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To be remunerated for your flexibilities, you may participate in the frequency ancillary services by becoming a reserve provider.


  • Market participants

  • Generators

  • Consumers

Frequency Ancillary services

The operation of the power system requires that generation must be equal to consumption at all times.

RTE ensures this balance in real time, factoring in consumption and generation variability (weather, power generation availability, etc.). To maintain the balance between supply and demand, RTE requires dispatchable power reserves, both upward and downward, from capacities based in France or the rest of Europe.

There are three types of reserves which can be successively applied:


Frequency ancillary services are dispatched automatically according to the signals of the system:

  • the frequency deviation of the Continental Europe Synchronous Area for primary frequency control,
  • the load-frequency control level for secondary frequency control.

Any generation unit of installed capacity greater than 120 MW (40 MW for new facilities) has an obligation to provide frequency ancillary services.

Balancing on a European scale

Establishing the internal market in electricity is a strong policy ambition for the European Union. Its aim is to facilitate trade in electricity between Member States to benefit from the most competitive resources in Europe at any given time. For mechanisms such as the balancing mechanism and frequency ancillary services, the European Guideline on Electricity Balancing defines the main axes of the transition to a supply-demand balance market which is integrated on the European level. In force since December 2017, the Guideline on Electricity Balancing establishes the technical, operational and market terms and conditions for the procurement of balancing capacity, activation of balancing energy and their financial settlement.

RTE is in charge of implementing the Guideline on Electricity Balancing in France. This is based on the use of standard balancing products (RR, mFRR, aFRR, RCFS) and involves several European countries in various projects: TERRE, MARI, PICASSO, FCR Cooperation and IGCC initiative.


Contracting with RTE

The provision of frequency ancillary services is open to all capacities previously certified in mainland France, regardless of the technology and the level of connection.

  • Contracting of frequency containment reserve is done through cross-border tenders via the FCR Cooperation.

  • Automatic frequency restoration reserves are contracted nationally with obligated parties at a regulated price.

  • Exchanges between reserve providers are possible at any price for the two types of reserve.

To become reserve provider, you are required to comply with the Frequency Ancillary Services Terms and Conditions, established in consultation with the market players and approved by the French Energy Regulatory Commission. For this, you must sign a participation agreement as a reserve provider.

To do this, you need to:

  1. fill in the  Frequency Ancillary Services Terms and Conditions questionnaire in Annex 14 designed to verify the suitability of the applicant,
  2. if you do not have EIC code, please make the request through the online form,
  3. fill in and send Annex 1 (participation agreement model) and Annex 3 (list of contacts) of the Frequency Ancillary Services Terms and Conditions,
  4. send the documents and information listed in annex 1,
  5. request access to the RTE telecontrol information exchange system,
  6. get your capacities certified in accordance with files 14 to 16 of RTE’s reference technical documentation,
  7. declare the elements making up your reserve perimeter using annex 4 of the Frequency ancillary services Terms and Conditions.

Your services as a reserve provider

RTE offers a set of services for each reserve provider to carry out and optimise their activity, including:

To access these services, you may need to create an account and/or hold a PKI certificate.

Additional information

Compensation related to a frequency ancillary services failure due to a balancing mechanism operation

A compensation relating to a frequency ancillary services failure due to a balancing mechanism operation is paid by the reserve providers to RTE. This compensation is revised on 1 April of each year Y, for the current period from 1 April of the year Y to 31 March of the year Y+1.

It is calculated as follows:



  • ΣA-1 additional costs SSY is the sum of the ancillary services additional costs (EUR) of the year Y-1, determined in accordance with the MA-RE Terms and Conditions,

  • ΣA -1 SSY reconstituted volumes is the sum of the ancillary services reconstituted volumes for the year Y-1 (in hMW), determined in accordance with the MA-RE Terms and Conditions,

  • ΣY-1 aVU+ (1-a)VD is the sum for all Reserve Providers and for all Half-Hourly Intervals for the year Y-1, and for all Types of Reserve, of the volumes V (in hMW), where VU is the upward volume,

  • and VD is the downward volume,

  • a is the ratio of upward/downward compensation.

S computing for the year 2020

  • Sum of additional costs SSY for 2019: 21 659 329 €

  • Sum of SSY reconstituted volumes in 2019: 612 285 hMW

  • 2019 balance: + 216 908 € (as a reminder, the 2017 balance was - 158 841 €)
  • S2020 = 34,08 €/hMW

Reference documentation


For any questions, please contact