France, Belgium push for ‘Europe of electricity’

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The French power transmission operator RTE and its Belgian counterpart Elia will inaugurate on 18 February a coordination centre in Brussels, in a bid to strengthen the security of electricity flows in Western Europe, EURACTIV France reports.

The centre is meant to reinforce technical coordination of electricity networks for the whole Central and Western Europe region. 

“This is a concrete manifestation of the construction of a Europe of electricity,” claimed Dominique Maillard, chairman of the executive board of RTE. 

The aims of the centre will be to enable the electricity companies to share their tools, software and data. 

“The goal is to have an idea of the security of the electricity networks of North-Western Europe,” Maillard explained. 

The chairman also believes that similar centres should be opened up in other parts of Europe. “There is a common will of all the electricity providers to move in this direction,” he claimed. 

Maillard called for a “higher level of security” of European electricity networks and a “strengthening of the exchange of data” between national electricity providers. 

The attainment of this goal will, however, depend on the will of the operators in Germany, as the country has four electricity companies. Indeed, the “question of reunification rests on the German operators,” Maillard said. 

“In the meantime, this does not mean that we should exclude the strengthening of technical cooperations,” the chairman argued. 

In fact, Vattenfall Europe Transmission, an electricity company that uses high tension networks and installations in Berlin, Hamburg and the eastern regions of Germany, has expressed an interest in the Franco-Belgian initiative. This is equally the case for the British company National Grid, according to RTE. 

The centre will be inaugurated amid great fanfare in the presence of EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. 

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