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Romania

Romania

Special Report Europe 2020 - New member ambition - Investors move into emerging markets - Romanian ambition tempts the major market players

Although just 10 MW of wind capacity was installed in Romania by the end of 2008, that total could rise to 2200-4000 MW by 2020, resulting in wind power generation meeting 6-10% of the country's forecast electricity demand for 85 TWh that year. Cristian Tantareanu of renewable energy agency Enero puts his money on the lower end target, suggesting annual wind output will reach 5 TWh. Table: Romania's wind market. The table lists installed GW, output in TWh and electricity percentage supply in 2008 and 2020.

With projects planned left, right and centre, wind looks set to supply 10-20% of Romania's electricity.

Although just 10 MW of wind capacity was installed in Romania by the end of 2008, that total could rise to 2200-4000 MW by 2020, resulting in wind power generation meeting 6-10% of the country's forecast electricity demand for 85 TWh that year. Cristian Tantareanu of renewable energy agency Enero puts his money on the lower end target, suggesting annual wind output will reach 5 TWh. It is a safe bet. The combined Romanian project portfolios of Spanish giant Iberdrola and Portugal's Martifer Group would account for that volume of capacity alone, and yet more than 1 GW of additional projects are under development by a number of other firms as well (Windpower Monthly, March 2009).

Sebastian Enache of Romanian wind developer Monsson Alma, local partner of US firm Continental Wind Partners, believes the 4000 MW total is more realistic, saying it can be achieved even in a worse-case scenario. Under optimal conditions, he adds, cumulative capacity could reach 8000 MW by 2020, with wind supplying some 20% of all electricity in the country.

Even at 5 TWh, 2020 wind output would vastly outstrip the mere 11 GWh produced last year, which accounted for just 0.02% of Romania's total electricity. To put that into perspective, the country's total electricity output last year was 60.3 TWh, with all renewables, currently dominated by hydro, accounting for 28.4% (17 TWh). With the EU renewable energy directive now in force, Romania needs to source 24% of its energy from renewables by 2020. Under that target, the country wants at least 38% of electricity to come from renewables. That requires an output of 32 TWh, so at 5 TWh wind would account for 15.5% of all renewable electricity, while based on Enache's forecasts, wind could become the dominant renewables, accounting for anything between 30-62%.

Achieving that top level though requires some key issues to be confronted, not least the need for investment in the grid infrastructure, says Enache, particularly with the vast majority of wind projects being concentrated in the Dobrogea region. "The problem is that we will have a lot of power produced here (in Dobrogea)," he says. Dobrogea is already home to a nuclear plant with two functional reactors and two more will soon be constructed, along with significant gas and coal generated power.

"In the next five or six years, you will have over nine gigawatts of power here," says Enache. "It will be a lot of energy produced in one place and that will be a problem for the grid company. They will have to invest in new equipment and power stations." Meanwhile, incentive conditions for developers in Romania have improved, whereby the combined prices wind producers can get from the sale of green certificates and electricity is now EUR0.14-0.15/kWh (Windpower Monthly, March 2009).

Heather O'Brian, Windpower Monthly

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