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IT architecture as a horizontal layer of ENTSO-E’s work

The digital infrastructure that supports the power grid plays an increasingly important role. A digital power system provides new opportunities for system operations, market design, and regional cooperation. The IT architecture must adapt to this transformation to support Europe’s energy transition. In particular, the future IT architecture should ensure interoperability and enable cyber-security. ENTSO-E’s IT strategy is implemented since early 2018 by a new Digital committee, advising ENTSO-E’s Board on digital.

 The Common Grid Model

The Common Grid Model (CGM) has a legal basis in three of the network codes: the SOGL (Art. 64), the CACM Regulation (Art. 17) and the FCA Regulation (Art. 18). The CGM, and its data exchange system the Operational Planning Data Environment (OPDE), are a prerequisite for several processes harmonised in the network codes, including coordinated capacity calculation, operational security analysis, outage planning coordination and adequacy analysis.

The CGM compiles the individual grid model of each TSO, covering timeframes ranging from one year before real time to one hour before real time. TSOs’ individual (in most cases, national) grid models are collected by RSCs, who, following a quality assessment and pan-European alignment process, merge them into a pan-European Common Grid Model and feed the merged Common Grid Model back into the system.

Key dates & documents

Final CGM and GLDPR methodologies

Setting up the CGM requires three building blocks: ENTSO-E’s Operational Planning Data Environment (OPDE); a physical communication network; and TSOs’ individual grid models and methodologies describing how they should be merged into CGMs.

Achievements and challenges

A milestone was reached to a large extent in August 2018, with the delivery of a pan-European Data Exchange Capability allowing all TSOs and RSCs to publish their individual grid models and merged CGM. Program reporting and communication has also continuously improved.

On the way to fulfil its commitments, the CGM program faces challenges in synchronising its deliveries with those of the RSCs and Capacity Calculations Regions (CCRs). The RSCs and CCRs will use the data exchange capabilities to produce pan-European merged models, which in turn are the basis to provide services based on the Common Grid Model Exchange standards (CGMES).

The roll out of quality software, the timely generation of individual grid models in good quality, setting up processes in TSOs and RSCs, as well as the smooth migration to CGMES-based processes, are some of the challenges which will require concerted effort from the CGM program, TSOs and RSCs.

The CGM program is a high impact, future-oriented program. In 2018 a new governance was introduced in the form of an Executive Steering Group chaired by ENTSO-E’s Secretary General and representatives of ENTSO-E’s System Operations and Market Committees. To support and coordinate the implementation of CGM projects within TSOs and RSCs, regular meetings and communication channels with CGM Managers at each TSO and RSC have been established.

Operational Planning Data Environment

The OPDE, specified by Art. 114 of the SOGL, is the information platform that will support the data exchange associated with the CGM merging process. It is also the foundation of the data exchange platform for fulfilling the five core tasks of RSCs. The implementation of the OPDE components by TSOs and RSCs is ongoing, and at the end of 2018, data exchange via ENTSO-E’s OPDE environment was automated for nine TSOs and two RSCs.

Physical Communication Network

The OPDE will be supported by a pan-European private – (separate from the internet) – linked network based on leased lines and TSO-owned communication lines for non-real-time data exchange. Implementation of the physical communication network by all TSOs was ongoing during 2018 and at the end of 2018 four TSOs and two RSCs were connected via the physical communication network. ENTSO-E approved the Security Plan for the physical communication network and the OPDE in June 2018. The Plan went into effect in August 2018. By February 2019 TSOs have performed a self-assessment and by August 2019 they should be fully compliant with the Security Plan.

Individual grid models & methodologies

Implementation of the CGM needs to be consistent throughout the various processes outlined in the SOGL, CACM and FCA regulations, and this is why all TSOs have been tasked with the preparation of two methodologies: a CGM methodology for all three codes and a generation and load data provision methodology for CACM and FCA. As of June 2018, the versions of both methodologies for all three codes have been approved by all NRAs.

Data exchange standards

Standards facilitate cross-border exchange and allow for the efficient and reliable identification of different objects and parties relating to the development of the system, the internal energy market and its operations. Standards support the implementation of network codes in various ways and several of ENTSO-E’s IT tools and data environment, such as the OPDE, rely on standards.

ENTSO-E maintains the Electronic Data Interchange library, which regroups documents and definitions for the harmonisation and implementation of standardised electronic data interchanges between actors in the electrical industry in Europe. Standardisation activities in 2018 also included continued collaboration with the European standardisation organisation CENELEC and IEC, especially in relation to the implementation of network codes: publication of MADES (Market Data Exchange Standard) (IEC 62325-503) as international standard and a new edition of ECAN (ENTSO-E Capacity Allocation and Nomination System) (IEC 62325-451-3) and Transparency (IEC 62325-451-6).

ENTSO-E maintains and develops profiles based on the Common Information Model, in support of several of ENTSO-E and TSOs’ IT projects, e.g., the Transparency Platform, the mid-term adequacy forecast, the list of information required by the CACM to be sent to ACER, European balancing platforms (once they are implemented), etc. ENTSO-E developed a roadmap for the further consolidation and development of the Common Grid Model Exchange Standard (CGMES, which is the standard used for the merging of grid models) to further enhance it and make it compliant with the requirements stemming from the network codes.

In 2018 ENTSO-E began elaborating a European electricity market role model based on the network codes and guidelines. A methodology was published as a first step. The objective is to formally identify roles, services and associations, as described in the network codes and guidelines, to build an illustrative role model of the European electricity market.

Finally, as part of a knowledge-sharing exercise, ENTSO-E organized 12 three-days workshops in 2018 that were open to staff from TSOs and RSCs. The workshops focused on network model exchange (IEC 61970 and CGMES) and covered the creation of TSOs’ network models for merging into pan-European models.

Key dates & documents

EDI Library

Jan 2018

European electricity market role model methodology


Protecting TSOs’ systems and network operation tools against cyber-attacks is obviously of paramount importance for the security of electricity supply. It is generally expected that the frequency and severity of cyber-attacks will increase in coming years. This relates to the new trends of further interconnecting systems, where general cyber-security risk is expected to significantly increase for actors throughout the energy value chain. Decentralisation and decarbonisation, which imply more interconnection and interoperability, as well as digitalisation, and other trends such as quantum computing and the Internet of Things, all tend to increase the cyber-security risk for TSOs.

In addition, due to the interconnection of TSOs processes and IT systems, strong cooperation among TSOs (and relevant market participants) is needed. Cyber-security measures needed to safeguard the security of supply can no longer be implemented and operated solely by a single TSO.

In anticipation of this increasing risk ENTSO-E developed a cyber-security strategy in 2018. The strategy includes a new focus not only on prevention controls and compliance standards, but also on incident monitoring, detection, response, and recovery capabilities. It also emphasises the importance of developing inter-TSO and RSC cyber-security measures, in addition to TSO and ENTSO-E levels.

It emphasises the need to focus on all technology and information exchange aspects that can jeopardize the security of supply and availability of the European electricity grid.

Other activities related to cyber-security in 2018 include the approval of the CGM Security Plan in June 2018, which defines the security requirements of the OPDE (see above). In addition, for several years, ENTSO-E has been acting as a platform for sharing the best practices between TSOs. ENTSO-E supports operational training with the organisation of a yearly ‘red team/blue team’ training event attended by TSOs’ operational staff.


About this annual report

ENTSO-E’s Annual Report is a legally mandated deliverable, submitted to ACER for opinion. In line with ENTSO-E’s key activity areas, it is structured as follows:

1 and 2. Internal Energy Market: this part is divided into activities related to
i) network codes and ii) the future power system;

3. Develop a new ICT approach and capability, including cyber-security;

4. Develop the DSO partnership;

5. Coordinate and facilitate regional developments;

6. Develop transparency and trust, including stakeholder engagement activities.

The resources used to deliver these objectives are detailed in Annex 1.

The activities described in this report were delivered thanks to the collective work of ENTSO-E’s 43 member TSOs and ENTSO-E’s Secretariat based in Brussels.