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The National Electricity Company deserves to exist
Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement on the resumption of gas transit to the EU countries. But the crisis in the recent weeks comes with a terrible moral regarding the Union.
It was proven once again how weak and ineffective is the common energy policy of the EU. As I stated during discussions in the European Parliament on the crisis, when under serious pressure, the EU national governments rely on their own resources and sources. In the current circumstances, this is not surprising, but it reveals another facet of the lack of EU solidarity. This crisis shows us what is absolutely necessary for the next steps in the EU policy on energy, if we really want to have one. Like in the case of the oil stocks, we should develop capacities to store gas. We must also diversify the gas suppliers, the transport routes and the mechanisms for delivery (like in the case of the liquefied natural gas). The Nabucco project construction must be accelerated, and the funding must involve the EIB and other European sources. The argument that there would not be enough gas available when the new routes of transport should be built is not valid. We must also develop renewable energy resources and save energy. Finally yet importantly, we should develop cross-border energy interconnections, allowing the EU member states help each other.
As far as the common market of energy is concerned, it works imperfectly. In addition, it is dominated by large companies, in the greatest countries of the Union. The plea for full liberalization lacks realism. The last episode of the crisis proves, if it was necessary, the hyper-strategic nature of the energy, the need for the state to have strong leverage in this field. It is even more surprising after the decision of the Boc Government to give up on the formation of the National Electricity Company. It is true that one could comment on the technical aspects of its formation. The same happened when Government Tariceanu announced its intention of establishing the NEC. Because, the devil is in the details and we are interested in such a company to serve the public interest. Improvements may appear always. But to give up on a good idea is incomprehensible, especially when the dramatic recent gas crisis shows why it is necessary for the state to engage seriously in the field of energy - as a shareholder of the entities of production, transmission, storage or as a regulator of the market. My opinion is that the NEC deserves to exist.
Why is the Czech Republic more entitled to have a company like CEZ? Isn't it obvious now that we went wrong when we decided to split RENEL a few years ago?
The ones that say that an entity like CEN doesn't have to enter the games of the Stock Exchange in order to facilitate the access of certain people to cheap hydro-energy and out-favor the home and industrial users are right. Other aspects also have to be planned very well.
I hope that minister Videanu, the new Government, will review the decision of giving up on the NEC initiation. On a broader plane, it is absurd to talk about the re-industrialization of Romania if we will not have significant local capital involved in strategic industries.