Problems and Progress
Edited by Colin Robinson
Chapter 3: European energy liberalisation: progress and problems
3. European energy liberalisation: progress and problems Jorge Vasconcelos INTRODUCTION Energy liberalisation in the European Union was strongly inﬂuenced by the UK electricity liberalisation process. On the other hand, UK electricity liberalisation and privatisation, started in 1989, had been preceded by the liberalisation and privatisation of the gas (1986) and telecommunications (1984) industries. Stephen Littlechild and Michael Beesley were among the most inﬂuential leaders of regulatory developments arising from the liberalisation and privatisation of the telecommunications and energy industries in the UK. Chairing the Portuguese energy regulatory authority, which I helped set up in 1996, as well as the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER), which I co-founded with some other colleagues in 2000, I felt obliged to trace this path of aﬃliation for two reasons: ● ● ﬁrst, to highlight the logical and historical nexus between the subject of this chapter and its patron; and second, to emphasise the debt of the European regulatory community towards the UK pioneers of the 1980s. The UK experience of electricity liberalisation was one of the major sources of inspiration for the political decision makers who launched the European internal energy market.1 It provided the necessary initial momentum and one of the most inﬂuential paradigms shaping energy restructuring in Europe. However, later on this process got its own dynamics and, inevitably, the shortcomings of a model designed for a selfsuﬃcient island became apparent. New solutions better suited for a large, interconnected and energy-dependent continental system were designed and implemented. Subsequently,...
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