7 TSO–DSO partnership and demand side flexibility

The energy transition corresponds to a change from a centralised system to a more complex integrated electricity system, with decentralised and centralised co-existing. The new system also sees new actors, such as aggregators, active customers, demand side response and distributed flexibility.

This chapter describes ENTSO-E’s activities concerning the TSO–DSO partnership and demand side flexibility, as well as the key messages of the ENTSO-E Vision 2030 for the future power system.

Integration of distributed flexibilities

A key area for cooperation is active system management and the coordinated use of distributed flexibility. Storage, distributed generation and customer participation through demand-side response have the potential to generate new services for the grid and the system. These are known as distributed flexibilities, and they will be key to efficiently managing the electrical system of the future and developing new market products.

ENTSO-E pursued its activities with the DSOs’ associations based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2018 and with the support of a new Steering Group dedicated to the Transmission and Distribution Interface.

A key area for cooperation is to follow up on the report on Active System Management developed in 2019 by ENTSO-E and the DSOs’ associations as well as the report on Demand Side Flexibility developed by the Expert Group 3 of the Task Force Smart Grids. These reports describe the high-level principles for the implementation of market mechanisms aimed at procuring flexibility services from distributed energy resources while taking due account of each nation’s specific needs. The impact on the Harmonised Role Model and existing Network Codes/Guidelines has been assessed. Concepts have been tested “on the field” in the frame of Horizon 2020 projects such as Interrface or Coordinet, and findings have been discussed and compared with similar sandboxes in dedicated workshops.

Vision 2030 Webinar Series

From 12–14 October ENTSO-E organised six webinars presenting the ENTSO-E Vision 2030. More than 40 speakers (and 800 participants) contributed to discussions on the upcoming challenges and opportunities for Europe’s power system towards 2030, how to best prepare for climate neutrality by 2050, and how to move the customer to the centre stage and increase flexibility. Panel discussions touched upon market design, flexibility, offshore, system integration and research, development and innovation, among others.

Key dates & documents
With the constant increase of renewable generation, storage and active customers largely connected to the distribution grid, DSOs and TSOs need to strengthen their coordination and exchange the necessary information for operating their networks securely while ensuring distributed flexibilities are used when and where they provide the most value to the whole electricity system.


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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