Wind industry urges move to single EU electricity market

Cross-national markets, better grids and no fossil-fuel subsidies top priorities

The EU’s electricity market needs urgent reform if it is to efficiently accommodate the rapid growth of renewable energy sources, according to a report by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Published today (20 September), the report calls for measures to remove regulated electricity prices, overcome market concentration, eliminate subsidies for coal, gas and nuclear energy, and improve market transparency.

"As large amounts of energy from offshore wind farms hit the grid in 2020-30, especially in northern Europe, we need an integrated market to make integrated solutions for the best grid interconnections possible," EWEA’s senior regulatory affairs adviser for grids and the internal electricity market, Paul Wilczek, told Windpower Offshore.

Industry view

On Tuesday, Iberdrola’s chairman, Ignacio Galán, had told delegates at an FT energy summit in London that Europe needed a single energy regulator and better interconnections between countries. Companies need reassurance that the regulatory environment is right before they make the right investment decisions, Galán added.

Iberdrola has had little involvement with offshore wind to date, but will be developing the Saint Brieuc offshore wind farm in France in partnership with Eole-RES. Earlier this summer, Iberdrola said offshore wind would underpin the company's future growth.

Pressing need

Calls for an internal EU energy market are becoming increasingly pressing, as the 2014 deadline the EU set itself for achieving such a goal draws nearer.

Wind energy has been under pressure to defend its use of state incentives in most EU countries. European electricity industry lobby group, Eurelectric, has repeatedly called for a fully functioning market for carbon emissions to be the main driver behind renewables.

According to EWEA, wind generators cannot be exposed to market risks until a fully competitive and transparent electricity market is established in Europe

The report also calls for market rules that are more compatible with wind energy, and improved transmission including wind power-friendly capacity planning by transmission system operators. "Offshore wind power integration relies very heavily on these interconnections," Wilczek said.

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