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Europe is not meeting its cross-border grid connection goals, watchdog warns

(EurActiv, 16 Apr 2024) As EU energy ministers meet in Brussels to discuss grid expansion, the EU electricity market watchdog ACER warned on Friday (12 April) that Europe’s key grid connections are not sufficiently dedicated to electricity trading between neighbouring countries.

The EU’s future power grid is expected to transport, for example, solar power from Spain to Germany or Norwegian hydropower to Slovakia, when needed. To that end, the EU adopted the ‘70% rule’ in 2018  –  at least 70% of ‘interconnection’ transmission capacity must be available for cross-border electricity trading.

Interconnectors are wires which link together zones of Europe’s grid network that would otherwise be isolated. Often these zones correspond with the borders of a country or group of countries. As each of these zones has its own power markets, they are known as ‘bidding zones’.

From 2026, the 70% rule will become mandatory – but EU countries are far from being able to meet it, the power market watchdog agency ACER warned the European Parliament and Commissionon Friday.

The agency chief called for “structural solutions that would enable the fulfilment of this requirement in a cost-efficient and timely manner”.

The agency suggested a “potential reconfiguration of bidding zones,” additional sanctions, as well as “targeted grid developments”. 

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EurActiv, 16 Apr 2024: Europe is not meeting its cross-border grid connection goals, watchdog warns