5 Research, Development and Innovation

ENTSO-E promotes and supports TSOs’ innovation activities to transform the European energy system into an integrated one, with an emphasis on sector integration, enhanced grid usage, market development and digitalisation to allow for the integration of vast amount of renewable energy and to enable the development of a system of integrated systems. The sections below describe ENTSO-E activities in the field of RDI that occurred in 2021, as well as the key messages of the ENTSO-E Vision 2050 for the future power system.

Research, Development and Innovation
Implementation Report 2021–2025

ENTSO-E consulted stakeholders on the RDI Implementation Report between June and September 202116. The Report is a guiding instrument for collaborative research programmes of TSOs in the coming five years. The report prioritises the goals outlined in the ENTSO-E RDI Roadmap 2020 – 2030, based on which it presents 13 RDI project concepts that would pave the way for the TSOs’ progress towards the EU climate goals.

Key dates & documents

4 Jun – 13 Sep 2021Public consultation on the RDI ­Implementation Report 2021 – 2025

16 ENTSO-E published its RDI Implementation Report in February 2022. These developments are outside the scope of this Report and will be covered in the Annual Report 2022, to be drafted next year.

Offshore Position papers

Offshore wind energy will provide a key contribution to reaching the objectives of the EU Green Deal and of the Fit for 55 Package. The EC’s offshore RES strategy anticipates the integration of 300 GW offshore wind generation capacity into the energy system by 2050. The magnitude of this transition will raise new challenges for the European electricity system. In a series of papers begun in 2020, ENTSO-E is assessing possible solutions to contribute to the realisation of the EC’s Offshore strategy.

Key dates & documents

3 Nov 2021: Publication of the Position Paper on Offshore Development: Assessing Selected Financial Support Options for Renewable Generation

5 July 2021: Publication of the Position Paper on Offshore Development: System Operation & Governance

25 Jan 2021: Publication of the Position Paper on Offshore Development: Interoperability

  • “Assessing Selected Financial Support Options for Renewable Generation”: This shows that re-allocating a share of congestion income from TSOs to wind farm developers faces several challenges;
  • “System Operation & Governance”: This explains that the current regulatory setup is suitable for facilitating efficient offshore system operation during the expected stepwise and organic development of offshore grid infrastructure;
  • “Interoperability”: This argues that, for the cost-efficient and scalable development of the HVDC grid infrastructure, the single-vendor approach must evolve towards multi-vendor and multi-purpose capabilities for offshore HVDC systems.

Other RDI publications and activities

Position papers and reports

2021 saw an intense production of position papers on research, development and innovation topics by ENTSO-E. In December, ENTSO-E published a report and a position paper on the future flexibility needs of the EU power system. Reflecting the European regulatory effects on TSO assets, in November ENTSO-E published a position paper on the use of lead in power cables, drawing attention to the lack of alternatives for lead-free offshore cables in the extra-high voltage range. This followed the work co-authored with T&D Europe, the “Position Paper on SF6 transition times”, to propose a joint view towards a realistic transition to SF6-gas free equipment. The ENTSO-E, T&D Europe and WindEurope joint report on “The development of multi-vendor HVDC systems and other power electronics interfaced devices” investigates technology options to deliver multi-terminal, multi-purpose HVDC systems integrating multiple converter stations from a variety of technology providers. The position paper “Grid-Forming Capabilities: Ensuring system stability with a high share of renewables”, published in April 2021, outlines the progress made in recent years in the field of grid forming converters that will ensure the stable operation of interconnected transmission systems with a high penetration of non-synchronous power generation modules. ENTSO-E developed its first position paper on electric vehicle integration into power grids, analysing the challenges but also the numerous opportunities of this evolution for TSOs and providing key recommendations.

Technology Factsheets

ENTSO-E has gathered in a report all the Technology Factsheets taken from the ENTSO-E Technopedia tool17. The Factsheets allow you to keep up with state-of-the-art technologies in power transmission, ranging from asset management to digital and flexibility solutions. The Factsheets provide detailed information on each technology, including their technology readiness level (TRL), indicating their level of maturity, their fields of research and advantages.

Key dates & documents

23 Mar 2021: Publication of the Technology ­Factsheets

17 The ENTSO-E Technopedia went live in November 2020.

Cooperation with policy makers and stakeholders in research and innovation

ENTSO-E also maintained strong cooperation with policy makers and stakeholders in research and innovation. ENTSO-E participates in the European Technology & Innovation Platform on Smart Networks for Energy Transition (ETIP SNET) Platform under the umbrella of the European Commission’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET), as well as the Horizon2020 calls. In 2021, ENTSO-E continued to facilitate proposals for the Horizon Europe calls and to foster TSO participation.

  • INTERRFACE (2019 – 2023), which gathers 42 partners – TSOs, DSOs, aggregators and IT providers – to conceive a digital solution to support new flexibility markets. Participating TSOs are Elering, AST, Fingrid, ESO, Transelectrica, Eles and REN
  • OneNet (2020 – 2023), the largest project of its kind with 72 partners, of which 14 are TSOs. The main objective of the project is to develop an open and flexible architecture to make the European electricity system smarter and more efficient. The two above mentioned projects aim to investigate how the local flexibility markets could be most efficiently connected to the wholesale markets, with a strong focus on the TSO – DSO coordination. OneNet picks up the work done in the INTERRFACE and CoordiNet projects, bringing closer the flexibility platforms’ deployment into the business environment.
  • BD4NRG (2021 – 2024), which consists of 34 partners, the TSOs among which are ELES and REN. The project aims to evolve, upscale and demonstrate an innovative energy-tailored Big Data Analytics Toolbox.
  • In addition, on 4 and 11 June 2021 ENTSO-E organised, jointly with E.DSO, the 10th InnoGrid edition “Living the transition”. The online event brought together participants from the industry, associations, EU institutions, regulators, academic world and Member States, highlighting the paramount role of networks in the energy transition and of the EU funded projects that contribute to the transition by developing innovative solutions to renewables’ integration, digitalisation, flexibility and new market opportunities.

Towards a Vision 2050

Following the success of its Vision 2030, during the Conference held in November 2021 ENTSO-E presented a roadmap with preliminary messages leading “Towards a Vision 2050”, outlining the European TSOs’ vision for a carbon-neutral energy system by 2050. Around 30 speakers (and 500 participants) contributed to discussions on the upcoming challenges and opportunities of offshore development, energy system integration (with a more inclusive system planning) and unlocking demand-side flexibility.

Key dates & documents

26 Nov 2021: ENTSO-E Conference “Net-Zero: An Energy System for a Climate-Neutral Europe by 2050”

The main driver for the development of the ENTSO-E research plan (RDI Roadmap 2020 – 2030) was to identify the necessary innovation milestones for TSOs to reach the EU Green Deal policy objectives, thus achieving the green transition. Without neglecting the need for grid expansion, the innovation building blocks to achieve this are: deep electrification; smart sector coupling; and the integration of a massive deployment of RES, including offshore, through a reliable and secure cyber-physical system. Moreover, existing assets, markets and services should ensure both horizontal and vertical integration of energy resources with an eye towards optimisation as new types of services for customers emerge. All the activities stemming from this legally mandated document underline this purpose, as do the Horizon2020 projects.


ENTSO-E Annual Report 2021

This Annual Report covers the period January to December 2021. It focuses on the legal mandates given to ENTSO-E and on the Pan European All TSOs tasks, facilitated by ENTSO-E. The activities covered in this report were performed thanks to the 42 members of ENTSO-E who provide its financial resources and whose staff provides expertise to the Association.


  1. System Operation
  2. Market
  3. System Development
  4. Transparency Regulation
  5. Research, Development and Innovation
  6. Cybersecurity, Interoperability and Data
  7. TSO–DSO partnership and demand side flexibility
Download Full Report (PDF, 10 Mb)