Cross Border Balancing

This page gives an overview of relevant activities and studies carried out by Elia during the last years in terms of cross-border balancing. These activities have as framework the upcoming Guideline on Electricity Balancing which is planned to enter into force in 2017 (last status and version to be found here ).

WGAS Activities

Here are listed some relevant documents that have been produced during the last years by the Working Group Ancillary Services (WGAS) under the umbrella of ENTSO-E and the Market Committee:

  • ENTSO-E conducted a Cost-Benefit-Analysis in order to create a basis for a decision on the Imbalance Settlement Period(s) for Europe. Find more information and the CBA ISP in the final report .
  • An aFRR study  has been published on behalf of ENTSO-E. This study investigates the impact of merit order activation of automatic frequency restoration reserves (aFRR) and harmonised full activation times.

More information on the activities and publication of WGAS can be found on the ENTSO-E website , including agenda and documents of the Balancing Stakeholder Group.


In 2015 and 2016, the Transmission System Operators (TSOs) of the EXPLORE countries – Austria, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands – have been studying the possibility of integrating their balancing FRR (Frequency Restoration Reserve) energy markets in the scope of the requirements of the draft guideline on electricity balancing (GLEB).

The EXPLORE study is unique in the way in which it focuses on interlinking aspects of market design, both between intraday and balancing markets, as between design features of the FRR market itself.

Findings The EXPLORE study focuses on the consistency of the complete market model and identifies necessary points of harmonisation taking into account the draft guideline on electricity balancing. Some important findings are related to the complexity in the application of marginal pricing in cross-border balancing markets, due to the close link with TSO operational needs, and to the role of respectively mFRR (manual FRR) and aFRR in cross-border markets.

First results were presented in a stakeholder workshop in June 2016. The EXPLORE TSOs have published a report in October 2016 in which they present their findings.

The conclusions are valid given several commonalities between the involved countries, which all operate incentive based balancing systems with predominantly aFRR (automatic FRR) and an imbalance settlement period of fifteen minutes.

European context Accompanying the report, EXPLORE TSOs would like to share with you a formal response from EXPLORE NRAs. They put the work further in the context of the GLEB and related European developments.

Previous studies

Cross Border Balancing Belgium - Netherlands - Germany

In 2014, the German, Belgian and Dutch TSOs have, together with E-Bridge and the Institute of Power Systems and Power Economics (IAEW) of RWTH Aachen University, completed a qualitative common comparison study.

The aim of this study was to look more into detail regarding the regulatory and legal framework, the product specifications in the Ancillary Services Markets, the overall market design, and to develop a view regarding the potential benefits of a cross border balancing market.

This study is demonstrating that the less complex cooperation options are already partially established. The study also demonstrates that the currently applicable Frequency Restoration Reserves market designs diverge considerably between the three countries, which entails complex solutions for the establishment of a cross zonal balancing market as envisaged by the Network Code on Electricity Balancing.

This study contains updated data for Belgium and the Netherlands to the previous report published on Cross-Border balancing cooperation between Belgium and the Netherlands.

Read the report

Further studies were carried out together with APG (Austria) in the Explore project.

Cross Border Balancing Belgium - Netherlands

From 2012 to 2014, Elia and TenneT have carried out a study to investigate the implication of the future guideline on Electricity Balancing. This was one of the ENTSO-E pilot project on cross-border balancing with as scope "Design and evaluation of a harmonised reactive balancing market with cross-border optimisation of frequency restoration while keeping control areas, bid zones, and regulatory oversight intact".

This study has been done with close involvement of NRAs and stakeholders through the organisation of several workshops.

The final report – published on October 17th, 2014 - gives the general conclusion of this study.