Europe must build more cross-border power transmission
lines to cope with increased electricity flows
between countries as markets open to competition,
and to make supply more secure, said the head
of French grid Reseau de Transport d'Electricite
(RTE) on Tuesday.
"If we want to develop the market in Europe
we need to increase the amount of interconnection,"
said Andre Merlin, who is also president of
industry group European Transmission System
"More international interconnection would
be good for the market and good for security,"
he told a utilities conference in London.
The European Union's energy markets are
opening to competition in line with an EU
directive on energy liberalisation, which
aims to create a single market across the
EU Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio
recently identified the need for more interconnectors
as a priority in proposals to improve security
of supply in Europe in the wake of blackouts
last year in Italy, Scandinavia and Britain.
Merlin said greater capacity for cross-border
flows would give more opportunities for countries
facing supply squeezes to draw on back-up
supplies from neighbouring markets.
"Last summer France got back-up from Spain,"
he said, referring to a squeeze on French
supplies when a heat wave forced the shutdown
of some nuclear power stations.
Roger Urwin, chief executive officer of
Britain's National Grid Transco , agreed
that Europe's grids were not built with cross-border
flows and trading in mind.
"We are confronted with real challenges
in creating the operational flexibility that
the market needs," he told the same conference.
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