Despite challenges in the Europe and Eurasia energy sector—including widespread corruption, Russian interference, and potential economic and social stressors resulting from Europe’s decarbonization policies—the region is transitioning from the centralized administration of yesterday’s energy industry to new, competitive wholesale energy markets that attract private capital, enable technology transfer and strengthen the Euro-Atlantic alliance.

For nearly 30 years, the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Energy Association have partnered to enhance the region’s energy security through the Energy Technology and Governance Program (ETAG). Pioneering a new development assistance paradigm, ETAG has grown the engineering skills and institutional capacity within the region’s energy sector, making progress toward the shared vision for energy security and energy independence.

Leaders of this development assistance work will explain that shared vision and why the US is invested in achieving it, share some success stories, and discuss the remaining challenges to achieving energy security and independence.

Dr. Steven S. Burns, P.E., is Chief of Energy and Infrastructure in the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He manages and supports over $150 million in technical assistance programs and projects in ten countries of the former Soviet Union and Southeastern Europe, closely collaborating counterparts in EU member states as well as with the U.S. State Department and the Department of Energy. He plays a leading role in regional U.S. assistance policy and program development with respect to energy sector reform and anti-corruption; identifying, protecting, and upgrading critical infrastructure; developing alternatives for energy supply diversification; and promoting energy efficiency. He initiated several ground-breaking assistance programs that have become models for global deployment in areas such as improving energy sector cyber security, natural gas system planning, and disaster response capabilities of electric utilities. He holds a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy; an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts; and a Ph.D. in Engineering Management from the George Washington University.

William Polen is Senior Director at the United States Energy Association, where for nearly 30 years he has directed the Energy Technology and Governance Program in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development. A frequent traveler in the Balkans, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, Mr. Polen possess an extensive network of professional energy contacts in the Europe and Eurasia region, where he promotes energy sector reform, infrastructure development and the formation of competitive markets. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware and Master of Arts from the American University.