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Renewable Energy Recap: Romania

Developers, manufacturers, investors and other renewable energy industry stakeholders need to know where the next big market is going to be so that they can adjust their business decisions accordingly.

Since 2003, global consultancy Ernst & Young has released its Country Attractiveness Indices, which gives a numerical ranking to 30 global renewable energy markets by scoring renewable energy investment strategies and resource availability. The indices are updated on a quarterly basis and the most recent report can be found here.

Here is the firm’s assessment of Romania.

Policy

It has been a year since Romania was added to the CAI (Issue 27), when we reported on the country’s revised renewable energy Law which, if implemented, would significantly boost the country’s RES-E by offering differentiated, and potentially lucrative, GC packages across all renewable technologies. In short, it represented one of the most attractive renewable energy schemes; however, application of the Law has been stalled since 2008. This legislative delay has resulted in uncertainty of returns for investors already implementing projects and has potentially discouraged new investors from entering the market.

A year on we are able to report that the Law and its attractive, we are able to report that the Law, and its attractive GC scheme, is close to being fully implemented. On 13 July this year, the European Commission (EC) finalized its review process and went on to approve Law 220/2008, subject to a number of revisions which are set out below. 

The EC’s approval was followed by the ratification of a Government Ordinance on 19 October 2011, which incorporated the EC’s revisions and finalized the new RES-E Law. The final stage is the issue of the secondary legislation  Law. The final stage is the issue of the “secondary legislation”which, according to the Vice President of the country’s energy regulator, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), has already been prepared and will shortly be signed and enforced by the regulator. There are therefore signs that the Law will be completely finalized and applicable shortly. 

The following are some of the key revisions to Law 220/2008 following the EC’s review:

  • A reduction in the number of GCs awarded to biomass and geothermal projects from three to two GCs, except where energy results from crops especially cultivated for biomass 
  • Capacities <1MW will benefit from a FIT as opposed to a GC scheme, details of which are to be determined a maximum of 120 days post validation of the Law
  • “Guaranteed access” replaces “Priority dispatch” for the majority of projects, where the generator of capacities exceeding 1MW will be able to deliver the electricity to the grid, provided the stability of the grid is not put at risk. Priority dispatch will be available to generators up to 1MW, that are unlikely to endanger the stability of the grid
  • The GC price range shall be indexed annually by ANRE in accordance with the annual average inflation index calculated for the Eurozone for the preceding year, as officially quoted by Eurostat
  • Introduction of the overcompensation concept — if the internal rate of return (IRR) of a RES technology exceeds the IRR published by ANRE for that specific technology by more than 10%, the number of GCs may be reduced
  • Power plants generating over 125MW must individually notify the EC in order to be accredited by ANRE as RES-E producers entitled to GCs•All projects will receive 1GC for the new mandatory testing period (usually between one to three months)
  • GCs issued by TSO Transelectrica will have a 16-month the validity period

GCs will be awarded for each technology per MWh and the minimum and maximum value based on the GC price range of €27-€55/GC. The support mechanism applies to generators that have been qualified by ANRE and have commissioned their generation capacities by the end of 2016.

As a general rule, GCs will be available for 15 years for generation capacities using new equipment. Under the new rules, wind farms will receive two GCs per MWh until 2017, reducing to one GC thereafter. In 2011, the penalty that a supplier has to pay to Transelectrica for each non-acquired GC is €112.3.

Wind

While it is hoped the application of the new GC scheme will spur investment across all RES-E technologies, wind is expected to provide the most significant growth. From only 12 MW at the end of 2009, the country boasted an installed capacity of 464 MW at the end of 2010, increasing a further 34% to 623 MW at the end of September this year.

Czech utility, CEZ, has completed 338 MW of its FântâneleCogealac project which, at 600 MW, will be the largest onshorewind farm in Europe once complete at the end of 2012. In March, Iberdrola started work on its 1,500-MW project, which could form the largest onshore wind power installation in the world when complete in 2017. The first 80-MW phase is expected to be operational by the end of 2011.

For more information on renewable energy development in Romania, contact the report’s authors Cornelia Bumbacea and Andreea Stanciu.

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