Romania approves much awaited green energy support

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 13, 2011 6:38 AM

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's centrist coalition government late on Wednesday approved a much awaited support scheme for renewable energy producers which would lead to a 2.5 percent rise in electricity tariffs for household consumers next year, it said in a statement.

The support scheme, which is based on green certificates and has been key to attracting billions of euros to wind energy, has been revised after the European Commission expressed concern it may overcompensate developers.

The promise of a generous support scheme, good steady winds and a potentially lucrative market of some 22 million people have attracted scores of wind energy developers to Romania in recent years.

Czech power group CEZ has halfway finished building Europe's largest onshore wind park in the Dobrogea region in southeastern Romania, a 1.1 billion euros project.

Other power firms developing wind projects in Romania include Italy's Enel, Spain's Iberdrola and Energias de Portugal.

Romania's energy regulator ANRE has estimated the overall renewable support scheme will cost some 10 billion euros over 10 years and add up to 33 euros per megawatt to prices by 2017.

In the case of wind energy, the support scheme gives developers two green certificates for every megawatt hour of electricity they produce, while suppliers must get an increasing percentage of the power they sell from renewable energy and buy certificates to meet these targets.

Wind power developers gain once by selling the certificates, worth between 27 and 55 euros each to power providers, and again when they sell the electricity produced.

Romania jumped from 14 megawatts of installed wind energy at the end of 2009 to 462 megawatts at the end of last year, and should have some 4,000 megawatts by 2020.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Keiron Henderson)