By general consensus, the world needs to reduce its fossil fuel consumption and electrification is seen as the key means to achieve this. The European Green Deal aims to strengthen this trend, which will have profound geopolitical, legal and economic consequences. The Western Balkans are the largest potential source of flexible renewable electricity – hydropower – within the European synchronous system. Although this resource is fragmented between jurisdictions, devastated by bad governance and deforestation and constrained by transmission arrangements, it is still the most critical resource to support the deployment of renewable energy and support decarbonisation across central Europe. This seminar addressed opportunities within the EU legal framework and the EU accession framework, including the Energy Community Treaty, to enhance the critical trade between the Western Balkans and the rest of the European electricity market.
In recent years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has introduced new metrics to assess the relative cost of electricity: the Value Adjusted Levelized Cost of Electricity (VALCoE). This new metric emphasises the value of dispatchable, flexible and renewable sources of electricity. A number of events in recent years, including excessive oxidization at the Brokdorf nuclear power station in Germany and the breakdown of the district heating system at the City of Alchevsk in Ukraine, have given rise to growing concern about flexibility and security of supply. Some cross-border high voltage lines in Europe are now equipped to cut off synchronized transfer of electricity in case of major disturbances. During recent years, investment in electricity, including intermittent renewable generators and efficient variable consumption devices (EVs, heat pumps, energy recovery, etc) has surpassed investments in oil and gas.
This seminar addressed uncertainties and legal and political risks, as well as the instruments available to mitigate these. The issues discussed should be of interest to everyone interested in optimising and exploiting new efficiency-driven opportunities in European energy markets, including electricity producers, traders and consumers as well as manufacturers of electricity generation and transmission equipment such as wind turbines and photovoltaic panels.
The speakers for this seminar were:
Dr Branislava Lepotić Kovačević. Dr Lepotić Kovačević presented “The concept of interconnector in the context of the Energy Community Treaty”. She is an energy lawyer who is qualified as a lawyer in Serbia and has a PhD in commercial law. Her post-doctoral specialist education in EU law was acquired in Berlin and Brussels, and in energy law at the CEPMLP, University of Dundee, United Kingdom. She taught at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade.
For over twenty years, Dr Lepotić Kovačević has been working in the field of energy in various expert and managerial roles in commercial law and energy law. She has been engaged by and has cooperated with government and regulatory institutions, as well as bodies of the UN, the EU, the Energy Community, USAID, GIZ and others. She participated in drafting several legislative acts in the energy sector in the region. She is the author of over 50 papers in commercial law, energy law, European Union law and other related fields. Dr Lepotić Kovačević has been a consultant with PWC, DAI, KPMG, KEMA and other international consultancies.
Dr Lepotić Kovačević is President of the Serbian Energy Law Association, a member of EFELA. She is a member of: the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN), the Assembly of the Association of Lawyers in the Economy, the Executive Board of the Serbian Petroleum Gas Association (SNAGA) and the Serbia Thermal Society. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Petroleum Committee of Serbia, a national body of the World Petroleum Council.
Mr Aleksandar Kovacevic. Mr Kovacevic presented “Flexible energy for Europe: the role of the Western Balkans in security of supply”. He is an energy economist, author with the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, IEA, UNDP, the World Bank, OGEL, UNECE and others. He is also a consultant to commercial and institutional clients including USAID and the European Parliament. He has lectured at Power Gen Europe, Power Gen Russia and a number of major conferences. His consulting practice spans 30 years and includes private and financial clients from UK, Europe, Russia, Israel and the USA. He chaired the energy section at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in 2019. He coordinated, with the UNOCHA, the rapid reconstruction of the energy infrastructure after the 1999 conflicts in the Balkans and he has been involved with the Energy Community Treaty since 2003.
The event was chaired by Mr Graham Coop, Partner at Volterra Fietta and former General Counsel to the Energy Charter Secretariat. Mr Coop is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand and as a solicitor with higher rights of audience (Civil) in England and Wales. He advises and represents companies, governments and international organisations on international dispute resolution and public international law, with a particular focus on the energy, natural resources and infrastructure and banking sectors. He currently represents an EU member State in relation to banking measures taken in response to developments arising out of the 2008 global financial crisis. He has appeared as counsel, advocate and expert before a wide range of international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, ICSID, the PCA and the ICC. He is on the UK Attorney General’s list of public international law practitioners.
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