The energy investment initiative is unusual, as it comes from the commercial world rather than EU institutions such as the European Commission’s DG Energy. This department is headed by Maroš Šefčovič, European commissioner for the Energy Union. On the commercial side of the fence, the Alphandéry group includes support from formidable financial powers. The banks with representatives involved in the study include Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, PNB Paribas and Société Géneral.No less force comes from industry. The group’s energy companies include ERDF, which manages the public electricity-distribution network for 95% of France; IBERDROLA of Spain; SNAM, the Italian specialist in natural gas infrastructure; and Belgium’s ENGIE, which operates globally in the fields of electricity, natural gas and other energy services.When referring to the EU Energy Union, the group’s study indicates friendly liaison with the Commission’s DG Energy. It also makes positive references to the EU’s Capital Markets Union, the €315bn Juncker investment plan and the European Investment Bank. As the members of the group would no doubt be aware, the Junker plan – the EU’s European Fund for Strategic Investments – already lists as an objective the task to remove regulatory bottle-necks, including for the Energy Union. Hence, a reasonable interpretation of the motive behind the group study is simply to catalyse a step-up in urgency in the interests of investment in energy infrastructure. While the group itself would not stray from diplomatic terminology, a vulgar reading of its report is simply that it intends to give a kick in the pants to Brussels, to encourage a speed-up. Invited to comment on the plan, Šefčovič’s department preferred to hold its tongue.Other pressure in parallel direction of EU cross-border energy liaison can be understood from an ‘opinion’ published by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Its paper was issued almost simultaneously to the unveiling of the Alphandéry group study. The EESC calls for a “speaking-with-one-voice” approach to the EU’s energy policy and the establishment of a “safe balance of importing streams”.Back to the bank-industry document, it lists a series of recommendations of what should be done. For example, it favours the setting up of a list of projects that meet various criteria, such as that they fit in with a pan-European energy policy. Another recommendation would boost activity by the existing Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in its role of increasing the convergence of national regulators. ACER was set up in 2010 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, partly with this objective in mind.Additionally, the group would like to see enhanced activity of an Ombudsman-type process of project coordination. This would create accountability for the delivery of projects locally and take steps to enhance the credit rating of senior debt, thus to facilitate access from institutional sources. The group politely goes on to praise the Commission’s “projects of common interest” concept, but it then comments that, whilst in 2013, 248 “PCIs” were listed, only 13 of them had so far been completed. For more on global energy markets, see the Special Report in the May issue of IPE magazine Jeremy Woolfe relates some the recent efforts to unlock investment in Europe’s energy infrastructureA plan to unleash large investment opportunities, including for pension fund asset managers, into EU cross-border energy projects has been unveiled by a group that encompasses globally known banks working together with international energy companies. According to a figure the group attributes to the European Commission, the estimate of the funding requirement to develop electricity, gas and other energy-related schemes across EU frontiers, up to the year 2020, is a colossal €1trn. However, at present, there are “many factors” that explain the difficulty to launch such projects, the group states in a study unveiled recently in Brussels.Impediments faced by investors include that each individual project may need to sort out its own economic profile, and this has to be done working with different sets of national legislation. The study by the group sums up the challenge as overcoming a “low level of energy-policy integration and the disparities between the regulations and policies among [EU] member states”. Among other tasks is coping with a “mismatch between the long-term perspective of investors and the short-term economic and political cycles”. Furthermore, writes the group, account has to be taken of “the rapid pace of technological change” (renewables, storage, energy efficiency and so on).The group is chaired by Edmond Alphandéry, a former economics minister in France. Since July 2013, he has been chairman of the board of directors of the Brussels think tank the Centre for European Studies. At the study’s launch, Alphandéry summed up the aims of the group as “to reduce bottlenecks for investors”. Otherwise, the present predicament of projects taking 15 years to get from conceptualisation to realisation would continue, he said.
It did not help the Lakers coughed up double-digit efforts from Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio (28 points, 14 assists), Kevin Martin (23 points), Karl-Anthony Towns (14 points) and Shabazz Muhammad (10 points). Or that Bryant’s team-leading 24 points came on 8-of-24 shooting and 3-of-13 from 3-point range in 29 minutes, which Scott said will likely mirror his playimg time after averaging 34.5 minutes last season in 35 games before suffering a season-ending right shoulder injury. Bryant also missed five of his shots in the fourth quarter.Bryant maintained he still “felt good” and chalked up the shooting inconsistency toward missing the last three exhibition games because of a bruise in his lower left leg. “The shots didn’t go in the fourth quarter, but my health felt good,” Bryant said. “That timing will come back.”But as Bryant gets into that rhythm, Scott advised that his star player should stop taking so many 3-pointers.“13 is probably a little too many,” Scott said. “I still want him closer to the basket. If I can get him to the elbows and mid post, let him work there.”The adjustments went beyond Bryant’s rhythm. In his first career NBA start, Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell posted only four points on 2-of-7 shooting and recorded more fouls (three) than assists (two) in 26 minutes. Scott only described Russell’s play as “okay” and said he wanted more on defense. “Just trying to do the right thing,” Russell said. “Trying to run the offense and stay aggressive and trying to make the right play. I get caught up in trying to do the right thing instead of just playing.”Still, the Lakers looked more promising than during last season’s nightmare. Then, the Lakers went 21-61, a worst in franchise history, amid a flush of injuries and an unproven roster. The Lakers also opened the season losing their first five games.• Photos: Los Angeles Lakers take on Minnesota Timberwolves in opening game of NBA seasonThe Lakers also enjoyed double-digit efforts from Julius Randle (15 points), Jordan Clarkson (14), Nick Young (14) and Roy Hibbert (12).“The thing I love about this group that I have is these guys are very coachable,” Scott said. “They want to go out and give you the best effort that they can.”Hence, why Scott granted the starting job to Russell. “I’ve been very impressed with our talk and how hard he’s worked the last three days,” Scott said beforehand, referring to telling Russell to focus more on defense and rebounding instead of just playmaking. “I think he’s ready. He has an inner confidence in himself in that he wants to be in this position. He wants to be in that spotlight.”Russell did not assume that spotlight with the lead role. Clarkson mostly handled point-guard duties both to lessen Russell’s workload and the pressure as the Lakers’ No. 2 draft pick. “You’re not really familiar with the spots,” Russell said. “But it’s something you have to know better. You have to know multiple positions. Experience will take over when it comes to me being better individually.”But that became difficult as teammates routinely fumbled Russell’s passes. Russell said he “tries to be” patient, but will how much he tolerate a long process?“I don’t know man,” Russell said. “It’s either we get it or I keep getting a turnover, I’m down with it if it takes some time and I see some improvement. But if guys can’t catch it because I make the pass at the wrong time, its both of our faults.”Yet, Russell hardly faulted Scott for sitting him for the entire fourth quarter.“Coach does a great job of doing what he does,” Russell said. “His job is to coach. So if I’m on the floor, I’m on the floor. If I’m not, live with it”.After all, Scott stressed his lineup will remain subject to change.“I don’t think I want him to feel ‘I’m a starter for the next 82 games,’” Scott said. “You have to work and get better.”Despite watching the lineup’s progression with a critical eye, Scott admitted, “I have to be patient, too.”Scott pondered about starting Marcelo Huertas before changing his mind amid concerns about his right hamstring and feeling impressed with how he meshes with the reserves. Scott also considered starting rookie Anthony Brown at small forward after starting in the last five exhibition games. Instead, Scott chose Russell, whose play mirrored the rest of the team’s work in progress. “When I let it go, I thought it was a bucket,” said Williams, who posted 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting and a 7-of-7 mark from the foul line in 27 minutes. “It’s a routine play for me, three or four feet away from the rim and a floater over a seven footer. I thought it was a good shot.”So did Bryant, despite the Lakers’ star player not having the chance to close a game out like he has done so many times.“He got a good look,” Bryant said. “That’s his shot.”So did Scott, aware that Williams also made a 3-pointer that cut Minnesota’s lead to 112-111 with 31.6 seconds left. “He got a great look,” Scott said. “That’s a shot Lou knocks down pretty regularly especially in practice. It was a perfect shot. He just threw it up a little bit too hard.” Both the excitement and anxiety of the Lakers’ 2015-16 season caused Byron Scott to toss and turn, leaving the team’s coach so restless that he woke up Wednesday at 4:30 a.m. He then took a hot yoga session around 6:30 a.m., an exercise that made Scott “feel better.”But it appears Scott may have trouble sleeping for another night after the Lakers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 112-111, in their season opener on Wednesday at Staples Center.“We had a lot of brain farts,” Scott said. “I know we’re young and inexperienced at times. But we made a lot dumb mistakes that we shouldn’t have been making.” So much that the Lakers coughed up a 16-point lead that Scott and his players mostly blamed on declining intensity. But the Lakers may have also made a mistake when Scott called a timeout with 4.2 seconds left despite Julius Randle having an open look to drive at the top of the key. But Lakers guard Lou Williams took an inbounds pass from Kobe Bryant and took a floater that rimmed out as time expired. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error