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Harmonizing electricity TSO regulation: the case of North-West EU

February 16th, 2014 by Jean-Michel Glachant, European University Institute

The study of five EU regulatory regimes for electricity TSOs (Belgium, Germany, Great-Britain, France and the Netherlands) suggests that their designs encompass strong tensions and trade-offs and that they are significantly heterogeneous. However, this heterogeneity should no longer be valid, as the European Union is pushing more than ever to prompt for wider integration and increasing interactions between power networks and power systems. In any regional EU market, the economic properties of national regulatory regimes must consequently be realigned and harmonized as to deliver more EU common good. Continue reading »

Does Europe need a renewables target? – yes, but it should be defined in terms of innovation

February 8th, 2014 by Georg Zachmann, Research Fellow, Bruegel

The discussion on whether the EU needs a new renewables target beyond 2020 is gaining traction. The proponents argue that a target for 2030 would give the visibility needed for long-term investments all along the value chain (e.g. into network and storage infrastructure). That is, without a firm political timetable for the roll-out of renewables, the cost of deployment might be much higher. The opponents of firm deployment targets argue that having such targets under an emission trading system is overly costly (e.g., Robert Stavins) and that artificially high demand is creating excess rents in those parts of the value chain where supply is slow to react.
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European power utilities: under pressure?

January 22nd, 2014 by Koen Groot, Clingendael International Energy Programme

The European power sector is challenged by a series of developments. These range from planned changes to the institutional environment and the functioning of the market, to unforeseen external shocks like the decline of demand as a result of the economic and financial crisis and the German decision to completely phase out nuclear energy after all. The challenges also include the unexpected results of foreseeable developments, such as the impact of renewable energy sources (RES) on business models terms of profit margins and system requirements.
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The French Disconnection: reducing the nuclear share in France’s Energy Mix

January 15th, 2014 by David Buchan, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

France has entered into a national debate about its energy transition to meet its long range target to reduce CO2 emissions by 75 per cent by 2050, while maintaining security of supply and the competitiveness of French industry. It is a muddled debate, because the trigger for it is an electoral commitment by President François Hollande to reduce the nuclear share in the country’s electricity mix from over 70 per cent today to around 50 per cent by 2025, a commitment that few people in France – and maybe not even the president himself – regard as sensible or feasible to carry out to the letter. Indeed the origin of the commitment is almost an accident of electoral politics. And the national debate has done little to clarify the issue. Continue reading »

Making the internal electricity market work

December 20th, 2013 by Martin Godfried, University of Amsterdam

At first glance, the integration of the internal electricity market seems to be on track. However, when taking a closer look it is clear that without an extra effort, much of the work done over the last decade may be at risk.
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A Proposal for Reforming an Electricity Market for a Low-Carbon Economy

November 8th, 2013 by Raphael Heffron, University of Stirling

The UK is currently reforming its electricity sector. This gives rise to some pertinent questions: Do the reforms go far enough and can more reforms be expected in the near future?

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How Much Should Self-Generators Pay For The Grid?

November 1st, 2013 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

That is among the questions being asked not just in the US but nearly in any country where self-generation, in one form or another, already is or is likely to become cost-effective. It is also a key question in the context of the net energy metering (NEM) debate in the US or generous feed-in-tariffs (FiTs) that are being scaled back in the EU and Australia.

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Germany will dilute – not abandon – its Energiewende plan

September 22nd, 2013 by Andrew McKillop, Former Expert-Policy & Programming, DG XVII Energy, European Commission

In Germany’s election campaign the attention going to the national energy transition plan is bafflingly low. Official Environment ministry reports however suggest that total costs of Energiewende could or might rise to 1000 billion euros by the late 2030′s if the program is maintained as present, and its targets are not cut back or shifted further into the future. Despite this, most German political parties have tacitly agreed to limit discussion of Energiewende and backpedal their criticism of this free-spending plan, for reasons that are much more than simply political.
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Estimating the costs of nuclear power

May 28th, 2013 by François Lévêque, Ecole des mines de Paris

The debate on the costs of nuclear power generation is fairly confusing. Some present electricity production using nuclear power as an affordable solution, others maintain it is too expensive. These widely divergent views prompt fears among consumers and voters that they are being manipulated: each side is just defending its own interests and the true cost of nuclear power is being concealed. Companies and non-government organizations certainly adopt whatever position suits them best. But at the same time, the notion of just one ‘true’ cost is misleading.
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PJM Market: Good, Can Get Better

May 2nd, 2013 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

The PJM market has always been, and continues to be, a source of fascination to anyone interested in organized or competitive wholesale electricity markets. First, it is by far the largest such organized market operating in North America, among the largest anywhere in the world, with 182 GW of installed capacity and a large geographical footprint. Second, PJM was among the first to introduce a number of features, such as locational marginal pricing (LMP), now common place in other markets. Third, PJM has introduced and successfully operates a number of markets, including capacity markets, that are extensively studies by other market operators who believe such a feature may be an improvement to their own.

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