Capacity allocation

Various mechanisms allocate the capacity available for import or export to the market participants, which in Belgium are known as Balance Responsible Parties (BRPs).

Yearly and monthly capacity allocation

The European transmission system operators (TSOs) have created shared rules governing the explicit auctions for allocating yearly and monthly capacity. They are known as the European Harmonised Allocation Rules (EU HAR) for long-term transmission rights. These auctions are organised through the Joint Allocation Office (JAO), designated as the single allocation platform for all European TSOs.

There are two main types of long-term transmission rights:

  • Long-term physical transmission rights (PTR)

    A PTR is a right entitling its holder to physically transfer a certain volume of electricity between two bidding zones within a given period of time. The transfer takes place in a specific direction via a nomination to both the TSO of the exporting country and the TSO of the importing country.

    A PTR holder who chooses not to make use of its right to nominate is entitled to receive financial compensation. The amount of this compensation is based on the day-ahead allocation results between two bidding zones during a specified period of time in a specific direction (Use it or Sell it principle - UIOSI). For the Belgian bidding zone, PTRs with UIOSI are offered only on the border with the United Kingdom.

  • Long-term financial transmission rights (FTR)
    An FTR option differs from a PTR in that it does not give the right to nominate the electricity between two bidding zones. It only gives its holder the right to receive the same financial compensation as in the case of a PTR. 

    For the Belgian bidding zone, FTR options are offered on the borders with the Netherlands, France and Germany (once interconnected).



Daily and intraday capacity allocation

In accordance with the objective of the internal energy market of the European Union, the Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) organise the allocation of daily and intraday capacities by means of an implicit allocation mechanism which uses market coupling.

In the case of implicit capacity allocation, the BRP does not have to nominate its imports or exports. The NEMOs or the central counterparty (CCP) organises this on their behalf. The BRP then implicitly uses the cross-border capacity via the purchase and/or sales bids that it has placed on the power exchange.

Market coupling serves to improve market liquidity and, consequently, to induce more convergent and stable electricity prices. Specifically, it means that the bidding zones of one or more NEMOs are coupled into a homogeneous market area for the day-ahead and intraday capacity allocation. The market coupling is achieved by joint collaboration between both TSOs and NEMOs.

Market participants submit offers to their relevant NEMO. During market coupling, the NEMOs match the received offers using a standard IT system. They take into account the transmission capacities available between the bidding zones for the corresponding period. As a result, the electricity prices in the coupled bidding zones converge, or, ideally, are fully harmonised.

  • Day-Ahead Market Coupling

    On the day-ahead market, BRPs can trade electricity for one or more of the 24 hours of the following day. The European code on Capacity Allocation & Congestion Management (CACM) has introduced integrated price coupling across Europe for day-ahead electricity trading. This is called Single Day Ahead Coupling (SDAC). The goal is to create a European internal electricity market.
    The SDAC makes use of a common price coupling algorithm called EUPHEMIA, provided by the NEMOs' Price Coupling of Regions ( PCR ) project.

  • Intraday Market Coupling

    Even after the closure of the day-ahead market and on the day itself until shortly before the time of delivery (‘Intraday’), BRPs can trade electricity. They can do this continuously by submitting  purchase and/or sales bids that will use the available transmission capacity in an implicit allocation setting.
    In 2018, Belgium, together with 13 other countries, implemented an initial wave of Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC), as part of the XBID project. The purpose of the XBID project is to enable continuous cross-border trading and to increase the efficiency of intraday trading in general by means of a single cross-border intraday market in Europe.

  • Fallback mechanisms
    Considering the target of having only implicit allocation within the internal energy market for the day-ahead and intraday timeframes, the explicit auctions run by the JAO are only used as a fallback mechanism or on borders with countries which do not apply the internal energy market rules.



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