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Energy markets in transition

Nifty apps that tell you when to turn on your washing machine because the wind is blowing. Generating your own energy using solar panels, and storing that energy in batteries. These are some of the innovations that have helped consumers take more and more control over their energy bills. The energy transition has a major impact on consumers, but also on energy companies and network operators.

The role of ACM

In its regulation of the energy market, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) makes sure that affordability and security of supply are central. Sustainability is a major social objective that has an impact on these two goals. Network operators make investments in the transmission of energy. Such investments are necessary for the security of supply and for making energy more sustainable. We see to it that these investments are made as efficiently as possible. With regard to the energy transition, lively discussions are currently taking place at a European level about the introduction of a new market model. In this model, the main question is whether producers should also be compensated for the availability of production capacity next to the supply of electricity. We actively take part in these discussions.

Responses to this theme

In a roundtable discussion with energy providers, network operators, new entrants, and scholars, ACM discussed the energy transition. We asked whether a new market model was necessary. All of the participants agreed that there was no need for it. However, they did indicate that they wished to make the current market model more flexible in certain areas, thereby allowing letting scarcity on the supply side be better reflected in the wholesale price. In addition, they would like to create more freedom to let the consumer price of energy fluctuate with the market price. This means that a higher price can be asked if there is limited supply, and a lower price if supply is plentiful.


On the dedicated website for the online discussion (, the provocative statement “Demand-side response and other sustainable initiatives can only get off the ground if network operators are able to play a more active role” drew the most responses. The responses were unanimous: network operators should steer clear of market activities, even if they are meant to boost a market. In fact, they could actually kill a fledgling market for interested market participants.

Follow-up actions

With regard to the execution of its tasks, ACM will give the Ministry of Economic advice about the energy transition. The central government aims to have 14 percent of the energy mix in 2020 come from sustainable sources, and to have a fully sustainable energy supply by 2050. The policy choices that are needed to realize these goals have prompted the government to start an energy dialog. This dialog will start in April 2016. ACM will take part in this dialog. The results will serve as input to the policy agenda “Towards an energy-sustainable Netherlands in 2050,” which will be released in the fall of 2016.