News from the Greek energy market:
By its decision No. 455/2016, RAE approved EDDIE (Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network) 2017 Tariffs (Usage Unit Charges) for both Medium Voltage and Low Voltage customers in line with the EDDIE 2017 Required Revenue. 2017 tariffs are slightly lower compared to the 2016 ones.(Α1).
1. On November 30th, 2016, the European Commission released the "Clean Energy for All Package" or "Winter Package", as is more widely known. This is a significant review of the European institutional and regulatory framework in energy market and climate change-related issues.
The so-called “Third Energy Package” adopted back in 2009 actually continues to regulate energy market at European level and may generally have achieved its overall targets regarding liberalization of the energy market, RES and consumer rights. Today, however, it is considered non-sufficient for the achievement of EU energy policy targets, which means it no longer serves the goals of the European Union because the energy market itself has changed.
This Package had been designed on the foundations of earlier energy market model that was based on a centralized, large-scale generation with little or no consumer participation. Today, the ever-increasing RES penetration is changing the standards of market and network operation and is the root cause of several issues which should be regulated to the benefit of consumers. Moreover, several technological advances, such as the cross-border interconnection, smart-metering systems, demand response systems, etc., have made the review of the existing regulatory framework as well as a new electricity market design an imperative.
Essentially, therefore, the need for a recast is met by the set of measures named “Clean Energy for All Package” ή “Winter Package”. This package is designed to underpin adjustment of the institutional and regulatory framework to the new standards in order to achieve further liberalization of the market but to also maximize benefits that consumers can draw if they are given more opportunities to participate in the market. The main priorities outlined in this policy is energy efficiency, EU leadership in renewables and a fair deal for consumers.
Winter Package mainly promotes a new design for the new electricity market focusing on the following:
New rules have been established dealing, among other, with prices, rules for energy feed-in, operation of short-term markets and cross-border cooperation of Transmission System Operators (TSOs).
What emerges as an important issue is security of supply and energy sufficiency. In this context, focus is placed on moving toward broadening the range of cooperation among national markets at regional level but also toward removing interventions that distort the market (e.g. price caps), so that the correct messages are conveyed and the appropriate incentives are given to private investors on the basis of actual market needs, without state aid. Upgrading the role of ACER (Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators) should also be stressed. ACER will become actively involved through its upgraded role and increased responsibilities.
Retail market also features new rules that aim at providing both a broader pool of information and transparency (e.g. price comparison tools), flexibility (e.g. supplier switching), and more benefits and reward to consumers (self-generation of energy acting as prosumer, reward for demand response, a.o.). Moreover, Winter Package tackles consumer data protection issues and energy poverty.
Distribution System Operators - DSOs
The new design also provides for the formation of a DSO entity, mirroring the structure of ENTSO-E (the latter being a transmission system entity), which, among other, will work on achieving better coordination and cooperation between DSOs and TSOs, further RES integration into the distribution networks, digitalization of distribution networks and related data management issues. DSO entity will also be involved in the drawing up of the code of the networks, being the networks' supervisory authority. The proposal for the formation of a DSO entity is in itself evidence of how distribution networks have become increasingly important, mainly because of the expansion of distributed generation.
Moreover, DSO-related regulations and directives set and provide guidelines for billing policy, smart metering, network operation (given their pertinence with the majority of RES producers and prosumers), flexible network services, and EV charging infrastructure. Energy storage, local energy communities and closed distribution systems are also topics found in the Winter Package that are directly related to DSOs.
The following topics addressed in the Winter Package are of equal importance:
Renewable Energy Sources (RES)
The proposed set of measures provides for a review of RES directive in order to achieve the targets set by the European Council in October 2014 on a 27% RES participation in the energy consumption by 2030, and other commitments undertaken regarding climate change as part of the Paris COP21.
The key goals are a more effective regulatory framework that would stimulate expansion of RES in the market, increased share in the heating and cooling sector, gradual decarbonization of transports, as they will become less dependent on fossil fuels, empowered and informed consumers (e.g. prosumers, energy communities, a.o.), bioenergy sustainability criteria and, fianlly, ensuring achievement of RES binding targets EU-wide.
Review of the Energy Efficiency Directive and Energy Performance of Buildings Directive have become a priority; revision of energy efficiency target to reach 30% by 2030 (compared to 1990) EU-wide, against 27% applicable today.
Governance of the Energy Union
The proposed Regulation on Governance of Energy Union aims at streamlining energy planning across Member States and monitoring the two pillars of energy policy, i.e., internal energy market and climate change which, so far, have been considered individually, making them less efficient. It therefore provides for national energy and climate plans covering 10-year periods and subsequent national targets for each one of the 5 mutually supported dimensions of the Energy Union (solidarity clause, energy flows, energy efficiency first, transition to a low-carbon society, research, innovation and competitiveness), and integrated monitoring arrangements by the Commission.
In conclusion, cooperation in the energy industry has been and remains one of the three key components of European integration. Attention was gradually drawn to environmental protection and climate change. Today, EU energy and climate change policy is a comprehensive policy and constitutes what is termed as Energy Union. The latest set of measures released in the form of the "Clean Energy for All Package" or "Winter Package", acknowledges the leading role of the EU in RES energy generation, ensures fair transaction with consumers and makes energy efficiency a top priority.
2. In its plenary session of October 19, 2016, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted the opinion: "Prosumer Energy and Prosumer Power Cooperatives: Opportunities and challenges in the EU countries."
In this opinion, EESC favours the creation of a European regulatory framework for prosumers, which will assign a clear definition of the term and incorporate non-discriminatory provisions, as prosumers are usually small-scale players in the market. These provisions have been largely incorporated in the Commission's proposal on the new energy market design as well as in the set of measures concerning Renewable Energy Sources.
In addition to security of supply and environmental benefits linked with the deployment of decentralized self-generation, EESC identifies a large number of financial benefits that can be profitable for prosumers, e.g., shrinking of energy poverty, promotion of local economic development and lower energy transmission and distribution costs.
EESC also emphasizes the importance of the collective self-generation in the form of local energy communities/cooperatives as a means to achieve above financial and social benefits as well as the role that engagement of local communities can play in putting forward energy-related issues that are raised by prosumers and energy collective/cooperative associations.