January 27, 2023

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NTB learns: EU deal prevents Norway from splitting electricity market in two

This is the EU’s third energy market package, which puts an end to the possibility of distinguishing between domestic electricity and electricity used for export, NTB confirmed with an informed source in the EU.

Norway joined the EU’s third energy market package in 2018.

Both the Center Party, SV and Frp advocate a two-price model in which one price is fixed for electricity for domestic consumption and one price for exported electricity. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Ap) said at the Storting’s Question Time this week that he would neither open nor close the door to a two-price model.

Frps Marius Arion Nilsen, who sits on the Energy and Environment Committee in the Storting, believes the government should request an exemption from the agreement.

– Norway should have full control over energy policy. FRP expects the government to follow suit and seek exemptions from the norms to realize the two-price model. If the governing parties do not do this, the only logical decision is to exclude Norway from the third energy market package, says Nilsen in a statement to NTB.

SP will investigate

Marit Arnstad, parliamentary leader of the Center Party, asked the government over Christmas to investigate a two-price model that would create a separate price range for foreign cables. She still thinks so.

– I think it’s hard to relate what anonymous sources say. I am on the record that the legal expertise here at home believes that this is possible with the EEA. It’s a question that needs to be looked at more closely, he tells NTB on Friday.

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The legal expert he refers to is Finn Arnesen, professor of law at the University of Oslo and EEA expert.

When asked if he supported the FRP’s request to withdraw from the energy market package, Arnstadt pointed out that it was accepted with the help of the Progressive Party and against the wishes of the Center Party.

– The Center Party voted against, and we wanted it not to be accepted, he says.

But would you support Norway withdrawing from the treaty?

– I don’t think I can manage to achieve it. That opportunity slipped away from us the day it was accepted, she believes.

New negotiations are needed

Rødt has asked the government to renegotiate agreements on Norway’s connection to the European energy market.

– If this is true, it shows that Rødt’s warnings were correct. Joining the third energy market package and ACER means losing sovereignty over energy policy, says energy policy spokeswoman Sophie Marhac.

– We need a fair price for the energy we produce, not the same price we pay for fossil energy. He believes that connection to the European power system is sending prices skyrocketing here.

– No wonder

Elizabeth Sether (AP), secretary of state for the Ministry of Oil and Energy, says she is not surprised by the EU’s announcement.

– When we asked the Regulatory Authority for the Energy Market (RME) to evaluate the question, the source says the same as the opinion we received, he tells NTB.

RME is the Norwegian agency responsible for ensuring that competition rules for electricity are followed.

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Nevertheless, Sather says the government will explore different market models for power, and points out that the European Commission is looking at market reforms.

The Secretary of State has said it is not appropriate for the government to withdraw Norway from the third energy market package.