EU-SysFlex blog: EU-SysFlex data exchange activities completed by proposing ‘European conceptual model’

02.11.2021Blog

Four years of activities dedicated to data management have just come to end. The final step was to propose a data exchange conceptual model on European scale. The purpose of such a model is to promote interoperability as well as easy access to data and data-driven services. The deliverable describing the proposal is available here.

The need for European level approach comes from the fact that (energy) data still does not flow without major obstacles across country borders (and across sectors). It has been recognised widely that a way to address this issue would be through the interoperability requirements. EU-SysFlex proposes a generic model in order to address the interoperability at any level and start agreeing the common approach. European approach is the precondition to complete single energy market as well as to contribute to single digital market.

Data exchange conceptual model for Europe recommended by EU-SysFlex indicates the needs and specific solutions to extend and adjust the already well-known concepts like Smart Grid Architecture Model, Harmonised Role Model, Common Information Model. Crucial elements of the model are reliance on well-defined data exchange system use cases and data exchange platforms. But it all starts by agreeing the high-level methodological approach and common vocabulary. Details cannot be discussed, i.e. full interoperability ensured, while speaking different languages.

The model is based on SGAM (Smart Grid Architecture Model) and its five interoperability layers – Business Layer, Function Layer, Information Layer, Communication Layer, Component Layer. The main elements of the model build on the data exchange business use cases (Business Layer) and data exchange system use cases (Function Layer) described in other EU-SysFlex documents, it proceeds to provide further insights into data (semantic) models (Information Layer), models’ translation into formats and protocols (Communication Layer), data platforms (Component Layer), regulatory requirements (Business Layer) as well as data exchange business roles (Business Layer) and system roles (Function Layer).

An important part of the conceptual model is the data exchange role model based on EU-SysFlex data exchange use cases. It describes how Business Roles interact with one another and which data they exchange. The objective of this data exchange role model is to relate Business Roles with the already existing roles from the HEMRM – Harmonised Electricity Market Role Model (ENTSO-E, EFET and ebIX®) and to identify new Business Roles motivated by business/market or IT/data needs.

The analysis led to the definition of a data exchange role model built on the scenarios of data exchange use cases and the Business Roles who operate the involved systems or interact with them. It is called data exchange role model because the focus was on data exchange and many new roles identified are about ‘data exchange roles’ which are agnostic to specific market processes. However, in this process also ‘market roles’ could not be ignored and some new were proposed.

Another interesting aspect relates to the tools for data exchange. Specifically, the platform-based approach was investigated, used for the access to energy metering data. EU has declared that validated historical consumption data shall be made available to final customers on request, easily and securely and at no additional cost (Directive 2019/944). To comply with this, several countries are currently implementing solutions for access to and exchange of meter data, incl. central national data hubs but there are also several countries that already have implemented similar solutions earlier.

Beside central solutions also more decentralized options exist (e.g. in Austria) for meter data access and exchange, but were not interviewed for this project. Finally, distributed data exchange is possible relying on Data Exchange Platforms. Regardless of the level of (de)centralisation all solutions need to be interoperable inside the given country as well as across borders in coming years.

Key characteristics of some European ‘data access&exchange platforms’ were investigated through several interviews with platform operators. The future of the data platforms according to the platform operators lies in a mix between the focus on today’s business but also to enable a more market-oriented business where all kinds of consumers and generators can benefit from the data platforms. There is also a focus to include more and other types of data and/or allow third party applications to connect to the data platform, inter alia, to be part of the flexibility market for the energy system.