Germany's energy industry act -- which came into force in July 2005 -- promises to shed light on how balancing power is procured by transmission network operators to smooth daily wind energy fluctuations. Moreover, it should ensure costs are kept to a minimum in future. The law demands network operators work together to establish a non-discriminatory and transparent web-based platform for buying balancing power. To be operational from January 1, 2006, it will combine the four current network zones into one. Significantly, for the first time it will provide a trading marketplace for balancing products such as hourly reserve as well as the three traditional types of balancing power. Hour reserve is used to balance fluctuations resulting from wind power's variable nature. "Once the data is transparently available and we know more about what is going on, new market instruments for balancing power can be created," said Christof Bauer of chemicals company Degussa at a recent Euroforum conference.