Romania plans reduced support for solar energy

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 20, 2013 12:23 PM
Romania plans reduced support for solar energy

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania aims to lower subsidies for some renewable energy projects from 2014, trying to avoid overcompensating investors while burdening consumers with high power bills.

The move announced on Wednesday by an official from the country's energy regulator ANRE follows growing pressure for subsidy reductions in countries such as Britain and Germany after years of strong government support.

Romania's "green certificates" scheme, which has been described by the European Commission as potentially too generous, has been key to attracting billions of euros in investment, particularly in wind power.

But the cost has also pushed up power bills and inflation, a burden for households in the European Union's second-poorest state.

Electricity prices rose by about 10 percent this month, with four percentage points of the increase coming from green energy.

ANRE regulator Zoltan Nagy-Bege said that Romania plans to cut the number of green certificates granted for solar technologies by one. The support scheme currently gives six green certificates to solar power developers for every megawatt hour of electricity they produce until 2017.

"We will propose to the government to lower the number of green certificates for solar energy from January 1, 2014," Nagy-Bage was quoted as saying by state news agency Agerpres.

ANRE has estimated that green energy subsidies would cost 10 billion euros ($13.4 billion) over 10 years. Romania has only about 70 MW of solar power installed, while projects worth another 320 MW are under construction.

Wind energy has attracted the most investment and Romania currently has 1,600 MW in wind parks. Wind energy developers will continue to receive two certificates per megawatt hour.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by David Goodman)