Ancillary services from distributed energy sources

Ancillary services from distributed energy sources for a secure and affordable European system: main results from the SmartNet project

In Europe, there is a sharp increase in reserve needs for coping with the variability introduced by a steadily increasing RES share in the generation. The big challenge is to extend the possibility of providing Ancillary Services (AS) – frequency and voltage control, congestion management, etc.) to entities connected to the distribution network.
All these issues have been addressed by the SmartNet European research project (, which aimed at comparing different TSO-DSO interaction schemes and different real-time market architectures with the goal of finding out which would deliver the best compromise between costs and benefits for the system. The objective of this three-and-ahalf year project (2016-2019) was to develop an ad hoc simulation platform which models all three layers (physical network, market and ICT), analysing three national cases (Italy, Denmark, Spain).

In addition to providing information on the main results obtained by the SmartNet project, this report include some information on the status quo of the procurement of ancillary services in selected countries. A questionnaire was formulated and distributed among the members of ISGAN Annex VI. The questionnaire contained the following questions:

  • What system services are provided in your country (voltage regulation, frequency regulation, inertia, support to power quality…)
  • Who is providing them (generators and/or loads?)
  • Modalities to collect ancillary services: via markets, contracts, compulsory non-paid services… Please describe in detail.
  • Are generators and/or loads located in distribution admitted to provide system services? If yes, how is TSO-DSO interaction carried out (please describe in detail)
  • Are there plans from the national regulator to activate demand side management or to collect inputs from generators connected to distribution for the future? Which timeframe? Are pilot projects already active?

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