Large Romanian power consumers resume lobby against renewable energy support

By bne IntelliNews November 19, 2013

Romania has already met this year the 24% target for renewable energy [RES] in total energy consumption that was set for 2020 under the EU directive*, the CEO of local aluminium producer Alro said as quoted by news agency Agerpres.

Romanian industrial consumers thus resume their lobby for waivers on renewable energy support. Such waivers are allowed under the legislation revised earlier this summer – but the government has not yet drafted such steps – which need the endorsement of the EC afterwards. In the meantime, a large number of PV projects are reported to have been registered and licensed.

The support for renewable energy resources is particularly strong under the revised energy consumption scenario. While the support scheme was designed based on expectations for 18-39% rise in electricity consumption over 2010-2020, the latest QueriData forecast of Romania's electricity industry indicates that the electricity consumption will recover to the 2010 level not before 2025.

The installed capacity at end-Sep increased by 9% ytd for wind farms and by 121% ytd for PV farms, Alro CEO Marian Nastase – who is also the head of the large power consumers’ association [ABIEC], argued. Furthermore, the PV investors have licensed projects with an installed capacity of 600MW – compared to the 48MW installed capacity of PV farms at the end of 2012. These are actually investment plans and not commissioned plants, however, as investors rushed to register their projects and get advantage of the more favourable support schemes, Nastase explained.

Romania’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan [NREAP], however, specified a total PV installed capacity of 290MW at the end of 2020. Under the new legislation, the market regulator is supposed not to license under the green certificate schemes projects in excess to the annual targets set under NREAP.

Romanian industrial consumers pay renewable energy surcharges that are far above the EU averages, Alro's CEO complained. The surcharges paid in Romania were of EUR 10.7 per MWh in 2012 – the highest in the EU, Nastase said quoting a CEPS research. Furthermore, adding the co-generation support surcharge, Alro paid EUR 18 per MWh last year. Large industrial consumers are waived renewable energy contributions in many European countries, he also argued.

* Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC.

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