Legal framework

Elia’s business activities are governed by European, national and regional legislation.


Europe

The European legal framework influences Elia’s activities in a number of ways. European law establishes the general framework for the European electricity market, the European Network Codes lay out more technical rules, and various directives set Europe’s climate targets. 

The most recent changes to the European legal framework were introduced by the Clean Energy for All Europeans package.
This package sets out to:
 
  • increase cross-border trade and strengthen cooperation between Member States to achieve a better integrated EU market;
  • provide more flexibility with a view to integrating the growing share of renewable energy sources into the electricity system;
  • introduce a comprehensive consumer protection framework, coupled with more rights for consumers;
  • promote investment in line with market requirements and encourage the decarbonisation of the EU energy system;
  • ensure that the EU is better prepared for electricity crises, including through cross-border cooperation;
  • enhance the role of ACER, which takes action at EU level for the benefit of all EU citizens.

Visit the European Commission’s website for more information.

The basic legal framework governing the European electricity market includes:

 
The European Network Codes are a set of more technical rules created on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 714/2009. The EU adopted them through the committee procedure, after which they were implemented in the Member States as directly applicable EU regulations, without additional transposition into national or regional law.
 
According to Regulation (EC) No 714/2009, the Network Codes are intended to facilitate the harmonisation, integration and efficiency of the European electricity market.

The Network Codes can be divided into three interconnected ‘families’:

  • connection codes;
  • operations codes; and
  • market codes.
Source : https://www.entsoe.eu/network_codes/

Connection codes

The transmission system operator manages the electricity transmission grid. Producers (who generate electricity) and major customers (who use electricity themselves or sell it on to small customers) are connected to this grid. They must follow certain rules to be able to use it. All the requirements that these users must meet in order to be connected to the transmission grid are set out in three different connection codes, each of which focuses on a particular type of grid user.
The codes are:
 
  • the Network Code on Requirements for Generators (NC RfG);
  • the Demand Connection Code (NC DCC); and
  • the Network Code on High Voltage Direct Current Connections (NC HVDC).

Operations codes

To keep the electricity systems – like Elia’s transmission grid – reliable and stable, every transmission system operator draws up plans and schedules to prepare for operating its system in real time. This involves analysing whether enough electricity will be generated to meet demand and whether the system can safely handle the resulting flows. Against a backdrop of increasing interconnection between transmission system operators, the operations codes provide a set of rules and regulations governing how these systems are operated. The operations code(s) cover(s):
 
  • emergencies and the restoration of the electricity grid (Emergency and Restoration Code – E&R).
  • establishing a guideline on electricity transmission system operation (System Operation - SO).

Market codes

The market codes play a crucial role in achieving Europe’s goal of a fully integrated single market for electricity. They lay down harmonised rules to allow not only energy, but also available capacity to be traded between Europe’s national transmission systems.

The market codes are structured around the different time scales in which these trades can take place, namely long-term, day-ahead and intraday, and aim to foster competition, encourage the diversification of generation sources and facilitate the optimisation of the existing infrastructure. The codes are:

  • the Guideline on Capacity Allocation & Congestion Management (CAM GL);
  • the Network Code on Forward Capacity Allocation (NC FCA);
  • the Electricity Balancing Guideline (EB GL).

For more information, visit ENTSO-E’s dedicated web page: https://electricity.network-codes.eu/network_codes/.

Brief description of all the network codes 
   
Regulation establishing a guideline on capacity allocation and congestion managent (CACM)
 
This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2015/1222 on 25 July 2015 and became binding in the EU Member States on 14 August 2015. The CACM is called a guideline rather than a network code because it introduces new concepts and represents a significant leap forward for Europe in terms of achieving an integrated internal market for electricity.

 Regulation establishing a network code on requirements for grid connection of generators (RfG)

This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2016/631 on 27 April 2016 and became binding in the EU Member States on 17 May 2016. The RfG establishes a network code which lays down the requirements for grid connection of power-generating facilities, namely synchronous power-generating modules, power park modules and offshore power park modules, to the interconnected system. This regulation also lays down the obligations for ensuring that system operators make appropriate use of the power- generating facilities’ capabilities in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner to provide a level playing field throughout the Union.

 Regulation establishing a Network Code on Demand Connection (DCC)

This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2016/1388 on 18 August 2016 and became binding in the EU Member States on 6 September 2016. The DCC establishes a network code which lays down the requirements for grid connection of: (a) transmission-connected demand facilities; (b) transmission-connected distribution facilities; (c) distribution systems, including closed distribution systems; (d) demand units, used by a demand facility or a closed distribution system to provide demand response services to relevant system operators and relevant TSOs. This regulation also lays down the obligations for ensuring that system operators make appropriate use of the demand facilities’ and distribution systems’ capabilities in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner to provide a level playing field throughout the Union.

Regulation establishing a network code on requirements for grid connection of high voltage direct current systems and direct current-connected power park modules (HVDC)

This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2016/1447 on 8 September 2016 and became binding in the EU Member States on 28 September 2016. The HVDC establishes a network code which lays down the requirements for grid connections of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) systems and DC-connected power park modules. It, therefore, helps to ensure fair conditions of competition in the internal electricity market, to ensure system security and the integration of renewable electricity sources, and to facilitate Union-wide trade in electricity.

Regulation establishing a guideline on forward capacity allocation (FCA)

This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2016/1719 on 26 September 2016 and became binding in the EU Member States on 16 October 2016. The FCA establishes a guideline which lays down detailed rules on cross-zonal capacity allocation in the forward markets, on the establishment of a common methodology to determine long-term cross-zonal capacity, on the establishment of a single allocation platform at European level offering long-term transmission rights, and on the possibility to return long-term transmission rights for subsequent forward capacity allocation or transfer long-term transmission rights between market participants.

Regulation of 2 August 2017 establishing a guideline on electricity transmission system operation (SO GL)

This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2017/1485 on 2 August 2017 and became binding in the EU Member States on 14 September 2017. The SO GL lays down rules and requirements for the purpose of maintaining a good level of operational security, frequency  quality and efficient use of the interconnected system and resources.
 
Regulation establishing a guideline on electricity balancing (EB GL)
 
This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2017/2195 on 28 November 2017 and became binding in the EU Member States on 18 December 2017.

The EB GL sets down rules regarding the operation of the balancing markets, i.e. those markets that Transmission System Operators (TSOs) use to procure energy and capacity to keep the system in balance in real time. The guideline’s provisions include increasing opportunities for cross-border trading in near- real time and improve the efficiency of balancing markets in Europe.

Regulation establishing a network code on electricity emergency and restoration (NC E&R)

This document was published in the Official Journal as Regulation (EU) 2017/296 on 28 November 2017 and became binding in the EU Member States on 18 December 2017.

The NC E&R network code sets down rules relating to the operation of the electricity transmission system in emergency, blackout and restoration states. Its provisions are mainly related to bringing the system back to a normal state.

Belgium

Although some European legislation is directly applicable in the Member States (and thus in Belgium), some needs to be transposed into the Member States’ legislation. Moreover, the scope of this legislation may be broader or more detailed at European level. 

In Belgium, the federal and regional governments share responsibility for energy policy (Special Act of 8 August 1980 on institutional reform).

The basic legislation for each level is based on similar principles:

  • there is a legal separation between generation and sale on the one hand and system operation on the other;
  • the transmission system operator retains a monopoly linked to strict rules of corporate governance;
  • there is free access to the system at the approved and published tariffs;
  • the system is monitored by a regulator;
  • all of the governments have the power to lay down public service obligations with regard to the areas under their responsibility. As a result of these obligations, Elia, as the transmission system operator, must guarantee a minimum quality level for electricity at all levels and is required for instance to purchase green certificates at a minimum price level when legally defined conditions are met.

Federal level

The federal authorities are responsible for “matters which, on account of their technical and economic indivisibility, must be dealt with on an equal basis at national level”, in other words matters that need a coordinated approach at national level. This also applies to energy transmission, i.e. the 150 kV to 380 kV high-voltage transmission system operated by Elia.

Elia has a legal monopoly as Belgium’s transmission system operator. This licence is valid for 20 years and can be renewed.

The federal government also determines the tariff policy for the transmission system operator and the distribution system operators.

The basic legislation at federal level is as follows: the Act amending the Electricity Act of 29 April 1999 on the organisation of the electricity market (published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 8 January 2012), and the Royal Decree establishing a grid code governing operation of and access to the electricity transmission system.

Regional level

The regions are responsible for ALL ASPECTS OF the distribution OF ELECTRICITY and TECHNICAL ASPECTS of local transmission of electricity through grids with a nominal voltage of 70 kV or less.

A distinction is drawn between ‘local transmission’ and ‘distribution’ based on the function of the relevant grid. The regional regulators use the following names to refer to grids that mainly serve to carry energy from the transmission grid to the distribution grid:
 
  • local transmission system (in Wallonia);
  • regional transmission system (in the Brussels-Capital Region);
  • local transmission system (in Flanders).
Elia operates these systems.

The three regions are also responsible for renewable energy sources (excluding federally governed North Sea wind farms) and the rational use of energy (RUE).

The basic legislation for each region is as follows:
 
  • Flanders: the Energy Decree of 8 May 2009, the Energy Decision of 19 November 2010, and the Grid Code on the local electricity transmission system in the Flemish Region;
  • Wallonia: the Decree of 12 April 2001, and the Walloon Government Decision on the reform of the grid code governing operation of and access to the electricity transmission system in the Walloon Region;
  • Brussels-Capital Region: the Ordinance of 19 July 2001, and the Decision of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region approving the grid code governing the operation of the regional electricity transmission system.

On 17 May 2018, after public consultation, Elia submitted the general requirements concerning the NC DCC and the NC RfG to the competent authorities The regional regulators (Cwape, Brugel & VREG) approved these documents on 28/08/2019, 04/09/2019 and 01/09/2019 respectively.

General Requirements following Art. 6(4) of the NC DCC General requirements  

This document is the approved version of the requirements of general application (hereinafter 'general requirements'), pursuant to Article 6(4) of the NC DCC and contains, but is not limited to, the non-exhaustive requirements in the NC DCC determined by Elia as relevant system operator or TSO, and by public DSOs in their capacity as relevant system operator. This document applies to the connections to the Elia grid at regional level and the connections at distribution level.

General Requirements following Art. 7(4) of the NC RFG General requirements

This document is the approved version of the requirements of general application in accordance with Article 7(4) of the NC RfG. This document focuses on, but is not limited to, the non-exhaustive requirements in the NC RFG. This document applies to connections to the Elia grid at regional level. For connections to the Elia grid at federal level, the general requirements in accordance with article 6, paragraph 4 of the NC DCC and article 7, paragraph 4 of the NC RfG are included in the federal grid code of 22 April 2019.

Decision Cwape RfG & DCC
Decision Brugel RfG - Decision Brugel DCC
Decision VREG RfG - Decision VREG DCC


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