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Exclusive interview with Director, in prospect of the second anniversary of the foundation of ACERC

By Dijana Hinic, March 2015 N°16

M.P.: What was the idea behind establishing Albanian Centre for Energy Regulation and Conservation - ACERC? What is your mission and vision?

L.G.: ACERC was established legally more than a year ago, but the engagement of its main stakeholder has begun a very long time ago. As a founder member of the ACERC, for me personally the idea rose back from 2008 and came as a natural outcome of my PhD work researches on the regulation of the energy sector in Albania and the integration in the European energy market, completed in the spring 2013 in the University of Pavia, Italy.

Then, from March 2013, I proceed with the conception of the Albania Energy Market - AEM within founding scheme of a spin-off oriented towards a provider platform on legal framework and the related strategic policy of energy market. This experience has put me in contact with different professionals, and from September 2013, matured the idea to proceed with a common project established as a research and advisory institute, non-governmental and not profit, regularly register nearby the court of Tirana, Albania.

The overall main work focus is to cover the energy law and regulatory policy on 8th region area of IEM and particularly the Western Balkans and Albania, with mission to give a qualified contribute to the fostering regional integration and enhancing consumer benefits. Indeed, the ACERC services are based on in-depth knowledge of EU and Regional energy laws and policies, and strive toward the promotion of an effective market design concerning liberalisation and integration, as well as a sustainable development and efficient uses of energy resources.

M.P.: What kind of experts are gathered around ACERC? What is your focus of activities?

L.G.: As introduced, the development of the AEM project to Albanian Centre for Energy Regulation and Conservation - ACERC, responded to the evolution in the energy sector and came within a R&D scheme, aggregating a group of professionals based in Tirana, but with wide local and international expertise in both academics and developing projects.

Than our founding mission prospected toward the enlargement of our contacts with a qualified professional network from all the Western Balkans and more abroad, dedicated to cooperation on the development of an integrated strategy for the WBs, modulated by the simultaneous regional mechanisms of references, in the function to the full realisation of the paradigm of competitive efficiency, as a trait d’union of contemplation of the commodity view with the public services obligations, in compliance with the all-comprehensive general economic interest of our region.

Our network already includes a large group of members of noteworthy expertise which is evidenced by the professional positions and wide-ranging interests in multiple sectors and in particular the energy field. In ACERC, we are proud to say that we are already involved in the research and delivering activities related with the area of energy market and infrastructure in different international, regional and national conferences, groups and activities. In regard, there are different channels of communication that report about our daily work starting with the official webpage of ACERC.

M.P.: What have you achieved so far and what are ACERC plans and future projects?

L.G.: The previous period has been fruitful in light of presenting and reinforcing of our basic work pillar and the earning of the reputation of providing the highest quality and most updates notices & analysis about the rapid changes in the Albanian business environment. Developments that have pushed us closer to the main areas of practices comprise specialised legal support, strategic business counsel, as well as research project development and management. In specific we have been offering the expertise and formulating the sceneries to the practices within the framework of dynamics of the market model in a rapid change of the regional integrate environment.

Nerveless our ambition is to emerge as a prominent energy think tank in Albanian area with a reference to the Western Balkans. Based in the above experiences, in the future fundamentals are seen as the integration of the network among practitioner and academics on the applied research and ability to offer the strategic legal expertise for the industry, government, international institution and interest groups within the EU internal market and specifically WBs region.

Therefore, one of several short upcoming plans is the release of an online magazine i.e. Albanian Energy Market Journal, with an aim to deliver mostly researches that came from the academics background in the energy market and related topics. This is foreseen as the first step which will be followed with organisation of workshops and summer/winter schools, executive seminars, as the final outcome will be hosting and organising international and regional conferences.

M.P.: Why is the institute as such important for Albania and other West Balkans markets?

L.G.: The regulation of the energy sector in WBs is to be envisaged in a long-term outcome of commitment to create a common integrated and competitive internal market in light of the full integration in the EU. Nerveless the progress made, the achievement of competition thought the removal of all the barriers and the complete integration remain a great challenge for exploiting the full potential of the market itself and complement of the EU integration process.

Meantime, in WBs and particularly the Albania, competences are required, not only on the state level, but also in enabling the potentials of all players in the action field. This is important not just to close the ongoing transposition settlement procedure, but also to ensure the proper development of national sectors in a well-functioning regional wholesale market. In regard, the efforts of ACERC, as well as the others similar think tanks taking place abroad, can stimulate a better settle of the integration, which have to work to the final benefit of energy consumers.

M.P.: What benefits do energy market participants gain from following your work?

The ACERC provides a unique specialised centre in multi-disciplinary services related to the energy market of the 8th Regional area of WBs and in particular the Albania area of the IEM. A relevant part of which pass through an online intuitive platform that comprise from exclusive news to analysis, from fundamentals to forecasts, bringing together all the relevant information needed in a single intuitive desktop and delivers the complete tools package for successful business developing.

Therefore all the interested parties and especially a new comers and small business working in the energy & utilities, oil & gas, relate infrastructure, mining, as well as the professional services, construction, transport, telecommunications & technology for the first time, have the possibility to have access in one single location to highly skilled professionals, each displaying several years of experiences in areas ranging from legal and regulatory, strategic policy to engineering and finance, but all having in common a particular focus on regulation and efficient use of energy within their respective fields of expertise.

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