Northern European electricity market Nord Pool's lack of transparency has recently been the target of criticism by various parties in connection with recent volatile energy prices. The European Commission, which is developing measures to curb increasing electricity prices, is also addressing the market issue, however Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson (Center) said that proposals to that end won't be ready until early next year.
Simson told ERR that work is already underway to make Nord Pool more transparent.
"First, we'll analyze the design of the electricity market and what changes are needed so that the market design would reflect the current situation," she said. "This work is somewhat longer term than current extraordinary measures; the target is to introduce our proposals at the beginning of next year."
The commissioner added that, in addition, electricity market operators are working in parallel with proposed changes according to which the technical price cap methodology would operate more understandably.
The EU's energy ministers are convening in Brussels on Friday to discuss establishing a price cap on electricity. The European Commission will present them with ideas that President Ursula von der Leyen introduced Wednesday. According to Simson, the package being drawn up by the Commission consists of five elements.
First, energy efficiency, regarding which the primary proposal is a mandatory reduction of electricity consumption during peak hours. As peak hours are caused primarily by natural gas plants, this could also serve to directly reduce natural gas consumption as well.
"Secondly, the revenue of all other electricity producers on the electricity market is currently dependent on the gas plants," Simson explained. "It is possible, based on our proposal, to decouple this connection if we impose a revenue cap on renewable energy producers and other producers with lower prices."
If a revenue cap is imposed on renewable energy producers, fossil fuel companies currently making extraordinary profits cannot go unaffected either. Thus, the third proposal is for these businesses to make a solidary contribution as well, to avoid leaving only electricity producers with low prices to bear the entire financial burden on their own.
"We also have to ensure power companies' liquidity as well, as due to the volatility of the market, they have to meet an exceptionally high margin requirement," she explained. "The EU will remain in a coordinating role on this matter, as states and financial institutions will be offering guarantees."
Price cap primarily concerns Russian pipeline gas
The final element of the Commission's proposals regards a price cap on natural gas. The Commission sees the most point in imposing a price cap on Russian pipeline gas, but according to the energy commissioner is interested in hearing member states' views on the matter as well.
Member states will have to direct the additional money generated by capping power companies' revenues toward achieving more affordable energy prices for consumers.
Editor: Aili Vahtla