The V Energy Forum in Sopot has ended
Participants in the V Energy Forum in Sopot agreed that Europe needs consistent, long-term and calm energy policy of all the states of the European Union. The Energy Forum is a supplement to the Economic Forum in Krynica related to energy issues. Among more than 60 panellists were representatives of governments, parliaments, energy companies and scientific institutes from Central and Eastern Europe and also Western Europe, and the USA. The entire Energy Forum was attended by nearly 300 guests from almost 30 states of Europe and the USA.
The Forum began with presentation of a report prepared by KPMG with the title „Perspectives for the Central and Eastern European electricity market". Its authors drew attention to the fact that that energy companies in the region would have to make investments in energy with the total amount of nearly 144 billion euros. Such actions will be necessary to meet the expected in the nearest decade growth of demand for electric energy by 25%.
The weight of this issue was noticed by the former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolanek, who said during the opening session „Energy strategy in Europe – business and politics" that Europe is on the eve of solving strategic tasks of the energy sector. According to Topolanek, Europe must be self-sufficient in terms of energy. In order to achieve it we need, among other things, new sources of energy, a common approach to non-European countries in the entire European Union, and also application of the rules of solidarity in the area of energy.
Luis Fernando Mira Amaral, the president of BIC Bank, former minister of industry and energy of Portugal remarked that politicians, who start dealing with energy, commit many mistakes harmful to the development of this sector. In his opinion the state should support the energy sector, but the market should decide which sources of energy should be developed.
Renaissance of nuclear energy has become a fact, since there is no serious alternative – according to statements of the representatives of the biggest companies from the nuclear sector. Nuclear energy has been more and more popular – stated Philippe Castanet, president of EDF Poland, which invests in its own nuclear reactors. Until 2020, 10 new EDR reactors will be ready for use. Similar view has Marco Graziano from Areva, one of the candidates for delivery of reactors to the first nuclear power plant in Poland. In his view, the major challenge for the renaissance of nuclear energy is lack of experienced technical staff and that is why it is necessary to educate a new generation of professionals.
The second challenge is the supply chain and the issue of experience of companies, which will be subcontractors at construction of the power plant, and another are issues related to the security of nuclear power plants.
Opening discussion about renewable sources of energy, its moderator Carlos Rapallo from the Law Firm Garrigues Poland, accurately called it „a panel of fortune-tellers". And actually all speakers devoted more time to the future of global energy, potential future sources and technologies than to contemporary issues such as implementation of numerous strategies, programmes and solutions. The moderator himself justified his deep scepticism towards these strategies on the grounds of estimated little chances for implementation of Directive 2020-20 of the European Commission. The reason are national development policies for various sectors of energy and the recent renaissance of nuclear energy.
Miguel Ferreira, a member of the management board of Portuguese company MEGAjoule, assured that we can expect no changes to the basic dilemma: which is more important in the energy strategy and policy – market competition rules or provision of sustainable development, and therefore ecology. In search of compromise during the discussion, its participants agreed that renewable sources of energy are rational from the economic point of view because: dynamic growth of energy consumption forces savings; oil prices are expected to increase in the long-term perspective; renewable sources of energy create new workplaces.
In the discussion about the role of the three major participants in the global energy market, the USA, the European Union and Russia, the speakers blamed Brussels for lack of solidarity and cooperation within the scope of „the European family" in the energy dialogue with Russia, for monopolizing it and disregard for smaller players demonstrated by big players in the energy market. Sergey Kanavskyi, the head of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) assured that Russia does not play energy wars and intends to stay in partnership relations with Europe in the best, business sense of this word. He underlined though that Gazprom, Rosnieft and other companies from this sector are national concerns taking care primarily for the interest of Russia and Russians.
Discussing the issues of restructuring in the energy sector in Central and Eastern Europe, Jan Bury, Deputy Minister of Economy, said that the target plan assumes that two companies will be controlled by the state in Poland: PGE, in which the state plans to have a 51 percent share and Tauron with 30 percent stake of state treasury and corporate management. In his opinion it is the time when we have ended the privatization process of four energy groups. Deputy Minister Bury emphasized the importance of cross-border connections and announced that in the nearest years the Polish network will be connected with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Lithuania. Deputy Minister Bury remarked also that Polish energy is based on coal and even in the perspective of a few decades we won't be able to switch to nuclear blocks or renewable energy.
Discussing the role of Central Europe in the process of forging the energy policy of the European Union, Oleksiy Płotnikov, a Member of Ukrainian Parliament, said that in the nearest years it is anticipated to increase. He assured in the same time that within this scope the importance of Ukraine has changed and together with the change of government, in the new political situation, there are no reasons for anxiety about „turning off gas taps".
Urban Rusnak from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, pointing to a considerable scepticism as to the chances of creating the common energy policy of the EU, said that the common denominator of actions for the benefit of a greater influence of Central Europe on the energy policy of Brussels can be a high level of reliance on one source – Russia.
Participants in the Forum shared the view that tightening cooperation among the countries in the region in the field of energy can allow bringing closer positions and obtaining a greater influence on the EU's energy policy. The objective, which should be followed by Central European countries, should be to create a common, European energy market.
The V Energy Forum was organized by the Eastern Institute and the town of Sopot.