TALLINN - During their meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, the European Union's energy ministers agreed on changes to the electricity market, such as the possibility for households generating electric power to sell it to their neighbor.
Estonia's Minister of Climate Kristen Michal, who attended the meeting, said that expensive fossil fuels and the energy crisis we saw last year have brought higher price levels and price fluctuations to the electricity market, which have raised concerns for both consumers and industry.
"A better and more transparent electricity market organization should bring more renewable energy to balance the market, create better opportunities for consumers to benefit from more affordable electricity prices and make European industry cleaner and more competitive," Michal said through spokespeople.
Member states therefore want to give a greater role to longer-term contracts in pricing, in addition to the electricity exchange, the minister said.
"This will benefit consumers in the form of fixed contracts with a more stable and better price and give developers the necessary additional confidence to invest more and more in clean electricity generation," he said.
During the negotiations, an agreement was reached on the general approach to the EU's Single Electricity Market Directive and the electricity market supervision regulation. The agreement includes, among other things, the possibility of sharing the electricity that households produce directly between people, for example by selling electricity produced by solar panels to a neighbor.
In addition, it will be possible to install several meters at one place of consumption and buy electricity from multiple sellers simultaneously. Thus, for example, a consumer could buy electricity for heating at a fixed price from one seller and cover other consumption with a variable price package from another seller. Agreement was also reached on strengthening market oversight.
Member states failed to reach agreement on the single electricity market regulation and negotiations continue in working groups. The proposal on which member states were divided would allow states to set a cap on electricity prices when paying subsidies to renewable electricity developments, above which the electricity producer would have to pay the profits earned to the state. In the negotiations, Estonia sought a compromise and supported returning the subsidy collected from consumers back to the consumers, but also stressed the need to avoid creating inequalities between countries.
The European Commission also gave an overview of the preparations for the upcoming heating season, and a debate was held on nuclear safety. According to the Estonian minister, Russia's aggression has raised concerns about nuclear safety and additional measures are needed to prevent potential environmental threats.