European utilities join forces over electricity generation transparency
Calls are growing from European utilities for the establishment of a joint transparency platform for reporting power generation data and planned outages, with Swedish state-owned firm Vattenfall the latest to voice its support.
Under the terms of the wholesale regulation on energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT), utilities have since 28 December been required to publish details of all planned available generation at power plants over 100MW in capacity across the EU.
The regulation is intended to combat insider trading and market manipulation by cutting out trade based on unpublished information (see EDEM 10 October 2011).
Europe's major utilities are confident they are doing enough to adhere to the new transparency rules - but in some cases, moves to comply have led to a fragmented reporting landscape.
As a result, Germany-based energy giant E.ON has led the way in calling for a single European-wide transparency platform publishing data of available installed electricity capacity. A spokesman said last week it would be "assessing possibilities in the next few weeks" (see EDEM 11 January 2012).
Now Vattenfall has added its voice to the calls. "Whenever there is a joint industry platform available which is REMIT-compliant, this is our preferred option to publish our data. We are convinced that the market will benefit from a coordinated approach with uniform data," the company said.
In some cases, trading rules governing particular wholesale energy markets already required participants to make available the information required under REMIT.
Pan-Nordic exchange Nord Pool was one example, as was the European Energy Exchange (EEX), which required participants to publish data for Germany and Austria.
Otherwise, many utilities in markets that did not previously require this information to be published have opted to report generation details via their websites.
These include UK utilities SSE and ScottishPower and Italy's Enel. Norway's Statkraft said it has also gone down this route "until a public platform is made available". UK firm Centrica said it already publishes details via its website's news feed. However, all this has led to fragmentation of the reported information.
Elsewhere, French state-owned EDF said it is in the process of complying with the regulation. "The EDF Group is supportive of market transparency overall and is adapting its publication processes in the context of REMIT," it said.
The company added that, in its home market, it already publishes information on grid operator RTE's website, along with other French energy generators, meaning it complies with REMIT.
REMIT goes some way to boosting harmonisation of wholesale energy markets across the continent - which is closely intertwined with the EU's long-term push for a single European market (see EDEM 23 November 2011).
However, according to law firm Pinsent Masons, there could be more clarity in the wording of the regulations:
"While there are some carve-outs from the prohibitions on insider dealing and market manipulation and some exclusions from the obligation to publish inside information, these are not as clear as they could be and there is some confusion in the marketplace as to how they apply in practice, particularly when outages occur," the company said.
Statkraft agreed to an extent, saying: "There are, of course, areas of uncertainty over time we expect that the implementing acts will provide further clarity and if necessary, we will update our routines accordingly."
The Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), which is overseeing the implementation of REMIT, has pledged to update its guidance. The first edition of its guidance is available on its website.
Pinsent Masons called the obligations "burdensome for wholesale energy market participants", adding that REMIT requires firms to develop systems and controls for receiving and publishing inside information "as a minimum". ICIS Heren staff
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