Aspen Energy Lab Launch

“If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy. ”
Alvin Toffler

On February 5th 2016 I had the opportunity to take part at the inaugural conference of the Aspen Energy Lab, a program developed by Aspen Institute Romania and Energy Policy Group. The intention, according to the organizers, is to create a platform dedicated to emerging leaders from a variety of backgrounds (policy makers, politicians, experts in the energy industry, business people, social entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, academics and researchers) interested in energy subjects. The project aims to widen the scope of the energy policy debate to include non-technical subjects related to governance, social protection, innovation and others.

The inaugural conference brought together representatives from the private, public, research, academia and media sectors, so as to ensure a variety of angles and perspectives on topics proposed.

Andrei Țărnea, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Romania and Radu Dudău, Director of Energy Policy Group in the Opening Remarks emphasized the need for leadership programs that not only create networking opportunities but also lead to the assimilation of values and create a sense of social responsibility. Talking about energy is more that talking about a technical subject, it is about strategy, politics and economics.

The Keynote speech delivered Cristian Bușu, State Secretary, Ministry of Energy reminded the audience about the need of having educated consumers as a precondition for any successful debate on the energy topic. Any sustainable economic growth cannot be imagined in the absence of energy. Currently the Ministry of Energy elaborates the National Energy Strategy: 2016 – 2030 which, other than setting the future trends, would also offer an accurate picture of the de facto situation. Fighting energy poverty is a topic of outmost interest that must not be neglected and must have a European approach.

The panel Policy Conversation: Regional context and European imperatives for the National Energy Strategy moderated by Corina Murafa, Independent Energy Expert, brought together H.E. Mihnea Constantinescu, Ambassador at Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alessandro Sverzut, CFO Enel Romania, Roberto Musneci, Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Șerban & Musneci Associates and Răzvan Nicolescu, Energy Executive Lead Advisor, Deloitte Central Europe

The speakers underlined the importance of the energy sector and the fact the interest for it is more than a simple engineering interest. We need to keep an open mind, free of national obsession, a mind that should focus the strategic interest from the starting point represented by the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) which aims to accelerate the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies (Mihnea Constantinescu).

Romania has two major problems in the energy sector: 1) lack of qualified and highly ethical work force and 2) lack of strategic vision. There are too many institutions that manage the energy sector. Romania is the only European Union Member State with real chances to augment the production of primary energy resources (mostly due to the Black Sea projects) (Răzvan Nicolescu).

The photo gallery for Aspen Energy Lab Launch – February 5, 2016

The full event is available online here

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