Development in the railway sector is currently focused on EU deadlines for exchange and settlement of energy in July of 2020.
International collaboration within the railway energy sector in Europe promotes this effort to standardise. Train companies work together to compete as a green transportation method into the future.
The European Commission previously published regulation EU 2018/868. This implementation regulation closed the open point of communication between onboard energy meters to the data collection systems on the ground.
As of 4 July 2020, every EU member state must ensure that it has implemented an on-ground settlement system. Each suitable settlement system accurately receives data from a Data Collection System (DCS) and accepts the data for billing. The settlement system exchanges Compiled Energy Billing Data (CEBD) with other settlement systems. Then, the settlement system validates the CEBD and allocates consumption data to whoever requires the information. The dissemination of this data considers all relevant legislation, both national and that of the European Commission.
Eight European countries, including Sweden, Finland, Belgium, The Netherlands, and most recently Spain, decided to join with Eress to use Erex. Each saw the need to forestall implementation and management issues to comply with these EU regulations.
The proposal to regulate the governance of the Energy Union is all part of the ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ package. Issued in 2016 by the European Commission, the package includes legislative proposals to deliver the EU 2030 climate and energy targets.
Measured train journeys show 30 percent energy savings when using the Erex system from Eress. This achievement meets and exceeds the EU’s environmental target of a 27 percent increase in energy efficiency by 2030.
The Energy Union governance system helps coordinate efforts and develops long-term strategies for decarbonisation. By November 2015, the Council of the EU had adopted conclusions that identified the governance system’s main components. Specifically, they stressed that National Plans would need to be finalised by December 2019. Now, the next phases for 2020 and 2022 move forward in the pre-determined timeline.
Starting in November 2014, energy meters became compulsory on all new, renewed and upgraded rolling stock. (Commission Regulation 1302/2014)
Every EU country, starting in 2020, must have a settlement system. By July 2020, each member state in the EU must exchange and settle energy data. This includes both the validation and allocation of energy consumption to the correct end-users. (Commission Regulation 1301/2014)
Every EU country must have a Data Collection System (DCS) in place by 2022. Starting in January 2022, each member state in the EU must collect and exchange energy data. (Commission Implementing Act amendment of TSI ENE and TSI LOC&PAS)
Railway energy interoperability makes it possible for international trains to pass smoothly throughout the EU using different national railway systems. This cooperation is vital to the creation of a functional, integrated European railway. Interoperability enhances train transport competitiveness for both passengers and freight. So, operators and infrastructure managers adopting energy monitoring and billing systems link directly to technical harmonisation for railway energy ulitisation.
An accurate measurement of energy consumption is the starting point for energy efficiency programmes. A clear understanding of energy usage patterns allows users to modify behaviours and shift standards. In addition, accurate measurement of energy consumption is a prerequisite for correct settlement and billing of energy costs. Train operators pay for their real energy consumption and at the correct marked prices. Neither consumption nor marked prices can rely on inaccurate estimates.
The EU Exchange, Settlement and Collection of Energy Solutions Regulations require members to make changes for July 2020 and January 2022. Each EU country is expected to put an energy settlement system in place by 4 July 2020. Then, the data collection system can wait to be on the ground by 2022.
Using Erex fulfils all current EU requirements.
For invoices to be processed accurately, EU countries must meet two specific requirements. Firstly, the train operators are required to have onboard energy meters installed on all trains. Secondly, infrastructure managers must implement a data collection service that collects data from each of the onboard energy meters. Then, the data is processed by an energy settlement system that analyses and sorts all energy data according to national rules and prepares the invoices.
Mandatory energy meters have been around since the previous EU commission regulation in 2014 on new, renewed, and upgraded rolling stock. Nothing changed in terms of energy billing in 2019. However, for 4 July 2020, every EU member state must have their energy settlement system up and running. With only a few months to meet the deadline, countries are out of time for developing and implementing these settlement systems on their own.
For EU member states that have preferred to develop and implement a separate, distinct system, they created a tender, followed up, and will need to put it in service. This complex process is both expensive and time-consuming, uses infrastructure personnel and resources, and adds additional technical and non-compliance risks. Fortunately, joining a successful, fully functional, running application with customised features saves time, budget and eliminates non-compliance risks. Without the requirement to create a tender, the most efficient way to meet the 4 July deadline is to join Eress.
Ultimately, these latest EU regulations are designed to standardise the railway sector. Since each country shares borders with other countries, managing a multitude of approaches to energy settlement becomes an enormous challenge. As more EU member states use the standardised Erex system, more precise energy settlements expedite billing processes across the industry. The same energy settlement system across borders allows countries greater freedom of collaboration. Plus, a consistent approach allows for absolute elimination of any country-to-country data exchange issues.
Measured train journeys show a 30 percent energy savings when using Erex. Since the EU environmental target for 2030 is a 27 percent increase in energy efficiency, so far, eight EU member states have implemented the all-in-one, customisable system.
The highest expense for train operators remains as payments to access the network. However, the second-most significant expense is energy costs. So, energy metering, data collection, and accurate invoicing based on metered data become a critical issue across the sector.
Previously reluctant train operators managed the costs of meter installation for initial compliance. Over time the operators discovered that metered energy allows infrastructure managers to invoice accurately. When bills are based on the exact cost of energy consumption, operators focus on saving energy. More efficient operation becomes top-of-mind, so by purchasing energy-efficient rolling stock, train operators have quickly seen continual returns on their investments.
To determine the return on investment (ROI), train operators compare installation costs of the meters to the annual consumption costs of traction units. The initial investment of between €10,000 to €20,000 immediately gains between five and ten percent yearly return. So, the meters often take only one year to see a return, although some do take up to two years, at most.
Energy metering allows train operators to know precisely how much energy they save. And, therefore, support a reduction of the energy bills. So, protecting the environment through saving energy and cutting costs by paying for meters upfront provides an enormous incentive for EU member states to start metering energy consumption.
Energy meters directly impact energy efficiency. Eco-driving, analysing the energy consumption, and the circulation of rolling stock material all engage through the use of energy metering systems.
Infrastructure managers use onboard energy meters for more precise data. From an infrastructure perspective, more accurate data allows for more precise forecasting and settlements. Ultimately, this develops a foundation for additional market fairness. Plus, when operators fully equip their trains with onboard meters, they then attain the direct right to purchase energy for real marked prices.
In most countries, energy settlement and billing systems are notoriously complex. However, many still flounder, trying to measure exact energy consumption levels. The installation of onboard energy meters by train operators enables infrastructure managers to provide accurate invoicing services. Energy settlement and billing systems rely on the onboard energy meters to collect the initial data. Only then can accurate invoices be created based on the real energy consumption, instead of estimated consumption levels.
Infrastructure managers can then oversee energy distribution in the most efficient way possible. Besides, train operators become more responsible for individual energy consumption levels. As a result, the operators are more likely to behave proactively to improve energy efficiency.
The chain of dependencies, including the onboard meters, energy settlement and billing systems, develop a foundation for international communication and energy savings.
Eight European countries, including Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, The Netherlands, and most recently, Spain, have implemented Erex, the Eress, open-source cross-border system. This metered energy billing works independently of each country’s infrastructure and the train operators. A radical innovation for the railway sector, any existing system can utilise the complete Erex solution with almost no learning curve.
When Swiss Railways (SBB) decided to introduce energy billing using onboard meters, they quickly discovered there were many questions, complications and potential risks. They needed to define billing systems criteria to cover every possible scenario. They soon recognised that a whole new system would have been costly, plus their personnel didn’t have this kind of knowledge or experience. So, they joined Eress.
As a result, they quickly introduced a fully operational, industry-proven, metered billing system customised to the Swiss railway network.
Some customisation and adaptation to domestic specifications make this turn-key solution a natural choice. Each member state saves thousands of hours and the high costs of specialised R&D. All of the research and development is complete in this ready-to-use application. This is true for all EU member states.
The rail infrastructure manager in Spain, ADIF, maintains a strong commitment to the EU community, energy conservation and sustainable development. As of 1 January 2020, the Spanish state-owned Administrator of Railway Infrastructures, ADIF, joined as the eighth European Eress partner.
ADIF sees the Erex IT solution as an innovative industry leader between the energy and railway sectors. Facing the July 2020 deadline, ADIF searched for an accurate method to invoice the energy consumed by national trains. They knew they required a solution to perform actual calculations for each and every train across their network.
“It is key for ADIF to be ready to face the new challenges that the liberalisation of the passenger service will bring up. The deadline set by the EU for the supply and invoicing of energy based on the amount of electricity effectively consumed by each train is fast approaching. Therefore, it is important for us to ensure that we will be ready to enforce a single system already implemented in seven other European countries.”
The core values of ADIF focus on a spirit of responsible social commitment to the European community and within Spain.
“In addition, it is important for us to learn from the successful experiences in Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands and Finland that have already overcome the challenge. We hope that the agreement we have just signed with Eress on 1 January 2020, will help us succeed in our goal of implementing this system under a framework of certainty, confidence and transparency.”
As a result, ADIF, the infrastructure manager, and train operators in Spain, now benefit from imported, secured, allocated, settled and distributed data, following national and international requirements.
As other European countries follow ADIF’s example, the railway sector could reduce the consumption of electrical power comparable to 35 million European households.
“As Spain puts the Erex system into production, we see this as another major milestone for the standardisation of settling traction energy throughout Europe. The Eress organisation has been working closely with ADIF to be able to take this step into the future. We have seen continual growth recently, and the fact that Spain is running its data on the Erex system again confirms that we are absolutely prepared to satisfy even the most demanding requirements.”
EU Regulations require members to have an energy settlement system in place by 2020 and a data collection system on the ground by 2022. It costs nothing to become a partner with Eress.
There remain many significant challenges as railway technology moves into the 21st century. However, the standardisation of international railways and updating data collection and settlement systems paves the way into the future. Ultimately, it is time for a significant improvement in efficiency, profitability and compliance for train operators and infrastructure managers across all member states.
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