EU electricity market redesign: a protean moment

Dominique Ristori, Director-General and Dominique Ristori, on the left, and Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner: at the start of complex process (photo Europe by Satellite)

The EU is on the verge of a full redesign of its electricity market. Market rules need to be updated to the reality of a much more decentralised system where renewables and the consumer are king. This is the essential next step in the European energy transition. It is an opportunity for policymakers to shape the future. What will they do? Based on leaked documents and conversations with Brussels insiders, Sonja van Renssen explains what choices … [Read more...]

A system of unconnected vessels: the gas market(s) in the Baltic States

Lithuania's floating LNG terminal, built in South Korea

An internally integrated gas market independent from Russia is an official goal of the Baltic States’ energy policies. Above all the launch of the LNG terminal in Klaipeda, Lithuania, at the end of 2014, was intended to provide an alternative to Russian gas. However, Latvia rejects the opportunity to import gas from Lithuania, and Estonia is pursuing its own projects, including cooperation witn Finland.  This makes the creation of a regional … [Read more...]

Image of gas suffers another blow as trilateral gas talks fail

Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič  explains failure gas talks (photo Europe by Satellite)

Russia, Ukraine and the EU failed to reach an agreement to govern gas flows between Russia and Ukraine at a meeting in Vienna because of a “lack of political will”. European Commission Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič is frustrated with the Ukrainians as much as with the Russians. “The lack of a deal is not good for the image of Russia as a reliable supplier or Ukraine as a reliable transit country”, he said. He added that “Gazprom … [Read more...]

Gazprom deals deepen EU gas dilemmas

Putin at International Economic Forum, Petersburg, 19 June (photo RFE/RL)

Gazprom has been very active in Europe recently, signing a strategic cooperation agreement with Shell, an agreement to build a second Nord Stream pipeline with Shell, E.on and OMV, and a memorandum with the Greek government about building an extension of its Turkish Stream project. All of these initiatives fit perfectly with Gazprom’s strategy, write Szymon Kardaś and Agata Loskot-Strachota of the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in Warsaw. But … [Read more...]

Lignite in Europe: fighting back renewables

Bahnhof Profen (photo Daniel Baezol)

With an output of 350 million tonnes, four EU countries – Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Greece – account for over a third of the world’s lignite production. Renewable energies have cut into their profitability, but lignite producers are fighting back with increased deliveries and exports to third-party customers. In addition, they avoid CO2 penalties under the EU Emission Trading Scheme by  building plants below the 20 MW threshold.  … [Read more...]

Can the smart grid survive a cyberattack?

(photo: Green Mamba)

Technological advances in grid operation have made the power grid increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, writes Michael McElfresh, Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at Santa Clara University.  The growth of the smart grid has created many more access points for penetrating grid computer systems – the “internet of things” will only make this worse. … [Read more...]

On the road: EU goes for efficient and electric, ponders biofuels

Credit: Matthias Ripp (via Flickr, Creative Commons license)

The European Commission’s strategy for decarbonising the road transport sector is finally taking shape: Brussels wants efficiency first, electrification second. But it doesn't know what to do about biofuels. “There is no appetite for [new] targets”, says Commission Director Marie Donnelly. Sonja van Renssen takes us on the bumpy road to a climate-friendly European transport sector. … [Read more...]