Romania ended 2010 with 462MW of installed wind capacity, some 33 times the 14MW it had at the start of the year.
Progress has come despite prolonged uncertainty on the incentive front. A new support system first approved by the Romanian government at the end of 2008, and amended to become even more attractive in 2010, must still receive clearance from the European Commission (see page 30). Romania's latest rules foresee that, when this is approved, wind power producers will receive two green certificates for every MWh of electricity produced until the end of 2017. However, before the law can be applied, the commission must ensure that these incentives planned for wind and other renewables do not violate state-aid restrictions. In the meantime, wind farms have continued to receive a single green certificate for every MWh of electricity produced.
A minimum price for green certificates has been set at EUR27/MWh, with a cap of EUR55/MWh. As a result of a shortage of green certificates, however, the going price for them has been the EUR55/MWh cap. When this is combined with the sale price for electricity, wind energy producers in the country are receiving a total of about EUR90/MWh. That could soar to about EUR145/MWh if two green certificates are allowed for every MWh. On the other hand, some developers are looking for reassurances about what will happen if the market should one day suffer from an oversupply of certificates.
Not all market players are convinced that even a temporary doubling in the number of green certificates is essential for the development of projects. Spanish wind company Iberdrola - which could see an additional 1.5GW generated from Romanian wind farms over the next several years besides an 80MW facility being built in Mihai Viteazu - notes that it made its business plans for the Romanian market before the government announced plans to double the number of green certificates. By January 2011, turbines were already turning at EGP's second Romanian wind farm - the 30MW Salbatica I plant. And EDPR's 138MW Cerveda wind farm is expected to come online in the first months of the year.
Partially because of uncertainty on the incentive front, projects sponsored by deep-pocketed utilities dominated in 2010 and are likely to dominate this year as well. Czech utility CEZ brought online the first 300MW of its Fantanele wind farm in 2010 and expects to commission the remaining 47.5MW this year. EDP Renovaveis, the renewable unit of Portuguese utility EDP, brought its 90MW Pestera wind farm online and the renewable unit of Italian utility ENEL inaugurated its 34MW Agighiol wind farm in December.
This year Romanian oil and gas group Petrom is expected to complete a 45MW wind project in the Dobrogea region - the hot spot for projects in the country - which it acquired last year from local developer Monsson Alma. The timing is more uncertain for the second, 252.5MW stage, of CEZ's giant 600MW Fantanele-Cogealac complex. While construction at Fantanele is drawing to a close, construction at the adjacent Cogealac site has been held up due to disputes between local authorities over permitting procedures.