Swiss, German, French grids agree to boost intraday power market
* Swiss intraday power tradable via German, French borders
* Move to be implemented in second quarter 2013
* Paris bourse Epex Spot to offer access
FRANKFURT, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Power grid operators in Switzerland, France and Germany said they would unify cross-border handling of capacity to encourage more intraday trading of power supplies, in the latest step to align Europe's wholesale markets.
The European Power Exchange Epex Spot, in tandem with the networks' move, said on Friday it planned to introduce a Swiss intraday market on its platform.
"The implementation of these improvements is planned for the second quarter of 2013, provided regulators approve them," Germany's Amprion and TransnetBW, France's RTE, and Swissgrid, as well as Epex Spot and the clearing arm ECC of the energy exchange EEX, which holds a 50 percent stake in Epex Spot, said in a combined statement.
Day-ahead power allocations are the norm in the traded near-term market in the centre of Europe, but intraday trading is increasing to integrate their intermittent supplies of renewable energy.
This provides market players with an opportunity to trade on supply volatility, which is gradually replacing the purchase of what is called balancing power to iron out grid shortfalls - a potentially more expensive way of ensuring system stability.
European power grid firms already operate intraday capacity allocations on five borders, which are coupled with electronic bourses' trading systems.
Switzerland has long been a pivotal member of the regional power market, created by the convergence of Germany and France and widening to encompass north-west Europe and the Nordic region via cable links.
As part of the latest move, the lot size of French-German and French-Swiss intraday capacity traded on the market will contract to 0.01 megawatt (MW), which will replace the current minimum of 1 MW and open the market to more participants. Germany-Switzerland's unit size of 0.001 MW will be retained.
(Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Jane Baird)