Roles and Decision making
Decisions are made every step of the way, find out who does what and when.
What’s the role of the TSO?
TSOs are responsible for security of supply in their area. In order to do this they plan decades ahead (the 10-year network development plan at national and European level) how the grid will need to evolve depending on the big trends in the power system (more decentralisation, more renewables, storage, greater role for markets…). 5 to 10 years in advance they assess whether the system is fit to cover demand always (system adequacy assessment at national but also European level (MAF)).
From a year in advance to real time, TSOs run a continuous series of calculations and adapt their assumptions constantly to new issues arising on their grid but also that of their neighbours – notably through RSCs but also through the ENTSO-E awareness system.
The TSOs are taking decisions all the way through which all impact on what happens when the electricity is sent on the grid – dispatch or real time. If something happens that endangers security of supply, TSOs must react with seconds or even faster as electricity travels at the speed of light. TSOS’ ability to react very fast due to them being close to their grids (and the distribution level) is essential.
If despite their efforts, there is an incident, it is easy to trace back where the problem came from, fix it and give compensation to the affected grid users.
What services does an RSC offer?
RSCs intervene from one year ahead to one hour before dispatch. They run calculations and make recommendations that TSOs in the clear majority of cases follow but as situations can evolve very fast in a power system, TSOs can deviate from those recommendations to keep the lights on.
In the multilateral agreement that ENTSO-E members have all signed, RSCs must carry out five services.
As they are a flexible organisation, RSCs are service providers to TSOs, with staff & budget coming from TSOs, RSCs can develop their services as much as is needed to make grids more efficient.
RSCs must respond to regulators through the fact that they are service providers of nationally regulated TSOs. Since 2016, the system operation guidelines and through ENTSO-E they must increase reporting on their work.