Debate: “System Operation and Data Management: Getting the Bigger Picture into Focus?”, November 2 (RSCAS-EUI, Italy)

This debate seeks to explore several broad themes with experts on the regulation of the European Union’s (EU) electricity market. What should be the overarching principles governing a European energy data space? What government interventions or data standards are required to make specific use cases successful for achieving green transition goals? What types of regulatory instruments are best suited to achieve these goals?

The digitalisation of Europe’s energy markets raises numerous questions in different regulatory contexts. On 1 June 2022, the European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) was asked by the European Commission to submit non-binding framework guidelines setting out clear objective principles for the development of a network code on demand response, including load, storage and distributed generation. The new rules will aim at enabling market access for demand response, as well as facilitating the market-based procurement of services by distribution and transmission system operators.

The proposed network code applies to all resource providers, all transmission and distribution system operators, and all wholesale markets and cover balancing and congestion management. A number of its draft articles (see the ACER framework guideline of June 2020) will apply to system operation and data management (articles 51 -74) and to congestion management (articles 84-104). These articles envisage, inter alia, new European Union (EU) rules on Data governance including data quality, responsibilities, data privacy and confidentiality and interoperability. Albeit highly technical, these provisions raise important ‘high level’ questions about data management and transparency. For example, it may be argued that even if transparency towards market parties is important to support the development of liquid and efficient markets, the publication of detailed grid and market data can also be problematic in some cases as the ability to predict congestions could cause gaming and market power abuse opportunities.

On 23 February 2022, the EU Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on harmonized rules on fair access to and use of data (hereafter referred to as the Data Act), to complement previous initiatives. The proposed ‘Data Act’ will be legally binding and directly applicable in all member states. Its applicability to those active in the electricity markets at all levels is potentially very broad. How will this more general initiative interact with the specific issues to be covered in the proposed network code?  The EU DSO Entity has for example already questioned a provision in the FG that TSOs shall receive all the data exchanged between the grid users and the SOs. It is argued that data exchange between system operators should be bi-directional and limited to necessary data, and further that it might be better to highlight that the new rules must be in line with higher-level data regulation (including the new Data Act).

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