Conclusions adopted at the Energy Policy Consideration – The Urgency of International Cooperation conference
organized by the
Slovenian World Energy Council Member Committee and the Energy Industry Chamber of Slovenia
in Ljubljana on May 19, 2014
Sixteen speakers representing the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, the European Parliament, the European Commission, scientific research organizations from Europe and Russia, European professional organizations, European companies or their European associations and the World Energy Council attended the conference.
1. The EU energy market and activities of national regulators within energy policies, and the urgency of harmonization
The European energy policy, which guides the EU’s energy industry, is based on the legislation so far adopted, the Union’s climate and energy objectives, cooperation with third countries and neighboring regions, and activities within international associations. This year represents a landmark for the Union’s internal energy market, which has to be fully established, thus adopt new climate and energy objectives for the period after 2030 and establish long-term energy cooperation with neighboring regions, energy exporting countries and those, crucial for energy transport.
In spite of the adopted unified legislation and the established uniform energy market, we are witnessing a non-homogenous implementation of legislation, inconsistent implementation of energy regulations and mismatching multilateral dialog with third countries. In reality, the energy legislation has been implemented into all national legislations, whereas its practical application varies and still has to undergo extensive harmonization and unification processes. Although, the coordinated work of national energy regulators proves to be a model example, effects of national regulators depend on actual legislation implementation levels, application consistency and the regulators’ independence.
2. National energy policies shall be assessed, analyzed and unified
The European Union’s national energy policies shall be analyzed and developed in accordance with the ‘Energy Trilemma’ criteria, ie. to assess their performance in terms of energy equity, energy security and environmental sustainability. The analysis shows that countries of the Union may be divided into four different types. The analysis results provide strong necessary guiding principles for national policies, since they allow intercomparison and the determination of future directions.
3. Coordination of national energy policies in the direction of harmonization
All levels of decision-making, from governments of member countries to the European Parliament, have to be incorporated into the tasks of efficient unification and implementation of the European energy policy. Their tasks, duties and competences are well defined, rules and positions for implementation adopted by consensus. Nevertheless, national energy industries have been withdrawing into national borders, while defending and implementing only national interests. Their realization is also left to the big energy companies, which are taking over regional initiatives within the energy dialog, expanding well beyond the Union’s borders. Often, precisely this affects the neighboring countries, especially smaller ones with small economies and, consequently, smaller energy systems. Finally, an important question has to be raised: ‘How to coordinate mutual national energy programs?’ Experiences from such coordination within the European Network of Transmission System Operators framework provide encouraging results.
Harmonized coordination of energy interests is also urgent and crucial in present matters, for example ‘the Ukraine’.
4. Energy infrastructure as a priority area of a common energy policy
The interconnection of the Union through the energy infrastructure is still a priority and an absolutely necessary area of the Union’s energy policy. The Union’s legislation is well designed, thus efficient operation of energy markets, controlled attainment of security of energy supply, and climate and energy objectives shall be possible only with its realization. With the further coordinated development of energy infrastructure, as well as support of existing infrastructure legislation, prevailing national interests may be circumvented and effective supervision of the energy dependency of individual regions of the Union is possible. It is particularly important to determine all necessary energy infrastructures, which are crucial for the interconnection within and outside the Union, within the first half of this year. Accumulation of such infrastructure projects shall be granted a special status also during negotiations with third countries. A coordinated development plan for the Union’s energy infrastructure, harmonized design of investment and operating costs, and their segmentation are of key importance, as well as financial and administrative incentives for infrastructure construction. All this should be done in order to send positive signals for investors.
5. The Union’s energy and climate policy in need of more effective mechanisms
The Union’s energy and climate policy, and the realization of future objectives shall be closely interlinked with the situation of renewable energy on the energy market, its economic consideration and efficient use of energy. This concerns economic relations and different financial mechanism methods for their promotion, which should be more clearly defined for future periods. Current European wholesale power prices are too low to stimulate private investment to replace needed infrastructure and to meet decarbonization goals. An idea about the establishment of a system for emission taxation, as a fundamental measure of climate policy, has been suggested at the conference. National funds based on emission taxations could serve as basic measures of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and the introduction of new technological solutions (in traffic, carbon dioxide capture and storage etc.).
6. The role of professional cooperation
The necessity for cooperation between energy industry experts within and outside the Union is ever-growing. This concerns knowledge and expertise connecting energy policies, stimulating the development of energy technology and supporting its expansion. All this is important for the unification of the Union’s energy policy and economic activity.
7. Creating ‘win-win’ situations
The Union’s energy market operation, attainment of energy and climate objectives, and the security of supply are based on the unity of the European Union. This concerns the implementation of the Union’s common policy that does not allow a multitude of non-harmonized agreements within the Union and, of course, not outside of it, that is with third countries. Therefore, a constructive dialog should be engaged, creating ‘win-win’ situations. The resolution of their own – national problems is advantageous only with neighboring countries, whereas a common glimpse beyond the Union’s borders demands a harmonized approach. If the Union’s energy market plans to withstand powerful global competitors, alliances within the Union are becoming more and more crucial for the future security of supply.