Building on the first initiative on Experimental Sandboxes (2019), ISGAN has organized a follow-up project (2021) with a series of interactive knowledge transfer workshops and accompanying activities on maximizing policy-learning from Regulatory Experimenting programs or initiatives.

Three international workshops and several interlinked workshops at the national level have focused on questions regarding relevant actors, the orchestration of actors, the role of transformation strategies, effective policy learning processes, and legal prerequisites for Regulatory Experimenting. During the course of the project, it became clear that a broader view on experimenting helps to position national initiatives without losing focus on how to maximize learning from these. Therefore, the concept of Regulatory Experimenting was adopted, which contains a wide range of tools for supporting innovation.

The casebook provides some of the best practices of regulatory sandbox program and smart grid projects under that framework from 10 countries as well as four key policy messages that were formulated by the ISGAN Sandbox KTP Project Team and the transdisciplinary group of participants in the workshops, with the intention to bring it to the attention of the Clean Energy Ministerial. Four policy messages were successfully presented to a variety of stakeholders in the power sector around the world at the twelfth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM12).


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Recently, the energy market is going through drastic changes with the launch of a new climate regime and the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution era. Amid these changes, many countries worldwide are strategically pushing for digital transformation to address various issues arising from the pursuit of energy conversion policies. As defined by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany (BMU), energy transition refers to the shift to a sustainable economy through renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable development, and its ultimate goal is replacing coal or other nonrenewable energy sources entirely with renewable ones.

Thus, energy transition is the shifting of centralized nuclear and fossil-based energy systems into decentralized renewable energy-based systems. However, the critical issue behind it is to expand the use of renewable energy and reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency. As such, energy transition can be more efficient through digital transformation, which combines technology and ICT in the field of electrical energy. Therefore, the present publication examines the various cases of the digital transformation of utilities and identifies the implications of digital transformation in the transition to clean energy. Moreover, ISGAN Annex 4 aims to convey some messages, such as what the digital transformation means in terms of transition into smarter energy, its potentiality, and the most pressing challenges, to policymakers and related industries.


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This paper documents the Annex 2 unified framework for assessment, prioritized assessment results by each Participant, purpose and methodology for multinational (or clustering) analysis, analysis results of common motivating drivers and driver-technology pairs of high priority at the national level as well as across all nations and to nations clustered by economies or by continent, and comparison of multinational prioritized assessment results between the 2014 and 2020 studies.


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August 30, 2021


IEA ISGAN Annual Report 2020 released

A particular challenge encountered during 2020 was to ensure that ISGAN continued to work successfully together as a network, despite the many challenges encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amongst many issues, this made the familiar ways of working simply impossible and new approaches had to be found. The overall success of ISGAN activites in 2020 reflects the network ability to manage and operate despite these great challenges, testifying the strengths and cohesion of this TCP.

Highlights of 2020 include:

  • Two very fruitful online Ex.Co. meetings, where the following topics were in the main focus:

1) Request for Extension and Strategy process(a strategy process for the preparation of the next phase of ISGAN).
2) Cooperation with other organizations, TCPs, and initiatives

  • Based on the successful Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) approach developed within ISGAN since 2016, a new process design was developed for the Regulatory Sandbox 2.0 Project
  • Under the lead of the UK, a new Annex 9 on Flexibility Markets Development and Implementation was approved and officially started on January 26th, 2021.
  • The CEM Horizontal Accelerator for “Power System Integration of Electric Vehicle (EV) Infra-structure” is an innovative mechanism strengthening the collaboration and capitalizing on the synergies between four CEM workstreams: the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN), 21st Century Power Partnership (21CPP), the Electric Vehicle Initiative (EVI) & the Power System Flexibility (PSF) Campaign.
  • ISGAN and the Power System Flexibility Campaign (PSF) organized a joint workshop “A holistic approach to low emission energy systems through the sector integration” This event took place as an official pre-event of the CEM11/MI-5 Ministerial meeting on Wednesday 16 September 2020.
  • The Smart Grid Evaluation Toolkit
  • In collaboration with Annex 2 and 7, Annex 4 supported the publication of policy messages on Innovative Regulatory Approaches with Focus on Experimental Sandboxes to Enable Smart Grid Deployment.
  • Public SIRFN Webinar on “Testing Methods and Certification Protocols of IEA-ISGAN:SIRFN”,  October 15th, 2020
  • SIRFN Fact Sheet  “ISGAN Annex 5 General Brochure”
  • Joint SIRFN and related SIRFN member publications
  • Micro grids vs Mega grids
  • Lessons learned from international projects on TSO-DSO interaction
  • inter-Annex Regulatory Sandboxes 2.0 project
  • The ISGAN Academy webinars
  • The ISGAN Award of Excellence
  • Capturing Flexibility in Local Energy Systems Workshop

For the full activity description feel free to download the latest issue of our Activity Report below.


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August 24, 2021


How to Improve the Interoperability of Digital (ICT) Systems in the Energy Sector

This report has been prepared within the framework of ISGAN Annex 6 and focuses on the question “How to improve the interoperability of digital (ICT) systems in the (electric) energy sector?”. The paper presents and discusses various approaches for designing the system-of-systems, different approaches for enabling and verifying the ICT-interoperability in Smart Grids and motivates the need for interoperability improvements in energy sector. It does so by looking at existing approaches commonly used to improve the interoperability of digital systems both with the energy sector as in other domains, and to learn lessons from them.


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June 25, 2021


Policy Messages from the ISGAN Regulatory Sandbox 2.0 Project

ISGAN is leading an international collaboration project to capture recent developments and support countries in their development of regulatory experimenting such as sandboxes, which are key to enable up-scaling and deployment of smart grid and wider energy system innovation.

Building upon the successes of the first ISGAN initiative on the topic in 2019, the project has resulted in four key Policy Messages to the Clean Energy Ministerial and the wider international energy community. The project was selected to share these results as an official On Demand Side Event of the 12th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting, hosted by Chile.

The Policy Messages have been co-created by experts and practitioners from ministries, regulatory bodies and research institutions in 15 countries on 3 continents through a unique knowledge sharing process combining international knowledge exchange workshops with stakeholder dialogue at national level.

The focus questions that guided the international dialogue included: how sandbox programmes can be integrated into longer term energy transition strategies; the legal preconditions and exemption laws to enable sandbox programmes; how to coordinate between different stakeholders in programme implementation, and how to design evaluation processes for policy learning.


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This event is the second ISGAN-PSF joint workshop at the 12th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting. This will wrap up the activities of the PSF and ISGAN. The ISGAN and PSF look at flexible resources through three pillars, market design, digitalisation, and sector-coupling. The event will focus on solutions that have been deployed and the gaps that need to be filled. The event will highlight areas of critical importance to improve power system flexibility, stressing the link between research projects and policy-making.

For more information about the PSF, please visit: Clean Energy Ministerial website


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June 2, 2021


Policy Messages from the ISGAN Regulatory Sandbox 2.0 Project

ISGAN is leading an international collaboration project to capture recent developments and support countries in their development of regulatory experimenting such as sandboxes, which are key to enable up-scaling and deployment of smart grid and wider energy system innovation.

Building upon the successes of the first ISGAN initiative on the topic in 2019, the project has resulted in four key Policy Messages to the Clean Energy Ministerial and the wider international energy community. The project was selected to share these results as an official On Demand Side Event of the 12th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting, hosted by Chile.

The Policy Messages have been co-created by experts and practitioners from ministries, regulatory bodies, and research institutions in 15 countries on 3 continents through a unique knowledge sharing process combining international knowledge exchange workshops with stakeholder dialogue at the national level.

The focus questions that guided the international dialogue included: how sandbox programmes can be integrated into longer-term energy transition strategies; the legal preconditions and exemption laws to enable sandbox programmes; how to coordinate between different stakeholders in programme implementation, and how to design evaluation processes for policy learning.


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