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TOPIC : TSO – DSO – Consumer: Large-scale demonstrations of innovative grid services through demand response, storage and small-scale (RES) generation

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-ES-5-2018-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
05 December 2017
Deadline: 05 April 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Secure, clean and efficient energy
Topic Updates
  • 25 July 2018 00:00

    Please note that the text of this topic has been amended in the update of 25 july 2018

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The legislative proposals on the energy market that the Commission adopted on 30 November 2016 (the so-called winter package), in particular the Electricity Directive, promotes that network operators procure balancing, congestion management and ancillary services from assets connected to the network both at transmission and at distribution level, based on cooperation among them.[1] This will enable more efficient and effective network management and optimisation, for the benefit of increased demand response and the ability to integrate increasing shares of renewables. TSOs and DSOs will use the same pool of resources: actions by both can mutually affect each other. In cooperation with market participants, they have to define the services they want to procure, and have to set up ways to procure them in a coordinated manner.


The focus is on projects that demonstrate at a large-scale how markets and platforms enable electricity TSOs and DSOs to connect (in particular through data communications and common architectures) and procure energy services from large-scale and small-scale assets connected to the electricity network through a combination of local markets (in particular for congestion management), with wholesale & balancing markets, in a way that will increase cost-efficiency in (future) network operations and that creates consumer benefits. The markets and platforms should enable the integration of relevant digital technologies like Internet-of-Things, Artificial Intelligence, cloud and big data services. The projects selected will define and test in real-life demonstrations of integrated system-based markets and platforms for (a set of) grid services that can be used and procured by DSOs and TSOs in a coordinated manner, in markets that they jointly set up (but don't necessarily need to operate themselves), in a way that:

  • will lead to the development of a seamless pan-European electricity market that makes it possible for all market participants (if necessary via intermediaries such as energy suppliers or aggregators) to provide energy services in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner;
  • enables TSOs and DSOs to give incentives to connected consumers, buildings, devices (including small-scale generation) to improve predictability and anticipate problems, based on jointly developed grid-models;
  • defines and tests 1) standardised products and key parameters[2] for grid services; 2) the activation process for the use of assets for network services; 3) the settlement process for payment related to the services;
  • facilitates scaling up the platforms and markets to spread its wider use and to increase liquidity, in particular by facilitating integration of small-scale and large-scale assets, and by integrating new services into existing platforms and/or links new services to existing markets as much as possible, by allowing to integrate future network services that support the energy network transition (e.g. those needed in scenarios with large RES penetration) and by being compatible across borders in line with EU rules on market coupling and balancing;
  • allows procurement based on the specific location and grid conditions (if necessary);

Selected projects also will:

  • Define the needs of network operators for system operation, and turn these into services and products, based on interaction with suppliers, aggregators and energy service companies, that test what services can be provided by what assets;
  • Test the needs of network operators and technological capabilities of the assets, including to ensure reliability of supply (e.g. duration, ramp-up/ramp-down, islanding);
  • Identify the relevant system data that enable market participants to better assess and forecast the need for grid services and publish such data (as much as possible);
  • Test innovative ways to promote consumer participation, engagement and perception, such as peer-to-peer trading, and innovative ways to reduce transaction costs, such as via distributed ledgers (blockchain);
  • investigate the possibilities for innovative pricing and compensation (including through local markets) for consumers that provide the grid services, taking into account tariff and tax systems;

In relation to the organisation, selected projects are expected to:

  • Make use of cascading funds for the incorporation of developers of innovative energy services (in particular for household consumers) by SME’s.
  • Coordinate their work with NRA's, ENTSO-E, the DSO organisations and other stakeholders and take into account the experience from other projects through cooperation in the BRIDGE initiative[3]and work with Digitisation of Energy projects, funded under the following topics:
    • SU-DS04-2018-2020: Cybersecurity in the Electrical Power and Energy System (EPES): an armour against cyber and privacy attacks;
    • DT-ICT-10-2018: Interoperable and smart homes and grids;
    • DT-ICT-11-2019: Big data solutions for energy.
      as well as with the projects funded under topic LC-SC3-EE-13-2018-2019-2020: Enabling next-generation of smart energy services valorising energy efficiency and flexibility at demand-side as energy resource where innovative consumer energy services will be developed and tested regarding their business viability and consumer acceptance.

TRL will range typically between 5 and 8 (see part G of the General Annexes).

Proposals should comply with the requirements stated in the section 'Common requirements' of the introduction to the part on the Smart citizen-centred energy system.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 13 to 17 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Solutions will contribute to a smart, secure and more resilient energy system through demonstrating cost-efficient model(s) for electricity network services that can be scaled up to include networks operated by other TSOs and DSOs, and that will be replicable across the EU energy system and provide the foundations for new network codes, particularly on demand-response. In so doing they will contribute to opening up significant new revenue streams for consumers to provide grid services, and increase the share of RES in the electricity system.

Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation

[1] see a.o. the proposed Guideline on Electricity Balancing, Article 32 of the proposal for a Directive on the internal electricity market, COM(2016)864, 2016/0380(COD), Article 53 of the proposal for a Regulation on the internal electricity market, COM(2016)861, 2016/0379(COD)

[2]where such parameters don't exist yet at EU level


Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.


Consortia shall involve:

  • at least 2 energy suppliers and at least 2 ESCOs or independent aggregators,
  • Transmission System Operators (TSO) from at least 3 different Member States (this doesn't exclude participation of additional TSOs from non-Member States),
  • 5 Distribution System Operators (DSO) from several Member States, with at least 2 of those DSOs operating in the area covered by the transmission system of any of the participating TSOs.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries may provide support to third parties as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied. Each consortium will define the selection process of the third parties for which financial support will be granted (with a maximum of EUR 60.000 per party[[In line with Article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the amounts referred to in Article 137 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, and if this is the case proposals should explain why this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the action.]]). Up to 2,5% of the EU funding requested by the proposal may be allocated to the purpose of financial support to third parties.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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No submission system is open for this topic.

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