European Union: Energy Capacity Markets

The EU Commission and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators are looking at options on how best to reward generation adequacy and flexibility in the power markets given the challenges brought by the European policy of moving towards a low carbon society.


Several factors have prompted policymakers to open the conversation on generation adequacy and the need to introduce capacity markets in Europe: (i) the increased share of intermittent renewable energy in the energy mix of most member states, (ii) the effects of gradually phasing out conventional power plants following the implementation of the Large Combustion Plant Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive, (iii) the nuclear phase-outs or restrictions to build new nuclear, and (iv) stricter standards for building new power. All these factors have caused conventional power plants difficulties in securing reasonable profitability, which in the longer term can seriously harm future investments needed to maintain a satisfactory level of security of supply. The increased capacities of intermittent renewable sources of energy have subsequently amplified the need for more back up reserves and flexibility available in a system.

To avoid the worst case scenario, where all these factors can potentially cause blackouts across Europe, it is imperative to address the issue of security of supply by incentivising the market participants to invest in new generation capacities.

The incentive takes the form of a mechanism called capacity remuneration, which aims to provide market participants with a stimulus in addition to the payments made available under an "energy-only" market. The capacity markets are meant to provide investors with a secure stream of revenue in the form of capacity remuneration that rewards the market participant not only for delivering energy into the system but also for being available to deliver when requested by the market operator.

In a perfect energy-only market without any market failures, the operating and capital costs of a power plant could be recovered exclusively through the market price, and there are no payments for capacity.

In November 2012 the EU Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee requested the Agency for the Cooperation of the Energy Regulators (ACER) to issue an opinion on capacity markets. ACER has issued both an opinion in February 2013 and a report in July 2013. The Commission is expected to also issue a communication on public intervention in the electricity sector, including on capacity markets.  

Capacity remuneration mechanism

ACER underlines the fact that in an integrated European energy market security of supply cannot be just a national concern and should be addressed at the European, or at least regional, level. Currently there is no uniform approach of capacity remuneration across Europe, as the member states are pursuing a national generation adequacy policy. Finland, Greece, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden have implemented capacity remunerations. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Great Britain are considering introducing a capacity market. The rest of the member states have no capacity remuneration in place, nor are they considering introducing one soon. 

Capacity remuneration can be volume-based or price-based. The volume based remuneration can be targeted; takes the form of strategic reserves or market-wide; and takes the form of capacity obligation, capacity auction, or reliability option. The price-based mechanism takes the form of a capacity payment.

Most of the capacity remunerations in place in the member states mentioned above are there to ensure generation adequacy but also to provide more flexibility and to reduce price risk and price volatility.

Risks associated with capacity markets

Given their purpose, capacity remunerations (besides creating an incentive for the market participants to invest in new generation capacities) can distort prices and cross-border competition, and in the long term can influence investment decisions in energy infrastructure (for example, creating less cross-border infrastructure or investing less in storage and demand side management) since the volume and price risks can be controlled via the capacity remuneration.

In its opinion to the parliament, ACER has underlined the fact that a capacity market should be implemented only when and to the extent that energy-only markets cannot provide sufficient incentives on their own for the investments that are needed, and they should have as little influence as possible on the energy markets. 

ACER has proposed that prior to designing and implementing a certain type of capacity remuneration regionally or across Europe, at least the following matters must be first addressed: a common or regional approach for assessing the security of supply and generation adequacy level, and ensuring access to the security of supply and flexibility resources provided by generators in another member state.

Quote: Capacity markets should be introduced at least at a regional (if not European) level. They should be compatible with the electricity target model. And their design should prevent distortions to the functioning of the internal energy market and cross border trading. The introduction of national capacity markets should follow only after a sound and detailed impact assessment.

This article was originally published in the schoenherr roadmap`14 - if you would like to receive a complimentary copy of this publication, please visit:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions