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European electricity market expands to Spain, Portugal

Spain and Portugal joined the European wholesale electricity market on Tuesday, part of an effort to improve competition and price transparency throughout the continent.

Europe has been moving to increase linkages between energy systems not only to improve price competition but to help ensure security of supply and avert blackouts.

“The coupling of the southeastern European markets was launched today with success: it is significant advance towards the integration of the European electricity market,” said RTE, the operator of France’s electricity grid.

European markets have gradually tied up in recent years, with 17 now forming a common market

France, Germany and Benelux linked their networks in 2010 with northern Europe which includes Britain, the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and Poland joining in February.

Italy plans to link up at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2015.

An integrated system also encourages cross border sales that help keep wholesale electricity prices from fluctuating too much in individual countries.