Energy Efficiency in Central & Eastern Europe
Following the findings of the experts meeting on procedures for implementation of the “Energy Charter Protocol on Energy Efficiency and Related Environmental Aspects” in March 1998, the Energy Charter Secretariat started a process of regular and in-depth reviews of energy efficiency policies and programmes of the signatories of the Protocol. To date, five in-depth reviews have been finalised and a sixth review will take place in April 2002. AES has been involved in four of the six reviews.
So far in-depth reviews have been carried out in the Slovak Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. The in-depth review of Romania is scheduled for April 2002. The reports of the reviews can be downloaded from the website of the Energy Charter Secretariat. AES participated in the reviews of Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria as a consultant to the respective review teams, which are formed by officials from other signatory states on a peer basis, and will also advise the review team in Romania.
The in-depth reviews carried out so far reveal that although significant progress has been made, there is a need to act more firmly on energy efficiency issues in the so-called countries in transition. Good will and dedicated action of organisations committed to energy efficiency are frequently not sufficiently endorsed by Government entities in charge of macro-economic and energy sector policies. In general, a focus on the supply-side and on market liberalisation (in accordance with EU accession requirements) still dominates the discussion, legal and regulatory frameworks do not sufficiently encourage market-based demand-side initiatives of ESCOs, municipalities and other actors, and the degree of participation of the civil society in energy-related issues remains low.
In order to address several of these problems, the Energy Charter Secretariat is actively advising its members on strategic issues related to energy efficiency. A part of these initiatives has been published as thematic reports. The publications combine focused analysis of the key problems with practical advice on how to overcome these barriers. The publications are highly recommended to anyone who is involved in promoting energy efficiency in Central & Eastern Europe or elsewhere.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily coincide with those of the Energy Charter Secretariat or of any of the reviewed countries and organisations.