DSOs in the energy transition

The mission of DSOs is to operate and maintain the infrastructure that connects consumers and businesses with the local network and, through the TSOs, to the European transmission network. DSOs are the backbone that integrate up to 70% of renewable energy sources and enable consumers to participate in an increasingly decentralised energy world.

The transmission grid plays an integral role in the modern electricity system by transporting high voltage power from large generation facilities to distribution networks that serve end- consumers.
Nuclear Power Plant
A nuclear power plant generates electricity by harnessing heat from controlled nuclear reactions, supplying large amounts of stable, baseload power to the grid.
Fossil Fuel Power Plant
A fossil fuel power plant generates electricity by burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, or oil, contributing significant energy capacity and often providing flexible power generation to the grid.
Hydroelectric Power
Hydroelectric power plants generate electricity by using the kinetic energy of falling or flowing water to spin turbines, which in turn generate electricity.
Solar Power Plant
Solar power plants significantly influence the distribution power grid, ushering in a new era of decentralized and resilient energy systems.
Wind Parks
Wind parks play a significant role in modern power grids by harnessing wind energy for electricity generation, supporting decarbonization and energy diversification.
Energy storage systems play a critical role in modern electricity power grids by enhancing grid stability, reliability, and flexibility.
High Voltage Substation
High Voltage (HV) substations connect transmission and distribution power grids.
Medium Voltage Substation
Medium Voltage (MV) substations enable the distribution of electricity to end-users.
The distribution grid plays a crucial role in the modern electricity system as the final stage in delivering power from generation facilities to end-users.
Wind Turbines
Wind turbines play an important role in the energy transition by harnessing clean, renewable energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Solar Park
Solar power plants significantly influence the distribution power grid, ushering in a new era of decentralized and resilient energy systems.
Smart Homes
Smart homes and prosumers are revolutionizing the energy transition by actively participating in a sustainable, flexible, and efficient power grid.
Heat Pumps
Heat pumps have a notable impact on the modern distribution power grid as they replace conventional (mostly gas and oil fired) heating systems, increasing overall electricity demand.
Electric Vehicle
The growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has a significant impact on the modern distribution power grid due to the increased electricity demand for charging. The annual electricity demand of an EV hereby equals the demand of a family household.
Factories and large consumers significantly impact the modern distribution power grid due to their high energy demand and unique consumption patterns.
Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings impact the distribution power grid due to their varying energy demands and consumption patterns.
Energy storage systems play a critical role in modern electricity power grids by enhancing grid stability, reliability, and flexibility.

Find more information about the illustration here.

EU Green Deal & Fit for 55


December 11, 2019

European Green Deal 

The European Commission (EC) proposed binding targets to cut the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieve Europe’s carbon neutrality by 2050. More than a year later the objective was ratified in the form of the first “European Climate law”.


July 4, 2021

Fit for 55 Package I

A new objective of 40% (increased to 45% in the RePowerEU) of renewable energy sources in the EU’s energy mix by 2030 is under negotiation. The EU climate, energy and transport-related legislations were revised under this package to speed up the energy transition and reach its 2030 and 2050 ambitions.


December 15, 2021

Fit for 55 Package II and Gas Package 

The proposed revision of the existing gas market legislation is under negotiation to promote renewable and low-carbon gases including hydrogen. It foresees the integration of gas DSOs into DSO Entity.


May 18, 2022

REPowerEU and EU Solar Strategy

The European Commission proposed a ‘rooftop solar obligation’ that requires the installation of solar panels on every public building by 2025 and on new residential buildings by 2029. Further, the EC suggested the increase of the renewables target to 45%.


DSOs are key enablers of the implementation of the Fit for 55 Package and other European energy and climate legislations. EU legislations have direct repercussions on DSOs:

Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation

DSOs play a major role in the deployment of electric vehicles by connecting charging points to the distribution grids and are directly impacted by the new obligations on the deployment of publicly accessible charging points and smart charging.

CO2 Emission Standards for Cars and Vans Regulation

With the ban of sales of internal combustion engines by 2035 in Europe, DSOs will be central in integrating the electric vehicles into the grids.

Renewable Energy Directive

The EU set a new objective of having 40-45% of its energy mix coming from renewable energy sources by 2030. DSOs will be instrumental in the promotion and connection of renewable energies. Up to 70% of renewable capacity will be connected to the DSO grid.

Energy efficiency Directive

DSOs will implement new requirements for data sharing.

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

DSOs are key to connect the new private charging points for electric vehicles and rooftop solar which will be installed on European buildings to the distribution grids.

Sharing of best practices

Expert groups and forum to provide expertise and enable the exchange of views on the following topics

EU legislation also has indirect effects on DSOs as they are the technical enablers of the EU’s vision of a more decentralised, decarbonised and digitalised energy system. Especially with DSO Entity’s work together with ENTSO-E on Network Codes this development is facilitated.

The work and expertise of DSO Entity contributes to the following regulations

Energy System in Transition

Energy infrastructure or the energy system in transition

Given the rising numbers of decentralised renewable installations, the electrification of transport and heating and more active consumers, the role of DSOs has drastically changed from a formally passive distributer toward an active enabler and facilitator of the transition. Our energy system is in the midst of transforming from a primarily fossil-based, centralised and static (uni-directional) system towards a decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised (bi-directional) one in which DSOs take centre stage.

Distribution grids are the backbone of this transition, which will only be successful if DSOs are equipped with enough resources to expand, renew and smarten their grids

EU DSO Entity

A recent study showed that there are investment needs of €375-425 billion until 2030 for the distribution grid. This is an increase of 50-70% in the 2020 decade compared to the previous decade. Since the numbers were published before the ambitious goals of REPowerEU were set, these estimates will still have to be revised upwards.

source: https://www.eurelectric.org/news/pr-connectingthedots/

Trans-European Energy Infrastructure (TEN-E Regulation (EU) 2022/869))

For the last decade the Trans-European Networks for Energy Infrastructure Regulation (TEN-E Regulation) supported the linking of the energy infrastructure of EU countries and the removal of bottlenecks. The focus of the funding opportunities was primarily on high-voltages grids / TSOs (eleven priority corridors) and smart grid projects played a minor role.

The growing relevance of the decentral level and DSOs was acknowledged in the latest revision of the TEN-E Regulation in 2022, which facilitated the preconditions to apply for smart grid projects. Thus, for the application of a smart grid project as Project of Common European Interest (PCI) the cooperation of two DSOs in two Member States is enough and the involvement of a TSO is not compulsory anymore. Further, the strict requirement of proving a positive physical cross-border effect was abolished.

Data & Digitalisation

Action Plan on the Digitalisation of the Energy System (DESAP)

In the coming years, DSOs will go through a major transformation to make their distribution grids smarter, more resilient and digitalised. The DESAP identified DSO Entity as a main contributor to the initiatives planned to digitalise the European networks, especially when it comes to ensure cyber-secure energy systems, coordinate investments in the electricity grid and promote connectivity, interoperability and seamless data exchange.

DSO Entity was entrusted with ENTSO-E to develop:

  • A "Digital Twin" of the European electricity grid and to provide guidance and support for network operators on sustainable.
  • Cost-effective smart investments by the development of a tailored set of "Smart Grid Indicators" (SGIs).

Digitalisation of Energy Action Plan

The 5 Areas

Digitalisation of Energy Action Plan

The 5 Areas
  • Cybersecurity
  • Climate Neutrality of the ICT sector
  • Promoting investments
  • Benefits for consumers: literacy skills digital tools to empower citizens
  • Enhancing a data exchange framework

Data Strategy and related aspects

As outlined in its Data Strategy (2020), the European Commission strives for high standards in personal data protection and for a more open data society with easier access to (reusable) data.

Implementing Regulations on Data Access and Interoperability

DSO Entity actively supports the European Commission in the elaboration of Implementing Regulations which aim to facilitate data access and sharing by setting interoperability requirements (Electricity Market Directive (2019/944/EU) Art. 23-24). These upcoming regulations are highly relevant for the activities of DSOs to manage consumption and contribute to empowering consumers.

Strong links also exist with the upcoming binding rules on demand-side flexibility that cannot be carried out without digital applications such as smart metering, smart grids and a trustworthy data management. Rules to facilitate flexibility solutions will be elaborated jointly by DSO Entity and ENTSO-E, with the involvement of relevant stakeholders, when developing the Network Code on Distributed Flexibility.