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Focus paper – One System Vision for 2030


Operating the European power system is the core responsibility and mission of Transmission System Operators (TSOs). This mission is fulfilled by each TSO in its geographical responsibility area, and all TSOs together for the whole European Power System, through common rules described in the network codes and the system operation guidelines, which are developed through TSOs’ common association ENTSO-E.

System Operation in Europe has been a clear success: together TSOs have managed to facilitate the creation of the common market for electricity, while maintaining a very high level of security of supply. There have been a number of challenges and drawbacks along the way, but TSOs have succeeded in finding common solutions that are efficient and consistent.

One of the best examples of this approach has been the creation of the Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs): a proposal by the TSO community to better coordinate system operation between countries, put in place voluntarily and subsequently integrated into EU regulations – becoming Regional Coordination Centres after the Clean Energy Package.

Within this background, ENTSO-E has worked with its member TSOs to develop their vision on the future of the European Power System, and this document is a summary of the result of this work.

One System Vision for the year 2030

In this analysis, main drivers and evolutions expected to impact system operation for the next 10 years are identified.

Assumptions and data that form the basis of this vision stem from the scenarios and forecasts used to build our Ten Years Network Development Plan (TYNDP), as well as expert inputs from the TSO community. There are two main trends that arise clearly from this analysis:

  1. The continued and significant growth of decentralised resources (generation, storage, etc.) that will be connected to distribution networks. In average terms it can be assumed that at least 50 % of all new RES will be connected to distribution networks, and for instance the 2030 expected amount of distribution network connected battery storage will approach 20 GW for Continental Europe alone.
  2. The growing share of direct current generation and transmission: the ratio of non-synchronous (power electronics) generation to total generation in 2030 will vary from 25 % for the Nordic area to around 50 % for Continental Europe, the Baltic area, Great Britain and Ireland.

Following these trends, the first clear driver for the ENTSO-E electricity system operation vision is the efficient use of Distributed flexibilities, as it is clear that in the future a significant part of the means to operate the system will be located in the distribution networks. Taking also into account the need to integrate new distributed resources in a non-discriminatory, secure and efficient way, ENTSO-E proposes mechanisms for accessing flexibility services through shared market mechanisms and a strong cooperation between TSOs and DSOs. The main areas covered by this vision are congestion management and its link with balancing, mainly based on the common TSO-DSO report on Active System Management11, with also a short analysis of voltage control, stability and inertia.

Distributed resources raise challenges to the grid and system, but they can also provide new services to the system operators: this will be part of the solution. Needs from system operation and grid management should be identified and shared with stakeholders.

Then, flexibility products can be defined and valued, and rules to access these ser­vices can be developed, just as it has been done for balancing services. Cooperation between TSO and DSO is key in the process, as the same resource could be used by both actors. The impact of using a resource for one or the other purpose should be taken into account, with different implementation solutions from simple coordination to full integration of different market processes. Demand side response through aggregator services and customer participation should be properly considered.

The vision for 2030 should ensure that any market participant can support the energy transition regardless of its location in the grid and in the electricity value chain: a cooperation between TSOs and DSOs to allow any flexibility provider to value its contribution in One System, integrating different scales and actors.

A second clear driver is Power Electronics. The large penetration of power electronic interfaced distributed generation and high voltage direct current transmission systems will result in a hybrid AC-DC power system. Such a transition in the generation mix will have a significant impact on the interconnected European system dynamic profile and eventually on how the electrical network will be operated in the future. Indeed, the transition from a power system based on conventional synchronous generators to one with Power Electronics raises different challenges related to system dynamics, for example like the decrease of system inertia, the reduced short circuit contributions from these new generators and the emergence of new types of interaction phenomena (i.e. control interactions). Coping with all the challenges, innovation, research and development in the electrical energy business is identified as a crucial step. Indeed, HVDC systems could enhance the AC transmission system performance, transforming it to an AC-DC transmission system which exhibits enhanced controllability, flexibility and resilience. TSOs propose a roadmap towards the successful realisation of such a system, focusing on system stability, observability and controllability, and integration of technology solutions in meshed HVDC systems. The common understanding of roles, the development of new technologies, the assurance of system interoperability, the common analysis tools, harmonised standards and procedures are key factors for successful realisation of future AC-DC networks. To achieve these goals, TSOs will especially need to strengthen their technical cooperation with power generators and HVDC manufacturers.
ENTSO-E’s vision for the future is ‘One System’, where integration of AC and DC components will be achieved, supporting safe and efficient operation.

A third driver for the future of the electricity system will be the need to bring Markets and Physics closer together. Today’s market design in Europe has been clearly successful and has brought a vast increase of electricity exchanges between countries, but it is also starting to show a number of limitations as the gap between the market mechanisms and the physical reality has become significant. An analysis of potential design options to improve today’s market models is carried out in the paper “Focus: Market Design 2030”. This analysis has concluded on a number of recommendations, which take into account the different local specificities.

Bringing the market mechanisms closer to the physical reality of the network is indeed a key condition for efficiency and social welfare. Hence, bridging the gap and integrating improved market designs with an operational perspective should be the key priorities for the next decade. Besides, seamless coexistence between the different market models inside the Electricity Union is of utmost importance.

ENTSO-E’s vision for the future is One System, with strong integration between market mechanisms and the physical operation of the network.

A fourth driver is Sector Coupling: the integrated approach by all sectors (electricity, gas, heat, transport and industry) to use energy in a sector being generated in another sector, with an overall increase in efficiency. In Europe, there is a strong political drive towards coupling sectors, where technologies like power to X – X being gas, heat, transport, or products – are coming into play. Electricity and gas are both complementary in the form of flexibility exchange, as well as dependent in terms of black start capabilities.

Figure 4

Figure 4: An illustration of sector coupling

Figure 5

Figure 5: ENTSO-E’s one system vision 2030

In the figure 4 the electricity sector is linked to all other energy sectors. Further expansion is possible and TSOs could fulfil the role of systems integrators, obviously sufficiently liaising with all relevant stakeholders. ENTSO-E’s vision for the future is One System of Systems, where we will need to reach out beyond the power network.

Finally, the vision also encompasses Further Operational Challenges: important drivers of the future that are not dealt with in the previous parts of the vision. They are clustered into three main areas:

  1. Managing and coping with threats to the power system
  2. Automation and decision support
  3. Complex forecasting

These three areas do not cover all the challenges TSOs will face in the future, but they are considered as the most important drivers and TSOs have a clear plan to meet the challenges through innovation and cooperation, in One System.

ENTSO-E’s vision for the future operation of the power system can thus be graphically represented as shown in figure 5.

One System, Regional Cooperation and Local Diversity

The One System Vision shows that the drivers for the future will need at the same time stronger cross-border cooperation and stronger adaptation to local needs and constraints:

  • The system of the future will need stronger cross-border cooperation. This is shown in our vision with the new market models that will be closer to the physical reality requiring closer operational coordination, to meet the challenges of managing threats that may span different countries, combining our resources to develop solutions for a system with high level of power electronics, and the need to include multiple countries in our forecasting.
  • The system of the future will need stronger adaptation to local needs. This is mostly shown in our vision by the need for shared access to distributed flexibilities. This will depend on the network, institutional and economic realities of each country, with the drive for automation and decision support that will need to adapt to local constraints, culture and realities, as well as the power electronics solutions and forecasting that will have a strong localised component.
  • Within this context that will be at the same time more European and more local, TSOs will be particularly well situated, as we have at the same time:
  • The tools and means for increased cross-border cooperation through Regional Coordination Centres with the full range of services that they will provide, as well as with the help of our common association ENTSO-E.
  • The in-depth knowledge of local constraints, through our own local footprint and close relationships with institutions, customers, shareholders and the public at large, and through our partnerships with Distribution System Operators.

In conclusion, the organisational model suited to adapt to the main drivers for the next 10 years will be:

One Power System

  • For the benefit of all Europeans
  • Facilitated by Transmission System Operators
  • Together with Distribution System Operators
  • Assisted by Regional Coordination Centres
  • In Dialogue with Relevant Stakeholders


Vision on Market Design and System Operation towards 2030

  • Executive summary
  • Major trends reshaping the power sector
  • Reconcile markets and physics
  • Towards a system of systems
  • Focus paper – One System Vision for 2030
  • Focus paper – Market Design Vision for 2030