Transparency, spatial planning and getting approval of the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are the main barriers to the development of wind energy in Romania, industry and government representatives were told today at a workshop in Bucharest organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Romanian Wind Energy Association (AREE).
Despite this, projects worth 3,000 MW are due to come online in the next three years, and Romania has relatively short lead times and costs in terms of administrative procedures and connection to the grids.
“Although lead times and costs are better in Romania than in many other EU countries, there are very few wind farms online, so we cannot say if the positive trend will continue,” said Dorina Iuga, EWEA’s Projects Manager.
The findings come from the EU funded project Wind Barriers, which makes recommendations for speeding up the development of wind energy in Romania. These include improving the level of transparency in the decision making process for grid connections, creating spatial planning procedures for areas appropriate for wind farms in order to attract developers, and speeding up the approval of EIAs.
“It’s basically a matter of streamlining decision making processes in a country that does not have much experience with renewable energy grid integration and project development,” concluded Iuga.
Romania had only 14 MW of wind power installed at the end of 2009. EWEA’s scenarios indicate that in 2020 the country could have up to 3,500 MW installed.
AREE’s Executive Director Dana Duica is more optimistic: “at the end of the year we could have already 650 MW installed”, she said. “Most importantly, we recently looked at the project pipeline to discover that we could reach 3,000 MW of wind power installed capacity in 2013. This would mean that within three years, over 7.5% of Romanian electricity demand would be covered by wind. I believe we would establish a new record growth in Europe.” According to Duica, Romania could have 5,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity by 2020.
Wind energy could provide up to 17% of EU electricity demand by 2020. This would avoid 333 million tonnes of CO2 per year, equal to 29% of the EU’s greenhouse gas reduction target. Currently the wind industry employs 192,000 people in the EU, by 2020 this number is expectede to grow to 446,000 jobs – 33 new jobs every working week from now to 2020.
The information on barriers to wind energy development are taken from the findings of the EU-funded project, Wind Barriers: www.windbarriers.eu