by Thomas-Olivier Léautier & Claude Crampes
The first directive liberalising the European electricity markets is celebrating its 20th anniversary at the end of the year. What conclusions can we draw from these two decades of liberalisation? Some observers, including famous ones, argue that this experiment is a failure. At regular intervals, conferences are held in Brussels or other capitals to discuss new reforms deemed essential in order to save the European electricity industry. The European Commission suggests changes after consulting market players.
This article defends a more optimistic position: the liberalisation of the European electricity industry accomplished most of its initial targets. Admittedly, improvements can and should be made, but we have come a long way. So, the glass is half full. In this time of doubt about the success of European integration, the electricity industry does give us grounds for some satisfaction.