Romania’s upper house of parliament, the senate, has approved a law to establish a support system for what could be the first offshore wind projects in the Black Sea.
The legislation still needs to be approved in the Eastern European country’s lower house, the chamber of deputies.
The legislative procedure comes after Romania’s state-owned power company Hidroelectrica earlier this year confirmed to Upstream sister renewable energy publication Recharge that it plans the Black Sea’s first-ever offshore wind project with a capacity of up to 500 megawatts, which could be operational by 2026 if feasibility studies go well.
The law proposal passed in the Senate foresees that the country’s economics and energy ministry (MEEMA) can allocate support for offshore wind projects either in a tender under a contract for difference (CfD) scheme, or via so-called ‘direct licensing’, the economica.net business website said.
In the direct licensing scheme, operators would receive a premium of €25 ($29.70) per megawatt hour of power produced on top of the wholesale electricity price up to a maximum of €60/MWh for both combined. The payment would be topped up by a fixed compensation of €20/MWh for balancing costs.
Black Sea power for Green Deal
The Black Sea as a whole has an offshore wind potential of 500 gigawatts, the World Bank has estimated in a recent study.
Offshore wind from the Black Sea could deliver the electricity required for south-eastern Europe to meet its power needs under an accelerated energy transition as foreseen in the EU’s Green Deal, Brussels-based think-tank CEPS said in a report published last month.
The report estimates a technical wind power potential in the Black Sea of 435GW — with 269GW being fixed-bottom, and 166GW floating wind.
Romania, according to CEPS, has a theoretical offshore wind potential in its part of the Black Sea of 76GW, 22GW of which are for fixed foundations, and another 54GW for floating.
“Theoretically, therefore, offshore renewable energy could be a substitute for the country’s currently stalled offshore gas projects,” the report states.
Next to Hidroelectrica, GSP Power, the new energy unit of Romanian oil firm GSP, also intends to take part in Black Sea offshore wind projects, economica.net said.
(This article first appeared in Upstream's sister renewable energy publication on 16 November, 2020.)