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Development of methodologies and tools for new and evolving DSO roles for efficient DRES integration in distribution networks

Periodic Report Summary 1 - EVOLVDSO (Development of methodologies and tools for new and evolving DSO roles for efficient DRES integration in distribution networks)

Project Context and Objectives:
The goal of reducing the emission of CO2 in Europe to address the global problems of climate change and resource scarcity poses a number of technical and operational challenges to all actors along the electricity value chain. In particular, the target of a 20% share of renewable energy resources in the EU energy consumption mix as one of the EU 20-20-20 goals requires new technical, regulatory as well as market related approaches to the way electricity networks are managed today.
The transition of distribution networks towards a smart system which supports the successful integration of distributed renewable energy sources (DRES) and demand participation in the electricity system, requires an evolution of the role of DSOs with respect to the operation and management of the grid, as well as new tools to support these potential new roles.
Within this context, the evolvDSO is a Collaborative Project financed by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). This 40 months project, running since the 1st September 2013, aims at defining future roles of distribution system operators (DSOs) on the basis of a set of different future scenarios.
Selected tools and methods to enable these future DSO roles will be developed and validated through computer simulations based on real grid data and real-life testbeds, and encompassing Planning, Operational Scheduling, Real-time operations, Market and Maintenance. The new tools and methods will enable DSOs in collaboration with transmission system operators (TSOs) and other market players to support the transition of the distribution networks towards a smart system that supports a successful integration of DRES. To facilitate the uptake of the new tools and methods, evolvDSO will provide recommendations for the regulatory framework and market architectures and elaborate proposals of new interactions among key stakeholders.
Project Results:
The project began by defining a set of possible future scenarios and analyzing the current environment DSOs are operating in, with particular focus on market architectures and regulatory frameworks in place.
For each country analyzed, the identified scenario covered the evolution of the electricity systems, demand, generation as well as degrees of technological freedom and thus seek to delineate the evolution of the requirements that may be placed on distribution systems. The defined scenarios have been applied to identify the limitations and possibilities of the current market architectures and regulatory frameworks. This analysis covered a relevant number of EU countries represented in the consortium (Belgium, Italy, Germany, Portugal, France, Ireland and UK), with a view to applying the results more widely.
The analysis of current practices that DSOs have implemented to deal with fast growing DRES showed that this evolution will require changes in the way DSOs manage their grids, interact with other stakeholders of the electricity value chain (e.g. TSOs) and access potential resources (e.g. consumer and prosumer flexibility).
DSOs responsibilities will not be fundamentally modified by the challenges faced by the electric power system. Their core duties are still “to develop, operate, and maintain the network in order to deliver high-quality services to grid users and other stakeholders of the electric power system, while ensuring safety of people, assets most efficient use and system security in cooperation with TSOs”.
Even though the core responsibilities of European DSOs remain the same, DSOs need to implement active distribution system management and market neutral approaches to face current challenges which require the adaptation of current roles and creation of new ones. To this regard, the Project identified eight (evolving or new) potential DSO roles to improve existing core DSO activities and the associated services DSOs should deliver to other parties of the electric power system.
For the project scope, DSOs involved in the project agreed on a ranking of the services, according to their level of priority, the level of priority of the associated tools supporting them, and their know-how of the “distribution network” domain.
Thus the project has decided to further investigate a limited number of services perceived as being particularly relevant in the near future, by describing the associated business processes and their requirements using the use case methodology. Ten priority business processes designed to implement the key services associated have been identified.
The description of new and evolving business processes in business use cases allowed the project to underline interactions within the DSO and with external actors, as well as to capture binding functional and non-functional requirements.
In particular, the identification of data exchanges supporting these business processes highlighted the necessity for DSOs of data management (collecting, validating, managing and providing metered, network and contractual data) fulfilling the demanding requirements in terms of transparency, performance, data privacy and security. It also emphasized the need for reinforced cooperation between the various stakeholders of the electric power system – such as TSOs, flexibility operators, and grid users –, which will ultimately ensure reliable distribution grid management and bring value to the overall system.
Starting from the definition of the business use cases, the innovative functions supporting the business processes, as well as their associated functional and non-functional requirements have been described in system use cases.
By the application of a DSO standard model, DSOs delivered an impact analysis with the aim of identifying the innovative functionalities and related tools to be developed. This analysis helped identify the already existing systems and tools used by the DSOs for each process and avoid duplication of efforts. Sixteen system use cases have been delivered representing the most innovative functionalities and covering five domains (network planning, operational planning, operation and maintenance, market and DSO-TSO cooperation). The level of detail obtained in the system use cases allowed the consortium to draft a preliminary list of tools to be finalized at the beginning of the second period.
Once the list is finalized, the Project will leverage on the results achieved to develop a set of innovative tools which support DSOs in fulfilling its core duties in the identified domains.
Moreover, the analysis of the current environment in which distribution system operators (DSO) act and their current role with respect to DRES allowed the consortium to identify the (existing and new) DSO roles. In the second period the Project will propose innovative concepts with respect to potential future market architectures and regulatory frameworks, including the indication of the potential impact on the concerned stakeholders and particular attention for the future role of DSOs.

Potential Impact:
evolvDSO will contribute to the transition to a more sustainable energy system by maintaining and increasing the security and reliability of European distribution grids and facilitating the increased feed-in of DRES. By exploring future roles of DSOs and developing the tools and methods to fulfil these, evolvDSO will substantially contribute to enabling a smart electricity system which can operate efficiently under the emerging “generation follows demand” paradigm and is sufficiently flexible to allow for increasing integration of DRES. evolvDSO will identify and elaborate regulatory and technical needs to enable innovative market structures that may emerge in the European and local electricity markets. Moreover, evolvDSO will develop proposals for advanced regulatory frameworks to accommodate these new DSO roles and allow for new niche market opportunities and market players to proliferate.
In summary, evolvDSO contributes to the expected impact listed in the FP7 Energy Work Programme by:
- Contributing to increase the capacity of MV and LV networks to host DRES with a tradeoff of grid reinforcement and grid intelligence, without jeopardising quality.
- Ensuring a cost-effective long-term evolution of electricity networks, while connecting new generation to new loads
- Contributing to the development of smart grids Development of smart grids in both rural and urban areas and establishing synergies with Smart Cities and Communities
It is envisaged that all industrial partners (e.g. DSOs, manufacturers) will make use of the project results through commercial and/or scientific exploitation.
The evolvDSO consortium will make available to any interested party the following items related to the developed tools:
- Report containing a description of the various tools elaborated in WP3 (D3.1 D3.2 and D3.3)
- Report providing results and conclusions of the computer simulation tests (with real grid data) of the different developed tools, with an analysis of its benefits and limitations (D3.4)
- Report giving overview of results of field tests with tools integrated in current systems and outlining the performance of the tools and lessons learned (D5.2)
The dissemination and exploitation strategy takes into account the interest and requirements of other stakeholders:

- TSOs: an enhanced coordination between TSOs and DSOs is needed to ensure the overall stability of the electricity system as well as an appropriate quality of supply. Therefore, tools and methods enabling this (i.e. real-time information exchange on LV and MV grids) must carefully consider the specific requirements of this group and be disseminated in front of it.
- Consumers/DRES producers: requirements of the demand side are to be analysed in the project and the results communicated to the wider audience.
Morever, one of the aims of the project is improve the predictability of the DRES generators.
Without the consideration of their requirements the tools and methods addressing this issue
will not be taken up widely.
- New market players: Through the provision of system relevant services, the emerging players might efficiently support the network operation and contribute to the growth of innovativeness of the European economy. For this reason, the needs and expectations of this group are to be analysed while developing the tools and methods for the DSOs and designing new market architectures.
- Scientific community: The technologies developed and demonstrated within the project are envisaged to contribute to standardisation activities. Moreover, the findings of RTD activities conducted within evolvDSO can serve as a basis for further scientific research.
- National governmental authorities and regulatory bodies. Future methods and tools for network integration of distributed renewable resources strongly rely on the regulatory regimes. Therefore policy makers will be addressed within close consultations.