In 2013, Swissgrid and the VSE industry association published a document on control energy pooling to enable ancillary services to be provided from any balance groups. Swissgrid introduced two key changes:
- Technical systems at Grid Levels 5 and 7 can be grouped into virtual generating units for supplying control energy. All sizes and types of technical systems can be included in virtual generating units.
- Technical systems can be integrated into balance-group-neutral control energy portfolios across Switzerland regardless of their balance group affiliation.
These changes enable players in the ancillary service market to consolidate their generating and consumption units. They also open up the market to a new group of providers. This sets the stage to broaden the range of providers and reduce dependency on hydraulic generating units.
This issue has sparked intense debate in Europe's control areas as well. The Swissgrid approach has proven to be thorough and innovative. Its complexity, however, was a challenge for Swissgrid and the industry representatives. This ambitious project came to successful conclusion in September 2013 with the signing of the revised balance group and AS contracts with all Swissgrid partners.