Virtual Legal


 Energy law in the EU - the wider framework for renewables 
Rules on grid access and priority dispatch for renewable energy in Europe

I. Introduction1. What does guaranteed transmission and distribution mean?

Guaranteed transmission safeguards that generated electricity is fed from a power plant into the grid system and transferred on the extra high-voltage and high-voltage interconnected system with a view to its delivery to final consumer or to the Distribution System Operator (DSO). Transmission does not include supply of the electricity. Managing of the transmission is one of the responsibilities of the Transmission System Operator (TSO). Furthermore, the TSO is also obliged to ensure long-term ability of the system to meet demands for electricity transmission and to manage energy flows of the system. The TSO is thus responsible for keeping the system secure, reliable and efficient. Similarly, guaranteed distribution secures that the electricity is transported on high-voltage, medium-voltage and low-voltage systems with a view to its delivery to final customers. Distribution neither includes supply of the electricity.

2. What is grid access?

Grid access means the admittance of an electricity generating installation to the transmission and distribution systems, i.e. the installation gets the permission to build a connection to the grid allowing to actually feed the electricity produced into it. In terms of priority access, an assurance is given to connected generators that they will be able to sell and transmit their electricity in accordance with connection rules at all times, whenever the source becomes available. Furthermore, in the event that the electricity from renewable energy sources is integrated into the spot market, guaranteed access ensures that all electricity sold and supported obtains access to the grid, allowing the use of a maximum amount of electricity from renewable energy sources from installations connected to the grid.

3. What is meant by priority dispatch?Electricity dispatch means that the electricity produced is actually used by the TSO and DSO to guarantee the grid and system stability, i.e. the electricity used as a result of balancing of supply and demand. If there is too little electricity, the TSO or DSO will have to signal to producers to increase production, if there is too much, some producers may be deregulated. Priority dispatch in this regard means not being deregulated in case this becomes necessary, i.e. the TSO and DSO will have to consider those installations with priority dispatch first when doing the balancing exercise of supply and demand. The rules on dispatch thus relate to the core of system stability and shall guarantee the secure operation of the electricity system.. However, such rules, including the rules on the use of interconnectors, shall be determined on the basis of non-discriminatory criteria.

Energy Taxation in the EU

I. Background

Every time we drive our cars, we talk on the phone, or stare at the bright screens of our computers we consume energy. While a single kWh is only worth around 3.4 cent[1] the price that can be found on the bill later is much higher. Part of these additional costs is made up of taxes. The energy taxation in the EU is based on the Energy Taxation Directive, Directive 2003/96/EC. In the following the competences of the EU to legislate on this topic, recent proposals for amendments to the existing energy taxation legislation and the opinions of the different institutions towards those proposals will be discussed.


The Clean Air Policy Package

Harmful emissions from industry have a huge impact on human health, as they e.g. can cause cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. According to the estimations of the World Health Organization and European Commission, more than 400 000 premature deaths were attributable to ambient air pollution in Europe in 2010 and 2012. Moreover, the air pollution has a significant influence on the environmental (effects on the quality of fresh water and soil etc.) and it can also cause damage of materials and buildings. All these factors have in the end a massive economic impact.[1]

There are several actions that may help to reduce air pollution. In December 2013, the European Commission adopted a package that comprises of three main elements: Clean Air Programme for Europe, a revised National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive and a proposal for a new Directive on Medium Combustion Plants.[2] A proposal for a Council Decision on the acceptance of the Amendment to the 1999 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone is also a part of the package. The main aim of the adopted measures is to update existing legislation and further lower the air pollution in the European Union (EU). Among others, the package sets new emission limits for some of the major pollutants. The package targets to number of sectors, including traffic, power plants and agriculture.

[1] European Environmental Agency: Air Quality in Europe - 2014 Report. Available here:

[2] See: DG Environment: