Energy trading via the internet has received a further boost with the news that an alliance of US power companies has formed a new e-commerce venture. The new project is being led by eSpeed Inc, a developer of on-line marketplaces which is being joined by energy companies such as Dominion Resources, Williams Co and TXU Corp. The venture, which will be known as TradeSpark, is due to become fully operational in early October.

The platform will trade electricity, natural gas, coal, weather derivatives and other financial instruments associated with the energy business such as emissions credits for NOx and SOx. Other participants in the venture include Koch Energy Trading, through its alliance with Entergy, Coral Energy and Cantor Fitzgerald, an inter-broker dealer. They are expected to be joined by Dynegy, which already owns a stake worth some $25 million in eSpeed, at a later date.

While a number of major players in the energy sector have announced plans to divest assets and move into what they perceive as more lucrative areas — as telecommunications or trading products and services — the formation of the TradeSpark venture has been overshadowed by a coincidental announcement that two other internet-based trading ventures are to merge. and are to form an alliance under an agreement that will see the UK’s CRV Holdings with an 86 per cent stake.