European distribution system operators (DGs) see the integration of energy systems as a key area in which to play a facilitating role and are ready to take on this responsibility, says E.DSO.

The widespread electrification of the energy transition economy requires integration between electricity, gas, heating and transport and potentially other sectors.

Such a system or sector integration, or “sector coupling” as it is also called, requires coordination and interfaces between the network operators to manage and plan the network, in particular the DSOs where the majority of the network. distributed production is connected.

With sectoral integration models under development, the European association of DSOs E.DSO is committed to a position paper some key considerations.

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First and foremost, the design of system integration must take place at the local or regional level, due to the great differences between urban, rural and industrial structures. Solutions should help limit organizational and technical complexity by avoiding unnecessary energy transport and bringing added value and social acceptance to local customers.

Another is that the planning and development of infrastructure must be optimized, which requires coordination at the levels of distribution and transmission and integration into land use planning procedures.

From the point of view of the DSOs, there must be a regional definition and harmonization of their operational responsibilities and a definition of operational interfaces, while national regulatory authorities should ensure a coordinated operation of the system.

DSOs as systems integration facilitators

E.DSO states that the role of “systems integrator facilitators” should be assigned to existing DSOs as part of the regulated activity and that it should be seen as a new role. This in turn implies that the energy transition must be structured through integrated customer-centric energy systems, where DSOs are the natural proactive catalysts.

At the root of this role is the need for adequate data to support decision making and easily accessible platforms that are managed in a neutral way can be seen as a first step in building this role, explains E.DSO. .

Possible steps include providing relevant information on shared platforms through value-added combinations of existing data streams and developing alternative options for the integration of energy sources from different energy systems, including investments in infrastructure maintenance and development.

Others aim to support the judicial authorities in the processes of spatial planning and to support the various cooperating parties in the development of operational and commercial plans for energy systems integrated at the local level.

The organization indicates that the next steps at European level should include the harmonization of the conditions for flexibility and the alignment of regulatory legislation.

“A common legislative framework covering different energy systems could ensure a level playing field for all sectors that aim to be increasingly integrated,” the document concludes.

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