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Balancing and Ancillary Services Markets

​​Balancing refers to the situation after markets have closed (gate closure) in which a TSO acts to ensure that demand is equal to supply, in and near real time.

Efficient balancing markets ensure the security of supply at the least cost and can deliver environmental benefits by reducing the need for back-up generation. There is a desire to increase harmonisation of the rules for balancing and for using ancillary services in order to extend effective pan-European competition to these markets and increase efficiency. ACER has published Framework Guidelines on Electricity Balancing, which have served as a basis for ENTSO-E to develop the Network Code on Electricity Balancing.

An important aspect of balancing is the approach to procuring ancillary services. ‘Ancillary services’ refers to a range of functions which TSOs contract so that they can guarantee system security. These include black start capability (the ability to restart a grid following a blackout); frequency response (to maintain system frequency with automatic and very fast responses); fast reserve (which can provide additional energy when needed); the provision of reactive power and various other services.

Access to a broad range of services from a wide range of providers, including generators but also demand response (which involves customers changing their operating patterns to aid system balancing) gives TSOs flexible options, which allow them to make efficient decisions.

ENTSO-E’s Working Group Ancillary Services is working towards creating a harmonised approach to ancillary services provision.

ENTSO-E’s Working Group Ancillary Services is working towards creating a harmonised approach to ancillary services provision by starting several early implementation Projects of the Electricity Balancing Network Code / Guideline:

CBA ISP

ENTSO-E conducted a Cost-Benefit-Analysis, in order to create a basis for a decision on the Imbalance Settlement Period(s) for Europe. Find more information and the CBA ISP in the final report.

Standard products for aFRR, mFRR and RR

ENTSO-E conducted a study on aFRR to – among others - find out possible implications of a shift from pro-rata to merit order activation. Find the study and its appendix here.

Imbalance Settlement

Work to develop a proposal for harmonisation of the main features of imbalance settlement has been started.

Cross Border Electricity Balancing Pilot Projects

Pilot Projects have been defined to gain early experience in cross border electricity balancing cooperation. Regular updates are given here.

Projects for the early implementation of the European target for IN, aFRR, mFRR and RR

ENTSO-E has started work to set up the way forward to implement the European Platforms in line with the EB GL. Here you can find further information ​on

  • Imbalance Netting
  • Automatic Frequency Restoration Reserves (forthcoming)
  • Manual Frequency Restoration Reserves (forthcoming)
  • Replacement Reserves (forthcoming​)

Furthermore TSOs from Austria, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have prepared a study on integrating FRR markets. The Explore study can be found here.


Activation purposes

A list of activation purposes of balancing energy bids is currently being developed.

In order to monitor the transition of balancing markets ENTSO-E is conducting a yearly Ancillary Services Survey. The reports can be found here.

Furthermore ENTSO-E together with ACER is organising regular Stakeholder involvement to exchange on early developments of the Electricity Balancing Network Code / Guideline. The material is published below.

Stakeholder Interaction

Continue to the balancing stakeholder group

For more information, please contact Alexander Dusolt