Regulators from across Europe and the Mediterranean region kick-start initiative on sustainable empowerment, security of energy supply and interoperability of the systems

19 December 2022

A well-attended trilateral workshop on sustainable empowerment, security of energy supply and interoperability of the systems in Vienna attracted participants from three regulatory organisations. The event kicked off a larger initiative within the framework of a long-term cooperation between the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER), the Energy Community Regulatory Board (ECRB) and the Association of Mediterranean Energy Regulators (MEDREG).

Mr Dirk Buschle, Deputy Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, hosting the event, underlined that cross-Mediterranean cooperation in the energy transition can speed up the replacement of fossil fuels by renewables but can also help better managing the many challenges of the transition, including its social dimension.

In his opening statement, Mr Martin Selmayr, Head of Mission of the European Commission Representation in Austria, pointed out the strength of rule-based cooperation across borders. “We work together across borders more than we have ever before,” he said. “It is time to build new partnerships.” Building on this basic consensus, he was convinced that the European Union and its partners together could overcome any crisis.

Mr Wolfgang Urbantschitsch, CEER Vice-President, anchored the motivations of the initiative in larger megatrends, emphasizing that the results that would be developed as part of the workshop and the following process would be stable and long-lasting as well. He spoke about the challenge of making technical regulatory work accessible to consumers, because it is consumers that have to be at the heart of the energy transition.

Following up on the issue of tackling the energy crisis, Mr Marko Bislimoski, ECRB President, pointed out that it is paramount now that the renewed impetus of investments in the energy sector be directed towards energy efficiency and renewable energy. For instance, fossil gas must be replaced by renewable sources, and while renewable expansion is progressing, further advances are needed.

Mr Konstantinos Tsimaras, Vice President of MEDREG, pointed that there is a fear that in the name of security of supply we see many countries resort to less clean sources of energy.This is in contrast to our climate goals. A future energy strategy, to be sustainable, must build on three pillars: the reconstruction of the energy markets; investments in energy; and the protection of consumers.

The full-day workshop addressed this wide range of topics across a number of sessions with keynote addresses on the efforts needed for reaching the 2030 and 2050 targets, a panel discussion on joining regulatory forces for reaching these targets and a tour de table on availabilities and needs. Discussions among the participants hinted at the complexity of the issues at hand, working towards concrete measures for reaching the 2030 deadline for sustainable development while at the same time aiming at delivering the 2050 target of carbon neutral, prospering economies, safeguarding security of supply to citizens, and addressing energy poverty.

This first workshop aimed at kicking off a framework for future cooperation of the three regulatory institutions and to calibrate main future efforts.