Market integration is one of E-Control's key strategic objectives. Due to our central geographical location in Europe and our considerable technical interconnection capacity with neighbouring countries, Austria is ideally placed to take part in an integrated wholesale market and has a strong interest in continuously improving integration.
Our emphasis on this topic is a cross-cutting issue with practical effects on everything from market rules to infrastructure.
Market conditions in Austria
The cross-border interconnections with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland are congested. Capacity on the Austro-Italian border is allocated in implicit auctions as part of the European day-ahead market coupling mechanism. On the other congested borders, explicit auctions apply. The border between Austria and Germany is congestion free. There is no interconnector linking Austria and Slovakia.
The TSOs normally apply the NTC method to calculate the available interconnection capacity at each interconnection point.
Available transmission capacity
The control area operator APG provides information on all available capacity on its website.
Parts of the proceeds from the auctioning of cross-border capacity are invested in maintenance and expansion of such capacity (e.g. when new lines are needed). The rest goes into guaranteeing that the allocated capacity is actually available and into lowering the grid charges. The exact use of the proceeds is covered in an annual E-Control report, which is available from our German pages.
The European goal to achieve the Internal Energy Market is being pursued through a number of avenues. The pan-European steps towards this goal have included e.g. the adoption in 2015 of a Commission Regulation establishing a guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management. Such progress is complemented by efforts at regional level.
Austria is an active member of the Central Eastern Europe (CEE) region, where E-Control acts as the lead regulator. This region also comprises the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
We also participate in the Central Southern Europe (CSE) region, where Austria is joined by France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Slovenia, along with Switzerland as an observer country. In 2015, this region achieved a milestone when day-ahead market coupling was introduced at almost all Italian borders.
Due to the high level of market integration with Germany, Austria is inherently linked with the Central Western Europe (CWE) region, consisting of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since 2011 the Austrian Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth, control area operator and power exchange, and E-Control been full members of the Pentalateral Energy Forum – an initiative of the ministries concerned.
All these activities aim to expand day-ahead market coupling, better integration of intra-day trading and coordinated allocation of long-term capacity.
E-Control’s contribution to cross-border market integration
In addition to our work in the above regions, E-Control is very active in the CEER and ACER working groups and task forces that deal with cross-border electricity exchanges. The issues addressed span virtually every area of regulation, including grid connection and access, security of supply, quality of supply, congestion management, system losses, balancing energy, and the development of common regional and European regulatory approaches tailored to the provisions of the third package.