Highlights Core Theme 1: RES Electricity

CT1 - 1st Plenary Meeting in Bratislava

Headline 1: Exchange Platform on the EEAG Implementation

Core Theme 1 on RES Electricity, which now combines the topics of support schemes for RES electricity, cooperation mechanisms and electricity networks, focused on one of these topics in each of its sessions at the first plenary meeting. CT1 participants discussed their experiences and key issues with the implementation of the Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy 2014-2020 (EEAG). With the aim to create a transparency platform on EEAG implementation, several participants presented the new or adapted support scheme design, which showed a gradual move towards more market-responsive and market-based support. Based on these presentations and vivid discussions, a matrix of issues and questions for further discussions was identified, including whether and when to provide technology-neutral or technology specific support, or situations where an exemption from tendering seems appropriate.

Headline 2: Legal Conditions for Cross-Border Opening of Support Schemes

The second session of CT1 focused on legal conditions for a cross-border opening of support schemes that have recently been created in different Member States. Since 2014, several Member States have opened their support scheme, or are in the process of doing so. One of the drivers behind this development is in the context of state aid notifications and the question of compatibility of national support schemes with Art. 30, 110 TFEU, which the Commission examines in the context of state aid notifications. Several presentations highlighted the necessary changes in the national legal frameworks, and participants discussed the similarities and differences between the solutions, as well as the lessons learned from the implementation of the first cross-border auctions. Participants concluded that the legal conditions for opening of support schemes included the signing of a cooperation agreement in all discussed cases, and a limited opening of the support scheme, the principle of reciprocity and physical import in most cases. Public acceptance was highlighted as a key factor for a cross-border opening.  The German-Danish pilot auctions for PV show that both natural and regulatory conditions in cooperating states can influence the results.

Headline 3: Redispatch Systems and Their Mechanisms

During the third session of CT1 on different redispatch systems in the participating countries, it became apparent that Member States’ starting points differed substantially with regard to general design (central dispatch vs. self-dispatch), the size of the system and its role within the internal market, the shares of RES and other resources (incl. e.g. for pumped hydro), and the overall volume of redispatch needed. One observed consequence seemed to be that the distinction between balancing and redispatch (managing network constraints) is drawn differently and with varying degrees of clarity. In particular in cases of small redispatch volumes, the existing pricing mechanism for balancing reserves can be used, whereas large redispatch volumes require a separate regime to limit distortions of lead markets and to keep market abuse in check. The TSO has an important role to play, as it will eventually have to decide on optimizing effectiveness and efficiency based on the location price per kWh of individual installations. Overall, participants agreed that - while some redispatch will always remain in any zonal market - in case of structural constraints redispatch can only be considered a temporary measure, whereas grid expansion would be an appropriate long-term solution.