Konstantin Staschus is Secretary-General of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), a position he has occupied since February 2009.
Originally from Berlin (Germany) he received a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Virginia Tech (USA) and spent nine years at Paciﬁ c Gas and Electric, in the USA. Before taking up his post with ENTSO-E he held management positions in German utility associations, including six years as Managing Director of VDN, the association of German electricity network operators.
Could you please explain what ENTSO-E is, why and when it was set up and its role, for example in the European Electricity Grid Initiative (EEGI)?
The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) was founded in December 2008, as defined in the third EU Internal Energy Market legislative package. Based in Brussels, it is a non-profit association that fosters co-operation of European transmission system operators (TSOs), both on the pan-European and regional level. More importantly, in the third package and in several other EU Regulations since, it is given important legal mandates. For example, we draft network codes which become binding EU regulations through comitology, and which complement the third package with the many detailed operational, connection and market rules that make the Internal Electricity Market a reality. Another important task is the Ten-Year Network Development Plan which we publish every two years to provide market participants and policy makers with complete integrated plans for the Europe-wide transmission system.
Regarding the European Electricity Grid Initiative1, ENTSO-E is a key member and coordinator of the transmission R&D component of the EEGI Roadmap and Implementation Plan. The huge challenges of market integration and the integration of ever increasing renewable energy sources will require constant innovation in how we design and manage the future electricity system. Within the EEGI, we coordinate with distribution system operators, the Commission, Member States, regulators and stakeholders to identify where R&D is needed, so that we have the solutions in place to meet these challenges as they arise.
Smart grids are expected to play a key role in achieving EU energy targets and integrating the internal market. What are some of the benefits of smart grids from a TSO perspective?
Smart grids are central to ENTSO-E’s vision for the European electricity system. Deployment of smart grid technology, smart metering and smart homes will enable demand response to bid into pan-European intraday and balancing markets. The availability of flexible demand response is critical in order to manage fluctuating renewable generation, and therefore to ensure that the market continues to function well in the future. System benefits of demand response can include the reduction of peak loads that need to be covered by non-renewable resources, reduced network investments and the ability to integrate more fluctuating generation. We are also defining the procurement markets for ancillary services, so that demand response can contribute through aggregators, for example, in our Electricity Balancing Network Code.
What are some of the challenges that need to be overcome, also from a TSO perspective, and how are these being addressed?
The key challenges facing TSOs are integrating new sources of energy and managing the fluctuations of wind and solar energy as their installed capacities keep increasing. To meet the challenges, TSOs must keep improving their planning and operating methods, contribute to the evolutions of market design, and continue to increase cooperation with the distribution system operators. The TSO-related R&D in the EEGI is largely focused on such improvements. This means that the R&D and the improvements needed are less about inventing new technology and more about putting all the pieces together so that the system can be planned and operated reliably now and in the future. Testing and implementing the technology while ensuring the system remains secure and stable is a challenge that TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) are working to overcome. The work that is being carried out through the EEGI is key to overcoming these challenges and finding solutions that will benefit not only the industry but the wider European economy.
How is the work of ENTSO-E coordinated with the work of DSOs and other smart grid stakeholders?
The European Electricity Grid Initiative (EEGI) provided the industry with a strong mandate to develop coordinated solutions to ensure that an adequate grid is developed both from DSO and TSO perspectives. Together with the European Distribution System Operators’ Association for Smart Grids (EDSO for Smart Grids)2, ENTSO-E is a key contributor to the EEGI Roadmap and Implementation Plan. We are also a consortium partner and a member of the management Board of the Grid+ project which supports and implements the EEGI both within and beyond European borders. The work of the R&D Committee in ENTSO-E complements our membership of these initiatives, with the ENTSO-E R&D Roadmap fully integrated within the EEGI roadmap. In addition, DSOs and other smart grid stakeholders have taken an active part in the consultation process during the drafting of our network codes. Finally, ENTSO-E is an active contributor to the EC Smart Grids Task Force3 a consensus building initiative on policy and regulatory directions for the deployment of smart grids.
Standardisation and network codes raise critical issues for smart grids. What are some of these issues? Why is standardisation so important?
TSOs and DSOs as regulated companies need to operate the system in a multi-vendor environment. In order to ensure workable solutions, a high level of interoperability is required. Standards are a key factor in this respect. Network codes are the tools to ensure system security and European market integration in a rapidly changing power system. Standardisation complements network codes in various areas, e.g. compliance, non-cross-border issues, and harmonisation for cost efficiencies. Coordination between network codes and standardisation activities is key to ensure that both tools achieve their objectives, while smart grid standardisation is critical to enable demand response to bid into Europe-wide intraday and balancing markets.
What progress has been made so far to achieve the necessary standardisation across Europe? And what more needs to be done?
The standardisation which is most important for smart grids concerns data exchange. I would like to mention three important examples for this. At the end of last year ENTSO-E approved the Common Grid Model Exchange Standard (CGMES), a critical step towards increased market integration and the integration of growing amounts of fluctuating renewable energy sources in European electricity transmission systems. It will allow TSOs to efficiently combine the data describing their different networks, which is a prerequisite for routine security and capacity calculations on a regional scale.
The M/490 EN standardisation mandate from the Commission to European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs) CEN4, CENELEC5 and ETSI6 to support the deployment of the European smart grid was another major and positive step towards achieving standardisation. While much work has already been achieved, including listing and prioritising the many different standards needed for smooth and successful smart grid rollouts Europe-wide, the scope of the mandate is enormous and much remains to be completed. We strongly advocate that M/490 work proceeds with the highest priority and as soon as possible produces information technology use cases that enable demand response to access intraday and balancing markets. This is a high priority for TSOs. Europe's clear market design, as described in detail in the third IEM package and the network codes, is an advantage for the standardisation of such use cases and for their future implementation. ENTSO-E has increased its resources within the secretariat to work specifically on disseminating the results of this research to TSOs, and also to coordinate TSO participation in CEN, CENELEC and IEC activities.
A third example is ENTSO-E’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) working group which collaborates with external harmonisation and standardisation organisations, such as the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET)7, the European Forum for Energy Business Information Exchange (ebIX)8 and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)9, to develop detailed business process descriptions and standards in formats that can be easily understood and implemented by the software industry.
Close cooperation between all parties must continue if we are to achieve the necessary standardisation and it was for this reason that last September a memorandum of understanding was signed between CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation) and ENTSO-E.
Is the SET-Plan still on track regarding the move towards a low-carbon Europe? Does anything need to be rethought?
It is still on track; however it is critical that we do not become complacent. The SET-Plan’s greatest success thus far has been its foresight in recognising the major challenges facing the industry, for example in the areas of market integration and decarbonisation, and in coordinating and commissioning research to find solutions early enough. However, this is only the first step in the process. The results of this research must be disseminated to the wider industry if it is to be of benefit, and appropriate resources must be dedicated to achieve this. Regulatory frameworks are required in each Member State in order to allow TSOs to allocate resources to R&D projects and implement the results of the projects. With respect to TSO research in the EEGI part of the SET-Plan, ENTSO-E monitors these R&D activities on an ongoing basis to assess progress in respect to the R&D Roadmap, and to disseminate results to the European TSOs.