Memorandum of Understanding for the coupling of the electricity markets of Balkan countries were signed by Regulatory Authorities, Transmission System Operators, and Power Exchanges, on Tuesday, 14 November 2023 in Athens, during a meeting organized by the U.S. National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the U.S. Energy Association (USEA), and RTI International with the support of the Hellenic Regulatory Authority for Energy, Waste, & Water and sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
On the Greek side, the Memoranda of Understanding were signed by the President of the Energy, Waste, & Water Regulatory Authority, Prof. Athanasios Dagoumas with his Balkan counterparts from the Regulatory Authorities; the General Director of Operation, Infrastructure, and Market of IPTO Dimitrios Michos with Balkan representatives from the System Operators; and the CEO of the Hellenic Energy Exchange, Alexandros Papageorgiou with his Balkan counterparts from the Energy Exchanges.
The signatory parties of the Balkan countries agreed to set up a Working Group to coordinate forthcoming actions.
This initiative paves the way for the creation of a single electricity market in Southeastern Europe, which will be interconnected with the single European market. The integration process will be based on the model of the coupled markets of Greece with Italy and Bulgaria.
“The coupling of the electricity markets in the Western Balkans introduces a new era of energy cooperation that promises significant advantages for all countries of the region and consequently for the rest of Europe,” said Greek RAEWW President Prof. Athanasios Dagoumas. RAEWW’s President also stated that the signing of the MoU will enhance the existing levels of energy security by promoting resilience through cross-border market integration. “Greece, as part of this initiative, can further contribute to the environmentally friendly aspect of energy integration in the Western Balkans, as it has significant renewable energy production capacity. At the same time, it can help promote the use of clean and sustainable energy sources throughout the region,” he added.
The Chairman of the Albanian Energy Regulatory Authority Petrit Ahmeti, stated, “With the signing of the Energy Community Treaty in October 2005 in Athens, we started without return the process of the integration of our energy market into the EU energy market. During recent years, we have always been committed to this objective. The operation of the DAM in Albania by ALPEX and its nomination as NEMO, appointed to operate for market coupling between Albania and Kosovo, is the first step towards our market integration. The Market Coupling Project and this Memorandum of Understanding for Electricity Day-Ahead Market Coupling will establish a framework for cooperation to advance the process of European electricity market integration in Southeast Europe. We consider the Market Coupling, Project necessary to reach this destination, and the signing of the MoU is a necessary step to push forward a common project already started some years ago. We are eager to start working on next steps and are committed to make progress and promote the successful development and implementation of the day-ahead market coupling between the electricity markets of Albania, Greece, North Macedonia, and Kosovo”.
Marko Bislimoski from the Energy, Water Services and Municipal Waste Management Services Regulatory Commission of the Republic of North Macedonia stated that competitive and lower electricity prices will be provided to consumers with the implementation of the Memorandum, adding: “The regional integration of the market of our country with a country of the EU such as Greece, as well as with the markets of Albania and Kosovo, is only a step and an overture toward the goal – creating a single electricity market in Europe, which comprises efficient, optimal usage of transmission capacities and a possibility for a larger production of electricity, i.e., increased and more intensive investments in renewable energy sources and the introduction of new technology”.
The Chairman of Board from the Energy Regulatory Office of Kosovo Ymer Fejzullahu, noted, “With the signing and implementation of this memorandum, we estimate that our countries are taking a big step for the benefit of consumers as well as energy companies. The creation of a common market between our countries has been preceded by a relatively long process, with many activities and challenges, but as never before, no obstacle has hindered us, since we had a major goal to have a common market. We are more than ever convinced that the integration of our countries into a regional market will improve competition, transparency, and fulfill the obligations we have as a state in relation to the Pan-European market”.
The CEO and President of the Hellenic Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) Manousos Manousakis, stated, “Being already a member of the Single Day Ahead Coupling, IPTO actively supports regional co-operation and will contribute to the establishment of the conditions necessary for other sides to join it. This will allow the Balkans to enjoy the advantages of market harmonization and increased efficiency in resource allocation and utilization, bringing significant added value to all market stakeholders”.
“This meeting and the signature of the MoU, reflects a strategic move towards enhancing regional cooperation and optimizing electricity trading,” stressed the CEO of the Albanian Transmission System Operator (OST), Skerndi Drenova. He added, “By becoming part of the market coupling, OST aims to foster a more efficient electricity market. This step aligns with the broader objective of market coupling, which is to facilitate seamless cross-border electricity transactions, contributing to price reduction and the advancement of a greener, more sustainable energy sector. OST’s commitment to join this initiative shows its dedication to driving positive changes in the energy landscape, promoting collaboration with neighboring entities”.
“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding represents only one part of the process on which all Balkan countries are working thoroughly and devotedly”, said the General Director of the Transmission System Operator of the Republic of North Macedonia (AD MEPSO), Zuhdi Enuz. He added, “The process of merging electricity markets into a single European electricity market is a powerful tool for improving market liquidity, ensuring market stability, integrating renewable energy sources, increasing transparency and competition, out of which will benefit consumers and the economy, and all market participants, as a more dynamic and efficient electricity market is being created. The creation of an integrated electricity market is a leading step towards efficient use of resources, and this is ultimately a prerequisite for a successful transition to electricity production with low emissions, which is imposed by the European policy in the fight against climate change”.
In his own comment, the CEO of the Kosovan Transmission System Operator (KOSTT), Evetar Zeqiri, said: “As a founding member of the Energy Community, Kosovo has adhered to the applicable Energy Acquis, especially the Third Energy Package. KOSTT supports and is ready to work together in the present initiative to facilitate day ahead market coupling between Kosovo, Albania, Greece, and North Macedonia. By signing this MoU, KOSTT agrees to establish this project and actively contribute to implementing the objectives of this MoU”.
The CEO of the Hellenic Energy Exchange, Alexandros Papageorgiou, noted, “Having concluded its Day-Ahead Market Coupling in SDAC/IBWT for the Italian and Bulgarian borders, HEnEx currently supports the commitment of its neighboring Power Exchanges and TSOs to extend the integrated European Day-Ahead Market in the region. Strong cooperation and guidance of the Sides supporting this MoU will provide efficiency and increased liquidity of electricity trading in the region for the benefit of market stakeholders.”
The CEO of the Albanian Power Exchange (ALPEX), Sokol Dishnica, noted: “I’m very happy to be here in Athens with colleagues who share the same view of future. These two days of meeting and signing the MoU represent a lot more than agreement. It’s a statement about the power and importance of regional cooperation that we are building to have extra safeguard mechanisms at a time when energy security is of highest importance”.
Finally, the CEO of the Power Exchange of the Republic of North Macedonia (MEMO), Simon Shutinoski mentioned: “The signing of the MoU represents a possibility for MEMO and for North Macedonia to take the next step towards further integration with the Power Exchanges of the rest of Europe. Doing so we will make a surrounding capable of optimizing the use of cross-border electricity interconnections and trade and will lead to a more sustainable clean energy transition”.