A case in point is Spain's Iberdrola, the world's leading wind asset owner, which last month announced the acquisition of rights on a potential 1600 MW portfolio in the Dobrogea region of Romania from Eolica Dobrogea, a joint venture between Swiss developer NEK and its Romanian partner Rokura. Projects will be handed over to Iberdrola once they are fully permitted, with Iberdrola's first Romanian wind farms expected to be operating in 2009.
For Iberdrola and others, this year is not likely to see an explosion of the Romanian wind market, although growth should accelerate. Cristian Tantareanu of the Romanian Wind Energy Association estimates around 50 MW could be installed this year. "Something like 500 MW by the end of 2010 is very possible," he adds.
Existing incentives have been seen as a decent basis for investment. Renewable energy producers receive green certificates in addition to the price of electricity they sell. The certificates are sold to power suppliers without sufficient renewables generation of their own to meet the country's renewables mandate. Between green certificates and the physical energy being sold, renewable energy producers in Romania are now achieving healthy prices of about EUR 0.077-0.087/kWh.
The major difficulty with the current incentive system is that it is set to expire in 2012, although draft legislation for a replacement has been circulating. Tantareanu says there is a general consensus that the market structure will be improved. He points to the requirements laid out in the EU's renewables directive as a major reason for why that will happen. The directive proposal requires Romania to increase the use of renewable energy from 17.8% to 24% of consumption by 2020. While Romania has the least to do to meet its renewable targets among the 27 member states, its government is not likely to discourage investment in the sector.
Among the players attracted to the Romanian wind market from a wide range of countries, Italian utility Enel last year acquired Romanian firm Blue Line and its 200 MW project pipeline; investment fund Good Energies is working with Continental Wind Partners on Romanian projects and hopes to get permission for 600 MW this year; and Portugal's Martifer is due to start construction on 50 MW in 2008.