Permits to build power lines the main obstacle to a single European energy market says ENTSO-E


Europe needs more transmission lines to reach the European target for a single energy market by 2014, but the main obstacle is to get permits to build power lines, says Jukka Ruusunen, Vice-President of ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.  Mr Ruusunen, who is also the CEO of Fingrid, Finland’s main TSO, is part of the high-level line-up of experts who will address the more than 1000 energy trading professionals gathering for the annual Emart Energy conference and expo in Lyon, France from 23 November.

Bottlenecks expected
“A single market for electricity in Europe requires common rules agreed by all the European countries“, says Mr Ruusunen, “and enough transmission capacity to allow elecrticity trading across borders.  Creating common European rules is a complex process with many stakeholders having different goals and opinions. The goal is to have this process completed by 2014.  However, real integration requires a strong grid and building transmission lines is a long process.  We are going to see bottlenecks in the European markets because today’s transmission infrastructure is too weak for market purposes.“  

Not in my backyard
According to the Vice President of ENTSO-E, which comprises 41 TSOs from 34 countries, the creation of European level market rules is part of the Third Energy Package and member states have committed themselves to implement the European target model by 2014.  He explains:  “This is the year when we should have a functioning "software" in the European system.  But we need more transmission lines; and  building a transmission line takes years.  The main obstacle is to get permits to build lines: nobody wants to have transmission lines in their backyard.  So, we cannot avoid the fact that the "hardware" does not have the capacity to run the "software" during this decade.“   

The biggest electricity market in the world
Mr Ruusunen says ENTSO-E is working very actively to make a single market for electricity possible.  He adds:  “we are working on market related network codes in close cooperation with other stakeholders.  We are also participating in actual market integration projects – one example is the North-West European project where we are actually developing the biggest electricity market in the world!  And of course, TSOs have to develop the transmission infrastructure so that it can serve the various needs of the future.  ENTSO-E is our vehicle to make the European level grid plans which are then implemented by the TSOs.“  

Advantages to single market
According to The Fingrid CEO a bigger market should create better competition and thus provide customers with competitive prices.  “On the other hand,” he says “it provides market-based investment signals for the generators.  A single market will also help to increase the amount of renewable energy in Europe, since a bigger system can adapt more easily to the volatile variations in wind and solar generation.  An open market also allows the entry of new market players. As a CEO of a TSO company, I would also like to emphasize that a functioning liquid European market enhances the security of supply.“  

Mr Ruununen is part of the plenary official opening at Emart Energy 2011 on 23 November with the theme:  “In the European energy market we trust. Or do we?”  Fellow panelists are:

  • Pierre Chareyre, CEO, GDF SUEZ Trading, France
  • Andras Hujber, Policy Officer, DG Energy, European Commission, Belgium
  • Egbert Laege, Chief Commercial Officer, E.ON Energy Trading, Germany
  • Paul van Son, Chairman of EFET and moderator of the panel session

This year is the 13th edition of Emart Energy, which has long been regarded as Europe’s largest and leading industry platform.  More top expert speakers at Emart include:

  • Christophe Gence Creux, Head of the Electricity Department, ACER
  • Steve Gordon, Head of the Gas Department, ACER
  • Laszlo Varro, Head, Gas, Coal and Power Division, IEA (International Energy Agency)
  • Johannes Kindles, Vice President, Bundesnetzagentur
  • Henry Derwent, President and CEO, IETA

Event dates and location:
Workshops :  21-22 November
Conference :  23-24 November
Centre de Congrés, 50 Quai Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, France
Event website:

For more information, interviews and media accreditation:
Communications manager:  Annemarie Roodbol
Tel.  +27 21 700 3558      
Fax.  +27 21 700 3501   
Mobile: +27 82 562 7844