In Romania the start-up of the promoting system for energy from renewable sources was established first in 2003, with the publishing of the Romanian Official Gazette no. 288/2003 containing the implementation of the new system by the Government Decision no. 443/2003 on promoting the electricity produced from renewable sources.
Even if the framework legislation was published in 2003, the first producers which benefited from the support scheme were authorized and registered for participating at the Green Certificate Market in September 2005. Since the renewable energy law became applicable in 2005, only one Green Certificate was granted for each MW of electricity produced and introduced in the national electricity grid, no matter the renewable source used for the production, therefore investors did not have a big interest in the renewable energy sector.
Only in December 2008, when the EU adopted an ambitious and far-reaching normative package on climate change and energy which, amongst others, commits the EU-27 countries to increase the share of renewable energy to 20% of Europe’s total energy production by 2020, the investors started the big investments for the production of electricity from renewable energy sources. Romania intended to comply with the guidelines given by the EU and implemented Law no. 220/2008. Even if the Law no. 220/2008 was issued, it could not be applied fully, as the Green Certificates granted for the production of energy from certain renewable sources were considered state aid, which made the Law no. 220/2008 subject to approval of the European Commission.
At the time of implementation, the wind, as a renewable source, accounted for around 4% of the EU’s total electricity supply. This share is expected to at least triple by year 2020. It is clear therefore that the number of wind farm installations across the EU is likely to increase radically in the short to medium term. It will be important to ensure that such a rapid expansion is sustainable in all respects and is done in accordance with EU environmental legislation. With a strong legislative knowledge on the evolution of the market, our Law Office has advised the interested investors, since the year 2009, in respect to changes in legislation, current possibilities and authorization processes. At that time, the main investors assisted by our Law Office, in the electricity field, were mainly interested in the wind energy sector, which was then the most advantageous. We were involved in the active preparation and development of some of the first wind and photovoltaic parks in Romania.
After a press release on 15.07.2011 the EU Commission finally approved the support scheme given by Law no. 220/2008, as per the last amendments made in 2010 and the amendments suggested in the draft of the Government Emergency Ordinance.
The EU Commission decision was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 23 August 2011 (OJ C 244, 23.8.2011, p.2) and it was a great breakthrough for the market. However, limitations are still imposed by the overcompensation system and the actual method of calculating the number of Green Certificates granted to each investor, in accordance with the legal criteria based on the IRR factor.
As the Government Emergency Ordinance was published in the Official Gazette no. 736/19.10.2011, we can now gladly state that the main legal frame of the Green Certificates issuance is fully in force. Furthermore, most of the framework legislation in the matter for the full application of Law 220/2008 was approved by ANRE. In March 2012, ANRE issued also a very important order which tends to clarify the situation of the overcompensation.
As the differentiation for the issuance of the Green Certificates was approved, depending on the sources, other sources became now also a major point of interest for the investors. The investors assisted by our Law Office showed a big interest in the hydro power plants, photovoltaic plants, as well as biomass cogeneration plants. The interest of the investors is motivated by the compensation with 3 Green Certificates, for hydro, respectively 6 Green Certificates per 1 MW for solar. Another argument in favour of investing in producing energy from hydro and solar sources in Romania, is the low maintenance fees and the possibility to get also lower authorisation costs, if location is chosen correctly.