Europe’s TSOs propose 12 innovation priorities to 2025


Europe’s TSO association ENTSO-E has prioritised 12 project concepts to address the challenges of energy system integration and smart electrification.

These concepts mostly focus on advancing system solutions from initial concepts and first small-scale pilots towards tools, methodologies, standards and investment options that can be demonstrated in the TSO operational environments of grid development, asset management and system operations.

With TSOs looking towards a system approaching 100% renewables in the drive towards net zero, the aim is to bring to technology readiness the new innovations that are needed to meet the emerging system challenges.

The research, development and innovation (RDI) implementation centres around six ‘flagship’ areas, with the priorities proposed taking account of previous and current research activities and the largest gaps between technology readiness levels and the system needs.

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Flagship 1 aims to optimise cross-sector integration such as the integration of electricity and gas and of electric vehicles to the grid. The priorities cover the mass smart charging of electric vehicles, the development of models and tools for coordinated multi-sector system operation and planning and the design of a pan-European cross-sector data model.

Flagship 2 aims to develop an ecosystem for deep electrification of final demand. This raises the importance of handling distributed flexibility, with the priority to integrate the coordinated flexibility potential to the future energy system by harmonising flexibility assessments and demonstrating how market viability and energy system security can go hand-in-hand in a coordinated approach for a P2X plant.

Flagship 3 aims to enhance grid use and development for the pan-European market. With a focus on new approaches to grid design and asset management, priority proposals are on eco-design processes for alternatives to the sulphur hexafluoride greenhouse gas in high voltage equipment and on lowering the carbon footprint of TSOs via lifecycle assessments embedded in smarter asset management processes.

Flagship 4 aims to enable large-scale integration of offshore wind to the grid, with the Green Deal targeting 100GW by 2030 and several hundreds more by 2050. The main gaps in this area are on interoperability processes and governance rules and proposed priorities are a first project concept to develop an interoperability framework and a follow-up demonstration with a full-scale multi-vendor multi-terminal HVDC system.

Flagship 5 aims to enable secure operation of widespread hybrid AC/DC grids. With earlier work having focussed on the technology concepts, the main needs are concerned with modelling and managing such systems. Priorities are stability management of a power electronics dominated system including grid-forming converters and assess¬ment models for interactions, controllability and protection schemes.

Flagship 6 aims to enhance control centre operations and interoperability. With increased digitalisation cyber resilience is a key concern and cyber resilience schemes for control centres is identified as a priority along with open IT solutions for future control centres.

ENTSO-E says the projects come at a pivotal time with the European Green Deal taking form and they allow for an agile research programme, with most having a duration of three years.

ENTSO-E estimates the project concepts at approximately €160 million (US$190 million), not including the large-scale demonstration of Flagship 4. Funding is anticipated to come from EU mechanisms such as Horizon Europe and the Connecting Europe Facility, as well as from national programmes that enable international collaboration, TSOs’ own resources, and partner organisations.

The proposals are out for consultation, running until August 2.

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