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Brussels, 19 December 2008

European Commission welcomes creation of ENTSO for electricity

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed today the creation of European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The 42 European Transmission System Operators responsible for running the highest voltage interconnected grid signed an agreement today to establish this new organisation which could become the TSO organisation foreseen by the 3rd internal market package. The package is under discussion between the Council and the Parliament in view of its final adoption in Spring 2009. Existing associations such as ETSO, the Union for Coordination for Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) and Nordel will be dissolved and their tasks and functions will be moved to the new organisation.

"Given the challenging targets Europe has just agreed upon to combat climate change and to increase the share of renewables, we now need to focus on the implementation. Upgrading the existing grid, building new infrastructure and introducing new technology in large scale is needed in order to transport electricity from where it is produced to where it is needed. Transmission System operators have a major role to play in this" said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

Challenges for the electricity grid come from connecting large amounts of wind power, often far away from consumption, increased volatility of production and increasing share of generation in the distribution networks. In addition to increasing capacity of the grids to meet these challenges, control systems and electricity markets need to be reshaped to allow for secure, efficient and economically optimal output of the European electricity system.

Once the 3rd package for the internal energy market has been adopted (the Council and the Parliament need to agree on it) the Commission and the Agency for Cooperation of the Energy Regulators (which also has to be created) will have to give their opinion on the list of members and the statutes of the ENTSO-E. However the Commission welcomes the establishment of this new body which will accelerate the decision taking and the coming into force of the necessary institutions for the effective functioning of the internal energy market.

The regulators have also been very active and they are currently having a public consultation on the implementation of the 3rd internal energy market package.

The 42 European TSOs signed Articles of Association for founding European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The new structure will be in place from the beginning of 2009 and functions of the existing associations will be transferred to the new ENTSO during the first half of 2009.

Preparatory work has already started to perform the tasks foreseen for ENTSO in the 3rd package: planning of the European transmission grid, analysing whether generation and network infrastructure is sufficient even in extreme circumstances, developing common network operation tools, coordination of research activities in the field of transmission and drafting network codes in close collaboration with the Agency of Cooperation of Energy Regulators, the new regulator's organisation foreseen in the 3rd internal market package.

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