The European Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Andris Piebalgs, has high hopes for the Baltic Sea Region, but the potential is unexploited in the field of energy collaboration: Thanks to its positive homogeneity, the region could be a showcase for the rest of Europe. The positive experience and the best practice of the Baltic Sea Region could even be transferred to other regions in Europe, mentioned Commissioner, during an informal breakfast meeting hosted by Baltic Development Forum.
The meeting was organised in connection with the BASREC Energy Ministers’ meeting in Copenhagen, on 18 February 2009, where local BDF partners and members in the energy sector, representing E.ON Gas Sweden, Dong Energy, Novozymes and Danish Confederation of Industries were also invited to discuss the involvement of business in finding energy and climate friendly solutions and to share views on the possibilities of enhanced energy cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. The Commissioner presented the main elements of the existing European energy and climate agenda. A few points from this otherwise informal meeting:
Talking about possibilities to create strong energy clusters (a “Green valley”) in the Baltic Sea Region, Commissioner Piebalgs emphasised that exchange of best practice/technologies in energy saving and efficiency had so far not been exploited sufficiently. Organisations, such as BDF and BASREC, have potentially an important role to play in this field.
The Commissioner hoped that the ongoing study on enhanced energy cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, initiated by BDF, financed by Nordic Council of Ministers and elaborated in cooperation with Ea Energy Analyses, would continue. At the meeting Ea Energy Analysis presented the next steps of the study. Commenting on the study, the Commissioner saw the most interesting regional perspective in the small tech scenario (find the interim report on the BDF website). Still Carbon Capture and Storage – that is part of the Big Tech scenario – might be necessary in order to utilise the fossil fuel reserves without jeopardising the climate.
Mr. Piebalgs underlined the work of the European Commission’s High Level Group (HLG) for the implementation of Baltic Interconnection Plan that at the present moment was concentrating on integrated energy market and interconnections. The Commissioner expressed his hope that in the future the HLG could work more on energy efficiency, which is a big political priority, and on the use of biomass and 2nd generation of biofuels. According to Commissioner, the HLG plays a crucial role, by preparing a report on the achievements, which would be presented just before the Swedish Presidency 1st July 2009.
As future plans, Commissioner Piebalgs mentioned the recovery plan of the European Commission, which foresees a financial envelope of € 3.5 billion for the following 3 areas: gas and electricity interconnection, the next generation of offshore wind technology and Carbon Capture and Storage. Further, Mr. Piebalgs hoped to achieve an agreement under the Czech Presidency on the internal market package and to present a Communication by June 2009 on financing low carbon technologies.
The Commissioner also underlined that the relation and strong dialogue with Russia are very important, especially in relation to the electricity.