France

France

Protection for wind plant operators from unfair balancing penalties

Changes to the rules for scheduling power production in France will afford wind plant operators much needed protection from unfair balancing penalties. Half-hourly "gate closure" should be in place by 2007, if market regulator CRE has its way, allowing generators to bid power into the market down to 30 minutes before scheduled delivery. CRE has asked grid operator RTE to submit firm plans for half-hourly gate closure by July 1 as part of a move to "mould the electricity balancing system towards more real-time organisation." CRE has also requested RTE to present proposals for half-hourly gate closure on interconnections with other European countries by October 1. While electricity in France is not yet traded on the market because of the obligation on state-run utility Electricité de France to buy output, the move could be significant for the future. Such short gate closure benefits wind generation because operators can predict production loads with a high degree of accuracy within 30 minutes. In a related move, CRE and the Spanish industry ministry are implementing new rules governing the allocation of interconnection capacity between the two countries to facilitate cross-border transactions and help resolve balancing distortions. The two transmission system operators, RTE and Red Eléctrica de España, will be required to implement day-ahead market coupling and have six intra-day auctions in place by November 15. The wind industry stands to benefit from a more highly integrated network which can absorb a greater proportion of wind generation.

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