1 2009 annual report
2 TABLE of content executive report Foreword* 02 The Elia share 04 Key events 2009* 10 Prospects and challenges* 12 economic report Grid operation 17 Security of supply 18 Infrastructure 21 Grid Maintenance 25 Market operation 27 environmental report Environnemental objectives and indicators 39 social report Staff policy 49 Employee safety and welfare 54 Branding campaign 57 Sponsoring 58 corporate governance statement Corporate governance statement* 62 Significant events in 2009* 66 Code of conduct* 68 Remuneration of the board of directors and management committee 69 Description of the risks and uncertainties facing the company* 71 Stakeholder relations 74 financial report* Consolidated financial statements IFRS 80 Notes to the consolidated financial statements 84 Joint auditors report on the consolidated financial statements 122 Regulatory framework and tariffs 124 Information about the parent company 126 (*) These chapters form the annual report cf. Article 119 of the Belgian company code
3 Key figures consolidated ifrs results (in million, results per share in ) Revenue EBITDA Profit after tax Earnings per share ( ) Dividend per share ( ) Number of employees (31/12) 1,205 1,231 1,232 1,227 1,221 Length of the grid in km (31/12) 8,379 8,412 8,406 8,367 8,344 (1) (1) EBITDA = operating income - cost of goods and services - personnel costs - provisions- write-downs.
4 profile values Elia is Belgium s electricity transmission system operator (TSO) under licences awarded to it by the country s federal government (for the 380 to 150 kv network) and those of its three regions (for the 70 to 30 kv grid). We are a team of professionals with the ambition to create shared wins for our customers and the community and to develop the European electricity market in a reliable, sustainable and efficient way. This is the mission statement defined by Elia in 2008, with the aim of giving everyone in the company a clear view of our objectives and the challenges that we seek to address. By setting out the company s priorities, it provides a guiding principle for the way we use the resources at our disposal. Elia comprises two legal entities, Elia System Operator SA and Elia Asset SA, operating as a single economic entity under the generic name Elia. Together with its subsidiary Elia Engineering, it employs around 1,205 people. The company s number one duty is to ensure the reliable and safe transmission of electricity from production units in Belgium and Europe to grid users (distribution system operators and large industrial consumers). Given the central position of the Belgian grid in the Western European electricity system and the intensification of electricity exchanges on the European grid, Elia takes constant care to ensure safe management of international power flows (imports, exports and transits) on its grid. Elia also ensures that there is a constant balance between production and imports, on the one hand, and consumption and exports, on the other, within its control area. Since electrical energy is difficult to store, it must be generated as and when consumption requires it. To enable it to perform its tasks, Elia must maintain its various facilities, including lines, cables, transformers, low-voltage equipment and systems for transmitting data to the national and regional control centres. It develops and upgrades its grid using the latest tried-and-tested technologies. This approach incorporates a proactive respect for the environment and supports the sustainable development policies in place in Europe and in Belgium at both federal and regional level. It also ensures that the various stakeholders in Elia s activities are involved in implementing those policies. Its unique and central position on the Belgian electricity market allows Elia to develop innovative services and mechanisms aimed at ensuring the effective operation and development of this market within continental Europe. Elia adheres strictly to statutory rules on corporate governance as well as the provisions of the Belgian Corporate Governance Code for listed companies. Elia has been listed on the regulated market of Euronext Brussels since June This mission statement has been translated into a number of values, which Elia considers to be the essential qualities underpinning the way its employees should operate, both within the company and in their dealings with outside players. Those values are: entrepreneurship, integrity, empathy and responsibility.
5 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT PREFACE BALANCED AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Geared towards Belgium s energy needs, our job has important long-term goals, namely to guarantee security and quality of electricity supply, ensure a balance between supply and demand, modernise our infrastructure and prepare today s grid to meet tomorrow s climate challenges. An integral part of this task involves supporting the energy transition at national and European level, a transition made inevitable by technological advances, social priorities and environmental concerns. In this respect, a commitment to sustainable development is central to our corporate strategy. To us, being responsible means facing difficult choices head on, finding solutions to the problems we encounter, upholding rigorous professional standards at all times and engaging with stakeholders in an open and transparent way based on information, explanation, dialogue and a willingness to listen. This 2009 annual report provides an overview of our actions to strengthen Belgium s electricity system within a constantly evolving European market, whether it be enhancing security of supply, improving the competitiveness of Belgian companies or combating climate change. The report showcases some of our achievements in the fields of economic development, environmental preservation and social commitment: and indeed, our ongoing drive to reconcile these three priorities is now our primary contribution to balanced and sustainable development. This commitment to acting responsibly, which we share with all of our employees and partners, is reflected in a high level of investment and innovation designed to ensure that we provide conditions of optimum safety for our staff and subcontractors and for the people living near our facilities. Naturally, we also strive to minimise the impact of our activities on the natural environment.
6 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT FOREWORD BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2 The energy market changed more in 2009 than at any time since electricity market liberalisation. The economic recession triggered by the financial crisis of September 2008 led to a big reduction in electricity consumption in all industrialised countries. Elia displayed its customary flexibility and foresight by immediately adapting its investment plan to the expectations of its customers and to the drop in consumption: after all, why should today s consumers shoulder investments that will not be needed for some time to come? However, despite the economic situation, Elia has continued to upgrade the grid in readiness for the economic upturn, in order to support Belgium s industries. The same goes for investments in decentralised generation and renewable energy. For, despite the somewhat disappointing outcome of the Copenhagen Summit, if a major turning point was reached on any issue in 2009 it is surely support for renewable energy. Initiatives were adopted in Wallonia to accommodate onshore wind energy and 2009 also saw the official launch of the project to expand the grid to the Belgian coast, primarily to enable connection of the 2,000 MW of offshore capacity planned by the Belgian government will also be remembered for the publication of the 3 rd European energy package. With liberalisation still only partially implemented and operating at different speeds in different countries, this is an attempt by the EU to give new impetus to the project. In this area as in many others, Elia already broadly meets the requirements of the new directive, not least thanks to the corporate governance mechanisms introduced when Elia was established as the independent transmission system operator. But what of the electricity market itself? It too changed over the course of the year, with a number of European players consolidating their presence in the Belgian market. Elia, which plays a central role in market operation, has continued to develop tools that help to open up the Belgian market to competition whilst safeguarding security of supply and grid reliability. Significant progress has also been made in the regional market of Central West Europe, with Elia playing a decisive role here too. Let us finish by mentioning some longer-term prospects: smart grids, the large-scale integration of wind power, the participation of renewable energy in system services, the enhancement of operational security in a new environment that will see flows being managed in line with consumer requirements among other things, direct current connections These are all areas of research & development in which Elia is active, at both Belgian and European level. Though a small company, Elia has some major assets in the shape of its skills base and flexibility. These allow it to respond quickly and efficiently to opportunities that arise and to actively foster a European electricity market that benefits consumers and the wider community. No doubt 2010 will bring the company its fair share of new and exciting challenges. RONNIE BELMANS Chairman of the Board of Directors
7 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT FOREWORD BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE The economic and financial crisis affected both Belgian consumers and Elia in The first quarter saw a record fall in the consumption index for the Elia grid, followed by a slight upturn from October onwards. However, this difficult climate did not stop Elia from pushing forward with its grid operation activities, in what is an increasingly European environment. For example, February 2009 saw the launch of Coreso, the regional technical coordination centre jointly managed by Elia and its French and British counterparts RTE and National Grid. Coreso has demonstrated the value-added of regional monitoring of energy flows across all grids in Central West Europe. The phase shifting transformers that began operating on Belgium s north border at the start of the year more than proved their worth, most notably on 21 July, when several very-high-voltage connections came down in exceptionally severe weather. This unforeseeable incident demonstrated the ability of Elia personnel, working closely with our subcontractors and in consultation with the authorities and local residents, to react quickly and efficiently to restore power and deploy a backup line until the final repairs are carried out in spring On another level entirely, the successful completion of a 1 billion bond offering, intended to refinance various loans and develop the Belgian transmission system, confirmed market confidence in the company. These various actions attest to the motivation of Elia staff and their ability to think ahead, as well as their commitment to serving our customers and the community. These essential qualities underpin the excellent results achieved by the company in areas that really matter to it. These include: very high security of supply, with average reliability of over %; meeting our targets on safety at work, with results that make us one the safest of industrial companies; and the implementation of maintenance and investment programmes. These results have been achieved whilst improving productivity in order to meet savings targets that will impact favourably on tariffs and to secure the tariff incentive for the benefit of shareholders, as stipulated in the multi-year tariff regulations also provided further evidence of our commitment to the reliable, sustainable and efficient development of the European electricity market, including: the official launch of the Stevin project, which will expand the Belgian grid to the coast to enable the connection of 2,000 MW of offshore wind capacity being built with the support of the Belgian government; the development of new market mechanisms, in particular for the intraday market; the first auctions of annual and monthly capacity via CASC, the joint service company of system operators in the Central West Europe (CWE) region; the final phase of implementation of pentalateral market coupling in the CWE region; and further research into new interconnections, among other things, in partnership with our British and German colleagues. In view of these achievements, we are confident in our ability to meet these and other challenges in DANIEL DOBBENI Chief Executive Officer
8 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT THE ELIA SHARE SHAREHOLDER INFORMATION THE SHARE IN was an unusual year on the stock exchange in more than one respect. During the first quarter of 2009, the financial crisis that had started in 2008 weighed heavily on the economy, causing the markets to continue plummeting until 9 March. The first positive economic news signalled an upturn in the markets which continued over the summer and, to a lesser extent, in the last quarter. Elia, whose activities are regulated, has been operating since 1 January 2008 under a system of four-year fixed tariffs. It consequently weathered the financial and economic storm of 2008 and early 2009 very well, thereby confirming its safe investment status. The Elia share followed an upward trend in 2009, with just one dip to 24 at the start of March following the collapse in market valuations. The price soon recovered to 28, and then stabilised until the dividend payout. Following the dividend payout on 27 May, the share remained stable over the summer before rising to 28. The share s liquidity fell by around 33% (from 16,682 shares per day to 10,717 shares per day on average), primarily because Elia s regulated activities offer a high level of visibility and around 25% of the freely tradable shares are owned by ARCO Group. Price ( ) 28 Bel20 Elia Volume (number of shares) JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC
9 The Elia share finished 2008 at a price of The closing price at the end of 2009 was 27.30, a rise of 11.16%. Factoring in the dividend of 1.37, the share went up by 16.73% over the year. The lowest price in 2009 was 24, recorded on 12 March. The highest price, 28, was recorded several times in September and October. 5 Over the year as a whole, therefore, the Elia share underperformed the Bel20, which rose by 31.6% in However, it should be noted that the Bel20 slumped by 53.6% in Bel20 Elia JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC
10 Compared with the other listed European transmission system operators, Elia s results in 2009 were better than those of Red Electrica in Spain (+7.8%) and National Grid in the UK (-0.7%). Only the Italian TSO Terna performed better (+28.5%). The electricity sector as a whole only rose by 4.5% in With 48,270,255 shares outstanding, the company s market capitalisation stood at 1,317,777,962 at the end of December. In 2009, 2,743,488 Elia shares were traded on Euronext Brussels, equating to 14.51% of the freely tradable shares. The table hereafter gives an overview of monthly statistics for the Elia share on Euronext Brussels in Elia Terna Red Electricia Dow Jones Utility index National Grid JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC
11 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT Month Volume (daily average) Closing price maximum minimum Freefloat turnover rate Market capitalisation (million ) January % 1,262 February 8, % 1,298 March 28, % 1,190 April 10, % 1,333 May 9, % 1,263 June 14, % 1,250 July 7, % 1,269 August 5, % 1,272 September 7, % 1,320 October 8, % 1,314 November 6, % 1,318 December 1, % 1, , % 1,318 ELIA SHARE PRICE AND VOLUME APPOINTMENT OF 2 LIQUIDITY PROVIDES FOR THE ELIA SHARE In late 2009, Elia entered into a liquidity provider contract with KBC Securities and Bank Degroof, both officially recognised by NYSE Euronext. The aim of the agreement is to boost the liquidity of the Elia share. These two financial institutions have been continually present in the order book for the Elia share since 1 December and are involved in both sale and purchase. THE ELIA SHARE AND ITS CODES Share index On 31 December 2009, Elia s share was included in the Bel Mid index. Elia s weight on that date was 4.62%, ranking it 7 th in the index. Elia share on the stock exchange Elia strips on the stock exchange Stock exchange Euronext Brussels Euronext Brussels SUSTAINABLE AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANY The Elia share was included in the Ethibel Excellence Investment Register. Ethibel promotes socially responsible investing (SRI) in Belgium and Europe. It administers two quality labels, registered in 15 EU countries: Ethibel Pioneer and Ethibel Excellence. These labels offer investors a guarantee that the companies they are investing in are sustainable and play a pioneering role, or a leading role within their sector, in all fields of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Audits are performed by ratings agency VIGEO, which screens every company in four specific areas: internal social policy environmental policy external social policy economic policy. 7 Index BEL MID Ticker ELI ELIS ISIN BE BE Code Bloomberg ELI BB ELIS BB Code Reuters ELI BR ELIS BR
12 8 TRANSPARENCY REGULATIONS AND DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS Under the Belgian Transparency Act, stakes of at least 5% (or a multiple of 5%) of total share capital must be disclosed to the Belgian Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission (CBFA) and to the company itself. No disclosures were received in October DIVIDEND POLICY Elia is obliged by its articles of association to pay out at least 85% of profit gained, after retaining 5% for the legal reserve. This represents a payout ratio of 81% of recorded profit. Following the introduction of multi-year tariffs, part of the net profit derived from offsetting decommissioning gains in the tariffs must be reserved under equity. As a result, the overall payout ratio will fall, but this situation will considerably enhance Elia s (self-)financing capacity. DIVIDEND On 25 February 2010, Elia s Board of Directors decided to propose the following dividend payments for shareholders at the general meeting of 11 May 2010: In accordance with the dividend policy and subject to approval by the annual general meeting, a normal dividend of 66.6 million or 1.38 per share (gross) will be proposed. This gives a net result of per share without VVPR strip or per share with VVPR strip. The following paying agents will pay out dividends to shareholders : Fortis Bank, ING Belgium, KBC-Bank/CBC Banque and Dexia Bank. Dividend payouts for shares held in a stock account will be settled automatically by the bank or stockbroker. Elia will pay out dividends on registered shares directly to shareholders.
13 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT SHAREHOLDER STRUCTURE On 31 December 2009, the shareholder structure of Elia System Operator SA was as follows: FREE FLOAT* % PUBLI-T % ELECTRABEL % PUBLIPART 2.54 % ELIA SYSTEM OPERATOR ELIA ASSET % ECONOMIC UNIT CASC-CWE % HGRT % CORESO % BELPEX % ELIA RE** % ELIA ENGINEERING** % 9 * Arco Group has announced on 21 October 2008 that it has 10.37% of the Elia shares in its possession. ** Elia System Operator has 1 share of Elia Re and 1 share of Elia Engineering in its possession. FINANCIAL CALENDAR 26 February 2010 (8:00 a.m.) Early April 2010 Publication of annual figures for 2009 Publication of 2009 annual report in pdf 11 May 2010 General meeting of shareholders 14 May 2010 Interim statement for Q May 2010 Payment of 2009 dividend (coupon No. 5) 27 August 2010 (8:00 a.m.) Publication of half-yearly figures for November 2010 Interim statement for Q INVESTORS For any questions regarding the Elia share, please contact: Elia Investor Relations Department Boulevard de l Empereur 20 B-1000 Brussels Belgium Tel. : Fax : Information about the group (press releases, annual reports, share prices, disclosures, etc.) can be found on the Elia website in three languages (French, Dutch and English). Elia s financial newsletter Investor News provides investors with up-to-date information about the company.
14 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT KEY EVENTS JANUARY: ANNULMENT OF TIHANGE-AVERNAS CONNECTION PERMIT The Council of State annuls the permit for the twin 150 kv connection between Tihange and Avernas, issued by the Walloon Region in July 2001, on the grounds that the authorities should have included the infrastructure in the Sector Plan in advance. The connection, which secures the electricity supply to Walloon and Flemish Brabant and powers the high-speed train link between Brussels and Liège, was commissioned in autumn Elia is now working with the Region to resolve the situation. 28 MARCH: MASS SWITCH-OFF (AND ON!) PASSES OFF SMOOTHY The World Wildlife Fund organises Earth Hour, a global initiative to raise awareness about greenhouse gases and energy savings, in which all European consumers are asked to switch off the lights between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Elia and other European TSOs monitor the event extremely closely to ensure that instantaneous balance between power production and consumption is maintained at the two critical moments, thereby contributing to the success of the initiative FEBRUARY : FEBRUARY: LAUNCH OF CORESO Coreso, a regional technical coordination centre shared by several transmission system operators, helps to enhance the security of Europe s electricity supply. It is opened on 18 February in the presence of the Belgian Energy Minister Paul Magnette and Fabrizio Barbaso, Deputy Director-General of DG Energy & Transport at the European Commission. 7 APRIL: 1 BILLION EUROBOND ISSUED Elia successfully issues a 500 million 4-year tranche and a 500 million 7-year tranche. Less than an hour after the order book opened, offers already exceed 5.3 billion. The proceeds are intended to refinance various loans due in 2009 and to further develop the Belgian transmission system.
15 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT 22 APRIL: THIRD PACKAGE OF EUROPEAN DIRECTIVES APPROVED The European Parliament approves the agreement on the third package of measures to promote the development of a single electricity and gas market in Europe, as part of efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions. 13 AND 14 OCTOBER: HARMONISED AUCTION RULES APPLIED FOR THE FIRST TIME Following their approval by regulators, the harmonised auction rules drawn up by system operators in the five countries of the CWE region are applied for the first time by their joint auction office CASC-CWE. From 1 November, CASC-CWE will perform all auction-related activities for the five countries. This marks a major new step towards the creation of a regional electricity market in Central West Europe. 16 JULY: CREG APPROVES CONNECTION CONTRACT The connection contract, together with the access contract and access responsible party contract already approved by the regulator, sets out the rights and responsibilities of the producer/consumer and Elia regarding connection to the transmission system. 6 SEPTEMBER: BACKUP LINE COMMISSIONED AT LINT A powerful tornado hits the area around Lint, near Antwerp, on 21 July, bringing down two pylons on the 380 kv Mercator- Massenhoven line. Luckily nobody is injured in the incident. As a result, this important link in the very-high-voltage grid is out of action for over nine months. To restore security of supply in the affected area, Elia builds a backup line which it commissions on 6 September. Work to repair the damaged line will continue until the second quarter of NOVEMBER: STEVIN PROJECT OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED Elia is extending its 380 kv grid from Zomergem to the coast at Zeebrugge in order to bring the wind energy produced offshore to centres of consumption in Belgium, expand the interconnections with neighbouring countries, particularly the United Kingdom, and improve energy supply to western Flanders and the port of Zeebrugge. The project is in line with European, Belgian and Flemish energy and environment policy. The procedure to incorporate the connection into a regional land-use plan (GRUP) is launched on 20 November, following the completion of an environmental impact report plan ( MER plan ) DECEMBER: CONTRACT IN THE PERSIAN GULF Elia lands a new consultancy contract for the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA), in consortium with the French transmission system operator RTE and the engineering firm Tractebel Engineering. The contract is to provide grid engineering, operation and maintenance services to support the GCCIA in its role as operator of the interconnected grid for the Gulf states.
16 ELIA 2009 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE REPORT PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES 12 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW EUROPEAN DIRECTIVE Elia is a European leader when it comes to the components of the third package of EU directives aimed at developing a single electricity and gas market, which are due to be transposed into Belgian law by March In this connection, GDF SUEZ has informed Elia of its intention to dispose of some or all of its Elia shares, in a manner yet to be determined, in close coordination with Elia and in the interests of the company and its shareholders. This disposal is in line with the provisions on ownership unbundling contained in the new Electricity Directive. CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY Policies aimed at achieving sustainable and environmentally friendly economic development rely heavily on improved control of consumption and massive integration of renewable energy sources into Europe s energy mix. Electricity is thus set to develop as an energy vector in the 21 st century, all the more so as it can be generated from renewable sources. To achieve this, transmission and distribution grids will need to be enhanced, in terms of both transmission capacity and functionality. Consequently, everyone now agrees that grids are key to the success of energy and environmental policies. Elia is playing a proactive role in this area and grid projects will receive special attention in Examples include the Stevin project to connect future offshore wind farms, collaborating with a range of stakeholders to connect onshore wind farms (particularly in Wallonia) and combined heat and power plants (in Flanders and Brussels), and contributing to the development of the future North Sea grid. MAINTAINING GRID SECURITY The intensification of exchanges on the European transmission system and the growth in the proportion of energy generated from variable renewable sources are prompting a rethink of the way in which transmission grids are operated, to ensure that security of supply is maintained and potentially enhanced. Elia is also leading the way in this area, for example by coordinating its use of phase shifting transformers on Belgium s borders with neighbouring TSOs and through Coreso, the European regional coordination centre set up with Elia s French and British counterparts. In 2010, particular attention will be focused on maintaining security in the context of the regional integration of electricity markets.
17 LAUNCH OF PENTALATERAL COUPLING IN CENTRAL WEST EUROPE Coupling of the Belgian, Dutch, French, German and Luxembourg day-ahead markets is due to be launched in spring This is the first major step in the creation of an integrated European market. Following a trial period, the coupling will be improved by introducing a method for calculating transmission capacity based on anticipating energy flows on the five countries grids. Discussions are also under way within the European TSOs association ENTSO-E to extend this coupling to other regions such as the Nordic countries and the United Kingdom. STAKE IN THE GERMAN GRID 50HERTZ TRANSMISSION In early March, Elia and its financial partner IFM acquired the German grid 50Hertz Transmission. The move is in line with Elia s commitment to create added value for its shareholders, play a bigger role in developing the Central West European electricity market through the large-scale integration of renewable energy production units, improve operational excellence and consolidate Elia s role in the future integration of Europe s transmission systems. 13
19 Elia has shown flexibility and foresight in dealing with the substantial reduction in electricity consumption caused by the recession. However, despite the economic situation, it has continued to upgrade the grid in readiness for the economic upturn, in order to support Belgium s industries. Investment in decentralised generation and renewable energy has been a key focus. ECONOMIC REPORT 15
20 HANS VANDENBROUCKE, CUSTOMERS & MARKET 16 Hans Vandenbroucke has worked in the Customers & Market Department since Having trained as a sales engineer, he has found the perfect setting in which to indulge his taste for innovation, interest in energy markets and ability to work in both a Belgian and European context. As Market Development Manager, my job is to work with my colleagues from the Market Mechanisms team to develop products that will improve the way the Belgian electricity market operates, and thereby create opportunities that benefi t our customers. The electricity market has been a cross-border market for many years now, so our work also has a European dimension. What does that mean in practice? We design products in Belgium for example, services that are vital to the smooth operation of the electricity system which Elia then contracts out to third parties. These products are regularly adapted, for instance to take account of the growing proportion of electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as wind. It goes without saying that Hans s work is not confi ned to Belgium, since the single electricity market involves the integration of national markets. That integration means increasing interconnection capacity with other countries and making available commercial products that are harmonised at a European regional level. For example, crossborder transmission capacity must be made available to the market in an optimal fashion. One way of achieving this is via auctions covering various timeframes: annual, monthly, day-ahead and intraday. The creation of CASC-CWE, which organises harmonised auctions for transmission capacity between fi ve countries (Germany, France and the Benelux), is an example of this progressive integration. CASC-CWE is the grid-operation counterpart to the regional technical coordination centre Coreso. The steady increase in the proportion of renewable energy within the generation facilities of EU Member States will also require greater integration of control areas, which are currently contained within national borders. Hans is also interested in the contractual aspect of this trend: A market committee within ENTSO-E coordinates the various initiatives designed to deliver the integrated European market that Europe wants. It develops joint proposals representing the transmission system operators and looks for synergies and economies of scale. ENTSO-E is the umbrella organisation within which the different synchronous areas, Western Continental Europe, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, consult one another with a view to developing a raft of shared tools. Thanks to Elia s relations with the regulators, both regional (VREG, CWApE, Brugel) and federal (CREG), Hans and his colleagues keep in regular contact with their specialists. We help keep them abreast of all aspects of the electricity market so that they can do the best job possible and make the right decisions in an ever-changing Belgian and European context.