By Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy
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Extra info for Infrastructures: Time to Invest
New role in system coordination In infrastructures in which the regime mode consists of corporatisation (and not liberalisation, privatisation or internationalization), special attention should be given to undesirable combinations of roles. An infrastructure organisation that is now commercially operating (in the drinking water sector for instance) may no longer be entrusted with all the functions necessary to realize investments. An external monitoring or refereeing role may be a useful mechanism to counter the disadvantages of hybridity and to directly address the merits of ploughing back profits into new investment in infrastructures.
2 the effects of integr ation and interdependence What is perhaps equally important from the perspective of this report is that one single event – a falling tree or a boat mast hitting overhead transmission lines on the River Elbe in Northern Germany – can now have far-reaching implications and cause black-outs across large parts of Europe. The impact of Hurricane Katrina in the us in August 2005 also underlined how tightly integrated many infrastructures are: Katrina triggered problems for crude oil delivery but also hit natural gas production, oil and gas transport, refineries and electricity and water supplies in one of the world’s most energy intensive areas.
Extensive investments in German wind energy have resulted in the requirement to strengthen the Dutch high transmission electricity grid (see chapter 6). The failure to invest in highspeed trains in Germany, on the other hand, has had a significant and negative effect on the huge investments in the construction of the Betuwe railway line. Similar externalities characterise mobile communications – a national government had little incentive to deal with high ‘roaming charges’ when the benefits of reducing these charges would accrue to users in other jurisdictions (Larouche 2008) and a change in German waste treatment policy has major implications for the organisation of waste disposal facilities in the Netherlands (Karré and In ’t Veld 2007).