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. 

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