Saturday, October 19, 2013

European utilities urge policy reform to avert black-outs

The story of large European utilities grouping together to lobby of changes to electricity sector design ran in Reuters over a week ago, and I've been writing on the themes for years.
Rod Adams has written on it, as has the Nuclear Energy Institute, so it's likely worth noting again here.

European utilities urge policy reform to avert black-outs | Reuters:
BRUSSELS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Bosses from 10 utilities representing half of Europe's power-generating capacity urged the European Union on Friday to adopt reforms to prevent black-outs and help the indebted sector adapt to future demand.

The CEOs, who call themselves the Magritte Group after an initial meeting in an art gallery, said EU energy and environment policy was failing in its objectives and had raised the risk of the lights going out.

Rising electricity bills that are damaging Europe's international competitiveness were the fault of political charges and misguided subsidies for solar and wind, rather than the fault of the energy companies, they said.

"We cannot have a renewables society without security of supply," said Peter Terium, chief executive of Germany's RWE .

... the utilities argue generous feed-in tariffs have distorted the market, while they have been forced to mothball gas-fired power plants because they cannot compete.
According to the Magritte Group, utilities have closed 51 gigawatts of modern gas-fired generation assets - the equivalent of the combined capacity of Belgium, the Czech Republic and Portugal - and the risk is more will be shut.

To help maintain the gas-fired capacity as vital back-up to intermittent renewable power, the CEOs want a Europe-wide mechanism to pay utilities for keeping capacity on stand-by.
 The entire article can be read at Reuters

The many things I've written on the topic include:

There's a couple of excellent pieces on the challenges of implementing capacity payments I'd suggest: one championing pure energy markets by Statkraft, and a more extensive paper by ENTSO-E

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