Meeting in Luxembourg on June 11, Europe’s energy ministers agreed on a text for a general approach on the proposal for a revision of the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of an EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).
According to the Council, the agreement provides the Presidency with a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament, which are expected to start under the Austrian presidency.
The objective of the regulation is to improve collaboration between national electricity and gas regulators by updating the tasks of the agency, the EU Council said. ACER is already active in the field of wholesale market supervision and helps address cross-border issues.
“The proposal to revise the ACER regulation is the last legal act of Clean Energy for All Europeans Package, on which the Council has finally reached a general approach,” Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said. “ACER plays an important role in facilitating cooperation between national energy regulators. After intense negotiations, the agreement reached today is balanced and offers us an excellent basis on which to begin talks with the European Parliament.”
All of the Member States have accepted the need for the existing legislative framework to be adapted in order to redefine the way the agency functions, its role and remit, the Council said, adding that this adaptation covers the tasks of its director and the board of regulators which consists of senior representatives of the member states’ national regulatory authorities. The division of tasks between the board of regulators and ACER’s director is redefined.
ACER has already improved coordination between regulators on cross-border issues. The agency was officially launched in March 2011 and has its seat in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since its creation, the agency has been given important new tasks related to the monitoring of wholesale markets and in the area of cross-border energy infrastructure.
New regulatory tasks and competencies shall only be granted to the agency if there is adequate involvement of the member states. This will be guaranteed through legislation adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure or through implementing acts.
According to the Council, increased market integration and the change towards more variable electricity production means that further efforts are needed to coordinate national energy policies with neighbouring countries and to make greater use of the opportunities offered by cross-border electricity trade. This will enable EU member states to prepare for unexpected energy supply crises and ensure the security of electricity supply. The close interconnection of the EU electricity grid means that cooperation is also needed to maintain grid stability and integrate large volumes of renewable energies, the Council said.