Overview of energy policies in the region
EU4Energy aims to help shape policy discussions on a variety of areas related to energy security, sustainable energy and energy markets in the programme’s 11 focus countries. This will primarily be done by setting up regional policy meetings to help countries at similar stages of economic development, aspirations and capabilities. By fostering this energy policy dialogue, EU4Energy provides a vehicle to raise awareness of key energy issues and developments and exchange best practices and recommendations.
More than two decades after their independence from the Soviet Union, the EU4Energy focus countries are a heterogeneous group of different size and location, varying natural endowment and energy resource base, economic outlook and development prospects. While the differences are important, all these countries also share an important history that has left significant similarities in the design of their economies, governance structures, public infrastructure and institutions, which were all inherited from a common system. With independence, they encountered interlinked industries and infrastructure, as well as fully integrated regional systems, limiting their ability to function independently from each other.
Since then, these countries have generally focused on their own short-term priorities and paid little attention to elaborate medium- and long-term energy strategies. Setting up fully functional domestic energy markets and maximising their full potential has been a key challenge since independence. Energy policy framework developments have been uneven across the region as a result.
The countries have all shown substantial improvements in energy-data gathering over the past decades. However, energy statistics are still mostly used to record historic developments rather than being forward-looking, in order to develop sound energy policies and projections. Energy data, as currently collected, is biased towards the supply side and there is a clear need for accurate demand-side data collection and management to integrate into national energy balances.
Another obvious gap in data collection is related to the inability of countries to collect information on the use of conventional and unconventional renewables and off-grid developments. This information is critical for developing comprehensive energy policies that would take into account current and prospective developments in the energy sector. The current trends in energy policy design in almost all countries remain supply-side focused, based mostly on developments in separate sectors. Some countries, such as Kazakhstan and Moldova, have set ambitious goals for their energy sectors, incorporating them into their general economic developments. Others are still operating from dated strategies or working towards setting new medium- to long-term developmental strategies and goals.