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The electricity system in Europe needs to be modified in order to ensure security of supply, a fair and low electricity price for the consumer, and sustainable and climate-friendly electricity generation. These objectives form the basis of European energy policy. As wind power will play an ever more important role in the electricity supply, this section looks at some of the important policy developments at EU level which are vital for the process of grid integration of wind power in Europe.
A new Renewables Directive, agreed by the European Union in December 2008, sets a 20 per cent target for the EU as a whole for the share of energy demand to be covered by renewables by 2020. In order to achieve this target, the European Commission estimates that wind power will have to cover 12 per cent of total European electricity demand by 2020, although the individual national and sectoral targets have yet to be established. The agreed Renewables Directive:
- Stipulates that Member States need to provide sufficient grid capacity to connect wind power; and
- Includes some clauses related to priority access and priority dispatch for wind power and other variable output renewables, depending on local power market conditions.
A series of legal measures (the so-called 'Third Liberalisation Package') were proposed in 2008. The intention is to create a single electricity market in Europe, with more coordinated regulation, improved system operation at international level and fair access for (RES) generators. The measures include stronger international cooperation of Transmission System Operators (TSOs) under the ENTSO network.
In principle, this could provide a changed framework for the future development of harmonised grid codes in the coming years. The implementation of the proposed Liberalisation Package could also improve the interconnection between Member States. The future Agency for the Coordination of Energy Regulators in Europe (ACER), as proposed by the Liberalisation Package, needs to ensure that TSOs submit appropriate transmission development plans and that the regulation in the market is improved, strengthened and harmonised.
The Trans-European Networks for electricity (TEN-E) programme addresses transmission development issues at the European level, in order to support the further development of the internal electricity market. A Green Paper on transmission issues was published in the third quarter of 2008, which will form the basis for European policies for transmission development and should give guidance on the national policy frameworks. The TEN-E Programme is currently being complemented by a European Commission initiative to explore and possibly implement grid reinforcements, including offshore grid transmission lines to enable the connection of the predicted offshore wind power capacity. A European coordinator has been appointed for this purpose.
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