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European regulator publishes crucial findings on EU wind integration

The Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) has published a report that looks into the regulatory aspects of the integration of wind generation in European electricity markets.

CEER’s conclusion paper provides insight  on how to efficiently integrate wind power into the power system, focusing on key EU policy issues like electricity market integration, grid access and the construction of a North Sea supergrid.  

As Member States (MSs) come under increasing pressure to deliver low-carbon, secure forms of energy, focus continues to rest on the deployment of renewable energy. Given the natural resources available and the associated costs, many MSs are concentrating their efforts on increasing their deployment of wind generation.

To this end, CEER has a role in considering whether the regulatory regime for wind generation facilitates barriers to its deployment and/or distorts incentives in choosing where to locate in the EU. The report sets out the high-level issues for consideration, with the expectation that these can be further explored with the input of stakeholders.

European energy regulators considered three areas in particular where integration of wind generation needed to be factored into policy decisions:

  • Electricity market arrangements - including the benefits for wind generation of allowing bids or declarations closer to real-time and the importance of within-day (intraday) markets and cross-border trade, as well as balancing by Transmission System Operators (TSOs) as a last resort to maintain balance between supply and demand;
  • Network access arrangements - such as the rationale for different forms of charging for connection, and how decisions are made to extend the network to accommodate new generation (including in locations which may be remote from existing infrastructure). This includes regulatory issues as well as barriers such as difficulties in authorisation and permitting for new transmission lines; and
  • The concept of an offshore supergrid - and the challenges in harmonising the range of differing policy and regulatory treatments, either on a broad scale or perhaps initially on regional projects.

According to Paul Wilczek, Regulatory Affairs Advisor for Grids and Internal Market, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), “in its document, CEER rightly states that the third liberalisation package is an opportunity to work on improving access to electricity markets and the network arrangements in order to integrate large amounts of Europe’s wind power in a cost effective and non-discriminatory way. If we want to start the energy revolution Europe needs from now up to 2020 and beyond, and if we want the European power system to be running exclusively on renewable energies by 2050, we have to start to work on this now.”

EWEA is running a conference discussing these issues GRIDS 2010 – the backbone of Europe’s energy future,  on 23-24 November in Berlin.

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