Automatic Frequency Restoration Process (aFRR/R2)

By offering balancing flexibility for automatic activation, Balancing Service Providers (BSPs) enable Elia to restore frequency.

Elia uses the secondary reserves (R2/aFRR) on a continuous basis in both directions to restore a frequency of 50 Hz.These reserves have a fast response time is quick and remains active as long as necessary.

Product design

The flexibility used for automatic frequency restoration must comply with the aFRR design. It differs from the FCR and the mFRR balancing services primarily in the fact that Elia activates aFRR automatically by sending a set-point every four seconds and that the requested energy is to be activated within 7.5 minutes in case of selection of the full volume of the aFRR energy bid.

A grid user supplying secondary reserves must therefore be equipped to communicate with the Elia dispatching center.

Reserved and non-reserved flexibility

A BSP must at least offer aFRR energy bids corresponding to its aFRR obligations (i.e. reserved volume). A BSP also has the possibility to offer non-reserved energy bids.

How can European mechanisms contribute to balance on the Belgian grid?

Elia is constantly developing and improving balancing services in line with the changing context and regulatory framework.
At European level, platforms are being developed to optimize and support the balancing management across countries. The platforms foster a European market for balancing flexibility. 

With that in mind, Elia joined the IGCC platform in 2012 and is member of the PICASSO platform that is currently being established.

IGCC: The current European platform for imbalance netting

The International Grid Control Cooperation (IGCC) platform automatically compensates for any opposite imbalances in the participating TSOs’ systems.
IGCC boosts the efficiency of the European balancing system and benefits participating TSOs by eliminating the need to activate aFRR in opposite directions.

PICASSO: The future European platform for the exchange of aFRR balancing energy

The Platform for the International Coordination of Automated Frequency Restoration and Stable System Operation (PICASSO) will allow the exchange of aFRR balancing energy between participating TSOs. The latest information and planning of the implementation of the platform can be found on the website of ENTSO-E.
PICASSO will enhance the efficiency of the European balancing system and will benefit both TSOs and BSPs. TSOs will gain access to competitive aFRR balancing energy bids from outside their country, while BSPs will be able to sell their aFRR balancing energy to all participating TSOs .
Currently the Full Activation Time (FAT) within the Elia LFC area is 7.5 minutes. Elia plans to move to a 5 minutes FAT by 17/12/2024 at the latest. The modification will be taken into account at the earliest after the next design of 2022. The further detailed milestones will be published once the detailed planning of the modification is known.

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