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    Energy Community Secretariat warns of slowing pace of reforms


The Energy Community helps aspiring EU member states confirm with bloc energy law.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Energy Community Secretariat warns of slowing pace of reforms

The Energy Community Secretariat warned in a report on November 15 that the pace of reforms across contracting countries had slowed over the past year, pointing to challenges posed by the pandemic.

The Energy Community helps aspiring EU member states confirm with bloc energy law, counting Albania, Bosnia, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine as its members. In its implementation report, the group's secretariat said that the overall implementation score increased from 53% to 56%, which was only half the progress it recorded in its last report.

All contracting parties slightly increased their scores besides Montenegro, "whose otherwise strong track record" was undermined by the Pljevlja coal-fired power plant's non-compliance with emissions standards and a lack of secondary legislation on renewables auctions.

Montenegro nevertheless remained in the top spot in terms of implementation, with a score of 65%, down 4% from the previous report. In joint second place was Serbia and Ukraine with 62%, followed closely by North Macedonia.

The secretariat noted that Serbia, whose progress had previously stagnated, made headway by upgrading its legal framework governing climate, energy efficiency and the electricity and renewables sectors, though its continued failure to unbundle its transmission system operators weighed down on its score. Serbia increased its score by 5% year on year.

Ukraine, one of the biggest movers in the last reporting period, lost its momentum, increasing its score by only 1% amid stunted progress with its power and gas regulatory framework.

Albania raised its score by 5% to 58%, while Kosovo increased its by 1% to 57%. Georgia, the newest member of the community having joined in only 2017, boosted its score by 8% to 45%, making improvements across electricity, gas and sustainability.

Moldova lifted its score by 4% to 49% while Bosnia raised its by 3% to 42%, finishing up in last place in overall implementation.

The secretariat's director Janez Kopac struck an upbeat stone, stating that despite challenges created by the pandemic, "there is no doubt that the contracting parties are working on the actions outlined in the European Green Deal."

"An increasing number of contracting parties have formally or implicitly accepted that coal and lignite have no future in their energy mix," he continued. "Their reform paths will be aided by the upcoming Energy Community Ministerial Council, which is expected to adopt the decarbonisation roadmap for the Energy Community, incorporate key elements of the Clean Energy Package and prepare for the adoption of meaningful 2030 targets."

The secretariat said that regional power market integration remained one of the biggest challenges in the Energy Community region, noting that small and isolated markets are more prone to the kind of price volatility that Europe has experienced in recent months.