5 Research, Development and Innovation

The European grid must be adapted to the emerging energy transition power system, characterised by high and increasing variable RES shares, flexibility, and decentralised co-existing with centralised in one system. Innovative solutions on the physical side and the increasing use of digital technologies for the optimisation of the grid are to be applied. The power system will see new players emerge, such as aggregators, and also see the customers moving centre stage.

ENTSO-E promotes and supports TSOs’ innovation activities to transform the European energy system into an integrated one, with an emphasis on flexibility (including demand-side response, storage, etc.) and end-to-end digitisation to integrate different technologies and market services. The sections below describe ENTSO-E activities in the field of RDI that occurred in 2020.

Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap 2020–2030

In October 2020, ENTSO-E published the RDI Roadmap 2020–2030. The new RDI Roadmap identified three priority areas (One System of Integrated Systems, Power Grid for Energy System, Cyber-Physical System), addressed in six flagship projects:

Key dates & documents

2 Jul 2020: Public webinar on the RDI Roadmap 2020–2030

29 Jun–20 Aug 2020: Public consultation on the RDI Roadmap 2020–2030

14 Oct 2020: Publication of the Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap 2020–2030

Figure 7 – RDI Roadmap Key Areas and Flagships

Other RDI publications and activities

In April 2020, ENTSO-E published its “Position Paper on the reduction of SF6 emissions and introduction of alternative technologies”, in which the TSO community confirmed its commitment to the development of SF6 alternative technologies and substitutive gases for the various TSO applications. ENTSO-E also published a position paper on the “Standardized control interface for HVDC SIL/HIL conformity tests” to support interoperability.

ENTSO-E published, respectively, in May and October 2020 the “Position Paper on Offshore Development”, and the “Position Paper on Offshore Development: Market and Regulatory Issues”. The former identified five pillars for a successful offshore development, whereas the latter calls for an electricity market design that ensures the efficient utilisation of resources by providing efficient price signals (incentives) to generators, consumers, storage and infrastructure operators, both for short-term operations and for long-term investments.

The ENTSO-E Technopedia went live in November 2020. It includes factsheets on different innovative and state-of-the-art technologies in relation to power transmission assets, system operation, and digitalisation and flexibility solutions. These factsheets enable a better understanding of these technologies, their advantages for TSOs and their readiness level, including the ongoing research areas. With Technopedia, ENTSO-E hopes to continue contributing to sharing know­ledge and best practice on TSO innovation.

ENTSO-E strengthened its role in the European Technology Innovation Platform on Smart Networks Energy Transition (ETIP SNET), through active participation in its working groups and the Governing Board, of which ENTSO-E holds the chairmanship. ENTSO-E is also engaged in the integrated ETIP SNET 2050 vision of the energy system and will contribute to its 2020–2030 Roadmap and the further development of RDI building blocks.

The ETIP SNET Platform falls under the umbrella of the European Commission’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET), as well as the Horizon2020 calls, in which ENTSO-E participates. In 2020, ENTSO-E continued to facilitate proposals for the Horizon2020 call and to foster TSO participation. ENTSO-E is involved in the following projects:

  • INTENSYS4EU, jointly developed with the ETIP SNET, aims to support the further integration of innovative solutions and extend the existing RDI Roadmaps, through permanent and direct interactions with the impacted stakeholders and EU member states. Though the project ended in September 2020, a similar consortium with the same purpose continued the work under the name “SPRING”.
  • TDX-Assist, which aims to design and develop novel ICT tools and techniques that facilitate scalable and secure information systems and data exchange between TSOs and DSOs. Participating TSOs include Eles (Slovenia) and REN (Portugal). The project ended in September 2020.
  • INTERRFACE, which groups TSOs, DSOs, aggregators and IT providers together to conceive a digital solution to support new flexibility markets and develop an interoperable architecture for data exchange between TSOs, DSOs and prosumers. In addition to ENTSO-E, its members Fingrid (Finland), Elering (Estonia), ELES (Slovenia), AST (Latvia), Transelectrica (Romania), and REN (Portugal) are participating in the project.
  • OneNet, which is building on the results of INTERRFACE, developing further the coordination among TSOs, DSOs and consumers and the integration of the European energy system with 72 partners in the consortium, including 12 TSOs (with e.g. ELES, Fingrid, Elering, REN or Mavir) and ENTSO-E.

In addition, ENTSO-E organised on 18 and 30 June 2020, jointly with E.DSO, the InnoGrid virtual sessions. The conference brought together participants from the industry, associations, EU institutions, regulators, academic world and Member States, who discussed how EU funded projects can contribute in making the Green Deal a reality through enabling renewables’ integration, flexibility and opening-up new market opportunities via electrification.

The main driver for the development of the ENTSO-E research plan (RDI Roadmap 2020 – 2030) was to identify the necessary innovation milestones for TSOs to reach the EU Green Deal policy objectives, thus achieving the green transition. Without neglecting the need for grid expansion, the innovation building blocks to achieve this are: deep electrification; smart sector coupling; and the integration of a massive deployment of RES, including offshore, through a reliable and secure cyber-physical system. Moreover, existing assets, markets and services should ensure both horizontal and vertical integration of energy resources with an eye towards optimisation as new types of services to customers emerge. All the activities stemming from this legally mandated document underline this purpose, as do the Horizon2020 projects.


ENTSO-E Annual Report 2020

This Annual Report covers the period from January to December 2020. It focuses on the legal mandates given to ENTSO-E. The activities covered in this report were performed thanks to the 42 members of ENTSO-E who provide its financial resources and whose staff provides expertise to the Association.


  1. System Operation
  2. Market
  3. System Development
  4. Transparency Regulation
  5. Research, Development and Innovation
  6. Cybersecurity, Interoperability and Data
  7. TSO–DSO partnership and demand side flexibility
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