Moldova has been among the most vulnerable and worst affected states from Russia’s weaponization of energy supply in Europe. The country lacks sufficient local energy resources and excessively depends on the import of fossil fuels and electricity. The start of the accession talks with the EU provides Moldova with a strategic opportunity for strengthening the country’s energy and climate security, while at the same time countering the Kremlin’s grip over the economy.
These are some of the main findings from CSD’s latest analysis of the Energy (In)Security and Good Governance in Moldova: Making the Energy Transition Possible which was launched during a roundtable discussion on Energy (In)Security and Good Governance in Moldova on 23 January, 2024 in Chisinau. In addition to CSD experts, the roundtable featured Laura Hruby, the Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, Victor Parlicov, Moldova’s energy minister, Maya Dobreva, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Moldova, Alexandru Săndulescu, the EU High-Level Adviser on Energy, Alexei Taran, Director of the Administration Council, National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE), as well as Sergiu Tofilat, Financial and Energy Policy Analyst from Community WatchDog.MD.
Victor Parlicov set the scene of Moldova’s progress and remaining challenges on the way to ensuring the country’s energy security. He highlighted the significant progress towards full decoupling from the Russian energy dependence on the basis of building and using the power and natural gas interconnection links with Romania. He noted that the increase in energy prices was skillfully used by the Kremlin to undermine the credibility of the country’s Euro-Atlantic foreign policy. Alexei Taran stressed that the energy regulator has taken consistent steps towards the full market liberalization, and that this process will improve the security of supply enabling a more efficient operation of the electricity and gas systems.
Alexandru Sandulescu added that the strengthening of gas market competition could provide a buffer in case of another gas supply crisis. Yet, he noted that the structural vulnerability linked to high energy poverty levels and low energy efficiency remain. Sergiu Tofilat pointed out that energy efficiency should be a key energy security priority for the government. He also explained that Gazprom does not have an incentive to cut the gas supply to Moldova as this could undermine its political control of the breakaway province of Transnistria.
All speakers united behind the thesis that the government and the energy regulator should focus their efforts on accelerating the decarbonisation process by enabling the uptake of renewables and energy efficiency measures. Without specific actions, the highly ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan is unlikely to achieve its objectives by 2030.