Best Conference 2021


DSO investment needs

Software is crucial to managing the growing complexity of power grids, as the session on DSOs made clear today. 

As moderator Carolina Vereda, Endesa and Chair of Eurelectric Working Group Regulation & Network Customers, reminded the audience, during yesterday’s audience interactions securing grid investment consistently topped polls.  

A presentation by Sabine Erlinghagen, CEO Grid Software, Siemens Smart Infrastructure, outlined that with a comprehensive software suite featuring open, modular, and interoperable software, grids can transition to 100% renewable energy while avoiding slow hardware upgrades.  

The presentation, called “Investing in grid software for a net zero world”, revealed that with software, grid operators can ensure grid stability and economic efficiency while keeping the power grid cyber-resilient.  

Grid operators can create a holistic digital twin of the grid, from planning to real-time operations and maintenance. Software enables grid operators to be fast, agile, and flexible when coping with current and future challenges. Our vision is the gradual evolution from the largely descriptive and diagnostic grid management of today to a stage where grids are managed autonomously. 

Sabine Crome from DG ENERGY’s Internal Energy Market Unit, responded with a comprehensive run through of the legislative agenda designed to support the development of a flexibility market in the face of a seven-fold growth in distributed energy resources. 

On flexibility and the current regulatory framework, Annegret Groebel, CEER President & Director of International Relations, Bundensnetzagentur, made clear that she believed any procurement of flexibility services should follow clear market rules. Once we have those rules in place regulators can ‘empower the consumer to take advantage of flexibility opportunities, engage in the transition, and lower their energy costs’. 

Asked about the market players perspective and what is missing to make flexibility a reality, Stephen Woodhouse, Director, AFRY Management Consulting said that getting the incentive regime right is absolutely crucial. This would be supported by better data visibility, in other words, ‘once we have a good stream of data it will be easy to build the analytical tools that empower predictability.’ 

On the issue of flexibility, Annika Viklund, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Distribution, Vattenfall Distribution made a call for engagement. Across end consumers, municipalities, regions, and industrial customers ask them flexible can they be and help them take advantage of lower costs. 

The audience were also asked what they thought should be prioritised to unlock flexibility. Settling along similar lines to the panel with their preference for first setting up a proper policy framework.