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EC wants electricity regulators to promote new interconnectors

17 November, 2003 – The European Commission wants national energy regulators to promote new electricity interconnectors, Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio told a conference on 13 November. A specific role for regulators to do so would improve the level of interconnect in Europe, she said. The role could include the right to hold tenders for new interconnector build.

Greater interconnector capacity means a higher flow of power across borders and could change the pattern of electricity generation across Europe. Intended to improve security of supply, greater cross-border flows of electricity could impact on European power’s CO2 emissions map.

Speaking at a conference a the Nyenrode Institute for Competition in the Netherlands, Palacio said a review of energy infrastructure to be published by the end of the year showed that progress was slow in building up the European grid. Some member states were still far from their goal of building electricity interconnectors with a capacity equal to ten per cent of national demand.

In December the EC would make “a number of concrete proposals” including that “national energy regulators be given a role in promoting new interconnectors, on the basis of an advice from the Commission,” Palacio said. “Where a transmission system operator refuses to construct an interconnector considered essential by the regulator, the possibility for the launch of a tender by the regulator should be provided for.”

The December package of proposals would include a Directive on Security of Supply for Electricity to mirror a similar draft directive on gas, which has proven unpopular among Member States. This directive would “impose clear obligations upon [various actors], including where necessary minimum levels of reserve capacity that each electricity seller must have available,” Palacio said.