Printed from:
2022-12-04 04:38:46

Latvia must “act now” on energy independence

By Howard Jarvis. 03.02.2015

Advisor to prime minister voices frustration over Latvia’s energy sector

Energy independence in Latvia “is being discussed, but nothing is being done,” says Artis Kampars, a prominent politician in the country’s ruling government. He points to “a heated clash of various interests” as an obstacle to progress on the issue.

Kampars, who is secretary general of the center-right party Unity and was recently appointed non-staff advisor to Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma in matters related to energy independence, expressed his frustration in an interview with news agency LETA.

“I was Latvia’s economy minister for almost three years, and energy independence was my top priority. Following a heated clash of various interests, an energy strategy was drawn up, but it still has not been approved,” he said.

Kampars left his ministerial position in October 2011. More than three years have passed since then – too long for no progress on the issue, he said. 

One of the most important problems is the liberalization of the gas market, he stressed, so that other sellers can gain access to gas infrastructure. 

“Latvijas Gaze is still a gas monopoly in Latvia,” he explained. “The European Commission has ordered Latvia to achieve liberalization of its gas market by April 3, 2017. So the issue must be handled right away.”

Latvia is obliged to follow European Union regulations and split the gas monopoly by separating infrastructure from supply and creating competition in the market, as is the case in the electricity market. The country’s Baltic neighbors Estonia and Lithuania have already liberalized their gas markets.

[image courtesy Latvijas Gaze]