Regional Security Coordinators FAQ

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RSCs’ FAQs

Here are some FAQs on RSCs (former RSCIs or RSCSPs). For more information, please read our short and 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 coordination good for system security?

Coordination allows to take better decisions. For instance, TSOs cooperate to decide which remedial actions close to a national border is the most efficient (measures such as ordering a power plant to start or stop in order to maintain operational security). Coordination between TSOs can also create economies of scale, for instance all TSOs can use the same IT system to perform a certain task. European regions have always been the natural place for TSOs to cooperate. The closer a country is from another, the more impact they have on each other’s power system.

Why do we need to strengthen regional coordination now?

A much deeper coordination between operators close to real-time is a prerequisite 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 Regional Security Coordination Service Providers (RSCSPs). Initiated by TSOs seven years ago, these regional companies are about to extend both geographically and in terms of responsibilities.

Why is regional TSO coordination good for customers?

TSO coordination through the RSCSPs 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. The fact that RSCSPs do not have actual grid control limits the risk of pan-European incidents including cyber-attacks.

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 is a Regional Security Coordination Service Provider or RSCSP?

RSCSPs 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 RSCSPs in continental Europe. Their offices are based respectively in Munich, Belgrade and Brussels.

The offices of RSCSPs look like TSOs’ control rooms. Engineers work 24 hours a day, every day of the year, 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, RSCSPs are not equipped to take direct control of the grid. This is an essential aspect because it allows RSCSPs to remain light and efficient structures and limit the need for regulatory oversight and regulatory harmonisation.

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 RSCSPs.

RSCSPs are the formalisation of the Regional Security Coordination Intiatives.

How where RSCSPs created and how will they develop?

The first RSCSPs 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 RSCSP was created in South East Europe, SCC, in Belgrade. By end 2017, the whole European population should be covered.

Thanks to their success, European TSOs and policy makers have decided to use RSCSPs to implement the Third Energy Package and create the Internal Energy Market. This is why RSCSPs are mentioned in one of the electricity network codes: the System Operation Guideline, which adoption is expected in 2016.

On 10 December 2015, European TSOs and ENTSO-E signed a Multilateral Agreement on Participation in RSCSPs. It requires ENTSO-E members to participate in RSCSPs or to contract five essential services from them. The agreement ensures also that RSCSPs develop in a harmonised, interoperable and standardised way under ENTSO-E’s coordination, tools, standards, and methodologies

Currently, RSCSPs focus on operational planning with a regional view. RSCSPs have the potential to evolve and to provide even more services to the TSOs as they gain more experience.

What are the 5 core services of RSCSPs, and how are they delivered? In the RSCSP model:

  1. TSOs provide data to the RSCSPs;
  2. RSCSPs perform analyses and provide results to TSOs;
  3. 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 RSCSPs. Particular collaboration processes are defined for the rare occasions where TSOs estimate that an action recommended by a RSCSP is incompatible with their own system safety constraints. These events will be registered and their list will be publicly available.

All European TSOs will delegate 5 services to RSCSPs by 2017, as agreed in the 2015 Multilateral Agreement.

What is ENTSO-E’s role vis a vis the RSCSPs

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 RSCIs. The coordination and monitoring role of ENTSO-E for network code implementation makes the association the natural place for ensuring RSCIs’ interoperability

What about the role of ACER and NRAs with regard to RSCSPs?

The network codes standardise the five services supplied by RSCIs, 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.

The System Operation Guideline is one of the network codes/guidelines drafted under the Third Energy Package. In 2015, the European Commission, ACER and ENTSO-E agreed to merge the three operational network codes into a single System Operation Guideline during their preparatory work for Comitology. The new guideline is composed of the former network codes on Operational Planning and Scheduling (NC OPS), Operational Security (NC OS), and Load Frequency Control and Reserve (NC LFCR). On 1 December the European Commission published the version of the Regulation establishing a guideline on electricity transmission system operation that was sent to electricity cross-border committee. The first meeting of the electricity cross-border committee on the System Operation Guideline is scheduled on 11 December 2015.

Power system regions vary depending on the issue. RSCSPs will certainly ensure some coherence in the regionalisation as explained in ENTSO-E’s vision paper on regionalisation.

Where can I find the mutlilateral agreement on RSCPs?

The multilateral agreement was signed on 10 December 2015 and publicised on 26 February 2016.

   
AustriaAustrian Power Grid AGAPG
 Vorarlberger Übertragungsnetz GmbHVUEN
Bosnia and HerzegovinaNezavisni operator sustava u Bosni i HercegoviniNOS BiHа
BelgiumElia System Operator SAElia
BulgariaElectroenergien Sistemen Operator EADESO
SwitzerlandSwissgrid agSwissgrid
CyprusCyprus Transmission System OperatorCyprus TSOа
Czech RepublicČEPS a.s._EPS
GermanyTransnetBW GmbHTransnetBW
 TenneT TSO GmbHTenneT DE
 Amprion GmbHAmprion
 50Hertz Transmission GmbH50Hertz
DenmarkEnerginet.dkEnerginet.dkа
EstoniaElering ASElering ASа
SpainRed Eléctrica de España S.A.REE
FinlandFingrid OyjFingridа
FranceRéseau de Transport d’ElectricitéRTE
United KingdomNational Grid Electricity Transmission plcNational Grid
 System Operator for Northern Ireland LtdSONI
 Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plcSHE Transmission
 Scottish Power Transmission plcSPTransmission_
GreeceIndependent Power Transmission Operator S.A.IPTO
CroatiaHOPS d.o.o.HOPS
HungaryMAVIR Magyar Villamosenergia-ipari ┴tviteli RendszerirрnyьtзаZрrtkШr_en M_kШd_аRжszvжnytрrsasрgMAVIR ZRt.
IrelandEirGrid plcEirGrid
IcelandLandsnet hfLandsnet
ItalyTerna - Rete Elettrica Nazionale SpATerna
LithuaniaLitgrid ABLitgrid
LuxembourgCreos Luxembourg S.A.Creos Luxembourg
LatviaAS Augstsprieguma t¤klsAugstsprieguma t¤kls
MontenegroCrnogorski elektroprenosni sistem ADCrnogorski elektroprenosni sistem
FYR of MacedoniaMacedonian Transmission System Operator ADMEPSO
NetherlandsTenneT TSO B.V.TenneT NL
NorwayStatnett SFStatnett
PolandPolskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne S.A.PSE S.A.
PortugalRede Elжctrica Nacional, S.A.REN
RomaniaC.N. Transelectrica S.A.Transelectrica
SerbiaJP Elektromreъa SrbijeEMS
SwedenSvenska KraftnСtSVENSKA KRAFTN─T
SloveniaELES, d.o.o.ELES
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