Romania’s Energy Storage: Assessment of Potential and Regulatory Framework

The European Green Deal, with its flagship policy, the Climate Law, is set to enshrine into law the target of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. In this context, the increased electrification of industry, transport, and buildings is a must for decarbonisation. The Commission’s long-term strategy acknowledges that the further uptake and integration of renewable energy necessitates higher flexibility at system level. Its decarbonisation scenarios indicate the need for a tenfold of today’s storage to deal with variability in the electricity sector. The EU’s strategy for energy system integration lays out the groundwork for how an increasingly electrified economy can function efficiently. In anticipation of these future developments, concrete steps have been taken at EU level to favour and accommodate an increase in storage capacity. As part of the Clean Energy Package, the Electricity Directive and Regulation that are the basis for a revamped EU electricity market design set energy storage on an equal footing in the market with power generation. In response to EU Regulation 2019/943, which clarifies the role of storage and its ownership status, the Romanian authorities transposed in Law 155/2020 (amending Energy Law 123/2012) specific provisions related to new storage facilities and their management rules. Among the most significant is the government’s new and clear responsibilities of developing plans and actions for energy storage, aligned with the NECP, European Green Deal, and Next Generation EU. In addition, the ANRE provisions about licenses include references to storage capacities for energy producers. Nonetheless, the current Romanian legislation does not include sufficient details on future-proof systems and technologies. More elaborated provisions are needed for the adoption of different types of storage and norms related to storage system integration. Such enhanced legislation is needed for implementing the Romanian National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), which lists ‘developing storage capacities’ as an instrument to improve energy security but lacks detail on how storage technologies will be deployed until 2030. The plan makes reference to the assessment study of system adequacy by the TSO, Transelectrica SA, which mentions a minimum 400 MW of needed new storage capacity. Against this background, it is important to understand the necessity for the domestic deployment of new storage technologies. To be able to invest in renewable energy capacities, the Romanian energy sector must first address its network adequacy issues. Increased storage capacity can contribute to overcoming this challenge, especially by increasing grid flexibility. Regardless of technology, energy storage will bring economic, structural and operational advantages. Based on its renewable energy potential and considering the national energy sector’s current characteristics – generation assets, interconnections, market design, regulatory landscape – Romanian authorities should plan for increased deployment of storage technologies. This report analyses the potential of some of the main energy storage technologies, presenting their respective advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered when evaluating the likelihood, scale, and speed of investment. It puts forward a set of policy recommendations. First, the regulatory framework must be revised to address the need for the following: Detailed norms and procedures on technical integration of storage technology; Equal access to ancillary services auctions for utility-scale storage; Regulatory provisions for decommissioning of storage facilities; Regulatory framework for renewable Hybrid Power Plants (HPPs). At the same time, financing opportunities and subsidies need to be developed, such as: Capacity mechanisms for energy storage facilities; Extension of already-existing subsidies for prosumers to include storage installations; Support schemes for off-grid solutions that incorporate storage; Adjustment of current financing schemes to new support mechanisms that can enable an efficient deployment of storage capacities; Clear remuneration framework for V2G owners; Incentivise circular economy initiatives, especially for battery technologies. 

Romania’s Offshore Wind Energy Resources: Natural Potential, Regulatory Framework, and Development Prospects

The present study assesses the natural and technical potential of Romania’s offshore wind sector, finding an estimated total potential natural capacity of 94 GW, out of which 22 GW could be installed as fixed turbines, leading to a total Annual Energy Production (AEP) of 239 TWh, with 54,4 TWh from fixed turbines. The data analysed in this report show that wind speeds increase with the distance to the shore, with only the central part of the deep-water sector having more sizeable mean wind speeds (close to 7 m/s). A large part of Romania’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) consists of a deep-water area (>50 m) that is more suitable for floating platforms. Nonetheless, several offshore wind farms in Europe have been recently built at about 60 km from shore, a distance that is just within the Romanian transition area from shallow to deep water. The study identifies two potential clusters with most favourable conditions for a first stage of offshore wind development, based on fixed turbines: one with capacity factors between 33-35%, in water depths below 50 m at 40-60 km from the shore – an area that strikes the right balance between wind resources and costs of the required offshore network, given the possibility to inject the output in the Constanța Sud electrical substation and the proximity to the Port of Constanța.

Ten Priority Areas for Romania Post COVID-19 Recovery: A Focus on Energy and Climate Policy

The post COVID-19 economic recovery represents a unique opportunity for setting Romania on a path of sustainable economic growth and for ensuring its competitiveness in a future decarbonised EU economy.

Falling behind the pack? Romania’s lack of ambition in non-ETS sectors may undermine the prospects for reaching the European Green Deal objectives

This policy brief argues that Romania’s lack of ambitiousness, especially in sectors that are not part of the Emissions Trading System, such as transport, buildings and agriculture, may both undermine the country’s ability to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and could put the Romanian economy at a comparative disadvantage compared to early movers.

Energy System Integration and the Role of Hydrogen

The sudden interest for hydrogen in Romania is lacking though a robust foundation in policy analysis and planning, having been fueled almost entirely by the momentum that the topic has received at EU and international levels.

Accelerated lignite exit in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece

All three countries can phase out lignite without implications for the security of supply, with only a few hard coal power plants remaining in the system – the study finds. The difficulties lie in job losses and an increase in end-user prices, which are both politically sensitive consequences of the phase-out.

The utilizes` payment postponement for three months may be a good idea but with high failure chances

Although sanctioned in the press as a populist and anti-economic measure, the draft law on deferral of payment to utilities for three months, is based on a correct idea of social protection.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the European Green Deal: A Focus on Romania and Southeast Europe

The dip in carbon prices, also a result of lower energy demand, shows the adversarial impact that the coronavirus crisis can have on the European Green Deal. In Romania, a drop in energy prices threatens further investments in the sector, while potentially ill-conceived governmental interventions risk creating lasting and unforeseen imbalances

The day the oil markets crashed – again. Is this time different?

The global oil industry will continue to be battered by the constraints of climate policies, divestment and lowering returns. True, a depressed oil price environment disincentivizes investment in renewable energy sources, electromobility and, alas, energy efficiency – a lesson well learned in the aftermath of the 2014 oil industry downturn.

Oil markets in 2020: fundamental drivers and geopolitical uncertainties

The fundamental market drivers are pointing at a balanced oil market in 2020, with a Brent price mostly within the $60-70 a barrel – unless, that is, a massive escalation of the geopolitical tensions occurs, following the targeted killing of Iranian general Soleimani, causing large and indeterminate oil supply disruption.

Renewable energy and the conundrum of the Romanian irrigation system

Some say statistics lie and this is sometimes true. However, oftentimes statistical figures are so striking that underlying facts become obvious. At the European level, the irrigation systems differ a lot by technology, but also in terms of irrigable and irrigated areas. According to 2013 data provided by Eurostat, there are important discrepancies between member states.