FLEXIBILITY IN THE ENERGY TRANSITION – A Toolbox for Electricity DSOs
With the European energy transition demanding closer inter-DSO cooperation in the interest of customers and society at large, the European associations representing DSOs (distribution system operators) – CEDEC, EDSO for Smart Grids, eurelectric, Eurogas and GEODE – have been working together constructively now for several years.
In recognition of the fact that DSO issues are becoming of increasing interest and importance to European energy policy, the European Commission has repeatedly expressed its desire to receive trusted, expert level advice on a range of matters affecting DSOs. These include market design, DSO/TSO cooperation, flexibility patterns and procedures, integration of renewable energy sources, deployment of smart grids, demand response, digitalisation and cyber security.
With this in mind, the above associations have agreed to deepen their cooperation and are prioritising the issue of flexibility. They have established a programme of work and a committee of experts covering flexibility for both electricity and gas.
The work of both focus areas, which has run in parallel over the past year, resulted in two reports, one for electricity and another for gas. Both reports together provide a holistic overview of how DSOs can use flexibility and thus contribute to the transition towards a more decarbonised and sustainable European energy sector. They present a set of solutions to enable DSOs to use flexibility as a tool to operate their grids in a cost-efficient way.
The reports also provide clear recommendations to policymakers on how the regulatory framework should evolve to make better use of flexibility, both by the DSOs as well as by other stakeholders.
An improved regulatory framework should reward the use of flexibility – also by DSOs – and must take into account the growing role of the DSO as an active system operator and neutral market facilitator. These reports present solutions for DSOs to cope with the challenges of flexibility, an analysis of the various technologies available to provide the required flexibility services to system operators, as well as alternative ways to acquire such services.