Europe's future smart grid will require the closer cooperation of all players along the supply and distribution chain. One EU association thinks it knows how to do it.

DSO TSO interaction
EDSO has drafted guidelines on how DSOs and TSOs can work together to better manage the changing nature of European electricity grids

The European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids (EDSO) last week issued a guideline to boost cooperation between Distribution Systems Operators (DSO) and Transmission Systems Operators (TSO) within the European Union.

The 'General Guidelines for Improving TSO-DSO Cooperation' analyses Europe’s current transmission and distribution landscapes including the challenges restraining the sector and highlights solutions that operators, national regulatory authorities and regional bodies can implement to enhance the power sector.

The guidelines predict operators will increasingly face new challenges that will require increased DSO and TSO cooperation due to:

  1. Increased grid integration of renewable energy
  2. Increased interconnection of European grids and the development of local energy initiatives
  3. Specific requirements on TSO-DSO cooperation as set out in the different Network Codes and Guidelines.

EDSO believes by ensuring coordinated access to resources, the operators will effectively manage their systems in a manner that minimizes societal cost and maximises sustainability and security of supply of power systems.

TSOs and grid security

Implementation of the plan will assure TSOs overcome their central challenge of maintaining overall security via frequency control, LFC block balancing and congestion management in a network where the majority of power generation is taking place at a distribution level, states the guideline.

For DSOs, the association predicts coordinated access to resources will assist in the management of voltage stability and congestion on grids due to the shift towards smaller-scale and distributed power generation.

The roadmap calls for regulatory stability and for changes in European regulatory frameworks to be coherent to reduce the risk of insufficient investment decisions.

The guidelines also identify the improvement of data gathering initiatives as vital for TSOs and DSOs to achieve grid visibility and grid data utilized for the efficient monitoring and operating of grids.

EDSO recommends that TSOs and DSOs receive sufficient information from each other.

The guideline predicts that the coordination of the operators would also facilitate the participation of flexibility sources in all markets, allowing easy integration of Distributed Energy Resources and Demand Side Response through better control and monitoring, contribute to reducing electrical losses and simplify access to all resources within the grid enabling efficient long term use of the resources.

However, for the coordination and its benefits to come into practical, EDSO suggests that DSOs and TSOs set up a structured meeting platform on DSO and TSO European associations level, identify new technologies which can improve interactions between them and establish joint staff training.