In one of his first in-depth interviews since the restructuring of EON, CEO Johannes Teyssen sets out a completely new vision of where he sees European energy markets and policies going. The future according to Teyssen is: distribution much more than transmission; state-led renewables auctions and capacity markets, not wholesale energy-only markets; carbon taxes or floor prices, not carbon trading or emission trading; higher energy efficiency targets, not higher renewables targets; and a total overhaul of the grid. Teyssen, who only three years ago told Energy Post he was opposed to national support schemes for renewables and wanted only the EU’s Emission Trading System as climate instrument, now says he is not much interested anymore in EU “dreams” of “a perfect world of an Energy Union with a perfect level playing field”: “I’d rather see some low-hanging fruit harvested”. His first priority now is “my customers”, the second EON. “Politics is a distant third.”
Less than two weeks after EON completed the spin-off of its conventional energy arm Uniper, Johannes Teyssen, the man who led this first radical restructuring of a major European utility company shaken by the energy transition, appears to be a new man himself. He has a very different vision of the future than he displayed nearly three years ago in an interview we did with him when EON was still an integrated company relying heavily on conventional power plants.
At the time, his main concern was for the EU to create a “market design” based on a free, competitive internal market, whose only climate instrument was the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). Now he believes that such a perfect market design is a dream. He argues that it may be better to replace the EU ETS with a carbon tax or a floor price.
He has also accepted that all countries will have their own support schemes for renewable energy. “For a long time to come we will have renewables auctions managed by the State,” he says, although he does hope the EU will create a “common rulebook for how member states can do their renewable energy auctions”.
He believes it is only natural that countries will also set up their own capacity markets: “In a world with growing renewables, you need capacity markets. You see them re-emerging everywhere…. In future, the capacity part of the market will grow and the energy part will decline.”
But Teyssen is much less concerned with politics these days. He is focusing on turning EON into a customer-centred company offering network services, renewables and customer solutions: “We have several million customers already buying products that are not commodities.” He notes that distribution networks will be much more important in the future than transmission networks. He believes the grid will need to “totally rebuilt”.
You can read the full interview on our premium newsletter Energy Post Weekly. If you don’t subscribe yet, no worries: you can register for a free trial here. If you want to know where European energy policies and markets are headed, in the vision of one of Europe’s most influential energy business leaders, don’t miss this candid interview.