Electricity market

The energy sector is developing rapidly. The process of European market integration began some years ago. Its purpose is to create a single European market that enables market parties to trade gas and electricity across national borders easily and efficiently.

Explore the electricity market

Transparency data

We provide transparency data on our operations on our Dutch and German transparency page and on ENTSO-E. 

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Our vision is to be one of the most transparent Transmission System Operators (TSO) in Europe and thereby creating value for society. In this Energy Insights section we present selected energy related topics and show data, information and valuable insights. 



Facts & figures related to TenneT facilitating the market can be found here.

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More about the Electricity Market

Everyone in society uses electricity. Without it almost all processes in our daily life would come to a halt. An extensive network of powerlines, consumers and producers make sure electricity is there anytime, anywhere. A well-functioning electricity market is the backbone of this system. The following section explains the basics of how the market works and TenneTs’ role in facilitating its development.

Electricity and its characteristics

In principle, the electricity market in the Netherlands works like any other market: Sellers can offer their electricity on a market platform and buyers can purchase it to be delivered in specific timeframes. Buyers and sellers in the market enjoy three fundamental freedoms:

  • Freedom to dispatch: Generators and consumers have the right to produce or consume the amount of electricity that they choose, within the limits of their connection and the contractual limits of their connection agreement.
  • Freedom of transaction: Market parties can enter into any form of contractual agreements with regard to their demand and supply.
  • Freedom of connection: All demand and supply resources can connect into the grid on a non-discriminatory manner

However, electricity is a particular good because of its three physical characteristics:

  • Time: Since electricity is difficult to store, supply and demand for it must always be balanced. Therefore, electricity has a different market value at different hours of the day. In the longer term, electricity prices are also strongly dependent on fuel costs (e.g. natural gas) and C02 prices.
  • Location: The market is free, but the transmission capacity is limited. Transmission System Operators (TSOs) make sure transmission lines are operated within safe limits to avoid cascading blackouts. Therefore, electricity has a different market value in different load frequency control area’s (for example the Netherlands).
  • Flexibility: Demand, generation and location must always be matched, but this becomes difficult when we are integrating more variable and decentral renewables into the gird. Therefore, flexibility in time and location can be of great value. For more information on flexibility click here

These three unique physical characteristics explain why electricity is a very special good and its market so complex.

To make this market function as efficient as possible, the European Commission has been promoting a single European electricity market since 1996. TenneT and other TSOs play a key role in this process, since market integration requires sufficient cross-border transmission capacity. Together with its project partners, TenneT is taking the lead in establishing a single European energy market, for instance by facilitating the introduction of flow-based market coupling. This system is based on close collaboration between the power exchanges and TSOs of a large number of countries. It helps to ensure that the production facilities and the available transmission capacity in those countries are used as efficiently as possible.

More on electricity markets

Market types

What kind of market types do we distinguish and how do they work?

Read more here

Market roles

Read more about the roles and responsibilities of all actors in the electricity markets

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Balancing markets

Read more about the roles and responsibilities in the balancing markets

Read more here