• The next step in the Central Western European electricity market: cross-border balancing

      Vandezande, Leen; Meeus, Leonardo; Belmans, Ronnie (Revue-E, 2008)
      Following initiatives on the day-ahead and intra-day stage, a regional approach towards real-time balancing constitutes a logical next step in the process towards a single Central Western European electricity market. For the moment, balancing market designs still significantly differ between the countries of the region and a coordinated approach for cross-border exchange of balancing services is lacking. Further harmonisation and coordination efforts are consequently required to enable the implementation of a single cross-border balancing market in the region.
    • The regulatory experience of Italy and the United States with dedicated incentives for strategic electricity transmission investment

      Keyaerts, Nico; Meeus, Leonardo (Utilities Policy, 2017)
      There is a trend in regulatory practice towards providing dedicated incentives for strategic investments. Italy and the United States have the longest experience with authorizing returns and risk-mitigating incentives that deviate from standard regulatory treatment for policy purposes. In these countries, the regulatory incentives are based on a case-by-case assessment of capital projects. We find that the Italian scheme is simpler, which reduces administrative costs. The U.S. scheme is more advanced in the case-by-case assessment. Even though dedicated incentives may be controversial, our analysis of both experiences shows that, notwithstanding significant learning costs, both schemes have facilitated substantial financial investment in strategically important infrastructure.
    • Towards an international tradable green certificate system - The challenging example of Belgium

      Verhaegen, K.; Meeus, Leonardo; Belmans, Ronnie (Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2009)
      In Europe, a common framework for renewable energy sources (RES) is aspired. Tradable green certificates (TGCs) are a market-based cost-efficient means to stimulate electricity production from RES. Since TGCs are the most widespread support scheme in Europe together with feed-in tariffs, chances are that a common European framework could well be based on TGCs. However, while integrating currently existing different national TGC systems, any remaining differences should be carefully considered. Just how difficult the creation of an international TGC market would be is illustrated in this paper by the case of Belgium, where no less than 4 different TGC systems exist nowadays. The example of Belgium illustrates that harmonizing different TGC systems is easier said than done and represents a serious challenge. This clearly illustrates that a single European support scheme for RES, however desirable, is still far in the future.
    • Welcoming new entrants into European electricity markets

      Schittekatte, Tim; Reif, Valerie; Meeus, Leonardo (Energies, 2021)
      In this review paper, we select four important waves of new entrants that knocked on the door of European electricity markets to illustrate how market rules need to be continuously adapted to allow new entrants to come in and push innovation forward. The new entrants that we selected are utilities venturing into neighbouring markets after establishing a strong position in their home market, utility-scale renewables project developers, asset-light software companies aggregating smaller consumers and producers, and different types of communities. We show that well-intentioned rules designed for certain types of market participants can (unintentionally) become obstacles for new entrants. We conclude that the evolution of market rules illustrates the importance of dynamic regulation. At the start of the liberalisation process the view was that we would deregulate or re-regulate the sector after which the role of regulators could be reduced. However, their role has only increased. New players tend to improve the sustainability of the electricity sector in environmental, social, or economic terms but might also present new risks that require intervention by regulators.
    • The welfare and price effects of sector coupling with power-to-gas

      Roach, Martin; Meeus, Leonardo (Energy Economics, 2020)
      Electricity markets with high installed capacities of Variable Renewable Energy Sources (VRES) experience periods of supply and demand mismatch, resulting in near-zero and even negative prices, or energy spilling due to surplus. The participation of emerging Power-to-X solutions in a sector coupling paradigm, such as Power-to-Gas (PTG), has been envisioned to provide a source of demand flexibility to the power sector and decarbonize the gas sector. We advance a long-run equilibrium model to study the PTG investment decision from the point of view of a perfectly competitive electricity and gas system where each sector's market is cleared separately but coupled by PTG. Under scenarios combining PTG technology costs and electricity RES targets, we study whether or not there is a convergence in the optimal deployment of PTG capacity and what is the welfare distribution across both sectors. We observe that PTG can play an important price-setting role in the electricity market, but PTG revenues from arbitrage opportunities erodes as more PTG capacity is installed. We find that the electricity and gas sector have aligned incentives to cooperate around PTG, and instead find an issue of misaligned incentives related to the PTG actor. Although not the focus of our analysis, in some scenarios we find that the welfare optimal PTG capacity results in a loss for the PTG actor, which reveals some intuition that subsidizing PTG can make sense to reduce the cost of RES subsidies. Sensitivity analyses are conducted to contextualize these findings for system specificities.
    • Well-functioning balancing markets: a prerequisite for wind power integration

      Vandezande, Leen; Meeus, Leonardo; Belmans, Ronnie; Saguan, Marcelo; Glachant, Jean-Michel (Energy Policy, 2010)
      This article focuses on the design of balancing markets in Europe taking into account an increasing wind power penetration. In several European countries, wind generation is so far not burdened with full balancing responsibility. However, the more wind power penetration, the less bearable for the system not to allocate balancing costs to the responsible parties. Given the variability and limited predictability of wind generation, full balancing exposure is however only feasible conditionally to well-functioning balancing markets. On that account, recommendations ensuring an optimal balancing market design are formulated and their impact on wind generation is assessed. Taking market-based or cost-reflective imbalance prices as the main objective, it is advised that: (1) the imbalance settlement should not contain penalties or power exchange prices, (2) capacity payments should be allocated to imbalanced BRPs via an additive component in the imbalance price and (3) a cap should be imposed on the amount of reserves. Efficient implementation of the proposed market design may require balancing markets being integrated across borders.
    • Why (and how) to regulate power exchanges in the EU market integration context

      Meeus, Leonardo (Energy Policy, 2011)
      The European Union (EU) market integration is leading to increasingly monopolistic electricity market infrastructures, which has opened a debate on the regulation of these so-called power exchanges. In this paper, we start by stating that there are two types of power exchanges in Europe, i.e. “merchant” and “cost-of-service regulated” power exchanges. We then discuss how regulation can be used to better align their incentives with the main power exchange tasks. We conclude that adopting the cost-of-service regulated model for all power exchanges in Europe could be counterproductive in the current context, but that regulation can help ensure that the benefits of the EU market integration materialize. Promising regulatory actions include tempering the reinforced market power of power exchanges, and quality-of-service regulation for the ongoing cooperation among power exchanges to organize trade across borders. Research highlights ► Market integration is leading to increasingly monopolistic electricity market infrastructures. ► Regulation can help tempering the market power of these so-called power exchanges in Europe. ► Cost-of-service regulation for all power exchanges could however be counterproductive. ► More promising is to subject cooperation among power exchanges to quality of service regulation.