Bridging the Energy Transition: DSOs at the Centre of Cross-Sector Integration – Press Release

29 March, 2023

With more than 70 participants, E.DSO held the 4th edition of its Projects in the Spotlight Event focusing on the role played by Distribution System Operators (DSOs) as facilitators of energy system integration.

The decarbonisation of the European economy pivots around the electrification of traditionally high-emitting sectors, calling for a coordinated planning and operation of infrastructures, smarter interconnections, and strong consumer empowerment. As Richard Vidlička, Chair of the Innovation and Research Committee of E.DSO, stressed in his welcome address “EU projects maximise the impact of new technologies towards the digitalisation, resilience and energy efficiency at the core of the energy system evolution.”

The urgency to accelerate sector-coupling amidst the current climate crisis and geo-political tensions was further underlined by Zoe de Linde, Deputy Head of Unit at DG CNECT, in her keynote opening. The Digitalisation of Energy Action Plan has set a common European strategy to enhance sector interconnectivity and information exchange.

Three DSOs, areti SpA, Enedis, and E-REDES, were given the stage under the spotlight to discuss the challenges posed by energy system integration in the planning and operation of their grids and to share their experiences from Horizon 2020 projects tackling the barriers to overcome for a fully integrated EU energy system. In the roundtable discussion moderated by Valerie Reif, Research Associate at the Florence School of Regulation, the three experts discussed load electrification, power system coordination and digitalisation of grid management.

“Ensuring grid stability goes hand in hand with safeguarding user interests,” highlighted Carlos Damas Silva, Project Manager at E-REDES. In the Portuguese demo of InterConnect, E-REDES is validating a DSO interface supporting flexibility management and optimising connection of decentralised resources on customer’s premises to the grid.

Aleth Barlier, Project Manager at Enedis, stressed that coordination between DSO and TSO is a key success to ensure flexibility management and development. In the OneNet project, Enedis is participating with RTE to set up a back-office platform to simplify and optimise renewable flexibility management from order activation to compensation of the curtailment and to test blockchain technology.

“In the next years, the increase of the electrical loads, in the urban areas, will request a new approach to manage the distribution network,” stated Gabriele Fedele, Head of Funded Projects at areti. Leading the Italian demonstration of the Platone project, areti has implemented a local flexibility market to involve the Distributed Energy Resources into resolution of the grid issues. The results of the project will be further tested and extended in the FLOW and BeFlexible projects, aiming at investigate, in order, the flexibility services provided by the Electric Vehicles and defining the coordination schemes and data exchange in TSO-DSO interaction.

In a system of increasingly interlinked sectors, the professional upskilling of DSOs’ workforce has become more than ever before a priority for the achievement of the green and digital transition. To address emerging skills gaps and needs, the EDDIE project is creating a Sector Skills Alliance (SSA) by bringing together all the relevant stakeholders in the Energy value chain such as industry, education and training providers, European organisations, recruiters, social partners, and public authorities. This project will set the ground for a new generation of technicians, engineers and researchers who are able to use, develop, improve, and deploy new energy technologies, as Maria Duran, Innovation and Technology Manager at Iberdrola, underlined.

In her concluding remarks, Catherine Vigneron, Account Manager for Energy & Living at CEN and CENELEC provided an outlook on the role played by standardisation in fostering the twin green and digital transition in light of cross-sector integration.

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