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ENERGIX-Stort program energi

Implementing network codes

Alternative title: Iverksetting av nettverkskoder

Awarded: NOK 10.1 mill.

Political decisions must not only be adopted. They must also be put into practice. What happens in that phase further down the road, in the nitty-gritty of implementation? These questions are fundamental to INC, a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project focusing on how EU energy market laws are implemented. While implementation might be thought to be a purely technical process, putting laws into practice often requires making decisions. The devil is in the detail, and political conflicts, negotiations and operational decision-making may continue long after a law has been passed. Specifically, the INC project investigates the implementation of network codes and guidelines in select EU member states and Norway. These are detailed rules on electricity trade intended to improve and harmonize the EU internal energy market. They could have far-reaching consequences for how we use our electricity network, but so far, they have largely escaped scholarly attention. This project asks several fundamental questions: 1) how have network codes and guidelines been designed and outlined at the general level? 2) how have they been further specified in various terms, conditions and methods (TCMs) across Europe? 3) how have they actually worked in practice? 4) and, most importantly, have they been able to deliver on the fundamental goal of increasing the efficiency of electricity trade within Europe? An international team of scholars, led by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, will address these issues, working in close collaboration with industry experts, user partners and other relevant stakeholders. The goal is to build relevant knowledge and capacity for user partners and policymakers. The project also has a strong theoretical foundation: general research on EU implementation has focused on whether EU member states comply with EU laws ? not on how such implementation occurs ? or why member states implement the same EU law in different ways. The INC project will delve deeply into these dynamics. 1) The guidelines require hundreds of follow-up processes for developing and adopting so-called terms and conditions or methodologies (TCMs). These are detailed, binding rules at nationa, regional or European level. There are several links across TCMs in terms of procedure (e.g., deadlines on a TCM being subject to the completion of another TCM), or substance (different TCMs regulating different aspects of the same elements). With many, linked processes for TCMs increases overall complexity, and, simultaneously, the involved parties experience a strong time pressure to conclude processes.

The project analyses decision-making occurring in the process of implementing EU energy legislation. The implementation stage is usually seen as taking place after decision making. However, political conflicts, negotiations and operational decision-making continue in the implementation stage. This has wide implications in the EU context. Decisions made within the implementation process may restrict member-state autonomy. Alternatively, decisions could leave flexibility for continued member-state autonomy if customized to a national context rather than harmonized across Europe. Energy is a policy area where operational decisions made in implementation are decisive, blurring the distinction between the decision-making and implementation stages. The INC project investigates decisions made in the process of implementing EU energy market legislation. It develops knowledge on whether, how and why implementation differs across countries, as well as how energy market integration in Europe is affected by the process of implementing EU legislation. The project develops interdisciplinary expert knowledge in the area of network codes, a highly understudied subject. Asking to how and why EU legislation is implemented in distinct ways across countries, the project studies the design and discretion in guidelines (WP1); the development and adoption of TCMs across Europe (WP2); guidelines and TCMs in practice, and accountability issues (WP3); goal achievement and implications for new EU policies (WP4); while also establishing a firm communication base and utilising experts in the substantial user group to co-develop the knowledge (WP5). This enables interdisciplinary research to generate knowledge that is highly useful for the user partners and beyond (indicated by the high rates of industry funding), as well as contributing to the research frontier on EU implementation.

Publications from Cristin

Funding scheme:

ENERGIX-Stort program energi