Measures to develop a fully integrated and environmentally friendly energy market within the Baltic region are to be intensified with the establishment of a special secretariat attached to the Baltic Sea Council in Stockholm. The announcement follows a two-day conference of energy ministers from interested countries which ended in Helsinki yesterday. Climate policy featured particularly strongly on the agenda, with a proposal to make the region a testing ground for international cooperation on the use of flexible mechanisms receiving a resounding endorsement (ENDS Daily 31 August). With its mix of highly developed and transitional economies and blend of traditional and renewable energy sources, the region is considered particularly fertile for this type of collaboration. Detailed work will have to await decisions on the international guidelines for flexible mechanisms expected to be taken by the sixth conference of the parties to the Kyoto protocol in just over a year's time, although the secretariat hopes to start drawing up a list of projects for joint implementation as soon as possible. More clarification and prioritisation needs to be done on some of the other areas under discussion as part of the process, known as the Baltic energy task force and funded partly by the EU and the Nordic Council of Ministers. These include developing renewable energy and promoting the use of natural gas in combined heat and power plants.
Nordic Council of Ministers, tel: +45 33 96 02 00; Baltic Energy Programme.
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