Co-operation is key to a shared energy policy

04/07/2012

Joint work on energy issues across Southeast Europe became more popular during the EU Sustainable Energy Week.

By Ivana Jovanovic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade --04/07/12

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Sharing a regional energy policy is crucial to facilitate the energy integration process. [Nada Bozic/SETimes]

The overall Southeast European electricity market is relatively small, comprised of individual state markets, encouraging a regional effort in attracting infrastructure investors.

According to Nina Gradall-Edler, head of the Energy Community Regulatory Board in Vienna, sharing a regional energy policy is crucial to meet current challenges and to facilitate the energy integration process.

"Our institutions operate on ministerial and regulatory level as co-ordination platforms for streamlining activities across borders and developing a harmonised way ahead. Legislation is, however, only the first step. Application of rules, in practice, text and spirit is the trigger for the liberalisation success," Gradall-Edler told SETimes.

Some energy legislation contracting parties' are in better compliance with the legislation agreed on than others, and is one of the main issues in the Balkan market integration process.

“Differences between the contracting parties widen—a development that does not positively contribute to the regional market target,” Gradall-Edler added.

Several contracting parties met the required legislation in 2011, and the reforms achieved in Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are also good examples, while Albania and Moldova are discussing reforms to keep up with the regional market changes.

Montenegro's integration in the regional electricity market depends on two important projects: first, the new undersea Montenegro-Italy interconnection, and the second is the Co-ordinated Auction Office for interconnection capacity allocation in the region.

"The first project should connect Italy and SEE, triggering favourable conditions for foreign investments, with opportunities for exporting energy surplus and increased safety, efficiency of power system supply, transmission system security in Montenegro, and regional power systems," Aleksandar Mijuskovic, the department director of Montenegro Electrical Transmission System, told SETimes.

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Grall-Edler said the region can benefit from its strategic geographic position. "The Southern Corridor discussions can positively stimulate gas infrastructure investments in the region. In the electricity sector, stakeholders are actively working on establishing a regional wholesale market to increase liquidity and trading."

Lack of serious phasing out of regulated energy prices, prevention of individual user leaks of electricity, and generally poor awareness of the importance of electricity are region-wide challenges.

Numerous working groups, however, are focusing on different regional energy issues.

"Serbia is a part of these groups and as their member is trying to contribute to better regional co-operation, through joint efforts to solve issues like insufficient capacity for implementation measures, slow implementation of regulations, [and] lack of incentives," Bojan Kovacic, deputy director at the Serbian Energy Efficient Agency, told SETimes.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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