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EU & WBs / Albania Energy Regulatory Updates

Presentation of Albanian Centre for Energy Regulation and Conservation - ACERC

Acerc is a think tank centre with a focus on the Albania energy market and its integration in Regional & IEM. The Acerc mission based on the in-depth knowledge of EU and Regional Energy Law and Policy and strives to provide aqualified contribution to the promotion of the liberalization and effective integration as well as efficient use of energy resources.

Acerc main activities consists in build-up collaborationand support to market players in the market researches such as the release of reports, articles and periodicals. Activity accompanied with the offering of the support in capacity building through national and regional seminars, trainings and conferences. Initiatives aims to enable in advocating in the energy sector promoting a forum called in Albanian School of Regulation.

For more visit us at the Official Website of Acerc | Albanian Energy Market - AEM Group in LinkedIn

Prolonged Validity Period for TAP’s Exemption – Media Release MEDIA RELEASE 29.04.2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Wed, April 29, 2015 16:04:18

Prolonged Validity Period for TAP’s Exemption – Media Release
MEDIA RELEASE

29.04.2015

Prolonged Validity Period for TAP’s Exemption

Baar, Switzerland. The regulatory authorities in TAP’s host countries – Greece, Italy and Albania – have released a joint opinion, prolonging the validity period of TAP’s exemption from certain provisions of the EU Gas Directive.

TAP’s exemption has been updated in line with the planned commencement date of Shah Deniz Phase 2 gas exports to Europe, now expected in 2020. This enables TAP to be fully aligned with upstream developments in the Southern Gas Corridor value chain.

The updated joint opinion follows the approval of the European Commission [link] as well as a positive opinion by the Energy Community Secretariat [link]. The joint opinion has been implemented in TAP’s host countries via national decisions.

In 2013, TAP secured an exemption from certain provisions of the EU Gas Directive [2009/73/EC], including a third party access exemption for the initial capacity of 10 billion cubic meters annually (bcm/a) for gas volumes from Azerbaijan supplied under the relevant Shah Deniz gas sales agreements over a period of 25 years.

Lutz Landwehr, TAP’s Commercial Director, said: “TAP continues to comply with all the conditions set out in the exemption decision, as well as European regulation to which our project is subject. According to the requirements for major new pieces of gas infrastructure securing exemption decisions, TAP will enhance competition of gas supply as well as boost security of supply in several European markets.”



Reform in energy, what we found in this sector and what we did for it in 18 months Published on : 23 April 2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Tue, April 28, 2015 13:58:50

Reform in energy, what we found in this sector and what we did for it in 18 months
Published on : 23 April 2015

Today’s address of Prime Minister Edi Rama at the Assembly:

Given that the project we are discussing today is in the wake of a major reform to transform this sector, I believe this is the right moment to talk with figures and facts about the legacy of the sector, the current situation of the sector and the expected situation of the sector.

It is amazing how the people responsible for this legacy of the sector have the courage to speak as if they were watching the horizon from the beach towers, and not as if until yesterday, until 18 months ago, they had the power to do the things they say today. Not only did they not do them, by they have left behind an unutterable mess.

Concretely;

The Albanian Power Corporation, a key public enterprise for this sector, was left by them with 540 million dollars of debts created by made directly and blindly by the government.

The Transmission System Operator is another key enterprise of this sector which was left by them with a debt of 20 million dollars, and without any possibility to perform its function of operator in the market and transmission system, because they failed to pay dues to the distributor.

Everybody knows that the interconnection line with Kosovo was left blocked for totally completely unknown reasons.

In addition to a totally absurd legal situation, the Distribution Operator was left in complete economic and technological collapse, with a debt of 1 billion dollars which exceeded by several times the company’s capital. Not to mention uncollected invoices that totaled 1.3 billion dollars and led to an historical level of 48% in losses, which in the last moments ended up to 51% of loss!

Only in the period from January to August 2013, when they thought that they could keep the power by using and abusing everywhere, they accumulated $ 220 million of debts at the expense of the company by winking at every king of law offenders in order to not pay for electricity.

The 150 million Euros lost every year from theft of electricity were directly offset with the budget created by those who pay for electricity and those who pay taxes. With a ridiculous and scandalous tariff system that would only stimulate abuse and did not meet any need, neither for investment nor for content. With a production partially liberalized, but with outrageous contracts that still to this day represent a noose around the neck of the system, in addition to being a debt paid off again by citizens who are paying for energy, and by citizens who pay taxes; with a model of blocked and non-functional market in continuous emergency; with a legal framework that does not respond to the reality of the sector and did not absolutely guarantee any future for the sector.

This is the situation we have inherited.

What is the current situation and what have we done in just 18 months? I will show again figures and facts, because it’s not worth arguing with them using reason and logic beyond figures and facts.

We managed to considerably reduce the level of annual losses and today we are at a level of 31%, which is like night versus day compared to 18 months ago and, now on the basis of a fundamental stability in the sector, we have full right to believe it will go below 30%.

We increased by 100 million dollars the level of annual receipts by the beginning of April 2015. Imagine that until early April 2015, within a period of 18 months, we have managed to exceed 300 thousand contract agreements with debtors, whom they abandoned on the street along with entire system, because their minds were focused on streets, and only on streets, and as a consequence everybody was left on the street!

The total financial value of the contract agreements signed is 50.5 billion ALL, or 505 million dollars. On the other hand, the amount of arrears written off by the mitigation scheme that we proposed to debtors is 39 million dollars. In 2014, the Albanian Power Corporation purchased at a price less than 2.89 Euros compared with 2013, and less than 15.98 Euros compared with the average price of the last 5 years.

In 2014, the Albanian Power Corporation sold at an average price higher than 15.51 Euros compared with 2013 – and I am talking here a about sales made abroad – and 31.4 Euros more than the average price of the last 5 years. Calculations are simple and clear, and the difference is like night versus day and darkness versus light.

Compared with 2013, although with 40% less flow Fierze, resources have been used more efficiently and energy reserves have significantly increased. Investments made during 2014 have enabled 12 hydropower stations to start working with a total capacity value of 480 million dollars. Another 8 hydropower stations are expected to start working by 2015, with a planned investment of 280 million dollars. Debts accumulated by small producers, who used to receive contracts with children’s drawings and then bear the entire burden of the funding, have been paid by 70%.

This debt we have to small producers, to private producers, and which exceeds 60 million dollars, will be fully repaid by the first half of 2015. Meanwhile, it is clear that the support received by the World Bank and other financial institutions to invest in the system is a direct result of the reform that we have made in this sector, as a precondition to have this support.

This condition has existed before, but nobody committed to meet it because, for them, the policy of winking to thieves of and abusers with energy was the only policy.

The total chaos of the system, the total confusion within the system and violation of the rule of law in the system were clear political choices to keep the power at all costs, and which pulled the state to pieces. A first funding of 115 million dollars has been guaranteed from the World Bank to launch a major project for the recovery of the energetic system. This project is expected to exceed 400 million dollars for the distribution sector, which is our major challenge. For now, thanks to a total understanding of the vast majority of citizens and thanks to their support for this reform and these measures, we are able to start investing in the sector. Precisely because this reform has yielded results and has already a future, since the road opened ensures sustainability and has been set in motion by grant funding. So far, to this day, we have 15.2 million grants for projects to increase the efficiency of electricity. The tariff reform, the much sought after reform, the long-awaited reform, the long-delayed reform of the energy sector that revised the fundamental distortion of the market and ensured alignment with costs, by removing abusive ceilings of 300 kilowatts and by unifying the price, lower than the price of yesterday, from the average of 10.5 to an average of 9.5, has secured another cornerstone to take the sector in the right direction.

In addition, as we committed, we indemnified with an addition to the payment, rather than with compensation theories of “Bring us the bill and we will compensate for”, over 210 thousand families classified as poor and needy. There are over 210 thousand families who receive each month, directly, as an addition to the salary, a pension supplement to face the effect of the tariff reform.

We have revised the formula to determine the purchase price of energy by private HPPs, thus ending a scandalous chapter of abuse and financial speculation at the expense of public finances and at the expense of taxpayers and consumers who pay for energy in the country.

We have increased by $ 40 million dollars the funds for production and have moved to a whole new stage for the management of the cascade, through water control and an optimal regime. This has stopped political interference such as “let it be filled because we are going to sell”, and when it was filled more than it could hold, the whole area of Shkodra and lower Shkodra would be flooded, and people would be told “this was because we had the heaviest rainfall of the last 100 years”. The heaviest rainfall of the last 100 years occurred for five consecutive time within one year, but this one was slightly heavier than the one that occurred a few weeks ago.

We started procedures to breach concession contracts with over 30 hydropower plants in potency, when the concessionaire has failed to fulfill obligations. The time when concession contracts were signed and left in the drawer, unmonitored, and the so-called concessionaires would made of it a bond for the illegal market of contracts is over.

We have solved the problem for building the infrastructure that will replace project of the cascade in Devoll. Like all the problems inherited in all sectors, this was also an inherited problem, the big the problem inherited across their major project that was roads, roads and only roads, by those who not only did not complete even one road, but abandoned every road project. While we, in addition to covering all the debts they had to enterprises for what small proportion of road they did, they have done little way, are facing the challenge to provide funding in order to conclude the projects that were started with 5%, 3% and sometimes even 1% of the total amount in order to have the election ribbons cut.

We have ensured to continue and have the construction of the 110KW South Ring line thoroughly funded. In addition, the investment for both lots in 2014 amounted to 186 million dollars, work for the construction of Tirana-Pristina interconnection line of 400kW has started and investment for the preliminary phase in the first Lot has exceeded 4 million Euros.

A very important agreement has been signed on the project for the market liberalization that will be followed by the integration of the market on a regional level with Kosovo. This is the beginning of a larger project for a regional market on which we are discussing with other countries.

To conclude, let me say that we have invested approximately 9 million dollars on dam safety in the HPPs of Fierzë, Koman and Vau I Dejës.

I believe that all these figures and all these facts clearly show where the sector was 18 months ago, where it is today and where it will be by the end of the next 5 years. We are confident that for a sector with the biggest problems, the heaviest burden of obligations and of the greater financial pit, we will turn the energy sector of our country in a sector that not only is independent without any need to be financed from taxes to compensate for losses, but it will be a profitable sector of our economy.



Macedonia failure to liberalise electricity market in line with binding Energy Community deadline, 27 Apr 2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Mon, April 27, 2015 23:29:28

Macedonia failure to
liberalise electricity market in line with binding Energy Community deadline,
27 Apr 2015

Today the Energy Community Secretariat
submitted a Reasoned Opinion as the next step in the dispute settlement case
against the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for its postponement of
electricity market opening. The Director of the Energy Community Secretariat
said: “Macedonia’s decision to postpone full opening of the electricity
market and thereby prohibiting consumers to choose their supplier is another
manifestation of the current government’s deliberate policy of systematically
refusing to accept the country’s obligations under the Energy Community Treaty
and, consequently, EU law.

This trend has recently become more and
more visible and manifests itself in several open breaches of Energy Community
law, including among others also the non-acceptance of a binding target for
renewable energy and the failure to respect Second and Third Energy Package
rules in the gas sector when cooperating with Russian partners. The current
problems in the energy sector mirror other problems of the country – the
growing politicization of state institutions and the dramatically deteriorated
political situation. What we witness is a growing isolation of the country from
the international community
”.

In the Reasoned Opinion, the Secretariat
reiterates its view that the amendments to the country’s Energy Law adopted in
October 2014 deprive small businesses and all household customers of their
right to purchase electricity directly from the supplier of their choice by
obliging them to continue purchasing electricity from the incumbent monopoly
supplier after the 1 January 2015 market liberalization deadline set in Energy
Community law. The postponement of full market liberalization until 2020
represents a severe breach of the Treaty establishing the Energy Community.
Open electricity markets are of principal importance for the achievement of the
objectives of the internal energy market. The country is now requested to
rectify the identified issues of non-compliance within a time limit of two
months.

The Government justifies the postponement
of the opening of the market by a risk of “possible drastic increase of the
prices of electricity for the households.” In reality, the argument related to
potential “price shocks” seems to address rather the intended protection of the
incumbent’s liquidity than the protection of household customers from “price
shocks”. This measure is essentially protectionist in nature as it has the
effect of shielding the incumbent supplier from any actual or potential
competition by prolonging its legal supply monopoly for a significant period of
time. Protecting customers from dramatic price increases and ensuring security
of supply is a legitimate aim that could be achieved through measures which are
significantly less market distorting and in compliance with Energy Community
law, i.e. the possibility to impose public service obligations – including
regulation of retail prices for non-household and household customers – on
suppliers.

CASE ECS 02/15: MK / ELECTRICITY

30 Jan 2014, the Secretariat opens dispute settlement case against
Macedonia for postponing market opening

Failure

On 30 Jan 2015, the Secretariat sent an Opening Letter to FYR of
Macedonia for its failure to comply with the Energy Community’s eligibility
rules by postponing full opening of the
electricity market
. The Energy Community Treaty sets 1 Jan 2008 as
the implementation deadline for market opening for non-household customers and
1 Jan 2015 for all customers including households. The postponement until 2020
of full market liberalisation represents a severe breach of the Treaty.

Reasoning

The amendments to the Energy Law adopted in Oct 2014 deprive small
businesses and all household customers of their right to purchase electricity
directly from the supplier of their choice. Furthermore, making eligibility
dependent on electricity consumption is non-compliant with the Treaty.

Protecting customers from dramatic price increases is a legitimate aim
that could be achieved through measures which are significantly less market
distorting and in compliance with the Energy Community acquis. Eligibility has to be
distinguished from price regulation and universal service provision might
necessitate regulating the prices for certain categories of customers. The
Secretariat is ready to assist FYR of Macedonia in rectifying the identified
breaches of Energy Community law.

Procedure

According to Articles 6 and 16 of the Rules of Procedure
for Dispute Settlement
, interested parties may be granted access to
the case file and may submit written observations on the present case to the
Secretariat within one month from 30 Jan 2015.



Statement on Energy Union at the European Economic and Social Committee’s Plenary Session SPEECH – 22 APRIL 2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Wed, April 22, 2015 16:38:37

Statement
on Energy Union at the European Economic and Social Committee’s Plenary Session

SPEECH – 22 April 2015

President Malosse,
Distinguished Members of the European Economic and Social Committee,

It’s a pleasure to be here. I
understand you will hold some very interesting discussions with some of my
colleagues from the College over the course of this two-day plenary session;
and I am very glad to be among them. In fact, I have been wanting to come and
exchange views with you for a while, especially since the adoption of the
Energy Union in late February so today’s exchange is very opportune.

I believe everyone in this
room is familiar with the basic concept of the Energy Union: In order to
provide Europeans with secure, competitive and sustainable energy, there are a
series of actions we must take. They consist of:

·
securing our supply through solidarity and trust;

·
a fully integrated European energy market;

·
putting energy efficiency first;

·
decarbonising our economy;

·
and staying ahead of the curve by investing in research, innovation and
competitiveness.

That is the vision which was
translated into a concrete strategy in a great teamwork exercise. The strategy
was conceived first and foremost by an excellent team of Commissioners. But
contributions and ideas came from the entire spectrum of stakeholders at all
levels. I will speak in a few moments on how we intend to continue this crucial
dialogue in the months to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, the
Energy Union is a ‘triple win’ strategy because it will benefit our citizens,
our economy, and our environment. The three go hand in hand in making Europe
a better place to live. Allow me elaborate on the impact of the Energy Union on
each of these main three pillars of our society.

Citizens

In its very essence, the
Energy Union empowers citizens.

First, we are addressing the
fact that household consumers have too little choice of their energy suppliers
and too little control over their energy costs. An unacceptably high percentage
of European households cannot afford to pay their energy bills. One of the
solutions is a market structure which is more competitive.

This means ensuring energy can
flow freely across our borders so that consumers have access to more suppliers
and can choose the best service and price. In order to get there, we will need
to remove obstacles to cross-borders energy flow such as missing infrastructure
or regulation which is inconsistent or unstable. The recent initiatives to
accelerate market integration of the Iberian Peninsula and of Central and
South-Eastern European gas markets are major steps in that direction.

But we are not stopping there.
Citizens are no longer passive consumers. They are becoming ‘prosumers’ –
consumers who can also produce energy and supply it into the energy grids. This
will allow individuals to generate revenues from their private energy
production but more importantly; to benefit from lower prices of energy
produced by others. With smart grids in place, a sunny day in Lisbon should
lower energy prices in Madrid; and a windy day in Budapest should lower energy
prices in Vienna. It might take time but we are already seeing major
advancements in this field!

By mid-year we will present
our first ideas on a new electricity market design in order to:

·
better integrate renewables into the grid;

·
ensure national interventions do not distort the market;

·
and increase competitiveness with the aim of reducing prices.

This will be followed by
legislative proposals in 2016.

We are already providing
citizens with information on the energy efficiency of their electric appliances
– but we would like to do it better. We will therefore review the Energy
Labelling directive, as well as other legislation on efficiency of buildings
and transport.

Finally, with the mandate Vice
President Katainen and myself recently received from President Juncker, and
with a group of Commissioners in our task force, we are elaborating a strategy
on Smart Cities. This strategy will ensure that the urban regions, where the
vast majority of the Europeans live, make smart use of the latest innovations
to make our cities more resilient and sustainable.

Industry

When it comes to the impact of
the Energy Union on our industries, let’s first look at Europe’s renewable
energy sector. This industry currently runs a combined annual turnover of €129
billion and employs over 1 million people. EU companies have a share of 40% of
all patents for renewable technologies. The challenge is to therefore retain
Europe’s leading role in global investment in renewable energy.

Last week, I met in Hannover
with the Prime Minister of India who is eager to provide renewable energy to
some 300 million citizens who currently don’t have proper access to
electricity. He came to Europe in order to see where India can cooperate with
European companies. The potential for our industry is therefore huge. And that
is just one example…

But the energetic transition
is not only about the energy sector; the change we are bringing about will
benefit all industries. As you know, current wholesale gas prices are still
more than twice as high as in the US. This reduces the competitiveness of our
industries, especially those which are energy-intensive. And as if it’s not
enough that we pay higher prices, we are also highly dependent on too few
dominant suppliers, making us vulnerable to disruptions and price distortions.

In that respect, I assume you
all heard Commissioner Vestager’s announcement, a couple of hours ago, about
the Commission’s Statement of objections against Gazprom.

The solution we are putting in
place is diversification of our energy sources; this means diversifying who we
buy our energy from, which primary materials we use to produce our energy, and
the technologies we put in place. When it comes to gas, we will

·
develop an EU-wide strategy for LNG and storage;

·
establish partnerships with additional suppliers;

·
and build the infrastructure to bring the gas from those suppliers.

One example to that is the
Southern Gas Corridor which is a strategic project to bring gas from Central
Asia.

In fact, reducing the energy
costs of our industries will create a virtuous cycle. By spending less money on
their energy costs, European companies will become more competitive on the
global market and will be able to invest more in their research and innovation.
This will allow them to adapt to the new emerging sectors and create new innovative
solutions for the energetic and economic transition. That, in return, will
again reduce our energy prices so the cycle continues!

This Commission will support
this cycle at various points. For example, Energy research funding has already
been doubled under Horizon 2020 and will now propose an upgraded Strategic
Energy Technology Plan to focus on the areas with the most potential.

Environment

The third winner I would like
to talk about is our environment. Ladies and gentlemen, history will judge us
for what we managed to do about global warming. Not only us, decision makers in
the EU, but our entire generation. This is our last chance to stop climate
change!

That is why the Commission
welcomed the concrete commitments of Europe’s leaders to fight climate change.
As you remember, last October the European Council endorsed binding EU targets
by 2030:

·
to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%;

·
increase the share of renewable energy to at least 27%;

·
and improve energy efficiency by at least 27%.

We are now translating these targets into
concrete legislation, such as the revision of the Emission Trading System
(ETS), of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Directives.

This shows you that this
Commission is not only concerned with results it will see during its current
mandate; it is looking at long-term solutions for our foreseeable future. In
the short-run, our ambitious targets put us in a position to ask our global
partners to be at least as bold in their targets. This is instrumental in our
preparations to the COP21 conference in Paris at the end of the year. I deeply
hope the international community will reach a viable agreement during this
conference and I will ensure Europe takes up its role as a global leader during
this crucial summit.

Governance

Over the past two months, I
have presented the Energy Union Strategy at numerous occasions across Europe.
So far reactions were very supportive. They came from the European Parliament,
national European leaders, major industries and civil society organisations.
Even outside of Europe, there are great expectations from what the Energy Union
can deliver to the world.

I know you are very interested
in the governance system and I think you are right. This is a key element in
making sure policies are implemented and that ideas become reality. That is why
the Commission is currently analysing the impact of the Energy Union on each
Member States, identifying particular opportunities and obstacles.

In the coming weeks I will
launch my Energy Union Tour where I will discuss our findings with national
governments, industries, civil society organisations, and citizens. In this
exchange, I will listen carefully how our findings resonate with them.

By the end of this year, the
Commission will present the first “State of the Energy Union”, which
will analyse the remaining gaps in each of the Member States and across the EU
for making the Energy Union a reality. This will allow us to prescribe concrete
solutions in the most constructive and transparent manner.

In fact, transparency is the
key element of the entire process I just described; I will ensure we keep
communication channels open so that relevant stakeholders are heard and that
policy is coherent across all levels; European, national, regional, and municipal.

I therefore welcome your
explanatory opinion papers on the Energy Union – the one you will adopt
tomorrow as well as those which are foreseen for summer. These will provide an
important input to this debate. So far, from what I have seen in your explanatory
opinions, I believe your thinking is very well in line with the Energy Union
strategy and I hope that we can work further on this basis over the next years.

Thank you very much!



Energy regulators propose regional solutions to security of supply at the Madrid Forum Brussels, 20 April 2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Mon, April 20, 2015 20:00:52

Energy regulators propose
regional solutions to security of supply at the Madrid Forum

Brussels, 20 April 2015


Complete the Internal Energy Market

• Prevent
first, mitigate later


Regional approach to security of supply is crucial

Today,
the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) presented at the Madrid Forum (20-21
April) its proposals for enhancing security of supply in Europe.

CEER
underlined the completion of the Internal Gas Market as a crucial basis for any
EU security of supply strategy.

CEER
proposes market-based solutions where possible and, importantly, regionally
coordinated plans to security of supply rather than the currently used purely
national focus.

Prevent first, mitigate later

Walter
Boltz, Chair of the CEER Gas Working Group, advocated using market-based
instruments including regional coordinated plans as long as possible (during
the prevention phase), before moving into the mitigation (state intervention
via emergency plans) phase:

“Market-based
instruments should be used to guarantee continuity of supply as long as
possible. One important measure is to make sure the Balancing Network Code is
properly implemented, so that the value of security of supply could be
incorporated in a market-based balancing regime”.

Regional approach to security of supply is crucial

“Member
States are no longer the only appropriate reference point for a security of
supply policy within the internal market”, explained Mr Boltz.

Within
the regions coherent risk assessments, preventive action plans and emergency
plans need to be elaborated and properly coordinated. This process could be
facilitated if the European Commission designed one standard template and if
all regional plans were available in English.

Increased role for the European Commission

Mr Boltz
stressed that the European Commission has an increasing role to play in
security of supply in supporting competent authorities, regulators and network
companies’ efforts towards greater cross-border cooperation. He suggested that
the European Commission could appoint a security of supply mediator should
competent authorities fail to agree upon regional plans.

CEER
considers gas storage (and LNG) as having an important role in delivering
security of supply, but cautions against a one-size fits all approach for
strategic storage. Following its public consultation on storage, CEER will soon
publish its regulatory vision for the gas storage market.

See
CEER’s response to the European Commission’s recent public consultation on the
review of the Security of Supply Regulation.



Policy Conference Programme of Tirana EUSEW 2015, Note Release on 16 April 2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Fri, April 17, 2015 00:24:18

Policy
Conference Programme of Tirana EUSEW 2015

Note Release
on 16 April 2015

Opportunities for a sustainable development offered
for Albania by the Reform of the Energy Community

Ten years ago, Albania together with other countries of the WBs, in a
strategic prospect to a integration in the EU have signed a treaty which created
the Energy Community. By 1st Jan 2015 the countries commitments have
entered in the prevision of the Third Energy Package Area. On 1 January 2015,
Albania also formally took over the Energy Community one year rotating
presidency. Then today Albania is one of the leading countries in energy
reforms in the Western Balkans. The country has made significant progress in initiating
true market reforms. During this year, Albania would see a number of laws
adopted, including that on sectors of the Res, the EE and the sustainable developing. Tirana EUSEW 2015 taking place in framework of the EU Sustainable
Energy Week foresee enquire with the here following policy conference programme.

I. Priorities of
Albania on the Renewable Energy Sector

Under
Directive 2009/28/EC, Albania committed to a binding 38% target of energy from
renewable sources in gross final energy consumption in 2020, compared with
31.2% in 2009. Therefore, in May 2013, Parliament adopted a Renewable Energy
Law dealing mostly with electricity from renewable sources, and only marginally
with energy produced from renewable sources for heating. Putting its
application on hold, is a step back even though alignment with the general
legal framework for electricity makes sense in view of the many overlaps.

In
any event, the immediate adoption of the NREAP should be the first priority of
the Ministry of Energy and Industry. The network operators have to increase
transparency regarding connection and access to the grids. ERE must also
implement the system for certifying energy produced from renewable sources
based on guarantees of origin. When reforming the electricity market model to
allow for opening of the market, Albania needs to focus not only on the supply
side but also on generation, as a precondition to attract further investments
in renewable energy.

A
full review of the Law for the Production, Transport and Trade of Biofuels and
other Renewable Fuels in Transport and its implementation is immediately
needed. The focus should be on the certification system, as biodiesel
production take place already in the country. Finally, the current difficult
financial situation of the electricity sector caused by high energy losses,
accumulated bad debts and reduced collection rates create high risks also for
new investments made in renewable energy projects.

II. Priorities of Albania on the Energy Efficiency Sector

A long the first part of the year is expecting that the Ministry of
Energy and Industry finalises and approves the Energy Efficiency Law, as envisaged
by the Ministry’s own timetable. Adopting the new Law on Energy Efficiency
would be of essential importance for the further development of the legislative
framework and for the implementation of energy efficiency measures foreseen for
the achievement of energy efficiency targets.

Furthermore, Albania needs to improve and adopt immediately the second
EEAP, following requirements of the Directive 2006/32/EC and the template
developed by the Energy Efficiency Coordination Group. Besides this, the
institutional framework should be developed and strengthened, with clearly
defined roles and responsibilities. The
establishment of the Energy Efficiency Fund will significantly contribute to
the implementation of the EEAP. Stronger promotion of the exemplary role of the
public sector by EEAP measures is equally important for effective
implementation of Directive 2006/32/EC, in addition to the creation of proper legal,
institutional and financial frameworks.

Another priority should be the development of legislation and regulation
dealing with labelling of energy-related products and energy efficiency in
buildings in order to comply with the Delegated Acts on Labelling and Directive
2010/31/EU by adopting the necessary law(s) and updating the existing Building
Code.

III. Priorities
of Albania on the
Environment Sector

The Environmental sector foresee in framework of the energy community the fully align with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive on
Environmental Permits, Sulphur in Fuels Directive, Large Combustion Plants
Directive. With regard except for the Sulphur in Fuels Directive, Albania has
reached a high level of transposition of the Energy Community environmental acquis
into national law. The efforts should be focused on the practical implementation
of the Directives as well as on capacity building for the authorities
responsible for their implementation.

The
2015 EU Sustainable Energy Week Conference of Tirana will be held 15 June 2015
by Albanian Centre for Energy Regulation and Conservation – ACERC in partnership
with different Albanian actors that operate locally, regionally and internationally. In dealing
with the above issues the EU Sustainable Energy Week Conference of Tirana
foresee the participation of the energy experts, policy-makers, representatives
of the civil society and the media that will see the hold of several policy
paper on topics related to secure, clean and efficient energy. All the Albanian
Energy stakeholders are invited to contribute with their proposals that
will be evaluate by the ad hoc committee
of the organization. More information
on the Tirana Energy Day will follow shortly.



Ceremony of the permanent synchronous operations of the Turkish power system with the Continental Europe Synchronous 15 Apr 2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Thu, April 16, 2015 12:38:25

Ceremony of the permanent synchronous operations of the Turkish power
system with the Continental Europe Synchronous

15 Apr 2015

Director Kopač welcomes today’s signature of
synchronisation agreement of Turkish power system with Continental Europe Synchronous
Area. Delivering a keynote speech at the signature ceremony of the long-term
agreement on the permanent synchronous operations of the Turkish power system
with the Continental Europe Synchronous Area between ENTSO-E and Turkish TSO
TEIAS in Brussels today, Director Kopač said:

“I sincerely welcome today’s signature. It is a great
success and the result of enormous efforts by all parties involved. The
commitment to address the complex technical, operational and legal challenges
is an excellent example of pan-European market integration. It is exactly this
pan-European dimension that is also crucial for the future Energy Union: recent
events have reminded us once again that it is impossible to imagine security of
supply and the development of a genuinely competitive energy market in the EU
without carefully involving its neighbours. I hope that further discussion
about the creation of the Energy Union will offer a chance to EU and Turkish
decision-makers to overcome the standstill in the energy chapter accession talks
and bring Turkey on board.”

“Turkey has proven to be a very active observer to the
Energy Community. I personally would welcome enhancing this cooperation further
– not only because the Turkish power market could play a significant role in
boosting the liquidity of South East Europe’s electricity sector; but also the
Turkish power market structure already shows promising liberalisation elements.
Turkey could reap significant benefits from a fully fledged membership in the
Energy Community. The Energy Community has already proven to be an efficient
instrument for aligning the legal framework of the EU with its neighbours.”



ACER: REMOVING REGIONAL BARRIERS IN GAS MARKETS April 13th, 2015

AER Notice April 2015 Posted on Mon, April 13, 2015 11:00:39

ACER: REMOVING REGIONAL BARRIERS IN GAS MARKETS
April 13th, 2015


It is essentially impossible to move natural gas between a number of European Member States because of inadequate infrastructure an expert from the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators stressed, noting that even where gas can be moved between countries, there is in many instances a high concentration on the supply side.

Boyko Nitzov, TSO Cooperation Officer, Team Leader for Gas Infrastructure Development at the Gas Department of the European Union’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) said that from the Agency’s market monitoring report it emerges that the majority of Member States have not reached the target level of competition in the market.

‘’Quite often the market is very concentrated, in the hands of few suppliers, and the so-called HHI index is very high, i.e. the level of competition on the supply side is very low. There are countries that rely on one single supplier and are supplied by one single gas pipeline. They can hardly expect to have a competitive market. For this reason, there are often high price differentials, or an unsatisfactory degree of price convergence. In some regions of Europe, such as in the North-Western part, the situation is rather good, but South-Eastern Europe is lagging behind’’, Nitzov told Natural Gas Europe in an interview.

Therefore, he continues, consumers in EU cannot fully benefit from natural gas if the market is not competitive, and the market cannot be competitive without availability of technical connections, i.e. the infrastructure, and without opening the infrastructure network to suppliers and consumers.

What is the main task in the Agency’s work programme for the next two years concerning natural gas?

Well, we could say that the main task consists in assisting the implementation of the EU’s Third Energy Package, including the implementation of the EU Regulation No 347 which was adopted in 2013. The Gas Department of the Agency addresses the matter from several viewpoints or work areas. The work areas are the development of network rules (codes), their implementation and monitoring, market monitoring (which should not be confused with the market surveillance, which is performed by another Department – in market monitoring the department works on the annual reports which analyse the openness of the market, whether consumers are benefitting from the implementation of the EU’s third energy package), and the development of natural gas infrastructure. Also, we are helping work on the creation of a good Gas Target Model. In short, the main task is to make sure that gas moves throughout Europe without barriers, that access to infrastructure is on fair terms, and that consumers ultimately benefit from this mechanism. The Agency plays a leading role at a regulatory level in the implementation of a common energy market, by complementing and coordinating the work of NRAs in these areas.

How is the Agency ensuring a higher number of alternatives and better prices for natural gas for the European citizens?

The Agency is working on the removal of the “compartments” within the EU market, meaning the elimination of the barriers between the regions and the Member States in the gas market, so that the gas prices would converge and the number of gas suppliers in each region would increase. Consumers cannot fully benefit from natural gas if the market is not competitive, and the market cannot be competitive without availability of technical connections, i.e. the infrastructure, and without opening the infrastructure network to suppliers and consumers. This would eventually lead to greater competition in the market and thus to more alternatives and fair prices.

The proposed Energy Union package foresees a stronger role of ACER, which implies the reinforcement of ACER’s powers and independence. Is ACER ready for this role?

There have been some discussions about this matter, however the decision is up to the Member States. Although Agency is rather young, I think it has established itself as a reputable body that is overall performing positively and is fulfilling the tasks it is responsible for. This is also what is expressed in the external evaluations of the Agency. Should new responsibilities be assigned to the Agency, it has to be ensure that we also receive sufficient resources to do the additional work.

What are the major cross-border impediments to the creation of a seamless internal market?

The matter could be addressed from two aspects. Firstly, the market is very concentrated, as it is essentially impossible to move gas between a number of Member States because infrastructure is inadequate. Secondly, even where gas can be moved between countries, there is in many instances a high concentration on the supply side. From the Agency’s market monitoring report it emerges that the majority of Member States have not reached the target level of competition in the market. To underscore: quite often the market is very concentrated, in the hands of few suppliers, and the so-called HHI index is very high, i.e. the level of competition on the supply side is very low. There are countries that rely on one single supplier and are supplied by one single gas pipeline. They can hardly expect to have a competitive market. For this reason, there are often high price differentials, or an unsatisfactory degree of price convergence. In some regions of Europe, such as in the North-Western part, the situation is rather good, but South-Eastern Europe is lagging behind. Yet another aspect is the proper use of available infrastructure “connectivity”, which implies the use of network codes for non-discriminatory access to the capacities; in brief, not only the physical presence of connections, but also the ability to use them to the best degree.

Which measures has the EU undertaken over the last several years to facilitate the security of gas supply in the EU?

The Agency does not have many specific tasks concerning security of supply per se: it is essentially a participant in the EU-wide Gas Coordination Group. However, an important element on our agenda is to assure that a proper cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is carried out for infrastructure projects, and that this analysis takes very much into consideration the expected improvement of security of supply. Thus, we provide written opinions on this matter and are working on improving the CBA methodology and the guidelines on how CBA should be carried out, and issue relevant recommendations how security of supply should be taken into consideration when developing gas supply infrastructure.

How would you rate the 3rd Energy Package according to the achievements scored so far?

Overall, the 3rd Energy Package is a major improvement in terms of the legal structure of the EU gas market. Important elements of the package have already been accomplished, but there are others which cannot be fulfilled only by adopting a paper: the process has to be regularly followed “in the field” and its real progress monitored.

Has co-operation between the EU National Regulatory Authorities for Energy improved since the establishment of Your Agency in September 2009?

I think the best answer to this question can be given by the National Regulatory Authorities (NRA) themselves, but so far I think the results of work performed by the Agency are positive. What the Agency is doing is to help assure the cooperation among the NRAs, as it is a process that needs to be carried out and monitored on a daily basis. So far, the output is very positive and we can say that things are really moving forward.

What are currently the most important infrastructure projects in the European Union concerning natural gas?

The key for analysing the projects is the cost-benefit analysis, rather than the scale of the projects or their budget. A mechanism that works in a given environment might not work in another, thus it is necessary to perform a specific, project level cost-benefit analysis, which is a fundamental tool to understand what should be prioritised. The list of projects which are of common interest to be implemented is made by the regional groups established by Regulation (EU) No 347/2013, not by the Agency. Our duty is to issue an opinion about this list focusing on several methodological and procedural aspects, to participate in the discussions, to collect information, to conduct inquiries and so on. Generally, we are trying to improve the outcome of the project selection process. Again, as each region or area has its own priorities and the whole process is very dynamic, it has to be properly managed by the regional groups, while the projects themselves are ultimately implemented by the industry.

Can you provide your opinion on what measures are being taken to facilitate gas supply in the Balkans?

Concerning natural gas, one thing that hinders the progress in the Balkans is the fact that markets are not interconnected, while individually being quite small. If you exclude Romania, which is in a better position as it has more significant domestic gas supply compared to others, gas demand in all other countries is in the range of up to 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Total gas demand all over the Balkans is in the range of 12 to 15 billion cubic meters per year. This is the scale of one relatively small pipeline – just one high pressure pipeline – or two to three LNG terminals. Without connections to the wider European market and the pan-European infrastructure network, it will be very difficult to resolve the issues of natural gas in the Balkans. Also, the lack of intra-regional cooperation and diversification of gas supply is a serious problem.

Drazen Remikovic



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