Regional Security Coordinators or RSCs are entities created by transmission system operators (TSOs) to assist them in their task of maintaining the operational security of the electricity system.
The increasing share of variable generation from certain types of renewables and the rise of cross-national power flows calls for greater cooperation between national TSOs.
There are three operational RSCs and one additional is in the making. By end 2018, RSCs will cover the whole of European population. RSCs offer five services which can be expanded whenever this is necessary to ensure the security and efficiency of the power system.
ENTSO-E will monitor that the RSCs develop in a way consistent with EU legislation and that the interoperability between RSCs is guaranteed.
RSCs are part of
ENTSO-E's vision paper on regionalisation and ENTSO-E's position paper on
Regional cooperation and governance in the electricity sector
|||On 10 May 2016, the Nordic TSOs started the discussions that will lead to the creation of the Nordic RSC by end 2017.|
On 4 May 2016, EU member states approved the
system operation guideline. The guideline is the sixth network code/guideline to be approved in the EU's comitology process. It merges three codes on transmission system operation into one. It will eventually be turned into a binding EU regulation at the end of a process that also needs the approval of the Council and Parliament. The system operation guideline formalises the name, existence and role of the Regional Security Coordinators or RSCs.
In April 2016, ENTSO-E published a policy paper
on regional coordination and governane in the EU. TSOs are supporting closer cooperation at regional level and are calling for policy regions gathering ministries, regulators and techincal/commercial competence. These need to be distinguished from RSCs which are functional areas set up by TSOs to optimise a function in power system operation, market or planning.
On 1 March 2016, ENTSO-E responded to a study carried out at the request of the European Commission
"Options for the future Electricity System Operation". ENTSO-E explains why the RSCs are the best solution to increase operational security coordination in Europe.
In December 2015, A
multilateral agreement on regional operational security coordination was signed with 36 interconnected TSOs and ENTSO-E to roll out the then called Regional Security Coordination Initiatives (RSCIs) in all Europe and to have them deliver five core services to support the national TSOs' decision-making.
In September 2015, ENTSO-E published its
vision paper on regions.
In November 2014, ENTSO-E published its
position paper on the future TSO coordination.
Here are some FAQs on RSCs (former RSCIs or RSCSPs). For more information, please read our
extended factsheets on RSCs.
What is a Regional Security Coordinator or RSC?
RSCs are companies owned by their clients, the TSOs. They perform services for the TSOs, such as providing a regional model of the grid or advanced calculations to tell TSOs which remedial actions are the most cost-efficient, without being constrained to national borders. Currently, there are three existing RSCs in continental Europe.
The offices of RSCs look like TSOs’ control rooms. Engineers work in a secured room, facing a giant screen representing in real-time the power flows between different countries and other information such as the quantity of wind or solar power produced in a region.
However, RSCs are not equipped to take direct control of the grid. This is an essential aspect because it allows RSCs to remain light and efficient structures and limit the need for regulatory oversight and regulatory harmonisation. The fact that RSCs do not have actual grid control limits the risk of pan-European incidents including cyber-attacks.
Operating the power grid in real-time remains the responsibility of TSOs but TSOs will more and more perform this task by relying on the information and strategies provided by the RSCs.
Why is regional TSO coordination good for customers?
TSO coordination through the RSCs increases efficiency in system operation, minimises risks of wide area events, such as brownouts or blackouts, and lower costs through maximised availability of transmission capacity to market participants.
Why do we need to strengthen regional coordination now?
A much deeper coordination between operators close to real-time is needed to integrate more renewables into the grid and reduce carbon emissions cost-effectively and in all security. Regional coordination of power grid operation is stepping up through new developments of RSCs. Initiated by TSOs seven years ago, these regional companies are about to extend both geographically and in terms of responsibilities.
How where RSCs created and how will they develop?
The first RSCs were set up on a voluntary basis by TSOs since 2008, with Coreso (based in Brussels) and TSC (Munich) as pioneers in Continental Europe. In 2015, one RSC was created in South East Europe, SCC, in Belgrade. In 2016, the Nordic TSOs started discussing the creation of a Nordic RSC.
On 10 December 2015, European TSOs and ENTSO-E signed a Multilateral Agreement on Participation in RSCs. It requires ENTSO-E members to participate in RSCs or to contract five essential services from them. The agreement ensures also that RSCs develop in a harmonised, interoperable and standardised way under ENTSO-E’s coordination, tools, standards, and methodologies.
Mid-2016, the System Operation Guideline - one of the EU network codes - registered the RSC into EU law.
What are the 5 core services of RSCs, and how are they delivered?
The five core services of RSCs are outlined in the table below:
Operational planning security analysis|
To identify risks of operational security in areas close to national borders.
To identify the most efficient remedial actions in these areas and recommend them to the concerned TSOs, without being constraint by national borders
Outage planning coordination|
Create a single register for all planed outages of grid assets (overhead lines, generators, etc.)
Enhance governance of assets' maintenance
Coordinated capacity calculation|
Calculate available electricity transfer capacity across borders (using flow-based or net transfer capacity methodologies)
Maximise the capacity offered to the market
Short and very short
term adequacy forecasts||Providing market participants with consumption, production and grid status forecasts up to several weeks ahead|
Common Grid Model||Providing a regional dynamic view of all major grid assets (generation, consumption, transmission) updated every hour|
In the RSC model:
- TSOs provide data to the RSCs;
- RSCs perform analyses and provide results to TSOs;
- TSOs take the final decisions: full decision-making responsibility remains with the TSOs based on the real-time operational conditions. Usually, TSOs directly implement the recommendations of RSCs. Particular collaboration processes are defined for the rare occasions where TSOs estimate that an action recommended by a RSC is incompatible with their own system safety constraints. These events will be registered and their list will be publicly available.
What is ENTSO-E’s role vis-à-vis the RSCs
ENTSO-E has a major role to play in the regional cooperation of TSOs. ENTSO-E is the platform for all overarching pan-European questions. This is particularly important in the context of implementing network codes by which TSOs agree upon all their pan-European tasks within the framework of the association. Network codes set deadlines and principles for common standards as well as interoperability of RSCs. The coordination and monitoring role of ENTSO-E for network code implementation makes the association the natural place for ensuring RSCs’ interoperability
What about the role of ACER and NRAs with regard to RSCs?
The network codes standardise the five services supplied by RSCs, tackle the required regulatory oversight associated with them and include where necessary opinions by ACER and oversight or decisions by NRAs at European or regional level.
What is the link between the RSCs and the network codes?
The RSC have been officially registered in EU law through the System Operation Guideline - one of the network codes/guidelines drafted under the Third Energy Package. The Guideline which has been adopted in comitology in 2016 still has to get a formal approval by the European Parliament and Council before entering into force. The System Operation Guideline merges three network codes into one: Operational Planning and Scheduling (NC OPS), Operational Security (NC OS), and Load Frequency Control and Reserve (NC LFCR).
What is the link between the RSCs and other regional setups?
ENTSO-E distinguishes between European policy regions that gather ministries, regulators and TSOs as well as market participants from a group of member states to agree on policy issues related to electricty and functional areas such as the RSCs. Functional areas emerge when TSOs decide to regroup to perform a certain function. The grouping depends on the function. The functional areas and their tasks are registered in the EU network codes.
ENTSO-E’s vision paper on regionalisation and ENTSO-E position paper on regional coordination and governane in the EU give more details on the regional issue.
Where can I find the multilateral agreement on RSCs?
multilateral agreement was signed on 10 December 2015 and publicised on 26 February 2016.