Read our new blog: Enable flexibility provision from decentralized resources


Three EU-SysFlex demonstrators located in Germany, Italy and Finland enable flexibility provision from the distribution grid to the transmission grid and thereby improve the cooperation of distribution and transmission system operators.

EU-SysFlex focuses on improving flexibility and system services to address technical challenges arising from the continuously increasing share of renewable energy resources in our electricity supply. The concepts for enhancing system flexibility are tested in seven European large-scale demonstrators.

Three of those physical demonstrators – located in Germany, Italy and Finland – analyse and test the exploitation of decentralized flexibility resources connected to the distribution grid for ancillary services provision to the transmission system operators (TSOs), as visualized in the picture below. The demonstrators’ main objective is to show how resources connected by the distribution system operator (DSO) can help address system needs by providing ancillary services on the transmission level. At the same time, the optimisation of flexibilities must guarantee that no need for counteractions in the distribution grid is caused, in order to meet the requirements of both TSO and DSO. Furthermore, the objective is to improve the coordination between these two actors, TSO and DSO.

The demonstrators are located in the distribution networks with different characteristics and in different countries with their own system needs and regulations. Therefore, their set-ups and frameworks are different but, as they pursue the same general objectives, they are complementary in displaying the various possibilities for addressing system needs in the distribution and transmission grids with the help of flexibility resources connected to the distribution grid.

The German demonstrator enables the provision of flexibilities from the German high-voltage (distribution) grid to the TSO and for the DSO’s own use. The aim is to integrate renewables connected to the high-voltage level into congestion management and voltage control in the transmission grid. The overall objective is to establish a new process and coordination for congestion management and a new automated tool for voltage control and reactive power management.

The Italian demonstrator will test how local medium-voltage assets controlled by the DSO can be integrated into the control systems allowing distributed resources to participate in voltage management. At the same time, they help to optimize the operation of the distribution grid they are connected to. In addition, the demonstrator simulates how distributed resources can participate in frequency control and congestion management.

The Finnish demonstrator adds the market perspective of providing services from distributed resources in medium- and low-voltage levels. On one hand, it will aggregate small distributed resources into the transmission level markets for frequency management. On the other hand, it will be used to study a market-based approach for a DSO to purchase reactive power control possibilities.

The analysis of the three demonstrators shows how they complement each other and underlines the possibility of using many different flexibility resources connected to voltage levels in the distribution grid. These flexibility resources can provide various services and solve a set of scarcities such as frequency deviations, voltage violations and congestions. The visualization below pictures the kind of different flexibility resources integrated in the three demonstrators – photovoltaics, wind farms, batteries, STATCOMS, electric vehicle charging stations etc. – and the voltage level they are connected to in the distribution grid. The arrows show what kind of flexibilities – active and/or reactive power – are enabled by the demonstrator and how – either via or without a third-party market. The green boxes underline which kind of scarcities are solved with the help of these flexibilities and in which voltage level.

Additionally, the demonstrators show different technical strategies to improve the coordination between TSO and DSO when tackling those scarcities. Working hand-in-hand, the demonstrators display the technical chain allowing to connect distributed assets and to operate them more efficiently. Furthermore, they show how those resources can be aggregated and made available to the TSO and DSO both by coordination mechanisms and by using market-based mechanisms.


Written by: Wiebke Albers, Carmen Calpe (innogy SE) leading the EU-SysFlex Work Package on Demonstration of flexibility services from resources connected to the distribution network and the German demonstrator. innogy SE is a leading German energy company, with revenue of around €37 billion (2018) and around 43,000 employees.


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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.