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Towards a system of systems

Today’s electricity system will shift towards a system of systems which points to an adequate architecture of responsibilities on different geographical and functional levels requiring an efficient interaction between the different stakeholders.

Different scales and layers of integration

The evolution of the electricity system will require at the same time:

  • Stronger cross-border cooperation to address the challenges that will be regional and pan-European in nature:
  • enhanced and optimised operational processes through shared rules and platforms,
  • market designs closer to the physical reality of the grid,
  • extended observability and forecasts of generation infeed, demand and congestions,
  • prevention and management of threats that may span over several countries or globally,
  • pan-European development of new grid technologies.
  • Stronger adaptation to local needs to live up to the promises of new technologies while achieving the same fundamental objectives:
  • integration of any flexibility service providers from small-scale to aggregation,
  • introduction of locational signals and/or locational information in markets,
  • consideration of local components in forecasting,
  • integration of decision support technologies that adapt to local constraints.
Figure 3

Figure 3: Different functional layers interacting with one another

Beyond geographical scales, the system of systems also contains different functional layers, which should interact with each other: physical grid, system operation processes, market processes, interlinkages with other sectors and the digital layer. It implies a shift from bilateral to a network of multilateral interfaces that are coordinated with each other and connected to the digital layer on top of the physical infrastructure. This shift has already started today e.g. for market optimisation and operational coordination. Research, innovation and development, and therefore appropriate incentives, are needed to expand their development to new areas.

In such a multilevel architecture, interoperability is key. Common format and standardised rules to exchange data will ensure that diverse mechanisms work together, on different scales, different timeframes and different sectors. Transparency and dialogue on operational rules for the different processes are fundamental prerequisites to ensure proper coordination and efficiency.

To work as one, a system of systems should build on a multilevel architecture that articulates different geographical scales and functional layers through multilateral interfaces that are interoperable with each other.

The role of TSOs in a collaborative governance

The realisation of this Vision requires intense and trustful dialogue with all the stakeholders of the energy sector, each one having defined roles and responsibilities: TSOs, DSOs, regulators, policymakers, market players including energy service providers, technology providers, platform operators including power exchanges, and – with increasing importance – stakeholders from coupled sectors.

In this system of systems, TSOs will strengthen their facilitation role. They will enable the functioning and interoperability of this complex architecture as to ensure secure operation based on economic efficiency and market mechanisms. Within this role, ENTSO-E and all European TSOs commit to:

  • Support and deliver the means for increased cross-border integration through multilateral cooperation within the Regional Coordination Centres and ENTSO-E;
  • Enhance the articulation of the local, national and European needs, in close partnership with DSOs, with the aim to contribute to the Internal Energy Market, while ensuring secure and efficient operation;
  • Develop knowledge and transparency on the electricity system through their local footprint and close relationships with institutions, system users, shareholders and the public at large.
The governance of this pan-European system of systems will involve multiple stakeholders. In this context, TSOs will play a key facilitation role, together with Distribution System Operators, supported by Regional Coordination Centres, and in dialogue with 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