Energy security is one of the main subjects that will be discussed on the sidelines of the European Political Community Summit of June 1. Minister of Energy Victor Parlicov, in a public debate entitled “European Political Community Summit, opportunities opened up for security and energy interconnection”, said this shows that this subject is relevant for the dialogue on the whole European continent.
“Over the last few years, we saw radical changes in the ensuring of Europe’s energy security, primarily on the natural gas dimension, given that the presence of Russian gas on the European market decreased dramatically as a result of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and later of the sanctioned imposed against the Russian Federation. So far Gazprom had a market share of 40%, but now its market share decreased to under 10%. On the one hand, this creates challenges as this gas needs to be substituted. Partially, it goes to consumption reduction and partially to the substitution with other fuels or with other gas suppliers on the European market. On the other hand, I would like to mention several elements about the Republic of Moldova. For the first time in our history, we are a country that is not only a kind of beneficiary of security systems, energy supply systems created on the European continent, but is already a contributor to security,” said Victor Parlicov.
The minister noted that after the major gas supplier Gazprom had to be substituted, other sources of gas and other gas supply routes in Europe started to be activated. In this connection, Moldova was the first country that tested the whole Trans-Balkan route. “Earlier, the gas supply security in general was somehow based on the supply of gas through Ukraine, from Russia or from the north, but we now proved that we can bring gas to Central Europe from Greece too and the important role of the storage reservoirs in western Ukraine can and should be discussed at the EPC Summit as the largest gas storage facilities on the European continent are situated there. If we can use the stored amounts in a commercial regime, the price shocks and the potential shortage in winter can be offset. If this is not done, we will enter the winter season with these reservoirs more or less empty and we could experience price shocks all over the European continent, and we will also be affected. In this regard, as a country we not only benefit but can also offer using this route from Greece to Ukraine,” stated Victor Parlicov.
The deputy chairman of the Party of Change, energy expert Sergiu Tofilat said that as regards natural gas consumption, Moldova is a small consumer, but this does not mean that it cannot negotiate better conditions for ensuring its energy security. “Over the last few days, we saw that the centralized gas procurement mechanism initiated by the EU enables primarily the small consumers to benefit from competitive prices and not to be somehow disadvantaged because we purchase not much gas and should pay a higher price. I think the fact that we benefit from this centralized gas procurement mechanism even if we are not an EU member state is an important step in strengthening energy security and obtaining a competitive gas price for consumers in Moldova,” stated Sergiu Tofilat.
The expert noted that after Russia invaded Ukraine, the situation on the energy market has changed. Moldova became less dependent on Russian gas. “As from March 2022, we can purchase electrical energy from Romania and from the EU market. This is a big step forward. This means that our dependence on the thermoelectric plant from the left side of the Nistru, on the Russian gas decreased significantly. Yes, we have yet to work, but it is a huge step forward and this strengthens our negotiation positions and our energy security,” said Sergiu Tofilat.
Pyotr Komarov, expert of the Alliance for Energy Efficiency and Renewables, said that Moldova already took important steps towards its energy interconnection with countries of the European community and towards promoting the energy efficiency policies. But many other opportunities will be opened up after the EPC Summit.
“As regards the energy efficiency in the Republic of Moldova, I can say that important steps are being taken and we are now at the moment when the difficulties make us act faster and better. For example, the rise in charges led to a swift decrease in the period for recouping investments in energy efficiency packages. This way, the people can faster recoup the investments and the loans provided in this regard become more accessible. It’s true that there are yet many things to be done at this stage. We expect that this summit will trigger particular changes. For example, by the policies that were already implemented in the European countries, most of the energy efficiency projects are subsidized by the state. In our country, the state cannot assume to fully pay such subsidies, but there are particular instruments that can be applied,” stated Pyotr Komarov.
The public debate entitled “European Political Community Summit, opportunities opened up for security and energy interconnection” was staged by IPN in the framework of the project “Support for European Integration by stimulating discussion in the mass media about the European Political Community (EPC) Summit” that is supported by Soros Foundation Moldova.