A European R&D programme for tomorrow’s grid
- maintaining Europe’s security of supply against a backdrop of radical upheaval in the energy landscape, due to the environmental transition,
- integrating a growing proportion of renewables while at the same time maintaining a balance between supply and demand; maintaining grid stability and safety,
- improving the efficiency of the European electricity market for the benefit of consumers,
- helping to reduce the carbon footprint of Europe’s economy in general, and of its activities more specifically, in order to support the goals of the Green Deal, seeking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
As these challenges require constant research, numerous programmes are being jointly conducted by European operators, supported by the European Union. As leader of Europe’s biggest transmission system, RTE plays a key role in these European research and development (R&D) programmes.
Close RTE involvement through ENTSO-E
The preparation of a European roadmap containing R&D actions for transmission systems, as well as project coordination, is one of the missions assigned to ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (TSOs). RTE is actively involved in this research.
The European Commission supporting innovation
RTE is involved in several strategic research projects with a number of European partners, as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.
With the massive influx of renewables, new needs for flexible solutions are emerging within the power system. In addition, technological developments are also creating new opportunities for flexibility, such as storage. Up until 2050, the OSMOSE project will be analysing needs and optimal sources of flexibility, as well as the most suitable market designs. A number of innovative flexible solutions are being tested on the grid in the form of four demonstrators being operated by RTE, REE, TERNA and ELES. The RTE demonstrator, for example, is a hybrid storage system, which will be installed at the Castelet substation in Occitanie for purposes of testing the robustness, efficiency and portability of "grid-forming" controls being developed as part of the Migrate project. With a budget of 28 million Euros, this project is being run by a consortium led by RTE and includes 33 partners from nine countries: transmission system operators, renewable energy generators, manufacturers, IT specialists, 11 research centres and universities.
- MIGRATE (Massive InteGRATion of power Electronic devices)
The massive integration of renewable energy sources, which are connected to the grid by means of power-electronic devices known as inverters, will profoundly change grid dynamics and operations. Inverters exhibit different behaviours and technical capacities to those of the conventional machines currently being used to operate the grid. In order to plan for the future, it is necessary to understand how these inverters can support grid operations and more specifically, grid stability. The MIGRATE project, in which RTE has become closely involved and which delivered its findings in 2019 , has been seeking to overcome these challenges. Innovative technological solutions for controlling inverters have been developed and tested on reduced-scale equipment in laboratory conditions. This “grid-forming” technology is a prerequisite for operating a grid that exclusively comprises renewable energy sources. The project involved 10 TSOs, 12 research centres and one manufacturer.