Youth Conference on Energy Security

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All participants of the YCES told the members of the organizing team they were positively surprised by the topics, guests and the atmosphere of both round tables; they have all enjoyed the debates very much, and they all appreciated the guests’ introductory speeches as well as the answers to their questions.

The organizing team (above in the picture) would like to join them and thank all guests and the moderator for taking the time and joining us during our first YCES.

Thank you for your support!

Opening ceremony

Yesterday, on July 8th 2014, the first edition of the Youth Conference on Energy Security (YCEC), organized by Model United Nations Club Slovenia (MUNSC), started in the Grand Hall of the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana. The atmosphere was full of expectations and everyone was visibly glad to participate in this unique conference. After Ms. Karolina Praček, B.A., MUNSC President and Secretary-General of YCES, officially opened the conference, Professor Bojko Bučar, PhD, President of the United Nations Association of Slovenia (UNAS) and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, welcomed the participants and introduced the topic of the conference. He stressed the importance of energy security and the need to focus on its challenges in the belief that young people can reach common positions and solutions through cooperation and dialogue. Afterwards, Mr. Vid Tomić, B.A., MUNSC Vice-President and Deputy Secretary-General of YCES, introduced the members of the YCES organizing team, who worked tirelessly to organize the event.

Round Table 1: Energy Security within the Framework of the EU

YCES’s first round table was moderated by Mr. Boštjan Udovič, PhD, assistant professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, and attended by Ms. Tina Seršen, M.Sc, (Slovenian Ministry of the Infrastructure and Spatial Planning), Mr. Dennis Hesseling, PhD, (Head of the Gas Department at the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators – ACER), while Mrs. Tamara Weingerl Požar, M.Phil (Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), was unfortunately not present due to urgent work obligations, but, instead, she kindly sent her thoughts, which were red to the YCES participants by the moderator.

As all participants agree, the round table was extremely interesting, energetic and inspiring. The two speakers presented their thoughts on energy security in Europe and Slovenia, on issues concerning fossil fuels, natural gas and its distribution in particular, and the EU regulations governing the field. The moderator made sure they confronted their views in a constructive debate, which was very interesting and “a pleasure to listen to”, as one of the participants described it.

Once the floor was opened for questions, the YCES participants showed their interest in the topic by eagerly posing many important questions to both guests, emphasizing the importance of, e.g., nuclear energy and wind power in Slovenia, private individuals contributing to the national energy networks, the recent situation between Russia and Ukraine and its consequences for the energy market, issues related to the South Stream, the importance of the diversification of energy sources and of energy suppliers for the EU, legislative issues, etc. The participants also appreciated the moderator’s observations and provocative questions, and deemed the round table a great success.

Round Table 2: Energy Diplomacy and its Current Challenges

YCES’s second round table proved that diplomatic relations concerning energy issues are extremely important in today’s international arena. The round table, moderated by Mr. Boštjan Udovič, PhD, assistant professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, was attended by H. E. István Szent-Iványi, PhD, Ambassador (Hungarian Embassy in Ljubljana), Mr. Christopher Yvon, Chargé d'Affaires (British Embassy Ljubljana), and Mr. Nathan Ringger, Political Officer (Embassy of the United States of America in Ljubljana).

Once again, the introductory speeches of YCES’s guests proved ensuring energy security to be a crucial issue in their countries’ foreign and national policies, and as such, directly or indirectly, among the priorities of their governments. H. E. István Szent-Iványi, PhD, stressed the fact that energy security is a political issue, because in the EU, 45 % of the energy is imported from countries outside the EU, especially from Russia. Also, he stressed the importance of the diversification of energy sources and suppliers, a crucial interest for his country. The moderator – with his direct and energetic questions – encouraged the guests to conduct a conversation about the recent situation between Ukraine and Russia and its possible consequences for energy security, about the South Stream project and its importance, and other relevant issues within the topic area. All participants agreed that energy security is a more and more political issue, and that diplomats will have to mediate between different actors, key energy suppliers and consumers. Diplomacy is crucial for solving upcoming problems connected to energy security, which was also the most important conclusion of the round table.

The questions from the audience proved the issues discussed in the first part of the round table are close to their hearts; we heard about shell gas drillings in the United States of America and its (possible) negative effects, such as earthquakes – Mr. Nathan Ringger explained the private companies’ activities are supervised by a national ‘watchdog’ agency. Moreover, Mr. Christopher Yvon was asked about his position towards the future Scottish referendum for independence in the light of energy security; he reiterated his government’s position that the referendum is fair and legal, but said that it would be best if Scotland remained a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK). Also, in replying another question, he said the UK should remain a member state of the EU, as it is beneficial for both entities. Questions were also asked about the CO2 emissions and the CO2 market; Mr. Nathan Ringger explained the United States have reduced their production CO2 in the last years and that they also reduced their oil imports significantly. A particular emphasis was also given on the need to share new technologies.

Finally, the moderator provocatively asked the three guests to comment upon their state’s relationship towards the South Stream in terms of FB language, giving them only few options to choose from, which proved to be a great question for a conference oriented towards youth; the participants could not stop talking about it for the entire day, even during the social events – they have all enjoyed the debate very much.

Workshop on energy literacy

The workshop started with a short introduction of the EN-LITE project by Mojca Drevenšek from Consensus Communications. The EN-LITE project is an international project for the strengthening of energy literacy. After the initial introduction, Samo Fürst from a Slovene energy supply company Gen-I took the floor. He presented the Slovene energy demands and the composition of Slovene energy production and consumption. When speaking about the sustainable energy strategy we cannot pass the energy trilemma, which deals with the question: How to provide affordable reliable supply of energy having in mind the principles of environmental sustainability. We could achieve low carbon energy efficiency with the electrification of transport and heating and turning to renewable energy sources. He concluded his part of the workshop with the presentation of his company's work (Gen-I group). Darko Kramar the representative of ELES, the Slovene Electricity Transmission System Operator firstly explained that the role of his company is to bring the electricity from the power plants to the consumers. He presented the expectations of consumers to have low energy bills, to have uninterrupted access to energy and to prevent the energy production from destroying our environment. His presentation then focused to the geo-political aspects of electricity transmission. If a country has more renewable energy sources, its inhabitants pay less for the energy they consume. The last speaker to take the floor was dr. Franc Žlahtič from the company Plinovodi that manages Slovenia’s natural gas transmission network and who is also the president of the Slovene National Committee of the World Energy Council. In his lecture he touched the issue of the EU’s gas energy dependency and diversification of gas supply. His presentation was an extension of the first panel from the first day of the conference, since he exposed the same issues of the EU but also offered the visual presentation of the problems EU is facing when talking about energy security or energy dependency. He concluded with the Slovene connection to international gas supply, TAP project and the prospect of the South stream project.

The debate started with the question about the fictional situation of a cyber-attack on the energy distribution network, the answer to which reassured the participants of energy safety, since the networks can be manually operated. Dr. Žlahtič was asked to explain the South stream project in more detail and then compare it to the TAP.


University of Ljubljana

Faculty of Social Sciences

Kardeljeva ploščad 5

1000 Ljubljana


Kardeljeva ploščad 5