In the past, power market reform happened to increase efficiency, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or to improve reliability and security of supply. Today in Europe, the desire to further change the market stems from the ongoing energy crisis. As the European Union introduces a new round of electricity market reforms, RAP explores where new market regulation would usefully tackle the root causes of the ongoing energy crisis, meet consumer needs and help Europe move away from fossil fuels.

The current energy crisis is a gas crisis. It is a nightmarish scenario stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting supply disruption of cheap pipeline gas, converging with decommissioning of nuclear capacity and low hydro output. Hedging strategies by energy suppliers and consumers fell short and unprecedented wholesale market prices for fossil gas made consumer gas and electricity bills explode.

Strategies must therefore improve hedging in the market if Europe is to mitigate the energy crisis – and prepare for the next. To this end, RAP recommends replacing the role of fossil gas with renewables, demand-side flexibility and energy efficiency. More precisely, this requires:

  • Recognising and promoting demand-side resources as a vital system resource.
  • Building out more solar and wind, and doing so better and faster.
  • Protecting basic consumer needs better than in the past.

For policymakers weighing whether to implement these actions, the authors explain the various considerations.