Bucharest’s changes to energy law draw protest from renewable industry

27 October 2016, Week 42 Issue 833

Romania’s Employers Organisation of Renewable Energy Manufacturers (PATRES) has slammed Bucharest for overlooking the concerns of private clean energy vendors when amending the national electricity framework.

PATRES said that Bucharest had only accepted feedback from one, unnamed, state-owned market participant, despite the industry body submitting official queries to the government, the regulator and the competition watchdog, Business Review reported on October 20.

Disapproval from the renewables sector has grown since Bucharest amended Romania’s energy framework in August this year, introducing provisions which PATRES claims will create uncertainty because they are open to legal challenge. PATRES’ stance was echoed by legal house CMS Cameron McKenna, which in August warned that the law’s failure to restore directly negotiated power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the wholesale market conflicted with a prior obligation for producers to offer power in a “public and non-discriminatory manner.”

CMS Cameron McKenna highlighted passages seemingly incompatible with European law, including the provision which forces exporters of electricity to seek approval from regulators OPCOM.

Renewable producers are also critical of the green certificate trading system which underpins the Romanian framework, and have urged Bucharest to implement a feed-in tariff (FiT) element to improve revenue generation. The green certificate system awards points for each renewable MWh generated, depending on the age of qualifying assets. Producers are obligated to amass a specified number of certificates set to induce the prescribed renewable quota each year, either through renewable generation or trades with other firms.

Firms which fail to meet ANRE’s prescribed quota by April 15 the following year face a 110 euro (US$120.17) penalty per certificate, plus allowances for inflation. In 2016, for instance, the fine amounts to 119.70 euros (US$130.78).

In a letter to the Romanian parliament published in July, PATRES joined wind and solar trade bodies to condemn Bucharest for a reduction in the 2017 renewable quota to 8.3% of energy consumption, from 12.15% this year, according to Business Review. Then earlier this month, the deputy president of the National Authority for Energy Regulation (ANRE), Emil Calota, reportedly promised the consumer contribution to renewables would increase from 42 Romanian lei (US$10.18) per MWh to 52 Romanian lei (US$12.61) per MWh to assuage industry concerns.

But given last week’s statement, ANRE’s concession appears to have done little to placate the renewable sector.

Edited by

Richard Lockhart

Editor

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