Enabling flexibility: the road towards connected TSOs and DSOs

​The single flexibility market is a key enabler to a fuller collaboration between TSOs and DSOs. Engerati asks both sides how to make the connection.
Published: Mon 12 Feb 2018

One of the major future predictions for the utility sector is that transmission system operators (TSOs) and distribution system operators (DSOs) will be able to work harmoniously, utilising real-time markets and pricing signals and sharing transparent data provided to all actors.

However, we would argue that the absence of a single flexibility market deters the journey towards this kind of integrated system.

In an article from Engerati Quarterly, a digest of analyses and insights from the utility industry, TSOs have emphasised that they agree the system should feature greater collaboration with DSOs. Olivier Grabette, Deputy CEO of French TSO RTE, articulates the impact of data on the perception of the system: “In people’s minds there is a clear border between the DSO world and the TSO world because we used to have physical assets... but with data it is not relevant anymore because you can share the data.”

Towards a single flexibility marketplace

Grabette and many peers believe in the importance of developing a common platform for TSOs and DSOs. Making access to the data easier and developing collaborative processes is paramount to determine what is the most advantageous flexibility offer. Grabette’s RTE is currently piloting such a project in Western France, an endeavour endorsed by ENTSO-E, which states in its working paper:

"A single marketplace for collecting and selling flexibilities could help in ensuring liquidity, building a level playing field for different service providers and allowing the coordination of different market processes such as balancing and congestion management."

This system would go a long way in answering the burning question posed by Ben Voorhorst, President of ENTSO-E and COO of Dutch TSO TenneT: “How do we make sure that customers, companies, service providers [...] find each other, start trading where there is surplus and need, and [work out] how to bring that all together? But also taking that into the flexibility of your load - that is a new area which is hardly explored so far.”

To find out more about the envisioned integration between DSOs and TSOs and explore our analyses on further topics, access Engerati Quarterly.

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