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Realtime Interface (RTI)

Since January 2024, it is mandatory in the Netherlands to install a Realtime Interface for all new solar parks and wind turbines >1MW. This allows the grid operator to interve immediately in the event of acute congestion and protect the grid by lowering the output of the installation. See below what this means for you.

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What is the Realtime Interface (RTI)?

The Realtime Interface (RTI) is a technical framework defined by Netbeheer Nederland that facilitates real-time communication and coordination between energy producers and grid operators. Developed collaboratively by grid operators, market participants, and various stakeholders within the Dutch energy sector, the RTI came into mandatory effect for all new wind and solar installations with capacities between 1-50MW (classified as type B under the RfG code) since January 1st, 2024.

Its primary function is to allow grid operators to directly control and limit the power output of the installations in times of acute grid congestion. In other words, it’s an “emergency stop” to protect the grid. Discover below it’s legal framework, advantages, technical design and what you need to install to comply:

The Realtime interface regulatory framework

The inception of the Realtime Interface is rooted in European legislation, specifically through the Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/631, issued in April 2016. This regulation, known as the Requirements for Generators (RfG), aims to standardize grid connection requirements for power-generating units across the European Union. This regulation is part of the EU’s broader strategy to promote sustainable energy, enhance energy security, and develop a unified energy market.

In the RfG, the Article 14.2(b) addressing Type B units (1 to 50MW capacity) specifies that grid operators can require an interface to control remotely these units’ output in case of serious instability. The grid operators must specify its requirements.

In the Netherlands, those requirements have been developed by Netbeheer Nedeland under the name of ‘Realtime Interface’.

Check the website of Netbeheer Nederland for all details and requirements.

What are the benefits of the Realtime interface?

The RTI is a response to the challenges posed by the growing integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, which has increased the unpredictability and complexity of managing the grid. One of the main challenge observed is grid congestion: the demand for electricity transmission exceeds the grid’s capacity.

If you observe the Capacity Map made available by Netbeheer Nederland, you can see that the majority of the country is colored orange or red, signifying that there is no transport capacity available. By consequence: in some regions, Distribution System Operators (DSOs) are now directly placing any new or upgraded grid connection requests on a waiting list.

However, by mandating a RTI, the grid operator can get insight into and control over energy flows and connections. Because the grid operator now has an ’emergency brake’, he can release the reserve capacity on the grid earlier. This creates more connection capacity.

It is also the case the other way around. If there is less capacity on the grid than expected, the grid operator can send the signal that the installation may supply more power than previously agreed.

Current grid connections of generating installations are often limited to fifty or seventy percent of the peak power. The RTI therefore not only serves as an emergency brake, but also as an extra green light.

Check the live Dutch capacity map.

Technical design of the Realtime interface

The version 1.0 of the Realtime interface consists of a customer endpoint and a DSO (grid operator) endpoint. These are linked together on location by a physical Ethernet cable. The communication between both endpoints takes place according to the IEC-61850 protocol.

This setup allows the grid operator to send a control signal to switch back the generating system when needed.

The RTI is separate from the balancing markets. However, with the Teleport Gateway as endpoint, you can both comply with the RTI requirements and participate in the markets.

If the RTI is used, a compensation will follow. The possible compensation from the markets (such as GOPACS) is separate from the RTI compensation.

Click on the diagram to enlarge it.

Customer endpoint: legally required for generators

As an asset owner with a new feed-in connection category B (1-50 MW), you are obliged to have a certified customer endpoint. This applies to both power generation and energy storage systems (batteries).

The grid operator must connect its own endpoint to it. The new installation is then put into operation.

The Teleport Gateway is the first certified customer endpoint with RTI functionality. It meets all legal requirements and was developed together with the Dutch grid operators. The critical data streams are sent in a secured way. Certified by the independant authority DNV, the Teleport has also incorporated the principles of the European Network for Cyber Security into its design.

Discover the Teleport, your RTI-compliant solution for asset control.

Learn from experts

(Re)watch for free our webinar about the Realtime Interface. This 60-minute session hosted by Paul Mignot, CEO of Withthegrid, features key speakers from Netbeheer Nederland and Groendus. They will share their expertise on the RTI regulatory framework, the technical aspects, the benefits for generators, and provide practical advice to get your installation compliant.

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How do I get started?

If your DSO requested a RTI, here’s how you can get started:

01. Understand RTI requirements and costs


You can begin your journey by acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the RTI’s requirements and the associated costs. To help you, we listed everything generators need to know in this free whitepaper.

Further detailed information is readily available on the websites of your DSO (Stedin, Enexis, Liander).

02. Prepare for RTI Integration


Reserve the necessary physical space for the RTI infrastructure. On your premises, there should be a 230V outlet and sufficient space to install the customer endpoint weatherproof (IP65) enclosure (250x375x175 mm) on the wall. A power supply is also required for the DSO endpoint and is the responsibility of the generator to provide.

03. Install your Teleport


The Teleport Gateway is a certified customer endpoint that has been developed in collaboration with grid operators, rigorously tested, and certified by DNV.

Beyond compliance, the Teleport can also allow your energy trader to control your assets, making market participation and extra revenue streams possible.

To get started with the Teleport, contact us.

04. Finalize the RTI connection


The last step involves commissioning the connection with the RTI and verifying that the device is fully operational and correctly connected to the grid operator’s endpoint. This final check ensures full compliance and operational readiness.

If the above steps seem complex or you are short on resources, Withthegrid can support you with RTI project management.

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Frequently Asked Questions

icon-legal Why is Netbeheer Nederland introducing the Realtime Interface?


Netbeheer Nederland: “With the energy transition, a large-scale emergence of sustainable generation installations in the distribution networks of regional grid operators is visible. This development ensures the return of large powers to grid parts that were not originally designed for this. This has already led to congestion problems and transport restrictions in many places. The purpose of the interface is to enable collaboration between generators and grid operators to increase and better utilize transport capacity and safely maintain the electricity network.”

icon-legal For which systems is the RTI mandatory?


The RTI is mandatory for all new feed-in generation connections or existing connections requesting a capacity increase, with a capacity between 1 and 50 MW. That is category B of the European Regulation Requirement for Generators (RfG). That also include energy storage systems.
At a later stage, the RTI will apply to other categories (A, C and D) and to existing connections. However, you can already voluntarily request an RTI.

icon-legal Can the grid operator switch off my installation?


Under certain circumstances, such as acute grid congestion, the grid operator can switch off a generating installation.
If it happens, there is a compensation for this.

icon-technical What functionalities should the RTI have?


The generator must install a customer endpoint able to receive and process the control signal from the grid operator in accordance with IEC-61850.
As a connected party, it is desirable (but not mandatory) that this functionality is combined with the additional control signals in order to participate in TenneT’s balancing markets.

icon-endpoint What does a customer endpoint consist of?


The customer endpoint consists of:
• A controller (such as the Teleport) to receive the signal from the grid operator, process it and send it to the generation plant(s).
• A metering system to be able to measure the load at the transfer point.
• Connectivity, so that mandatory cybersecurity updates can be performed.

icon-legal What is the legal basis for the RTI?


Article 14.2, part B, of the European RfG legislation:
Type B power-generating modules shall fulfill the following requirements in relation to frequency stability: the relevant system operator shall have the right to specify the requirements for further equipment to allow active power output to be remotely operated.

icon-checklist Who is responsible for the RTI?


The grid operator is responsible for the DSO endpoint. The customer is responsible for the customer endpoint and the cable to the DSO endpoint.

icon-money Who pays for the RTI?


All equipment from the grid up to the connection transfer point is owned by the grid operator (including the DSO endpoint). Everything from this point within the connection is owned by the generator (connected party). Thus, the generator is responsible for providing a functioning customer endpoint and the Ethernet cable.

icon-endpoint How do I install the Teleport as a client endpoint?


The Teleport can handle over 300 asset protocols, including the most commonly used PV park controllers, wind turbine systems and battery systems. See the full list of compatible assets here.
To get your Teleport, contact us.

icon-endpoint Where do I install the client endpoint?


In a logical and safe place for the connected person from which a connection can be made to the DSO endpoint. At the closed part of the MS room.

icon-endpoint Who will install this for me?


The affiliate must take care of the purchase and installation of the customer endpoint. In some cases the grid operator will have to take care of this.

icon-checklist How do I see that the RTI has been activated by the network operator?


The Teleport automatically creates a log of all activations performed by the network operator. If there is a data forwarding link between the Teleport and the systems of the connected party and/or the energy trader, those logs will also be available in those systems.

icon-checklist How does switching by the grid operator compare to switching for other things such as TenneT balancing markets?


These things are separate from each other. However, direct switching by the grid operator has priority over any other switching action. The Teleport as a customer endpoint can clearly distinguish this.

icon-money Will I be reimbursed if I am disconnected?


The generator will be compensated when the grid operator uses the RTI. The extent and manner depend on the application framework.

icon-money What does the reimbursement process look like?


The connected party must provide an overview of the missed electricity generated and lost income. The Teleport can generate the necessary source data for this.

icon-checklist How do I make existing generation facilities suitable for the RTI?


Many PV inverters, even very old ones, are already set up to be controlled by a centralized control system. They provide a standard communication protocol with registers that can receive commands. Please check compatibility in the product manual or in the document describing the communication protocol. The Teleport is already linked to dozens of brands and hundreds of types.

icon-checklist What about a site with multiple generation facilities (solar, wind, battery combined), how does the customer endpoint handle that?


The grid operator sends a power framework to the connection. How that is realized is up to the connected party. For example, whether solar is curtailed or battery charged. The Teleport as customer endpoint can differentiate this according to the customer’s requirements. During commissioning, the parameters are determined.

icon-safe May the customer endpoint be accessible via the Internet?


The customer endpoint may not be directly accessible via the internet, only via secure access.

icon-safe How is cybersecurity ensured?


• Passwords must be unique and strong based on section 5 NIST SP 800-63B.
• There must be a process to implement security updates remotely on the Realtime interface. The following must be monitored: vulnerability lists, manufacturer notifications and new release notes. Patches and updates should be implemented immediately after compatibility testing.
• Cybersecurity training must be followed by the administrators of the customer endpoints.
• The Teleport and the processes meet these requirements

icon-safe What other security requirements are needed?


ISO 27001 is desirable for data protection and additional requirements as set out by the European Network for Cybersecurity (ENCS).

icon-technical What should the time accuracy be?


A maximum deviation of 10 seconds is allowed.

icon-technical Where can I find the specifications for the RTI?


Because it is a national standard, the specifications are published on the Netbeheer Nederland website.

icon-technical How does the customer endpoint control the generation facilities?


The functionality of the real-time interface is based on reading the powers and voltages at the transfer point and the possibility of sending control signals (set points). In most cases communication will take place using a protocol such as Modbus RTU or Modbus TCP. The Teleport as a customer endpoint already has most protocols of commonly used generation installations in its asset library.

icon-technical How does the grid operator obtain measurement data?


The measurement data is requested by the DSO endpoint and sent to the grid operator. If the generation installation is close to the transfer point (taking cable resistances into account) and there is little self-consumption (impact on power), the measurement data from the generation installation can be used directly (if they meet the correct measurement class).

icon-technical What class should the measurement data have?


Measurement data must have a class 1 accuracy in line with IEC-61869.

icon-technical Can the client endpoint for the real-time interface also be used without separate measurement devices?


The customer endpoint for the real-time interface can also be used without separate measuring equipment if the generation installation meets the measuring class and is representative of the behavior at the transfer point.

icon-technical What about liability of measurement data?


The grid operator and the generator are each individually liable for the quality of the measurement data and any resulting damage.

icon-technical What type of control commands (setpoints) should the client endpoint be able to process?


• Maximum generated power in % and as absolute value [MW] and the maximum consumed power in absolute value [MW].
• Reactive power in [MVAr].
• The reason why a setpoint was sent.

icon-technical What metrics should the client endpoint be able to read?


Current power in MW, Current reactive power in MW, Current voltage on all phases in kV, Current current on all phases in A.

icon-technical What happens when the connection is lost (safe-mode)?


A fail-safe logic is implemented to prevent unnecessary curtailment of the installation:
• If communication is no longer possible between the customer endpoint and the DSO endpoint after a set period, the generated power must be switched back. The established period and the safe-mode setpoint are determined in advance.
• The grid operator can remotely read and set these safe-mode setpoints in MW and %.
• When communication is restored, the 15 minute average, minimum and maximum power values of the past 8 hours must be sent.

icon-technical Should measurements be forwarded immediately?


The grid operator determines the frequency with which measuring signals are automatically sent (integrity reports). In addition, the grid operator can set it to receive measurements when there is a change in measurements (for example when power or voltage is lost) (data change).

icon-technical What is the availability of the client endpoint?


The customer endpoint must have an availability of at least 99% of the time measured over a period of 6 months in accordance with IEC-60870-4 class A1. In addition, the DSO must be able to retrieve the status of the customer endpoint.

icon-technical What are the response times required?


Communication between the endpoints may not take more than 4 seconds. The maximum response time between the asset and the customer endpoint varies per use case. For the first use cases (acute congestion), the response times inherent to Modbus RTU and Modbus TCP protocols comply, among other things. The time to start up after different types of interruptions may take a maximum of 3 minutes.

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icon-bookGet your free RTI guide

In this whitepaper, you’ll find everything you need to know about the RTI — from the legislative groundwork to technical details, and actionable steps for compliance.

Realtime interface: technical overview

Discover the RTI technical foundations, cybersecurity measures, and practical applications.

Realtime interface: legal framework

Discover where the RTI legal basis comes from.

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