Clean Energy for all? The Legal Challenges of Implementing the Clean Energy Package’s Consumer-Centric Energy Provisions
The Clean Energy Package (CEP) proposals launched in November 2016 has been branded as a consumer-centric package that promises a “new deal” for consumers and clean energy for all Europeans. However, to be effective, several of the consumer-centric provisions require cooperation between market actors, regulators and possibly new entities. Thus, the challenge of the CEP consumer-centric provisions lay in the implementation phase, which will likely require new legal structures as well as new business models. Among the issues to be explored, in this respect, are the new supply relationships in the clean energy transition; how to be a successful aggregator and comply with competition law; and to consider the protections available, exploring the future for energy-intensive and residential customers.
New supply relationships in the clean energy transition
Several rules encourage the evolution towards prosumer status. This evolution needs a contractual framework that, for example, enables customers to purchase electricity from RES producers, while being protected from the risks inherent with this source. What will be the key clauses in the clean energy contracts? Will trading platforms play a role in facilitating these new relationships? Will new energy products emerge to hedge the risks of volatile RES supply?
How to be a successful aggregator and comply with competition law
Incumbents have a head start in becoming aggregators as they already have the critical mass to successfully perform this role. Yet, dynamic new entrants are also emerging in this space. What are the dos and don’ts for aggregators from a competition law perspective? Are there competition law risks from cooperation between potential competitors in this field? Are local communities an alternative to aggregators?
“Who is going to protect me?” The future for energy-intensive and residential customers
The CEP puts an end to regulated tariffs. This affects energy-intensive as well as residential customers. Moreover, with the review of the State aid Guidelines for the energy sector already in sight, it is not clear that energy-intensive customers can continue to rely on discounts from the levies to support RES. Is the market mature enough to take care of the needs of energy-intensive and residential customers? What can national regulators still do? Is State aid the answer?
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