Serbia has emerged as the top performer, followed by Montenegro and Ukraine, the Energy Community Secretariat said in its annual report. It stressed that the three keywords defining 2023 were solidarity, integration, and transition.
Solidarity, because the Energy Community continues to stand firmly behind its largest member, Ukraine; integration, because the Energy Community finally lives up to its original promise: to create a true energy market with the European Union based on reciprocity and a level playing field; and transition, because the Energy Community delivers on the goals enshrined in the 2021 Decarbonization Roadmap, the secretariat stressed.
Ahead of the Ministerial Council on December 14, the secretariat has released its Annual Implementation Report, which tracks the contracting parties’ performance in implementing the Energy Community acquis in the period between November 2022 through October 2023.
Serbia is the biggest mover in the area of decarbonization
With the revised Energy Law, Serbia made headway by creating the basis for the compliant unbundling of the electricity and gas transmission system operators, the secretariat said and added that the country was the biggest mover in the area of decarbonization during the reporting period.
As the champion of several past assessments, Montenegro made modest progress but maintained its position in the upper tier, the document reads.
Among Serbia’s achievements, the secretariat stressed the submission of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) within the prescribed deadline and the adoption of long-term strategies for low-carbon development, and building renovation. Serbia also revised its Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources and conducted an inaugural auction for renewable energy.
Lorkowski: The largest expansion the EU’s power markets and systems seen to date
“On the journey towards the largest expansion the EU’s power markets and systems has seen to date – the integration of the Energy Community Contracting Parties – advancing domestic reforms is no longer a goal in itself, but a prerequisite for the success of this historic project offering significant welfare gains for all sides. This reciprocal approach will result in the full accession of contracting parties to the European energy systems as equals, fostering equality and resilience and collectively achieving all of the Energy Community’s objectives,” the secretariat’s Director Artur Lorkowski said.
The report adds that Ukraine and Moldova have advanced their impressive track record on electricity and gas market reforms in the most difficult circumstances.
New structure of the report
To reflect better the shift to the Clean Energy Package and the Energy Community’s increasing focus on decarbonization efforts aside from markets and integration, security of supply, and the quality of the institutional framework, the structure of the report was adjusted.
It now has the following chapters: Markets and Integration, Decarbonizing the Energy Sector, Ensuring Energy Security, Improving the Environment, and Performance of the Authorities.
Buschle: We see reforms being rewarded by investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency
According to Deputy Director Dirk Buschle, integrating with the EU necessarily means endorsing the European Green Deal, and in fact, the transformation has gained ground in the contracting parties.
“We see reforms being rewarded by investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. To complete the incorporation of the Green Deal’s regulatory toolbox, including the lack of carbon prices exposed by CBAM and compliance with the environmental standards, remains in the focus of our work. The targeted matching with financial resources ensuring the implementation of ambitious energy and climate plans will have to follow,” Buschle added.
The upcoming challenge is the Electricity Integration Package
The secretariat pointed out that no contracting party was able to improve its overall implementation score during the reporting period.
Among other factors, the relative changes in the contracting parties’ implementation performance compared to last year can be attributed to the entry into force of parts of the Clean Energy Package at the end of 2022, it said. The upcoming challenge of transposing and implementing the Electricity Integration Package will be reflected in next year’s assessment, the document adds.
It should be transposed by January 1, 2024.