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Nord Stream and German-Russian energy relations during the Ukraine crisis

November 16th, 2014 by Marco Siddi, University of Edinburgh

Eight years ago, shortly after German and Russian leaders agreed on the construction of Nord Stream, then Polish defence minister Radoslaw Sikorski called it “the Molotov-Ribbentrop pipeline”. Sikorski compared the project to the 1939 pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which partitioned East-Central Europe. Nord Stream, he argued, would allow Germany to secure its gas imports from Russia while Moscow simultaneously turned off the tap and blackmailed governments in East-Central Europe. However, contrary to Sikorski’s predictions, during the current crisis in Ukraine the pipeline has allowed Germany to take a tougher stance towards Russia than most EU member states. Continue reading »

Coordination Mechanisms for Accommodating Increasing Amounts of Wind and Solar in the Power Market

November 4th, 2014 by Jacques de Jong, Clingendael International Energy Programme

European power markets are being confronted with an unprecedented transition process toward a low-carbon power system. The speed and complexity of this shift are raising serious challenges and operational difficulties. The successful increase in the deployment of variable renewable electricity technologies is bringing the EU objective of raising the share of these technologies in its energy mix to 20% by 2020 closer to an attainable reality. But there are deep concerns about the continuing impacts of this transition, especially as it is further expanded to include a substantially larger share of renewables by 2050.

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Energy Justice

October 28th, 2014 by Raphael Heffron, University of Leeds

In essence, effective and efficient energy law and policy will balance energy economics, energy security and climate change mitigation to deliver the best outcome to society. However, if one examines energy law and policy in more detail often it is just one of these points that dominates the energy agenda; more often than not it is economics.
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Remember back when everybody hated electricity deregulation?

October 8th, 2014 by James Bushnell, University of California at Davies

A brief post concerning electricity restructuring that looks back over the last 20 years. Around that time I started giving a talk titled “If electricity restructuring is so great, why does everybody hate it?” Back then, several states like Illinois and Maryland were actively pursuing options to “re-regulate” markets that they had at least partially restructured.
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The main challenges to achieve an integrated European smart-grid

September 19th, 2014 by Tamar Gomez, Research assistant, IFP School

The EU commission faces several challenges in order to convert a budding yet timely effort in smart grid research into a full grown market with its infrastructures and set of rules They are are of different nature: regulatory, economic and social.
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Paying for kWh, kW or km?

September 8th, 2014 by Claude Crampes, Toulouse School of Economics

Traditionally, the distribution charge paid by consumers of electricity connected to a grid is based on the capacity for which they subscribe and the number of kWh withdrawn during a given period. Energy consumption is however actually a poor approximation of the willingness to pay for being connected. Additionally, except for thermal losses, the cost incurred by distribution system operators (DSO) does not depend on the quantity transported. The main raison d’être of the kWh index is that it is indispensable for producers and suppliers. Since it is an existing gauge provided by installed meters, why not use it for distribution? Continue reading »

Money for Nothing

May 14th, 2014 by Severin Borenstein, Haas Business School, UC Berkekey

Since the beginning of electricity grids, demand has fluctuated and supply has been made to follow along. But for decades, economists and some grid engineers have dreamed of having demand play a more active role in balancing the system. With increasing use of intermittent renewable energy resources, now is the time to make that demand-response dream come true. But we can only get there if we clear up a common misconception in the world of electricity policy.
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Ukraine – Russia: EU should examine every possibility to put an end to present crisis, says Dominique Ristori

March 23rd, 2014 by François Lévêque, Ecole des mines de Paris

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 »

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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