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Challenges and perspectives for the hydro energy sector debated at the Romanian HydroPower Energy Summit 2014

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The law approving the ordinance no. 57/2013 will be promulgated shortly, hence, the renewable energy producers will receive the quota of green certificates as initially foreseen. Because the law in question has not been promulgated, the provisions of the ordinance overlap those concerning the reduction of the GCs quota, so as the projects permitted starting January 2014 are currently under both the ordinance for postponing a quota of GCs and the law which cuts down the quota of these certificates.

 

The most important event dedicated to the Romania’s hydro energy sector, organized by GOVNET Conferences under the aegis of the “Romanian Waters” National Administration, of Hidroelectrica, of the National Environmental Guard, of the Romanian Small Hydropower Association, ACUE, AREL, AFEER and of the WEC Romanian National Committee has gathered leading professionals in the hydro energy business, companies operating in related fields and regulatory authorities altogether.

The Romanian HydroPower Energy Summit approached the most pressing issues in this energy sector which accounts for 30 percent of the electricity production in Romania and which has a huge growth potential.

 

“It’s a matter of days until the Law approving the Ordinance no. 57 will be promulgated and published in the Official Gazette”, Silvia Vlasceanu, Director of ACUE and Counselor in the Committee of Industry and Services within the Chamber of Deputies, said. A good news for all players in the market and for whom the request of reviewing the said law President Traian Basescu made towards the Parliament in late-2013, caused concerns and questioned the opportuneness of going forward with such projects. ‘Things will settle down once the law will come out. (...) From March on, everything will probably go back to normal”.

 

The first one of the three sessions of the conference was mainly focused on the issues arose from the intricate legislation and which is the major barrier in the development of this sector and in attracting investors. From the lack of stability in regulations and the confuse situation regarding the green certificates support, to the burden the tax on the used water became, the lease of areas in the lower course of river beds or the environmental regulations on protected areas, all the major aspects concerning the hydro energy professionals have been brought to the fore.

 

As for the long-awaited feed-in tariff to be applied for green energy projects below 1MW or 2MW for biomass cogeneration plants, it seems that the most optimistic for its introduction is June 2014, according to Zoltan Nagy-Benge, member of the Board of the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE). And that, provided the EU Commission will approve within the next month the proposals ANRE sent in early December, last year, because, as Nagy explained, then it will take about three months for this fixed tariff, an alternative to the green certificates support, to come into force.

In spite of the challenges faced by developers of hydropower projects, there is a vivid interest which is noticeable outside Romania, too, the major number of foreign companies attending the event being a proof in this regard. This area is and will remain of high importance to the country’s energy system, as Carmen Neagu, member of Transelectrica’s Supervisory Board, pointed out, saying that the transmission and system operator encourages investments in the Romanian energy field which is a pillar of sustainable development.

 

She further emphasized that the investment strategy needs to be appropriate and the development of hydropower projects should be grounded on the real necessities in terms of energy, also approaching the well-known project at Tarnita-Lapustesti, set up in the Communist era and expected to be carried out in the coming years: ‘There should be assessed the real available value of the power stations which, so that the signal sent to investors is accurate. At this point, based on the data we have it may seem that there is now need of new power capacities, which is not true. (...) With respect to the major projects, decisions must be quick enough for maintaining the feasibility of the project. (...) In the European regional context, the Tarnita project could be enlisted amidst the projects of common interest, but for promoting it, we need to urge the decision and pay consolidated efforts for structuring the best business model.’, Neagu explained.

 

Additionally, during the conference there have been discussed tax, juridical aspects, the financing issue most of developers face, there have been presented solution for insuring hydropower plants against a broad range of risks and damages, for optimizing projects both technically and in terms of compliance with environmental regulations, as well as the opportunities Romania offers.

 

The Summit Partners were: ANDRITZ Hydro, Electrogrup, ISPH Project Development, KAMA Betonfertigteile, Lacerta, MARSH, RETRASIB, Schoenherr, Transenergo.

 

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