Payment day for nuclear addiction in France

Saint Laurent nuclear power station in Loire Valley photo Andrea Kirkby-slider

French year ahead power prices have risen sharply over the last few weeks amid worries over the reliability of EDF’s nuclear output in the coming winter. The situation in France demonstrates that nuclear power is neither as cheap nor as reliable as its proponents claim, writes Benedict de Meulemeester, Managing Director of Brussels-based E&C Consultants. According to De Meulemeester, the French market model, based on centralized power … [Read more...]

Buying energy in the land of the free

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European energy users often look with envy at the US, where energy is abundant and cheap. However, writes Benedict De Meulemeester, such simplistic comparisons ignore the many structural differences that exist between the two markets: “In the land of the free, energy markets are in many ways less free – and certainly less transparent – than in Europe.” According to De Meulemeester, Managing Director of E&C Consultants, “a US energy buyer has … [Read more...]

How hub-based pricing is reshaping the EU gas market – even Spain

Credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr

Countries like Spain, which have long been immune to the shift from oil- to spot market-based gas pricing, are finally waking up. With that, come fresh opportunities for alternative gas suppliers to sell more and end-customers to pay less. So the evidence suggests, writes Benedict De Meulemeester, owner and founder of the international energy and environment consultancy E&C. Taking the UK as an example, he urges Spain to use a new … [Read more...]

Capacity payments: expensive solution for a non-existing problem

photo: Lisa Williams

As of 2015, the UK will be the first European country to launch a capacity mechanism that aims at rewarding power plants for the MW’s they can produce rather than the MW’s they actually generate. Similar plans are being  prepared in other countries, including Belgium, France and Germany. According to Benedict de Meulemeester, CEO of international energy procurement consultancy E&C, it is understandable that energy companies lobby for capacity … [Read more...]

Policy failures have turned Belgium into high-price electricity island in Europe

Nuclear power station Doel (photo Goya Bauwens)

Wholesale power prices in Belgium are now considerably higher than in its big neighbour Germany. In addition, Belgium is the only country in North West Europe to be faced with an electricity supply shortage. This situation is caused by a long series of policy failures on the part of the Belgian government, which has failed to create stable investment conditions, a competitive market and adequate interconnections, argues Benedict de Meulemeester, … [Read more...]