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German regulator wants 'energy Schengen'

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Berlin (UPI) Nov 23, 2010
A German energy official has called for a "Schengen Agreement" on energy trading to boost competition in the European power and heating sector.

Such a move would ensure a proper supervision and a level playing field for free energy trading in Europe, says Johannes Kindler, vice president of the German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur.

"Energy regulators -- because of their knowledge about the functioning of energy markets -- should assume a prominent role within such a regime," Kindler said in a statement. "This regime should consist of harmonized rules including efficient market surveillance and a Europe wide licensing requirement for energy traders."

He added that such a regime, which would mimic the Schengen Agreement that enables for free travel among 25 EU member states, should contain rules on transparency of trading and fundamental data.

"Especially fundamental data transparency is an often underestimated but key element for a well functioning market" Kindler said. "It's an important measure for the reduction of systemic risks -- a better knowledge of the current market situation keeps traders from building up dangerous positions and exaggerated risk taking. Therefore, far reaching fundamental transparency is the best way to avoid 'speculative hypes' and contributes to fair prices charged to end customers."

The European Commission last week published its strategy to spend about $1.4 trillion over the next decade to create a joint EU energy network.

Linking the continent's energy infrastructure is a key priority for the commission, which wants to better integrate the fluctuating renewable energy sources into the aging European grid. It also wants to prevent crises similar to the one between Russia and Ukraine in early 2009, which temporarily left much of Eastern Europe without natural gas imports during a bitter cold spell.

While transnational power and gas connections are well-developed in Scandinavia, for example, much of Eastern Europe and the Baltic states remain cut off from the Western European energy grid.

"The internal energy market is still fragmented and has not achieved its potential for transparency, accessibility and choice," the commission said. Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the EU's markets should be linked by 2015.

The harmonization of the power, gas and renewable energy markets is a major issue that will be discussed during the Wednesday-Friday EMART Energy 2010 conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in what is Europe's largest platform for energy traders.

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