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Single watchdog call - Super-regulator needed to help wind

EUROPE: European energy regulators have warned that a lack of a single continental-wide regulator could pose a barrier to the construction of a European supergrid that would help integrate wind into the European network.

In a report setting out the challenges facing the integration of increasing amounts of wind power into the EU energy network, the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) agrees a supergrid could foster cross-border trade and improve competitiveness and sustainability as well as secure supply.

However, it insists that without a single, integrated energy market with a super-regulator and a super-system operator, the task could be fraught with regulatory difficulties.

The report highlights the problems of determining who pays and who benefits, the potential distortion created by different regimes in different EU member states and the relative compatibility of interconnection and transmission regimes, and of support schemes.

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) backed the report and said there was an urgent need for harmonised and clear rules for connection to the electricity system. "We expect wind power's share of electricity demand to increase from 4% in 2008 to 16% in 2020," says Paul Wilczek, EWEA's regulatory affairs advisor. "To ensure that such penetration levels are manageable from a technical perspective it is important to develop clear rules across Europe."

EWEA has published a generic grid code format for wind generators, which proposes an initial phase aimed at establishing a grid code template with common definitions, parameters, units and figures, as well as a common structure. This would be followed by a technical harmonisation exercise to adapt existing grid code parameters to the new template.

"The way in which grid code requirements in Europe have developed has resulted in gross inefficiencies and additional costs for consumers, manufacturers and wind farm developers," says Wilczek.

Interested parties can comment on CEER's consultation until February 18.

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