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News in Brief, BB200706

ERGEG consultation on a Cross-Border Framework for Electricity Transmission Network Infrastructure

11.06.2007

An adequate cross-border transmission infrastructure capacity is essential for the development of a single market for electricity across the EU. In a Consultation paper, published in October 2006, the European Association of Gas and Electricity Regulators (ERGEG) made recommendations to achieve better framework conditions on a European level in order to strengthen the cross-border transmission network infrastructure. The paper specifically stressed:

• the need to tackle the issue of the lengthy processes to obtain permits in the short term;
• that provision of transmission infrastructure is too much driven by national policies; and
• that insufficient obligations for TSOs and authorities exist to improve cross-border connections and to integrate markets.

Duties, obligations and competencies both for regulators and TSOs should be adapted to properly address the necessary cross-border infrastructure developments.

After having obtained views from various stakeholders, including TSOs, electricity producers, electricity industry and energy intensive industry, in April 2007, ERGEG published a Conclusions Paper summarising and assessing the responses received, and restating the conclusions and recommendations regarding the cross-border framework in the light of these views.

With respect to building and construction authorisations and permissions (BCAP) for new transmission infrastructure projects, ERGEG recommends the clarification and acceleration of processes, with sufficient political support as well as consideration to the wider benefits of individual projects. An overall legal and regulatory framework should be put in place, including EU-wide operating and security standards, which obliges and allows TSOs and regulators to pursue the development of a transmission network infrastructure across and between national markets.

ERGEG further recommends that regulators should be given adequate collective duties and competencies (including the necessary resources) to oversee and promote (cross-border) transmission network provision and approve the cost allocation of cross-border elements, as appropriate.

Each TSO should also be given a collective role to build and operate the EU grid under regulatory oversight. TSOs should be given a new collective institutional basis to enable them to fulfil this role.

With respect to merchant lines (transmission infrastructure implemented by private and usually non-TSO parties), ERGEG confirms its view that legal procedures (exemptions regime) and accompanying regulatory processes should be clarified. Such clarification should help potential investors to put together projects, therefore contributing to a more efficient investment process. This applies to undersea DC connectors, for example.

On the same topic, the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) organised a workshop in Brussels on 17 February 2007, where the above issues were illustrated by practical experiences from various stakeholders involved in building a cross-border transmission infrastructure.

A proper legal and regulatory framework, enabling and stimulating the improvement of the cross-border infrastructure is of critical importance for the cost effective and efficient integration of wind energy. In this respect, EWEA supports the recommendations made by ERGEG in its conclusions paper.

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