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Central and Eastern European Conference (Tuesday, 8 October)

Opening speeches

Ralfs Nemiro

Minister of Economics, Republic of Latvia

Ralfs Nemiro is a Latvian lawyer and politician.

He is currently the Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia.

He was previously a Member of the Latvian Parliament, as well as a Member of the Municipality of Jelgava region.

His main priorities in his current position include an extensive revision of the current support system for renewable energy producers, boosting Latvia’s competitiveness, export and innovations, as well as improving the residential fund in Latvia.

Stefaan Vergote

Adviser to the Director General, DG CLIMA, European Commission

Stefaan Vergote is Advisor in DG CLIMA since April 2017. Previously, he was Head of unit for Economic analysis and Financial Instruments Unit in DG ENERGY since March 2014. From 2010 to 2014, he was Head of Unit in DG CLIMA, responsible for development of strategic options for the EU’s international and domestic climate action. His team was in charge of the 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap, and the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies.

Previously, as Deputy Head of Unit on ‘Energy and Environment’ in DG Environment, he led a team coordinating the preparation and economic analysis of the 2020 Energy and Climate Package, including the review of the EU Emission trading System, The Effort Sharing Decision and Directive on Renewable Energy. He has a diploma of civil electrotechnical-mechanical engineer at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven) and holds a Postgraduate Degree in Environmental Management and Technology (KULeuven).

Prior to joining the Commission, Stefaan Vergote was, from 1990 to 1992 a Scientific researcher at the Engineering Department at the KULeuven, followed, from 1994 to 1997, by a position of Scientific consultant at IWT (Flemish Institute for Science and Technology) in charge of the evaluation of industrial R&D projects and a Scientific researcher at VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological research).

Panel 1: The regional gas market

Timo Partanen

Leading Specialist Gas Markets at Energiavirasto, Energy Authority Finland

Dr Partanen works as the leading specialist at the Finnish Energy Authority. He together with his team concentrate on advancing the administrative framework required to enable the Finnish and Baltic gas markets to work efficiently.  Previously Dr Partanen has been working at the Maryland Public Service Commission of the State of Maryland. Prior to the regulatory career he has held multiple positions at Fortum and Neste in international power and gas industry.

Dr Partanen holds a PhD in Political Economy from the Helsinki University of Technology. His dissertation analyzes the interaction of power retail companies with their functional environment at the time of opening the markets for competition.

He also holds an MSc in power plant engineering and an MBA in strategy and finance.

Herkko Plit

CEO, Baltic Connector

Herkko Plit is the President and CEO of Baltic Connector Oy, a state-owned special purpose company established in 2015 to implement the Finnish part of the Balticconnector natural gas pipeline project and connect the gas networks of Finland and the Baltic Countries. Prior to his appointment to President and CEO in October 2016, he acted as the Chair of Baltic Connector Oy’s Board since November 2015.  Since 2012, Mr Plit worked as the Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Energy Department.

Herkko Plit has a solid experience in leading financially significant construction projects and has during his career been widely engaged in energy related activities, especially in nuclear. He has acted as TVO´s Responsible Director for Construction in the Olkiluoto 3 project, served as the CEO of the engineering company Fortum Nuclear Services and as the General Manager of Fortum Corporation´s business unit Expert Solutions.

Mr Plit holds a M.Sc. (Engineering Physics) from the Helsinki University of Technology (1996).

Panel 2: Storage & LNG – flexibility instruments

Arūnas Molis

Director, Klaipėda LNG Terminal

Dr. Arūnas Molis is Klaipeda LNG director at “Klaipedos nafta”, company which successfully operates the only LNG terminal in the Baltic States. He is responsible for implementation of business strategy and state policy concerning the operation of LNG terminal in Klaipeda. Arūnas also works as a professor at Vytautas Magnus (Kaunas, Lithuania) and Bologna (Italy) universities where he lectures courses on security and international relations.

Before starting his career at “Klaipedos nafta”, A. Molis worked for 4 years as an advisor to the President of the Republic of Lithuania at the Economic and social affairs group where he was responsible for energy and communication affairs. A. Molis joined the team of advisers after a successful work at NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence where he managed research projects aimed to raise energy awareness among the military personnel.

He completed his international relations and business law studies at Vilnius, Vytautas Magnus (Kaunas) and Bremen universities, has been working on various projects in Estonia, Germany, Czech Republic, France and South Korea.

Panel 3: Future Role of Gas – regional considerations and regulatory issues

Janez Kopač

Director, Energy Community Secretariat

Mr Kopač has been leading the Energy Community Secretariat since 2012.

Prior to this position, he worked as General Director for Energy at the Ministry of Economy of Slovenia for nearly 4 years.

He acted as a Head of Budget Committee in a Parliament of Republic of Slovenia (1990-2000), as Slovenian Minister of Finance (1992) and Minister of Environment and Energy (2000-2004).

Mr Kopač holds a Master’s degree from Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana.

Annegret Groebel

President of the Board of Directors, CEER

Dr Groebel has worked for the German Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post since 1997 (renamed in 2005 to Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen [Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway]). Dr  Groebel has held the post of Head of Section “International Co-ordination” in the German Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post since 2001 and was promoted Head of Department International Relations/Postal Regulation in 2009. In addition, she also holds key positions in various groups related to regulatory groups.

In March 2012, she was appointed Vice-President of CEER and became the alternate member of the ACER Board of Regulators representing BNetzA at the BoR Plenary meetings. Since 24th January 2019 she is CEER President. Since August 2013 she is co-chairing the Market Integrity and Transparency Working Groups of ACER and CEER. She has expertise in the European regulatory framework for electronic communications and implementation, as well as the regulatory framework for the internal energy market and the postal framework. She is lecturing at universities in Germany, the Florence School of Regulation (FSR) in Italy, and Switzerland, as well as regularly publishing articles in the field of regulation and presenting at scientific and other conferences. She has advised public authorities on regulatory reform and sector specific regulation and participated in several Twinning Projects of the EU. Dr Annegret Groebel has studied economics at the University of Heidelberg and Paris-Dauphine and was a researcher at the University of Mannheim where she also got her doctorate in 1996.

Concluding remarks

Andris Piebalgs

Florence School of Regulation, former EU commissioner for energy

Andris Piebalgs is a Professor at the Florence School of Regulation in the European University Institute.

His work now focuses on the decarbonisation challenges in the energy sector. He is the Chairman of the Board of Appeal of ACER.

Before coming to FSR Andris Piebalgs was EU Commissioner for Energy and EU Commissioner for Development. He is a key figure in the formation of the EU’s renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and made a crucial impact in the creation of the European energy market.

He has been a prominent Latvian politician and diplomat, was instrumental in the Latvia’s accession to the EU.