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Informal Energy Council

Volume 608: debated on Monday 18 April 2016

Today my noble hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth) has made the following statement:

I am writing to report on discussions at the Informal Energy Council held in Amsterdam on 10 and 11 April.

The Council featured discussions around a central theme of future electricity market design and the role of regional co-operation.

Delegates attended a series of sessions focusing on electricity market design and regional co-operation. The first session consisted of two breakout discussions; market improvements and the integration of renewables, and security of electricity supply. On the basis of the discussion, the Dutch presidency committed to presenting a set of presidency conclusions on market design to the next Energy Council on 6 June in Brussels.

Member states reached general agreement that market rules needed to be designed in such a way as to promote greater flexibility. Delegates discussed the need for strengthening intraday and balancing markets, recognising the role of scarcity pricing. With regard to the integration of renewables, discussions concluded the need to ensure a level playing field between generators of renewable energy and other producers, for example with regard to balancing responsibilities.

In the second session on security of electricity supply heads of delegation stressed the need for national governments to retain responsibility for security of supply, while recognising the need for greater regional co-operation among transmission system operators (TSOs). Delegates agreed it would be useful to settle on a common methodology for generation adequacy assessments, but retaining the ability to carry out national assessments to reflect member states’ specificities and reliability standards.

Over lunch there was a panel discussion on the role of demand-side response and consumers with representatives of consumer bodies, a major energy user, an energy aggregator and RWE. Discussions included ways to encourage domestic consumers to change behaviour through the provision of better information, particularly using smart meters; the role of energy services in reducing companies’ use of energy; the scope of new technologies to provide innovative solutions to demand peaks, and links with electric vehicles.