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German power market to boost transparency

Moves are afoot in Germany’s wholesale power market to publish more production and transmission data later this year via leading energy exchange EEX, an executive of the RWE Supply & Trading unit knowledgeable about the market said on Wednesday.

If implemented, the moves could bring wider trust and participation in Europe’s biggest and most central marketplace for electricity, said Thomas Niedrig, the head of short term position management at the utility group. “We would welcome this move as we have been among those driving transparency and believe the market would gain from a more representative picture,” said Niedrig, who was talking to Reuters on the sidelines of a traders’ meeting. “The goal must be the same information for all and this way the German market could serve as a model for others in Europe.”

The EEX for the last two years has been publishing gradually more aggregated data now covering over 80,000 megawatts of generation capacity, well over half the German total. Niedrig said while the leading big producers and 19 others were included, the data of hundreds of smaller local utilities and industrial on-site plants were missing. This was likely to be remedied soon. But Niedrig, who has a seat on the EEX exchange council, a body deciding policy, stressed he could not reveal any details or timing, as this would preempt decisions yet to be taken. A wider push for reporting duties -- even if names were not revealed to comply with the bourse’s anonymity requirements -- would give essential clues to output plans, which when weighed against demand would empower traders, Niedrig said.

Likewise, another proposal was for Germany’s four high voltage transmission grid operators E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall Europe to publish loads via the EEX to match European Union requirements. This would allow a better picture of local supply additions and withdrawals and reveal demand for the provision of power to balance the grid, a lucrative market segment, he said.

The EU Commission and network regulator Bundesnetzagentur have been pressurizing power firms to release more data which in monopoly times were kept secret but are essential to create a maturity similar to financial markets. RWE, which commands 33,000 MW of capacity in Germany, E.ON and Vattenfall offer some internal production data on their website, but on a voluntary and chequered basis. Trading of German power on the EEX and in the wider OTC market outside the exchange last year grew by 14% to 3,200 terawatt hours, RWE has estimated, which means the market turns over five to six times real usage. (Reuters)