RES priority dispatch dispute emerges at Florence Forum

Participants at the recent Florence Forum, a key annual event drawing authorities to discuss regulatory reforms for the EU internal electricity market, agreed on most European Commission RES proposals, but disagreements on priority dispatch rights for RES units did emerge at the forum, held May 18 and 19 this year.

As part of its Clean Energy package, the European Commission recently proposed removing priority dispatch rights for new RES units, while ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, called for removing the priority dispatch for existing RES units so that all technologies may compete fairly in the market to deliver the lowest possible cost to consumers. As was expected, RES sector officials opposed these proposals at the Florence Forum.

The wind energy association WindEurope, responding to the EU’s new Renewable Energy Directive, expressed its concern, along with other RES associations, noting that a “publically funded agency such as ACER is essentially undermining the faith of investors.”

WindEurope believes that priority dispatch rights for existing units should not be removed because various electricity systems are dealing with infrastructure deficiencies and insufficient flexibility. By extension, wind energy producers are often forced to disrupt operations and not always compensated, WindEurope supported.

“In practice, only nine countries permit system flexibility in return for compensation. That is why priority and fair compensation for shutdown are important measures for the operation of units. These arrangements should remain in the new regulations for electricity purchases in order to keep the cost of RES projects proportionate and, by extension, reduce the cost of RES support for consumers,” WindEurope noted in a statement.