interoperabilityDSOdata managementenergy digitalizationconsumer centric

A DSO map to navigating the data management of a smart electricity system

The work carried out within InterConnect project is therefore central for the development of the Digital Single Market as well as for the energy transition and the effective integration of the consumers.

March 5, 2021

The roll out of smart meters across Europe is a roll in of a consumer centric digitalized energy system. To fully enable the functionalities of the future energy system and respond to the needs and expectations of the consumer’s management of data will be central. E.DSO, who is a partner in InterConnect, has published a paper to supplement the data management debate with the perspective of the Distribution System Operators.


Current exchanges and responsibilities

While the talk of data and its importance for the energy transition has increased rapidly over the last year, data management is no new topic for Europe’s distribution system operators (DSOs). To perform their cores responsibility of maintaining the distribution of electricity secure and reliable, DSOs collect, validate, and provide data related to network investments, maintenance and reinforcements, voltage control, curtailment, management of electricity losses and connection to the grid of anyone who wishes so. The long DSO experience with data management as well includes facilitating the supplier switching of their connect customers. Despite the vast data management already performed by DSOs, will the roll out of the smart meters allow for an enhanced data flow compared to the old analogue meters, increasing the possibility for system observability while enhancing the requirements to the DSOs.


Emerging requirements

Every second year the DSOs submit a so called ‘network development plans’ to their national regulatory authority. Based on data from the DSO operations, the plan describes among other things the flexibility services needed, the connection investment related to the integration of new generation and load, such as EV-charging points, storage facilities, etc.. The network development plans bear witness to the fact that the energy transition to a large extend is a decentralized transition which enhances the complexity of the management of the distribution grid. The continue secure efficient operation of the distribution grid requires analysis of network data and extensive data management. Considering the decentralized trend which characterizes these developments, it is logic, that data management surge bottom-up and is operated as such by the DSOs, on the spot where the data is collected and required.


The enhanced role of the customers

The roll out of the smart meters enhances the importance of the electricity grid customers. The new technologies allow consumers to participate actively in the electricity system by taking part in demand response initiatives. As such the smart meter enhances the interface between the customers and the DSO, as the DSOs responsibility enlarges from connecting the consumer to grid to managing their data and protecting their privacy. While the DSOs are involved in data exchanges with many other stakeholders who take interest in the consumers’ metering data the sharing of the data is always based on the permission of the consumers themselves. Whether or not willing to share it with others, DSOs shall always provide their customers with data regarding their consumption. To further promote the role of the customers the DSOs welcome all development which supports them in making informed choices be it related to choosing suppliers, services provides or to selling their flexibility to third parties.


The importance of interoperability

The successful integration of the consumers and their flexibility into the energy system is currently a hot topic across the European continent. Various initiatives developing and testing data exchange platforms have surged in the recent years with different focusses and architectures facilitating data exchange. To fulfill the EU Digital Strategy’s vision for a single market for data, it is essential that the data exchange can happen smoothly while guaranteeing the respect of the GDPR requirements. Obstacles to the data exchange can take various forms from regulatory barriers to technical incompatibilities between components. In the coming years the further investigation of interoperability between the many smart solutions for data management will therefore be key innovation topic. The work carried out within InterConnect project is therefore central for the development of the Digital Single Market as well as for the energy transition and the effective integration of the consumers.


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