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WEC’s Bi-Monthly Commentary on Energy Issues

                                                                                           1 December 2008

At the recent 2008 Executive Assembly meeting in Mexico City, a plan was approved for the 2009 WEC
Statement to focus specifically on the impact of the global financial crisis on the energy industry as well as
on the preliminary results of the Assessment work. This should result in an annual WEC Statement that is
timely, useful and relevant for members, policy-makers, decision-makers and opinion-formers.
However, for the Statement to be as complete as possible, it is important to have input from every WEC
Member Committee. Therefore, under the guidance of WEC Chair Pierre Gadonneix, a questionnaire has
been prepared which covers various aspects of the impact of the global financial crisis. The questionnaire
will be available on the WEC website at:
The questionnaire is straightforward and should not take too much time to complete, but your input is vital,
and I urge you to make your country’s views known so that we can prepare a thorough, informative, unique
and highly relevant 2009 WEC Statement.
The Romanian Member Committee (WEC/RNC) hosted two energy events in October.
The first was a conference held on 2 October at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bucharest.
The title of the conference was Financing Investments in Energy. Attendees included representatives
from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development,
energy and energy-related companies, banks, investors, consulting and law firms and specialists in
education, research and development. The two sessions of the conference focused on “Politics and
Financing Solutions in the Energy Field” and “Necessary Investments for the Energy Field: Possible
Practical Financing Solutions of the Investment Programmes”.
Dr. Iulian Iancu, WEC/RNC Chairman, underlined the importance of financing, especially in the current
context of the world financial crisis. Investors and funds for buying raw materials and fuels have become
critically important for countries without their own resources. Poor access to credit leads to difficulties in
obtaining the necessary funds for development of the energy sector. The lack of investment in energy
processing and transport facilities for energy products has also played a key role in the increase of fuel
prices. Romania needs about $20 billion for the development of the electricity sector. However, without a
legal framework to guarantee the return on their investments, investors are understandably reluctant to
lend funds. Dr. Iancu said that, because the market cannot solve the problem on its own, the State has to
play a role in ensuring the development of an adequate legal framework for promoting investment. Thus it
is necessary to have concrete actions by government aimed at supporting efficient co-generation, thermal
improvement of buildings, promotion of sustainable energy sources and increased energy efficiency in
end-use. He also underlined the important role of investment in scientific research, which is estimated to
require 1.5% of Romanian GDP until 2009.
The ensuing discussion underlined the necessity of clear and transparent evaluation and selection criteria
for investment projects. A positive outcome of the conference was a joint programme matching the main
energy companies and the financial/banking sector.
The second Romanian event took place on 30 October, again at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
in Bucharest, and focused on Interconnectivity and Grid Reliability. The conference was co-organised
by WEC/RNC and TRANSELECTRICA SA, the Romanian power grid company. More than 100 energy
experts participated.
The moderators of the Conference were Dr. Nicolae Vasile, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce
and Industry of Bucharest; Mr. Stelian Gal, General Manager of TRANSELECTRICA SA; and Dr.
Alexandru Sandulescu, General Manager of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Dr. Vasile delivered the opening speech, in which he underlined the importance of energy links within the
European energy system and the necessity of establishing the requisite technical conditions for developing
the pan-European electricity market.
Mr. Gal outlined some of the main issues which TRANSELECTRICA confronts within the present
framework of economic development and said that cooperation with energy transport operators is
necessary to ensure security of electricity supply. Creating partnerships between producers and suppliers
of energy is also critical.
Dr. Sandulescu underlined the necessity of integrating the Romanian electricity system into the European
system and the need to increase the interconnection capacity to accomplish this. Even more important,
given Romania’s strategic geographical position as the energy corridor in Southeast Europe, it is also
necessary to optimize the internal energy market and to enhance operation of the regional market.
Mr. Lucian Palade, Manager, Electricity Market Surveillance and Development Division, OPCOM SA, gave
a presentation on issues specific to the electricity market in Romania, which he said must be analyzed
within the framework of development of the single European market and of the 27 separate national
markets. In order to further develop the regional energy market, the major issue of different prices for
electricity in different countries must be overcome. Currently, market integration is minimal, said Mr.
Palade, and a single European electricity market can only be achieved through development of the
regional markets and coordination of the energy stocks.
A lively discussion followed the presentations and focused on the necessity of complying with regulations,
capitalizing on the experience of specialists in the interconnectivity field, attracting future specialists to the
energy industry and continuing to upgrade energy systems.
WEC's German Member Committee (DNK) held its annual conference on 12 November in Berlin. One of
the main points of discussion during the meeting was the consequences of the global financial crisis for the
energy sector. Several speakers stated that the consequences are still underestimated. Higher risk
premiums have already hurt offshore wind projects, and some of them now been cancelled. Other risks are
very likely to follow, with energy demand declining in different industries.
A second key topic of the conference was the future of mobility, with a special focus on electro-mobility.
Directors of R&D from Volkswagen, RWE and BP, along with the CEO of Europe's leading silicon-ion
battery manufacturer and representatives from DONG Energy and the European Commission, discussed
the challenges concerning technology, costs, business models and the necessary regulatory framework.
In a separate event moderated by Carsten Rolle, Secretary of WEC Germany, 250 participants discussed
the conclusions and outcomes of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, which was released on 19 November.
Also present at the session were IEA’s chief economist, Fatih Birol; the State Secretary of the Ministry for
Economic Affairs; and representatives from the German energy agency.
Mr. Birol pointed out that the IEA had substantially revised its oil price forecasts and conventional oil
reserves estimates. Furthermore, he said “alarm signals” had to be sent to oil-producing countries, urging
them to invest more in both oil exploration and in keeping markets open for private foreign investments.
Mr. Birol’s second main message was the urgent need to address climate change issues globally at next
year’s COP meeting in Copenhagen. One key criticism emerged concerning the “leakage effects” on
carbon (and jobs) of the European emissions trading scheme.
For a full report of the sessions, visit www.weltenergierat.de/
The global winner of the WEC Energy Photo of the Year competition is Somenath Mukhopadhyay
from India. The decision on the winning entry was made by the Communications and Outreach Committee
at its meeting in Mexico in November. The winning photograph and the regional winners’ entries may be
viewed at:


Further details of the Photo Archive, containing all entries from the competition, will be provided in the 15
January EnergyFax.

KIERAN O’BRIEN                                                World Energy Council
Acting Secretary General                                      5th Floor, Regency House, 1-4 Warwick St.
Tel: (+44 20) 7734 5996                                       London W1B 5LT

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