Political decisions must not only be adopted – they must also be put into practice. What happens in that phase further down the road, in the nitty-gritty of implementation?

These questions are fundamental to INC, a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project focusing on how EU energy market laws are implemented. While implementation might be thought to be a purely technical process, putting laws into practice often requires making decisions. The devil is in the detail, and political conflicts, negotiations and operational decision-making may continue long after a law has been passed.

Specifically, the INC project investigates the implementation of ‘network codes and guidelines’. These are detailed rules on electricity trade intended to improve and harmonize the EU’s internal energy market. They could have far-reaching consequences for how we use our electricity network, but so far, they have largely escaped scholarly attention. This project asks several fundamental questions:

  • how have network codes and guidelines been designed and outlined at the general level?
  • how have they been further specified in various ‘terms, conditions and methods’ (TCMs) across Europe?
  • how have they actually worked in practice?
  • and, most importantly, have they been able to deliver on the fundamental goal of increasing the efficiency of electricity trade within Europe?

An international team of scholars, led by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, will address these issues, working in close collaboration with industry experts, user partners and other relevant stakeholders. The goal is to build relevant knowledge and capacity for user partners and policymakers. The project also has a strong theoretical foundation: general research on EU implementation has focused on whether EU member states comply with EU laws – not on how such implementation occurs – or why member states implement the same EU law in different ways. The INC project will delve deeply into these dynamics.

Project period: 2020-2024




  • Research Council of Norway (ENERGIX Programme)
  • Energy Norway
  • Statkraft
  • Statnett
  • Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
  • Elvia
  • Hafslund E-CO Vannkraft
  • Skagerak Kraft
  • Nord Pool