A vivid discussion during 8th Energy Day Brasov
The intended discussion on an update on Romania’s medium and long term Energy Strategy turned in course of the conference into a discussion on the actual situation of producers of green energy. Changes tot he market design and market mechanisms by Romanian Government and Administration led to a disruption of trading of green certificates. Because of this, the producers are lacking funds for the operation of their assets and amortization of the credits with Romanian banks – in the meanwhile we have to take notice of first insolvencies in the wind energy sector.
Recommendations for a redesign of the market for energy from renewable sources have been made by Dr. Lars Waldmann, senior consultant with AGORA Energiewende, a private foundation in Germany: “Romania might profit from the experiences made in Germany during the past 25 years in this sector; study the development and avoid the mistakes, which we of course also made…” Dr. Waldmann presented in detail, that even a highly industrialized country like Germany can provide decarbonized, secure and affordable energy supply without nuclear energy: “Romania is able and should resign from construction of blocks 3 and 4 in Cernovoda.”
As the Romanian Government has decided to limit the contribution for green energy on the energy bills to 35 RON per MWh, Martin Moise, Director General of REPOM and co-organizer of the conference suggests to allocate the resulting annual amount to the producers of green energy – comparable to the high-efficiency co-generation bonus. “We have to find a way which puts the smart producers in a line with all the others…”, Martin Moise mentioned.
The organizer, Jürgen Ludwig, Director General of Transfer de Tehnologie si Management (TTM) explicitly mentioned that a coherent energy strategy requires a transparent and stringent implementation. “An implementation is only stringent, if the measures defined bring long term security for investors (and the financing banks). Retroactive measures lead to the exact opposite. Already today we see negative impact concerning the investment activities – and this is not only in the renewable energy sector, this effects investment in Romania in total.”
Mr. Mihai Darie, Director Economic of Nuclearelectrica explained, that “… we will newly construct blocks 3 and 4 of Cernovoda and – in addition to this – rehabilitate reactor number 1 for operation for the following 25 years. We expect to have the already signed Memorandum of Understanding approved by Romanian Government within the next days.” Both measures will raise the base load production, adding to this the environmentally problematic coal power plants and the intended commissioning of a new coal power plant in Rovinari – this will lead to reducing energy production from renewable energy. Primary control energy, which is necessary to stabilize the fluctuating production from wind and PV power plants is not available in sufficient quantities.
Mr. Catalin Dumbraveanu, consulting the President of ANRE confirmed Mr. Darie’s position: “The further investment in nuclear energy is necessary, because Romania has already invested in the years of 1990 in large parts for this extension. We should not write-off this already spent money.”
Mrs. Felicia Racasanu, Director General Adjunct, Direcția Generală Energie și Mediu, Ministerul Energiei, Întreprinderilor Mici și Mijlocii și Mediului de Afaceri, led the way back to the future Energy Strategy: “We are right now drafting the tender documentation in order to select an international advisor to assist the Government and the ministry in defining Romania’s Energy Strategy.” This will then be a joint effort of Government and related administrations. In addition to this, Mrs. Racasanu explained, that there are undertakings in the ministry to elaborate potential changes to the remuneration scheme for green energy. “We are working on this” she mentioned. This statement was recognized with great interest by all participants – we shall wait and see what the outcome of that will be. Mr. Lefter, President of PATRES called for participation of the relevant stakeholders: “we need to have a public debate on this before changes are put into effect.”
Goal of a new energy strategy thus must be an energy mix out of:
- Low-carbon base load (this is Cernovoda operated as of today until end-of-life)
- No-carbon, adjustable large and small hydro powerplants
- “clean” and adjustable coal power plants (new plant to be commissioned in Rovinari and shut-down of the old ones)
- highly flexible power plants on natural gas, assuring load management and
- wind-, solar-, biogas- and biomass power plants which produce energy without the need of any ressources.
If in addition to this energy efficiency measures are taken in public and private buildings and the Romanian industry is supported in their efforts to more efficiently use energy – this will make up a solid foundation of an energy strategy.
Romania already today has a reasonable energy mix – wind and PV as the volatile renewables, hydro as adjustable renewables, adjustable natural gas power plans, limited flexible coal power plants and nuclear for base load. But most of the energy producers lack sufficient income from energy – this not only effects the renewable energy sector.
Jürgen Ludwig closed the conference: “let me summarize: Romania has to reduce nuclear on the long run, supplemented with a fundamentally modernized coal energy sector and modern natural gas fired power plants and systematically extending renewable energy production capacities. Then (and only then) the supply of energy in Romania will be secured on the long run, will be affordable for industry and private households and mostly de-carbonized. And this will then also be in line with European Unions Roadmap 2050.
Lets us take one step further: Romania shall collaborate closer with Romania’s neighbors in the Balkan region (from Ukraine to Italy, from Austria to Greece) and build – based on the CESEC region for natural gas (CESEC – Central and South European Gas Connectivity) – an energy union for electricity. This reduces the investment in backup production capacity necessary to supplement the volatility of the renewables as well as the curtailment of energy necessary.”