September 2020 View this newsletter in your browser here.

CEER Newsletter


   In her first State of the Union speech, European Commission President von der Leyen has set a more ambitious climate change target for the EU to reach at least a 55% reduction in EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This is a significant jump from the previous 2030 target of at least 40%. This level of ambition will put the EU on track to reach the EU Green Deal target of being climate neutral (zero GHG emissions) by 2050. The European Parliament and Council have been invited to confirm the 55% target as the EU's new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. In 2021, the Commission will present legislative proposals to deliver on this 55% reduction.

Meanwhile, as regulators we have been contributing input on various elements of the Green Deal action plan. For example, this month ACER-CEER held a webinar on how to improve the Trans-European Energy Network (TEN-E) Regulation and energy infrastructure investment to deliver the EU Green Deal, and we organised a CEER webinar on the future role of LNG in Europe. CEER also responded to the Commission’s public consultation on an Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy.

For the first time, our annual ACER-CEER annual Market Monitoring Report (MMR) also has a focus on decarabonisation and on the impact of COVID on Europe’s energy markets.  Featured below are insights on the Europe’s gas wholesale markets given the recent release of the gas wholesale volume of the MMR (which is the first of 3 component volumes of the MMR).

Upcoming Events

  • CEER Customer Conference (20 Oct.) Let’s Aspire: CEER-BEUC 2030 Vision for Energy Consumers. Register here.
  • CEER webinar on DSO development plans and network planning (23 Oct.). Register here.
  • ACER-CEER Market Monitoring Report event (28 Oct.)  Register here.

Check out the CEER webinars page to register for these free upcoming events and for the video recordings and PPTs of our past webinars.



EU gas market rules successful and ACER-CEER recommend decarbonisation to be built on the current market design

Monitoring is an important task of energy regulators at national and EU level. Each year, CEER works closely with the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) to produce the joint ACER-CEER Annual Report on the Results of Monitoring the Internal Electricity and Natural Gas Markets (known as the ACER-CEER Market Monitoring Report, MMR).  This year-long exercise relies on significant resources from ACER and CEER, and a lot of (2019) data collected mainly from the national regulators. This year, it also contains some data from the Energy Community countries.

Just released is the first (of the three) volumes of the ACER-CEER MMR namely the Gas Wholesale volumes. The other two volumes, namely,  electricity wholesale and retail and customer protection, will be released in October.  CEER also publishes on its website during this same period the individual country reports, in the national language version and English (or an English-language summary).

What are regulators’ main findings about Europe’s wholesale gas markets?

The main messages are that Europe’s gas markets are working, and that decarbonisation should be built on the current market design.

EU gas market rules are working

The ACER-CEER gas market monitoring results show that the common rules governing access and operation of EU gas transportation systems – the Gas Network codes – have contributed to high levels of gas price integration between EU Member States, increased supply side competition and helped create liquid wholesale markets over the period of the last five years.

As a result, big gas companies have less market power and more EU gas consumers can benefit from increased competition and lower prices. To safeguard these developments, ACER-CEER recommend that the adaptation of Gas Network codes be made more dynamic, so that the market framework can be adjusted in response to evolving market conditions. 

The MMR also shows that the presence of increasingly liquid hubs and the large EU regasification and storage capacities are attracting global liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers to Europe. In an oversupplied market, record LNG deliveries arriving from the Middle East, the US and Russia drove down the gas price to record lows in 2019, saving 29 billion Euros according to data from the European Commission. Maintaining competition between suppliers from outside of the EU will grow in importance in the coming years as domestic gas production in Member States continues to decrease while gas consumption has been growing in recent years.

Decarbonising together at EU level

New supply of carbon neutral gas could contribute decisively to the EU climate strategy, with the added benefit of further rebalancing the current market power asymmetry between European gas buyers and third-country suppliers. However, monitoring results show that today, carbon neutral gases account for a relatively minor share of EU gas consumption at around 4%, predominantly biogas, which is mostly not injected into the gas grid, and are far from being competitive at current prices.

Given the framework of the European Green Deal, particularly the increasing ambitions for reducing emissions by 2030 as well as the resources that have been earmarked for climate projects as part of the EU recovery plan, the low uptake of carbon neutral gases will need to accelerate. Therefore, ACER-CEER recommend that any upgrading of internal gas market rules aimed at decarbonising the sector be built on foundations of the current market design, so that the transition to carbon neutral gas does not lead to market fragmentation along national borders and keeps the significant benefits for consumers in place. The data underlying the Market Monitoring Report is available here.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on gas wholesale markets in the EU

The analyses in this report are mostly based on data from 2019 and do not yet fully take into account the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, preliminary analysis by the Agency (ACER) shows that lockdowns which governments had enacted to control the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a severe drop of energy consumption throughout the EU. Gas demand, which fell by 8% compared to the previous year up to May 2020, has yet to return to pre-lockdown levels though demand has picked-up since the beginning of the summer.
Some trends which had started in 2019 have further accelerated: EU hub prices plummeted to new record lows (in June spot prices on the reference TTF hub in the Netherlands were down by 52% compared to the previous year and 77% lower when compared to June 2018); hub trading activity, supported by additional hedging needs, rose by more than a fifth up to June 2020 compared with the same period last year; and record volumes of gas are being held in storage. 

What’s next?

The Electricity Wholesale volume and the Retail and Consumer Protection volume of the MMR will be published in October. This year, the annual ACER-CEER MMR event will take the form of an online webinar  on Wednesday, 28 October.


Tel Logo +32 278 873 30 or +32 484 668 599

Unsubscribe from the CEER news alerts.