Piebalgs welcomes coupling electricity markets
Energy Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes successful coupling of the Belgian, Dutch and French electricity markets
Brussels, Belgium – “Market coupling is an important step towards the true integration of European electricity markets”. With these words Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed the trilateral coupling of the French, Belgian and Dutch electricity markets that was presented to the press 2007-02-14. Since 21 November 2006, the new joint market has enabled the creation of a power exchange in Belgium, the use of interconnectors has become significantly more efficient, while the price levels between the three countries have converged.
The area of the trilateral market coupling will later also link with the first regional market of Europe, the Northern market, to Norway, as well as to the Iberian market, which is currently moving towards a closer integration.
Once the market is coupled with Eastern Europe through Germany, important progress will have been made in creating a European wholesale market functioning in a fairly harmonised way. This will, in turn, facilitate further connections with more distant countries such as the Baltic States.
Trilateral market coupling is a project that was supported by the North-West Europe Pentalateral Energy Forum and the North-West Europe Regional Initiative led by regional electricity regulators.
The Commission considers the development of regional markets as an intermediate step towards the constitution of a single European market. Several projects dealing with the integration of the electricity markets in North-West Europe are currently underway.
 The Belgian power exchange, Belpex, was set up in cooperation with the Dutch power exchange APX, the French power exchange Powernext, and the three Transmission System Operators: EDF-RTE, Elia and Tennet. Belpex started the day-ahead market 21 November 2006. The volume increase has been encouraging and the prices have been reasonable.
 In the North-West regional market, including NL, BE, LUX, FR and DE, there are two fora active. Pentalateral forum is an initiative of the Governments in the region to make progress in the regional electricity market. Regional initiative is headed by the regulators, under a mandate of ERGEG, looking at implementing a well functioning electricity market.