Our evolution to become an open SaaS platform
Our solutions for gas & power operations, egssPort, as well as market communication, Cosmos, have transformed tremendously over the years. We’ve moved to a full ‘Software-as-a-Service’-model in 2018. This allows users to access the software from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection, their 2-factor authenticator, and the appropriate approvals from their IT. Obviously some companies wish to limit this to certain IP addresses and our settings allow full flexibility.
Another big part of the transformation is to ensure that our solutions are easy to integrate into your own IT landscape. From day 1 at EGSSIS we realized that our solutions have to exchange data with a range of IT systems. Lately, the power of modern technologies such as REST APIs, webhooks, distributed queue’s / servicebus, and websockets has really broadened the possibilities of what can be done.
Thanks to these innovations you can really accomplish scenarios such as pushing trades automatically from the ETRM/CTRM into egssPort, which can then trigger auto-nomination and/or auto-balancing rules to fix the mismatches.
The end goal of integrations is to improve workflows & to allow operations teams to spend less time on manual work and focus their efforts on value-added activities such as portfolio optimization, scanning the market for opportunities, trading, etc. This fits into EGSSIS’ broader ambition to offer solutions that allows dispatching teams to achieve operational excellence.
Where does egssPort fit in the IT landscape?
The ‘dotted line’ is the ecosystem of EGSSIS’ solutions that work together. However, as you see in the infographic, egssPort & Cosmos do not exist in a vacuum.
There are many other IT systems who have to send or retrieve data from egssPort (or both). Some examples:
- Forecasting solutions push in the predicted consumption and/or production volumes
- ETRM/CTRM solutions push in trade volumes per counterparty
- Reporting solutions need to extract data on imbalances, volumes, etc.
- PRISMA capacity booking platform to push booked capacities straight into egssPort Gas
- Back-office solutions need end-of-month overviews for generating invoices, accounting, etc.
- TSOs & SSOs may offer data that can be visualized such as the market ‘position’, imbalance prices, storage levels, etc.
Looking forward we are also seeing benefits for our customers by integrating with intraday flexibility platforms, such as the project for BMAP/PROBID we’ve recently rolled out, which saves precious time when assets need to be activated or deactivated. We’ve written a whole blog about the benefits here: https://www.egssis.com/flexible-power-balancing-on-elia-grid/
By integrating the data from these systems and platforms into egssPort we aim to offer an all-in-one overview for the operations team managing your gas and power portfolio.
Our API Gateway
To offer our clients and partners a single point to interface with our solutions we have created an API Gateway. The API gateway offers a full catalog of APIs that can be configured to allow your IT systems to ‘talk to’ egssPort. On https://docs.egssis.com/integrations/ you can find some examples of ‘out-of-the-box’ APIs you can configure to send data from your ETRM to egssPort. There are several possibilities:
- Trade API for Border / Hub / Customer contracts
- Trade API for Commodity contracts
- Capacity API
APIs or Application Programming Interfaces act as translators that allow communication between EGSSIS’ solutions and other IT systems: TSO/SSO platforms, in-house developed systems, forecasting, or reporting solutions. For those who want to dive deeper you can start here: https://www.redhat.com/en/topics/api/what-is-a-rest-api
When set-up correctly these APIs allow your ETRM system to push trades or booked capacities to eggsPort automatically. Following that the operational side of nominating the volumes, matching & balancing is taken care of in our solution.
The benefits of using an API Gateway include:
- near real-time execution leading to improved workflows
- faster & easier to set-up than ‘custom-built’ integrations or middleware
- improved security since requests are managed with a single, consistent approach
Furthermore we’ve also implemented specific APIs to connect with the PRISMA capacity booking platform & for REMIT reporting, you can find more info about these specific integrations via the links below:
Becoming event-driven: Webhooks & EventHub
To summarize, our API Gateway offers you a library of REST APIs that will expand as we develop different integrations with our clients. But there is more! We’re working on ‘event-driven’ integrations through webhooks and an event-store/eventhub.
Simply put: Webhooks refers to a combination of elements that collectively create a notification and reaction system within a larger integration. So a change in data (an event) can trigger a webhook to notify someone. For example: there’s a capacity overshoot on the GTS grid. The webhook can then trigger specific actions & notifications across different IT systems such as ringing up the portfolio manager, or sending emails and text messages to the 24/7 dispatching team.
There can even be ‘real life’ alarms triggered through this: we have an alarm bell on our desk that rings when an intra-day emergency flexibility request comes in from a TSO and our dispatchers only have 5 minutes to activate (or deactivate) a power producing asset.
The activation request, overshoot, and all other types of ‘events’ can also be stored in an event-store. We’ll dive deeper into our event-store in another blog coming soon! In the mean time don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to know more.