Interconnected Europe

European countries are connected with one another for decades now and transmission system operators have been working in regions since the 1950s. Indeed, there is no way to stop electrons at the border. Managing one’s grid means coordinating actions with your neighbours.

Interconnections have been growing together with more variability of power flows. The regional coordination of transmission system operators has grown with the European energy transition. In the future, more coordination will take place notably to accompany the 4th industrial revolutions around digitisation.

History of regional cooperation

  • Regional Coordination Centres to become operational as per the revised Electricity Regulation

  • New RSC Established

  • Voluntary regional coordination becomes mandatory.

  • Multilateral agreement on regional operational security coordination was signed with 36 interconnected TSOs and ENTSO-E.

  • Mandatory
  • First RSC's

  • Former Associations

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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.

April 2016

ENTSO-E published a policy paper on regional coordination and governance in the EU. TSOs are supporting closer cooperation at regional level and are calling for policy regions gathering ministries, regulators and technical/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.

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.

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.

September 2015

ENTSO-E published its vision paper on regions.

November 2014

ENTSO-E published its position paper on the future TSO coordination.

Meet The Regional Security Coordinators Centers and Regional Security Coordinators

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 (ERAA)).

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.

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.

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.

Long term

-1 year or more

Operational planning

-1 year to -1 hour

Real time

1 hour to RT

What services does an RCC/RSC offer?

RCCs/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, RCCs/RSCs must carry out five services:

  • Security analysis
  • Capacity calculation
  • Outage coordination
  • Adequacy forecast
  • Common grid model
Large vew

In performing their tasks under Union law, regional coordination centres shall act independently of individual national interests and independently of the interests of transmission system operators.

Regional coordination centres shall be equipped with all human, technical, physical and financial resources necessary for fulfilling their obligations under the Electricity Regulation and carrying out their tasks independently and impartially.

What's the role of ENTSO-E?

The multilateral agreement and system operation guideline give ENTSO-E the role to support the TSOs and their regional strategy. They do so by providing IT tools and systems such as the common grid model which allow TSOs to improve their operational planning at regional and pan European level but also by communication on the RSCs and the TSOs roles.

Explainer Services #1 - The Common Grid Model

Explainer Services #2 - Coordinated security analysis

Explainer Services #3 - Coordinated capacity calculation

Explainer Services #4 - Short term adequacy forecasts

Explainer Services #5 - Outage planning coordination