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International cooperation in energy regulation

23 October 2009
International cooperation in energy regulation

By Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group.

This may not yield results in practice, but in theory this is an interesting development:Energy regulators agreed to start a new International Confederation of Energy Regulators (ICER) to address climate change.

Why? In a statement on Oct 20th they say...

"Setting enforceable targets for GHG reductions and devising coherent energy policies are matters for governments; but energy regulators can play an important role on the ground and regulators can make a positive contribution on a number of regulatory and market issues with both direct and indirect consequences for consumers, the markets, energy networks and, ultimately, climate change objectives. Thus, energy regulators can help devise different regimes to adapt energy consumption patterns, address regulatory barriers to allow a predictable and stable regulatory framework for investments and facilitate the effective deployment of R&D technologies, where appropriate."

The following list illustrates some areas where energy regulators make a contribution in meeting the climate change challenge. The regulators committed to 8 actions on climate change:

  1. Creating a new International Confederation of Energy Regulators (ICER) to take forward our international cooperation and dialogue on global issues such as climate change. ICER (created following the Fourth World Forum on Energy Regulation in Athens in October 2009) will comprise 11 regional associations of energy regulators worldwide with international working groups, including one on the regulatory aspects of climate change;
  2. Supporting the delivery of energy to all in developing markets within the context of rising energy costs and environmental constraints;
  3. Promoting energy efficiency. Regulators will prepare a report for the Energy Ministers of the G8 countries on best regulatory practices regarding the promotion of energy efficiency. This report (which will take account of differences in market structures, operational models and stages of development) will be presented to the next meeting of the G8 Energy Ministers;
  4. Conducting a review of renewable energy and distributed generation. ICER's working group on climate change will produce a report which will include case studies and examples of best practices on the integration of renewable and distributed generation into the overall energy supply and their impact on the grid and competition;
  5. Sharing best practice for use world-wide (where appropriate) and developing new approaches on regulatory issues which are central to meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets. We will explore ways of maintaining a climate for timely, well-targeted and efficient investments in grid infrastructure and energy efficiency;
  6. Working in close cooperation with our nearest neighbours and within the ambit of our responsibilities, we will foster stronger network interconnection and facilitate compatibility of our regulatory frameworks in order to create more efficient energy systems and provide clarity and certainty to the market;
  7. We will further reinforce our engagement in the international climate change process, with energy regulatory associations participating as observers to the sessions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);
  8. Promoting reliable energy supply and reasonable energy costs to all consumers which lies at the heart of regulators' work. Within our respective mandates and jurisdictions, we will continue to balance the interests of suppliers, consumers, transporters and distributors, all facing significant changes in the world's energy markets, in helping to build a secure and sustainable energy future.

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