Newsletter 29/2013 - Our South East Europe
ARTICLE by Janez Kopac, Director, Energy Community Secretariat
Energy Community’s contribution on the region’s way towards the European Union by 2020
Environment and energy
Improving the environmental situation in relation with energy supply in the region is a key objective of the Energy Community Treaty. The Energy Community Contracting Parties have made legally binding commitments to increase their use of energy from renewable sources, improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution from industrial plants by adopting key European Union (EU) legislation in these fields. Renewable energy, along with energy efficiency and environmental protection, is an area where the Contracting Parties have significant potential for further development that can contribute to security of supply, diversification of their energy mix as well as climate change mitigation.
Renewable sources of energy
In the area of renewables, the Contracting Parties have most recently adopted the 2009 EU directive on renewables in electricity, heating and transport. Like in the EU, the directive sets binding national targets for the share of energy from renewable sources in the gross final consumption of energy for 2020. These range from 11 percent for Ukraine to 40 percent for Bosnia and Herzegovina. A mandatory target of 10 per cent of the total fuel consumption in all forms of transport by 2020 was also adopted in the Energy Community. As in other areas, the Energy Community Secretariat assists the Contracting Parties by commenting on draft legislation and monitoring its implementation in practice. It was disappointing that only one Contracting Party submitted its draft National Renewable Energy Action (NREAP) by the June 2013 deadline. We understand that a number of NREAPs are in an advance stage of preparation and hope they will be submitted by the end of the year.
Energy efficiency is recognised as a win-win solution in the Energy Community. The Contracting Parties have committed to implementing EU directives on energy end-use efficiency and energy services, energy performance of buildings and energy labelling. The Secretariat supports the implementation of the directives by promoting effective cooperation between various stakeholders at regional level and partnerships with donors to implement various technical assistance and investment programmes. A prime example is the Energy Efficiency Coordination Group, which brings together experts from the Contracting Parties and donors in order to jointly overcome challenges for the successful promotion of energy efficiency in the Energy Community region.
EU directive on large combustion plants
The implementation of the EU directive on large combustion plants is a major challenge for the Contracting Parties. Existing plants in the region suffer from low levels of maintenance and lack of investment. A number of plants are already running beyond their planned operational lifetime. The Secretariat is assisting the Contracting Parties in the adoption of a number of flexibility instruments to facilitate the directive’s implementation in the region but without reducing its overall level of ambition. Adoption of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (the successor of the Large Combustion Plants Directive), which sets even more ambitious environmental goals, should be the next step for the Contracting Parties and already the reference for any new investment in the region.
Janez Kopac has been Director of the Energy Community Secretariat since 2012. Before this Kopac, a Slovenian national, was Director General of Directorate for Energy at Slovenian Ministry of Economy (2008-2012), Procurator at En plus company (2005-2008), Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy (2000-2004), Member of Parliament, Chairman of Budget Committee (1990-2000), etc. He holds Masters of Economic Science degree from Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
 Information on Energy Community Contracting Parties available at the following link: http://www.energy-community.org/portal/page/portal/ENC_HOME/MEMBERS