Trading surprise

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Fears that trade in green power could lead to utility cartels and unrealistically low prices were well and truly scotched last month. In a mock trading session to mark the launch of the Netherland's Green Label energy market, a collaboration of green power producers secured an incredible NLG 2.00/kWh for its green labels, or an average price of NLG 0.085/kWh. Income from trading green labels is added to the going pool price, about NLG 0.08/kWh, plus an NLG 0.03/kWh eco-tax.

The high price was achieved through judicious collective bargaining. Evert van Vliet said he was acting on behalf of a collaboration of green energy producers, SGEP, set up in December to collectively bargain in the real green label market. SGEP comprises the 18 wind co-operatives belonging to the wind section of the Dutch organisation for renewable energy (ODE) and had been set up following an initiative from the Windvogel co-operative and ZHWind, the umbrella organisation for wind co-operatives in South Holland, explain's director Dick van Elk. In total SGEP represents some 7000 members.

In addition to its collective bargaining role, SGEP is lobbying for amendments to the Netherlands' new electricity law, due to be passed this year. These include a proposal for "real penalties" for distribution companies who fail to meet their renewable energy targets. "We would like to see real sanctions imposed on the distribution companies who fail to meet their quota commitments -- with the proceeds returned to all wind producers, not just the utilities with surplus labels," he says. Under the current system of sanctions proposed by government (see main story) utilities who do not secure their quota of green labels on the trading floor must later buy these at an inflated price.

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