WEC's Bi-Monthly Commentary on Energy Issues, 1 May 2009
Lithuanian Energy Conference
WEC's Lithuanian Member Committee, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Ministry of Energy, hosted a one-day Energy Conference at the Reval Hotel in Vilnius on April 17, with over 600 participants present. These included representatives of all energy sectors in Lithuania (electricity, heating, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable energy resources) as well as guests from the Office of the President, the Parliament, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of the Environment and other government bodies.
The theme of the conference was "Economic and Security Tasks", and speakers included Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas; Jonas Šimenas, Chairman of the Environment Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament; Rymantas Juozaitis, Chair of WEC Lithuania and representatives of the Lithuanian energy industry. Emily Melton, WEC Director of Member Services, Finance and Administration, gave a presentation on WEC, an overview of the Montreal Congress and a summary of the conclusions of the 2009 WEC Statement, including the importance for the energy sector of focusing on the longer term despite the current financial crisis and the need to maintain investment in energy for the future.
Some of the main points made in the various presentations were that, like many other countries, Lithuania is facing a number of critical energy-related issues, particularly in light of the global economic crisis. One of the issues is the disparity between the end-user price and the price of primary energy and the frequency of price adjustments by the regulator. Another is Lithuania's long-standing dependence on Russian gas; continuing to depend on Russia is an "easy" option, but the energy industry and the government see the importance of developing new energy options within Lithuania. Lithuania's accession to the EU was conditional on the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, and this is nearing completion. Government officials are confident this will not create problems of energy supply for Lithuania. Emphasis was placed on the necessity to create a generation company to be both a stakeholder and technical and to participate in the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania.
Lithuania is also debating the model for the role and structure of the energy regulator and is taking steps to strengthen the regulator's competence and ensure equal regulation principles for all power sectors.
Following the presentations, a roundtable discussion took place in which the speakers and members of the audience took part. Conclusions from this discussion were that:
There is a strong need for Lithuania to foster and strengthen both the goal of renovation of houses to increase energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources, especially with respect to the use of biomass, in order to reduce the country's dependence on imported fossil fuels.
It is urgent to develop interconnection projects with Poland and Sweden and to construct a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania. Also high on the agenda is synchronous connection of the Baltic countries' power systems with the power systems of Western Europe. also generate new investment into energy.
It is important for Lithuania to work with and within the EU on energy issues and to keep an ongoing dialogue with other member states and the European Commission.
The day concluded with the presentation of awards to energy leaders from throughout Lithuania.
Congratulations to WEC Lithuania Chair Rymantas Juozaitis and Secretary Gintaras Adzgauskas on a successful and very well attended event.
Assessment of Energy Policy and Practices Study Group Meeting
The study group for Assessment of Energy Policy and Practices met in London on April 16-17, under the leadership of the Chair, Hajime Murata (Japan). Ten members were in attendance or represented. Also attending were members of the Steering Group, WEC Secretary General Christoph Frei, WEC Director of Regional Programmes Yoshiaki Imaizumi and two members of an advisory team of economic advisors nominated by WEC members.
A full set of questionnaires designed to obtain feedback from members was circulated in late February and early March, with responses requested by April 7. To date, 28 complete responses have been received, but some are still arriving, and at least another five are promised by today. We are grateful for the special efforts members have taken on short notice to first provide feedback on the Assessment methodology and draft questionnaire and then to complete and return their views on energy policies and practices in their countries. This provides for a robust analysis of practices and accelerates the process of achieving the goals of the WEC 3 As by giving insights into what makes for effective policies.
At the meeting, responses were examined in detail, and insights were accumulated. Many critiques and suggestions were received from members about the use of specific indicators and their assembly into building blocks and then into the main supports. These are being incorporated into the analysis which, when completed, will be sent to members for their review. A key decision is that for the time being, all indicators, building blocks and supports will have equal weighting, and as the assessment evolves and lessons are learned, an obvious weighting may emerge. For a description of the methodology and process, please refer to:
The structure of the report was also discussed and a preliminary outline determined. Despite the tight time schedule, the plan is to ensure that members have at least four weeks to respond. Feedback will be used to refine the conclusions.
An economist advisory group has also been established and is working. This group is composed of representatives from within the WEC member community, and its purpose is to provide expert analysis of the results so that they can be translated into effective high-level policy guidance.
The assessment results will then be incorporated into a report which will be ready for the Executive Assembly in Reykjavik in September and for COP15 in Copenhagen in December.
We are grateful for several new nominations from the members for the study group. The group is presently composed of Hajime Murata (Japan), Director; Maya Czarzasty (Poland); Brasil Geraldo (Brazil); Iulian Iancu (Romania); Annette Hester (Canada); Tatiana Mitrova (Russia); Daniel Romero (Colombia); Fareed Al-Asaly (Saudi Arabia); Miroslav Vrba (Czech Republic); Maria Sunér Fleming (Sweden); Jean-Eudes Moncomble (France); David S. Hong (Taiwan China); Bundit Fungtammasan (Thailand); Djoko Prasetijo (Indonesia); Takashi Tanaka (Japan); and Abubakar Malah Umar (Nigeria). Any additional interest in the study group is welcome.
Polish MC Publishes WEC 85th Anniversary Tribute
WEC's Polish Member Committee, under the leadership of Chair Zbigniew Bicki and the Polish MC Board, has recently published a report entitled "85 Years of the World Energy Council at the Background of the Global and Polish Energy Sector Development".
The report was authored written by long-time WEC Poland Secretary Jan Solinski, who will step down as Secretary of the Committee this year after 26 years of service.
WEC Poland was one of the founding members of WEC in 1924, and the report summarises not only the active role it has played in WEC for the past 85 years, but also provides a review of the global and Polish energy sectors and their development since the 1920s. It is presented in both Polish and English.
The Polish Member Committee has generously sent enough copies to WEC London to allow all WEC Member Committees to have copies, and we will be sending each Committee a copy in the near future. Additional copies are available upon request from the London office.
Congratulations to the Polish Member Committee on this significant achievement.
Thanks to all members who responded with comments about the usefulness of EnergyFax, as requested in the April 15 issue. The responses and comments were very useful in determining the future of EnergyFax. Based on your feedback, I have decided to keep the basic concept of this publication as an "internally focused newsletter" aimed at our members, but I want to enhance its usefulness to you and add value. Keep an eye out for the new version, which will be issued every two weeks beginning on May
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The World Energy Council in partnership with Oliver Wyman (global consulting firm) has over the past year worked on its third Assessment of country energy and climate policy aiming to identify key areas for policy improvements and to understand how successful policies can be transferred from one country to another. more >