EU-SysFlex blog: 10 attention points of energy data exchange


The work done in EU-SysFlex data management stream up to now has brought our attention to ten building blocks, including aspects like legal and technical requirements, data privacy and cybersecurity, TSO-DSO coordination. Out of these the development of an interoperable data exchange conceptual model for cross-border and cross-sector data exchange is the central one.

Happy New Year!

Elering hosted the advisory board and general assembly meetings of the EU-SysFlex project in Tallinn’s Old Town in the Christmas atmosphere to mark the halfway of the project. These were coupled with a conference organised by Elering, Estonia’s Ministry of Economy and RTE, France’s Transmission System Operator (TSO); the EU-SysFlex was present as well. The conference was dedicated to energy data access. A Letter of Intent between eight system operators was signed to consider the establishment of a European Data Alliance. As a matter of fact, data management matters more and more across the field.

Meanwhile, the BRIDGE Initiative is in this very moment completing two reports on the coordination of TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) and on cybersecurity. EU-SysFlex has provided input to both reports. Moreover, we have contributed to drafting the one on the TSO-DSO coordination. Needless to say, data management has a dominant role in both reports.

The important questions addressed in two EU-SysFlex work packages dedicated to data management and preliminary results are summarised hereby in what we call 10 attentions points determining future energy system.

More than 20 data exchange use cases were identified and 16 of them described in detail. Essentially, these have formed the basis for most of the following steps in data management, explaining why a well-structured data exchange is required. More reflection is needed on sharing and harmonising the use cases with other Horizon2020 projects and with the rest of the energy community.

The overview of legal requirements was completed and published on EU-SysFlex’s website. In 10 EU legal texts reviewed, 74 articles in total were identified as relevant for data exchange and for a data exchange platform supporting the fulfilment of the respective legal requirement. Out of these cases, 66 are addressed in the EU-SysFlex.

We identified and visualized the technical requirements for energy data exchange. The visualization was based on comparative analysis of four existing data exchange solutions. The obtained results indicate that none of the analysed solutions meets all the requirements for data exchange defined in the EU-SysFlex. The strongest supported areas are in meter data handling, while the largest gaps occur, inter alia, for flexibility data exchange.

We described more than 10 relevant models/standards/specifications/protocols (e.g. CIM, IEC61850, Estfeed, Green Button), and mapped these to SGAM (Smart Grid Architecture Model) landscape in a draft report. Additionally, work on role model provided some results. New roles were suggested (e.g. related to data hub, data exchange platform, flexibility platform) and modelled and definitions provided. Based on this the aim is to propose changes to Harmonized Electricity Market Role Model.

We are developing a big data framework taking into account EU-SysFlex’s needs. It considers big data ingestion, storage, processing, querying, analytics and security. For the implementation of each technical requirement a big data component is recommended. Quantitative and qualitative estimation of data exchange costs is ongoing.

The EU-SysFlex will make recommendations based on the requirements, best practices and technologies related to data privacy and cybersecurity. In order to achieve that goal, we are learning from other Horizon2020 projects, collecting information about cyber incidents and risks in some countries, interacting with the project’s demonstrators and aligning the input from existing standards. Future will bring an increasingly bigger concern about personal or otherwise sensitive data. This can be settled through data owner’s explicit consent or through exchange of encrypted or anonymized data. But the key question is: Can system operators, suppliers, aggregators and other stakeholders manage their business without actually having direct exchanges with data owners?

The needs for further standardization in energy data exchange domain should be clarified. Currently, we are compiling overviews of existing standards, of standards implemented by the EU-SysFlex demonstrators and of several European initiatives aiming at interoperable data exchange. As next step, we will perform a gap analysis based on EU-SysFlex data exchange use cases and propose further standards (or extensions of existing standards) where relevant.

EU-SysFlex will propose an interoperable data exchange conceptual model for cross-border and cross-sector data exchange. First actions were accomplished to define precisely a practical procedure to produce the SGAM model from the data exchange system use cases. How should the governance of European-wide data exchange to be arranged? Some system operators have started to investigate the feasibility of a cross-border platform based on Elering’s Estfeed technology. While this approach can be successful among a few motivated countries and for certain types of data, in the EU-SysFlex, we realized that it would not be feasible to have a single platform for all countries and for any data type. Preferably, the interoperability of different platforms needs to be ensured. This could be achieved through legislative requirements, standards, best practices and open source promotion. But still, one needs some kind of cooperation, i.e. a governance model to make all this happen.

All above would contribute to even smoother TSO-DSO coordination through seamless data exchange. The need for this is most obviously incurring in the discussions about flexibility market design. The above-mentioned attention points take the customer-centric approach as starting point. Consumers and other data owners should always have control over their data, i.e. easy access to data and means to share their data securely.

Data management definitely matters.


Written by: Kalle Kukk (Elering), leading the EU-SysFlex Work Packages on cross-border and cross-sectoral data management.

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Disclaimer: blog entries reflect individual views of the author(s) that may not reflect official positions or communication of the project / project consortium.