Solar and wind power are naturally quite irregular in terms of production and supply to the grid. The Epex Spot power exchange has coped with these fluctuations in supply rather well over the last year and a half. 07/2011


Since the start of 2010, the energy exchange Epex Spot, headquartered in Leipzig and Paris, has been marketing all electricity priced according to the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG). “The first phase has shown that electricity from fluctuating energy sources can be integrated into the market when conventional capacities are intelligently switched on and off and the day-ahead and intraday market are used wisely,” said Iris Weidinger, Chief Financial Officer of the Epex parent company EEX European Energy Exchange, at a conference of the Federal Network Agency (BNA) in Berlin in mid-July. Day-ahead and intraday are Epex Spot markets which trade electricity a day in advance and a few hours in advance.

Fears that price fluctuations might increase when greatly varied amounts of solar and wind electricity are sold on the spot market have proved unfounded. On the contrary, price fluctuations in the daily auction for the market areas of Germany and Austria have actually fallen considerably. “The amount of EEG energy sold on the exchange has not influenced the market price for electric energy,” said Thomas Drescher, Head of Market Operations Leipzig at Epex. The reason for this, he pointed out, is that market participants were well prepared for the new situation.

BNA President Matthias Kurth deemed the sale of EEG electricity on the exchange a decisive step ahead “from a market perspective.” “But a true integration of renewable energy production in the electricity trading market would require that the EEG producer assume the quantity and price risk himself,” he said. This is already the case with direct marketing, promoted by the so-called green-power privilege.

Direct marketing will be restricted, though, with the EEG amendment taking effect in 2012. At the same time a “sliding market premium” is planned, which is intended to encourage plant operators to feed in their green power mainly during periods of high market prices. Moreover, the power exchange is working on a model for trading EEG power as certified green electricity. At present it is losing its eco quality, being mixed with conventional electric energy into anonymous gray power.

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