at the edge. The second is the development of partnerships with innovators and providers who can bring the expertise and added value.

For more on the DSO opportunity with service platforms, see the Engerati Quarterly magazine.

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