By Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs, for Eurasia Network – November 12, 2017


Wind turbine, October 2017 – Photo credit : S. Bigot

The Dutch company NERO Renewables BV wants to build in Romania three wind farms made of 362 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 1 GW.

The construction of the three wind farms, located in southeastern Romania, in Constanta and Buzau, is scheduled to start in 2019, and they should be operational by 2021. The wind farms will be directly connected to the Romanian power grid and will generate annually 3 TWh of electricity, equivalent to 2.6% of the total electricity output in the Netherlands. As the electricity can be sent into the European Union grid, the Netherlands will be able to extract the generated energy.

The total investment in this 1 GW wind power project is estimated at EUR 1.4 billion, reported Romanian press sources.

The Vis-Viva wind power plant would be located near the city of Buzau and would be made of 120 turbines with individual capacity between 4MW and 4.5MW, explains NERO Renewables. The Adamclisi and Deleni wind farms would be located near Constanta and would each feature 121 turbines of capacity between 2 and 2.5 MW.

The projects would be fully developed and would have received the necessary permits — including grid connection. The group is now completing the building permit process, revealed the magazine Windpowermonthly.

NERO Renewables Romania SRL, the local subsidiary of the Dutch NERO Renewables BV, was registered in Bucharest in early October (Identification number : J40/16703/2017).

Romania leads in renewable energy

Given that the Netherlands expects to miss its 2020 target of 14% of renewable energy in total energy production and Romania has already reached its objective, NERO Renewables BV proposed to the Dutch Government to “adopt” this large wind power project in Romania. Thus, the Dutch state could reach its binding renewable energy target.

Romania is leading in the sector as the country reached in 2014 its national target for 2020, according to latest Eurostat data for 2015. The Romanian share of renewable energy in total consumption amounted to 24.8% in 2014 while the 2020 target set 24%.

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Thanks to the European mechanism of common projects for cooperation in the renewable energy sector, the Netherlands will be able to co-finance the wind farms developed by NERO Renewables in Romania, while the electricity generated will be included in the renewable energy production of the Netherlands, under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC) adopted in April 2009. The NERO Renewables team counts on the European Commission to support the project, according to Romanian press sources.

Such a joint project between the Netherlands and Romania based on the EU mechanisms of cooperation in the field of renewable energy would be a premiere in Europe.

Recently, Lithuania and Luxembourg have used another mechanism of cooperation, the “statistical transfer“, whereby a minimum of 700 Gigawatt hour (GWh) generated in Lithuania will be sent to Luxembourg statistics between 2018 and 2020, allowing the Grand-Duchy to reach its binding target for renewable energy share. Regarding Lithuania, it reached its 2020 target for renewable energy in 2014 with 23.6% of share.

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Note that all EU Member States have adopted national renewable energy action plans showing what actions they intend to take to meet their renewables targets. These plans include sectorial targets for electricity, heating and cooling, and transport ; planned policy measures ; the different mix of renewable sources they expect to exploit; and the use of cooperation mechanisms.

The integrated single energy market creates opportunities for EU Member States to cooperate and use their renewable resources to meet their 2020 targets. Three cooperation mechanisms have been set up under the Renewable Energy Directive: statistical transfers, joint projects and joint support schemes.

European firms involved in the project

NERO Renewables BV invited Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, Enercon, Senvion and GE to submit offers for delivery of turbines to the Romanian wind power project. The results of the selection will be announced in December, reported Romanian press and media sources.

The consultancy firm BLIX Consultancy BV helped NERO Renewable BV to structure the project by creating a development plan, a financial model and an information memorandum. Therefore, BLIX Consultancy has been mandated to search for co-investors in the project and is in charge of executing the tender for the wind turbines, reported Albert van der Hem, Director BLIX Consultancy BV.

The French Tractebel, a subsidiary of ENGIE, is described as the partner of NERO Renewables in grid connection, high voltage lines and substation design as well as grid capacity calculations.

The Dutch company reported to have licenses and part of the lands for the future wind farms in Romania, which it has leased from the Buzau and Constanta authorities in exchange of 2% of the gross income it will get from the project.

Local economy will benefit from this major investment as it will drive technological innovation and employment across the region.

The current largest onshore wind farm in Romania is the Fântânele-Cogealac wind farm, achieved in November 2012 with a total capacity of 600 MW thanks to 240 wind turbines manufactured by General Electric. This large wind power plant was built for the Czech energy utility ČEZ Group, with a global investment of € 500 million.

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© Copyright 2017 – Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs.

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