Updated: CWE flow-based market coupling launch delayed by three weeks – sources

Martin Degen


The launch date for flow-based market coupling in the central west European (CWE) market area has been postponed by three weeks to late-April, ICIS learnt late on Tuesday.

Prior to this, the flow-based market coupling method for the day-ahead auction was due to go live on 1 April in the market area which includes Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. ICIS understands the new go-live date is set for 23 April.

The date could not be confirmed by the transmission system operators (TSOs) or power exchanges directly involved in the project’s development at the time of the writing, but the information came direct from three independent sources, all of which have involvement with the flow-based user group (FBUG), a body set up to help guide the project’s launch.

The delay was due to concerns held by the Belgium energy regulator that the flow-based market coupling method could lead to curtailments in the Belgian power market.

Several outages at Belgian nuclear power plants have created a shortage in the country’s power market this winter. Less than a fortnight ago, the operator of the two nuclear units Doel 3 and Tihange 2 in Belgium pushed their restart dates back from 1 April to 1 July (see EDEM 23 January 2015).

As recently as 20 January, French energy regulator CRE referred to flow-based coupling in a statement released after a meeting with German counterpart Bundesnetzagentur. The statement “particularly stressed the need to launch in March”, citing an “eagerly awaited” project. French regulator CRE put the economic gains at around €100m per year. Despite the particular stress on sticking to the March launch date however, all parties insisted at the time they had no reason to doubt a March date would be met.

Flow-based market coupling will bring together an electricity capacity calculation method, which TSOs will oversee, while power exchanges will deal more directly with congestion management. The flow-based methodology marks an improvement compared with existing models on the capacity calculation side.

As well as representatives from the trading arms of a number of major European energy groups, the FBUG includes national energy regulators and some power exchanges alongside other partners. Martin Degen


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