Why do the Nordic TSOs develop a Nordic AOF for mFRR when MARI is coming in 2022?

The changes that will be implemented for the modernized Nordic mFRR market are necessary steps in order to ensure a safe transition to a new way of operating the Nordic power system. The changes are also needed to be compliant with the European mFRR market. In addition, all TSOs are required to have a backup solution for mFRR and with the many Nordic bidding zones a Nordic AOF is needed as a backup solution. In that way, we maintain and enhance the benefits of the Nordic balancing market, estimated at around €200 million. The BSPs will be connected to their local TSO regardless of whether their bids is activated via the Nordic AOF or the European plattform.

How will the common nordic energy activation for mFRR differ from todays market in the NBM?

The main difference is that there will be established an mFRR need per bididng zone, and not just one common need based on the frequency. Different needs from different bidding zones, can however still be netted via the platform.
The TSO process will be more automated than today, and needs and bid selection will be done automatically each 15 min and allowance of deviations from standard technical requirements of BSPs will be reduced. Bids will be per 15 minutes.

Why are Nordic aFRR and mFRR capacity markets developed instead of implementing MARI and PICASSO?

MARI and PICASSO are energy markets. The Nordic aFRR and mFRR capacity markets are balancing capacity market. The platforms (MARI and PICASSO) and the Nordic capacity markets have different objectives. MARI and PICASSO are platforms for exchange of balancing energy between TSOs and the Nordic capacity markets are to ensure enough reserves in the region.

Will the mFRR energy activation be done by the CSP or by each TSO when MARI go live?

The activations will be done by each TSO. The bid selection will happen in MARI.

For an aggregator, will it be possible to provide aFFR from aggregatet flexibility distributed over different bidding zones?

No. The BSP submit the bids for each bidding zone so the resources in a bid have to be from the same bidding zone.

Would it be worthwhile to consider less products for balancing in the future? Currently the market is quite saturated with products that in essence do same thing.

The products that will be introduced are the ones the system need. The European regulations encourage use of the defined standard products, and any further products should be duly justified.

If the aFRR & mFRR activations are auctions, will the the volume procured by TSOs price dependent? That is, will the TSOs do a trade of between costs and freequency quality?

The TSO need for aFRR will always be to minimze ACE of each area. For mFRR the TSO need will be based on forecasted imbalance. There are no plans to use price-dependent demand, but the MARI platform for mFRR will support this. Limits on demand, activation volume or price could be used in the introduction of the new markets.

How much exchange of mFRR/aFRR volumes between Nordics/Continent could we expect? Which DC cables can handle what volumes of the two reserves?

This is difficult to quantify. For each HVDC cable there are technical restrictions that need to be respected. In principle all DC cables handle FRR reserves, modern cables having less restrictions that old. The actual availability of reserve capacity requires unused capacity in the energy markets or the introduction of a capacity reservation scheme. In addition to the limitations on each HCDC connections, it could be necessary with more system-wide restrictions to ensure the operational security in the power system. Rapid power changes of thousands of MW could lead to frequency quality problems and should be prevented.

Will there be differences in the full activation time (FAT) in the Nordics and in Europe?

The FAT will be harmonised in Europe. Current proposal of Implementation Framework for aFRR is an harmonised FAT on 5 minutes 2024. Until then the FAT is under national responsibility.

Is it correct that automation of mFRR requires a precise transmission grid model within bidding zones? Will this model be available in public?

Both Nordic and European balancing energy markets (MARI, PICASSO) requires a grid model which describes available transmission capacity between the bidding zones. In addition, within some bidding zones or countries, automation of mFRR process will require a transmission grid model which describes the grid within the bidding zones. Currently TSOs do not foresee that such models can be made public. However, bids that cannot be activated due to local grid constraints will be published. Please also see sections 3.5.1 and 3.5.3. of the NBM roadmap.

Are mFRR needs forecasted so that units providing balancing services can expect long continuous activation periods? - not start/stop. 

The methodology for determining the needed activation volume of balancing products is not yet developed and may also vary between the TSOs. We will continue to activate based on a merit order list. With 15 minutes time resolution in the markets and proactive balancing based on merit order list, we do expect that there will be more activation/deactivation of bids. Please see section 3.5 in the Roadmap report.

Do you expect to use specific Nordic productions in 2023?

We cannot say today that we expect to use specific products in 2023, but if that is needed, the Nordic AOF can be used to handle that.

When will The Nordic TSOs join the European MARI and PICASSO platforms? When will you implement the standard products?

Much of the needed preparation to join MARI is done in NBM 1st generation. The standard product will be implemented stepwise, the first step is in the mFRR balancing process automation. We expect to have the standard product for mFRR fully implemented during 2023. This is a prerequisite for joining the MARI platform. That gives us the earliest possible time to join MARI second half of 2023. To join PICASSO, we need to implement the aFRR energy activation market and introduce standard product for aFRR. This is part of NBM 2nd generation, which is not included in the roadmap. This and the legal obligations for joining the European platforms are further described in section 3.8 in the NBM Report.

Why will TSOs not use European standard energy products from go-live? When will TSOs use European standard products? 

European regulation require that nordic TSOs use standard products when they connect to European platforms. Many of the characteristica from the standard prodcucts will be implemented in NBM, such as 15 minute time resolution. Committing to fully implementing the standard product before 15 min ISP would increase scope, and reduce flexibility in this crusial transition. In order to strive to avoid unnessecary changes for the BSPs we prefer to implement the changes in operational processes before we make changes that affect the BSPs.

How will the Nordic energy products for aFRR and mFRR differ from the European standard energy products? 

The Nordic product for mFRR will be developed from current mFRR product, to fit with e.g higher time resolution demands. As neither the European standard product or the nordic product is known, the detailed differences cannot be described. The aFRR product will likely be very similar to the standard product when aFRR EAM is launched. The process for the European standard product can be followed on ENTSO-E homepage.

When will a Nordic aFRR energy activation market be established? 

Currently it is uncertain if seperate nordic aFRR activiation market will be established before entering the European Picasso platform. Before Nordic TSOs can join Picasso, the Nordics must demonstrate it's ability to function in line with Picasso implementation framework. How we shall make this transition is not clear.

When will the Nordics participate in PICASSO? 

Balancing guidelines requires that Nordic TSOs join PICASSO 30 months after the approval of the aFRR AOF. This approval was given 24. January 2020 by ACER, which means that the initial deadline for participating in PICASSO is medio 2022. EB GL allows the TSO to apply for a two years derogation. According to the presented Roadmap the Nordic TSOs will need to apply for such derogation.

Will all TSOs implement a bid filtering module and will it apply only energy activation markets? 

Regarding the Energy activation market: All TSO’s will have the possibility to mark bids as being unavailable for the AOFs. Some TSO’s will use this feature more than others due to local grid constraints. Depending on where in the grid new renewable capacity will be connected, the local congestions will change. We are now experiencing a situation where new renewable capacity is being erected without subsidies and where it’s very difficult for the TSOs and DSOs to forecast where in the grid these installations will be connected. Hence it’s not possible to know how severe local congestions will be, and to which extent we have to apply bid filtering.

Escpesially in Norway local grid constraints are a big issue as significant amounts of balancing resources is distributed and located in parts of the grid with limited transfer capacity.

Regarding the Balancing Capacity Market: For the time being it has not been considered to apply bid filtering in the capacity market. Any potential local congestions will have to be solved in the energy activation market.

What is the road map for improving regulating power prices’ transparency and making them avail-able for the market in real-time? 

Planning of data improvement and publication is seen as part of the NBM building block: Data & Transparency. At this point in time, the TSOs are not done with the scoping and planning of this part, and does not have a clear picture of which data are to be published accordring to deadline of EBGL and Transparency regulation, and which will be delayed. Nor is it decided whether some data will be publiched locally by each TSO or by a common Nordic platform.

There are currently not any agreement among Nordic TSOs to jointly publish regulating power prices in real-time.