Talk Community Interview: Carmen Gimeno
The implementation of the Clean Energy Package (CEP) will have very relevant consequences on the Distribution network in terms of digitalization; are the medium and small DSOs ready to face that challenge?
The main challenge that DSOs are currently facing is to integrate decentralized generators and new customers into the distribution grid in a cost-efficient way by making the best use of the existing infrastructure. Digitalisation is the tool that will enable us to do so. Smart Grids deployment is crucial and will help DSOs to facilitate demand response and develop new business models. Digitalization will also contribute to a better understanding of the grid, through optimized network planning and grid operation, and improved monitoring. Small and medium-sized DSOs are well-positioned to face these challenges to accomplish the transition to decentralized, decarbonized and digitalized energy systems and societies.
Generally speaking, we tend to believe that the big corporations are better prepared to tackle big challenges; is that true in the case of DSOs?
This is not the case for GEODE’s small and medium-sized DSOs members, who are “large” companies of small size, well placed to face big challenges. What is important in order to face the coming challenges of the energy system is not the size of the company but its capacity to adapt to the changes. As local DSOs are very close to their customers and their grids, they are the first to know their needs and adapt to satisfy them in the best possible way. At the same time, local energy companies do support the decentralization of the energy system that will provide local grids with an even more crucial role, being relevant to the development of new business models and markets at local and regional level.
One of the provisions of the CEP imposes the creation of a new EU DSO entity; will that entity affect the status-quo of the existing DSOs associations?
Certainly, the recently adopted Electricity Regulation EC/2019/943 determines the creation of a European entity for DSOs, the so-called “EU DSO entity”. This entity is – as defined in the Regulation - “an expert entity working for the common Union interest and shall neither represent particular interests nor seek to influence the decision-making process to promote specific interests”. The future members of the entity – electricity DSOs from across Europe – are committed to respecting the letter and the spirit of the Regulation. The EU DSO entity’s main task will be the development of network codes relevant to the distribution grids, the coordinated operation of distribution and transmission networks, and the cooperation and coordination with ENTSO-E. The latter is currently carried out within informal structures, such as DSO-TSO Cooperation platform, chaired by the Commission, and other informal DSO-TSO work streams at EU level. Therefore, the new EU DSO entity, once set up, will not affect the status-quo of the existing European associations representing electricity DSOs.