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Connecting offshore cables to the Dutch high voltage grid at Wijk aan Zee

Market coupling

TenneT works closely with other European TSOs and power exchanges to connect electricity markets in Northwest Europe.

Market coupling

Integrations, price and volume

Integrated market

Our goal is to develop a single, integrated market that guarantees customers a reliable power supply at a reasonable price.

The Dutch, French and Belgian power exchanges have been coupled since 2006 (trilateral market coupling, tlc). This was extended to Germany and Luxembourg in 2007 (CWE Market Coupling).

There are three coupling systems: 

  1. Price coupling
  2. Tight volume coupling
  3. Loose volume coupling

Price coupling

In price-based coupling, a single central system calculates market prices and trading volumes for electricity based on cross-border capacity and the order books of all power exchanges and TSOs in the coupled markets. The trilateral market coupling system (tlc) linking power exchanges in the Netherlands, Belgium and France is an example. 

Tight volume coupling

Tight volume coupling determines the trading volumes between countries before individual power exchanges calculate their own prices. Tight" in this context means that the trading volume is calculated on the basis of all relevant information, in the same way as in the price coupling system. 

Loose volume coupling

In loose volume coupling, trade volumes between two countries or regions are calculated first and only then prices are calculated separately. The difference with tight volume coupling is that the calculation is done with only part of the relevant information, which leads to lower quality.

The following projects have been completed in cooperation with our international partners in order to link the European market and to improve cross-border cooperation.

  • Market coupling: Belgium - France - the Netherlands (2008)
  • Market coupling: Germany - Belgium - France - the Netherlands (2010)
  • Cross-border intraday trading (2011)
  • Intraday trading with Norway (2012) and the UK (2012)
  • North West European market coupling: Scandinavia - the UK - Central West Europe (2014)
  • Multi-regional coupling (MRC): North West Europe - South West Europe (2014). This MRC opens up the way to further extend of target model in Europe for a single, integrated price-coupled European day-ahead market.
  • CWE flow-based market coupling (2015)