Earlier this year the so-called ‘ENTSO-E Transparency Platform’ was launched, a platform that aims at boosting the transparency in the European electricity market. The platform was jointly designed and built by Czech origin IT services firm Unicorn Systems.
Over a decade ago the European Union bombarded greater transparency in the energy market as one of the key pillars of its energy policy. Research in the early years of 2000 had unveiled serious competition and efficiency issues in energy supply both within and across member states, and to improve the market’s dynamics the European Commission in 2003 launched a large scale legislative package, which eventually was adopted four years later. One of the areas earmarked for improvement is the transparency of market information, which when improved, should benefit competition (through liberalisation) and cooperation for both B2B as well as B2C markets.
As part of the legislative package, electricity transmission system operators (TSOs) were stimulated to join forces and create a platform to facilitate information transparency and exchange. From an electricity perspective, the collaboration was ratified in December 2008, dubbed the ENTSO-E, consisting of 42 European TSOs from 34 countries, including the six major associations that until then had already been working together**. To realise its key objective – promoting closer cooperation across Europe’s TSOs and supporting the implementation of EU energy policy – ENTSO-E requested parties to share their information through its own platform. In 2012 the organisation decided it was time for a new, expanded and improved system, not only to further realise its mission, but to also meet additional technological and EU legislative requirements. A European tender was launched in the market, and following a due diligence on the parties and proposals, Unicorn Systems was appointed the key contractor.
Over the past 2+ years, the 1,100 man strong IT consultancy worked with ENTSO-E to design and subsequently build the system. The project was divided into two stages. The first stage was completed in January 2014 with the launch of the first version of the new ENTSO-E Transparency Platform, introducing fundamental technological upgrades and a newly designed user interface. The second stage went live earlier this year, on the 5th of January, and includes new functionality that allows stakeholders to meet the latest legal requirements. According to Konstantin Staschus, Secretary General of ENTSO-E, the new platform demonstrates Europe’s “ongoing commitment to greater transparency in the electricity market”.
In a reaction to the successful go-live, Jan Konrád, International Services Director at Unicorn Systems and one of the key members of the project team, says he is “proud” of the result, highlighting that the complex IT-system was delivered on schedule. Besides the additional transparency it creates, Konrád adds that the system boosts efficiency, operating “several times” more efficient vis a vis the previous solution. “Despite the significant challenge of creating a platform which both data providers and users from many different countries can easily use, ENTSO-E and Unicorn have fulfilled the legal mandate”, concludes Staschus.
* A transmission system operator (TSO), a term defined by the European Commission, is an entity entrusted with transporting natural gas / electricity on a national or regional level, using fixed infrastructure.
** ETSO, ATSOI, UKTSOA, NORDEL, UCTE and BALTSO. The cooperation in the area of gas, known as ENTSOG, was created in December 2009.