Power Talk: Renewable Sources of Energy


While it’s relatively easy to point out problems, I find it far more rewarding to focus on practical solutions. The following post is part of a longer series examining energy production, consumption and waste in Romania.

My earlier piece on Transportation can be found here.

A few years ago, Sweden announced a plan to become an oil-free society, i.e. become completely reliant on sources of energy other than petroleum.

Meanwhile Iceland is making tremendous strides towards energy independence as well.

I realize that Romania is in a different place, both in terms of natural resources as well as political climate, but if I were a leader in this country I would start a campaign tomorrow to make Romania energy self-sufficient within 20 years.

Is that wishful thinking? I don’t think so. And neither do some other folks, so let’s take a look and see what they’re up to.

A few days ago I came across this article:

Welsh-based renewable energy developer Eco2 is targeting the development of two biomass plants in Romania – in Slobozia, Ialomita county and Rosiorii de Vede, Teleorman county

The total investment for each plant could exceed 100 million Euro, while both plants will have an installed power of 40 MW.

Sometimes these news announcements are more optimistic than realistic. But I do note from the company’s website that they already have one similar plant in operation and plans for several more.

Biomass is the conversion of certain plant material (in Romania’s case, straw) into electricity.

Then I came across this post, quoting the Financial Times:

A chill breeze whistles through the tiny village of Fantanele in south-east Romania. But far from begrudging the winter gusts, its residents are grateful.

The reason is evident on the horizon, where scores of towering turbines turn in the wind – part of the first stage of a 600 megawatt wind park, the largest land-based project in Europe.

This is largely the doing of the CEZ Group, which has a subsidiary website in Romanian as well.

It’s extremely difficult getting hard numbers as to just how much energy these wind farms are producing now versus future projections of output. Their latest statement (in Romanian) is here.

It looks like that single operation in Fantanele will produce about 600 megawatts. Furthermore, their ultimate goal is to produce 4,240 megawatts of energy. To give you an idea how this compares, the Cernavoda nuclear plant currently produces about 1,400 megawatts.

Not to be outdone, the Spanish company Iberdrola is also building wind farms in Romania, hoping to produce 1,500 megawatts. A list of those projects can be found here. It looks like most of these projects have gotten the necessary authorization and building is set to begin immediately.

I also looked through the Romanian Wind Energy Association‘s website (Rom only) and failed to find any current hard numbers. But I do see they’ve only been up and running for about a year and a half.

From the April 8, 2010 edition of Platts (sorry, no online link as its by subscription only):

Although wind power generation [in Romania] has been negligible to date, with just 14.1 MW of installed capacity in the country as of 2009, this figure is expected to grow nearly forty-fold in 2010 alone to 553.1 MW, according to forecasts from the RWEA. This rapid growth is set to continue for at least the next three years as additional installed capacity is estimated to increase by 695.5 MW, 780 MW and 866.5 MW in 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Meanwhile Enel Green Power has plans to develop up to 500 megawatts of energy from wind power. Enel also has other plans (Ro) concerning renewable sources of energy, such as solar, hydrogen and biomass.

Furthermore, the Russian petroleum giant Lukoil is also looking to get into both the solar and wind energy field in Romania.

And a company called Adama Technologies just signed an agreement to generate 2.5 megawatts of energy via a process that converts municipal garbage (in this case, from Bucharest) into electricity.

And just two weeks ago, there was a major exposition in Bucharest concerning renewable energy and recycling. One of the attendees was PhonoSolar, a leading solar energy company out of Switzerland.

If these projects could all become fully operational, and petroleum consumption reduced, Romania could easily become completely energy self-sufficient in just a few years.

Is that a worthy goal? I think so.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ed Reames says:

    We have wind power in Costa Rica which complements the hydro power. When it is windy, there is not a lot of rain and vise versa.

    Wind is an incremental power production technology that takes advantage of something that is free to use if properly planned.

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  2. Sorin says:

    Romania has large areas of uncultivated arable land, so a potential use of this land for biomass is feasible and desirable (partially,because the area is too great to be used just for biofuels).Latest figures that i’ve read show that around 50% of that arable land is used.
    When talking about renewables, Romania is already at 33% RES from gross energy consumption and 20,3% RES from final energy consumption.The current goal set by the European Commission for Romania is 38%/24%(see previous percentages) shares for 2020 but i believe those targets will be surpassed.
    Whilst bureaucracy and corruption slow things down, current and future projects will happen(altho not all) because Romania has alot of potential and foreign firms mostly want to take advantage of the untapped resources the country has.

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  3. han says:

    Definitely a worthy goal, not just for Romania. everybody should be on the same boat ..
    The downside is that the renewable energy makes things more expensive (and for example corn ethanol or any food based energy is a bad idea.. food should be used for/by living things, they are the most efficient in transforming it into energy), however as a general direction I think it is worth the sacrifice.

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  4. Radu says:

    Any viable future projects for Romania has been killed by the sheer ineptitude, stupidity and greed of various levels of administration. They can be best described as “hrapareti”(eng: wolfing). The windfarms in Dobrogea worth 1bldn EUR were cancelled because local and county were arguing over who gets the money from taxes (and bribes). The new 5bln worth of nuclear reactors at Cernavoda were also cancelled after the State muscled its way to 51% of the stake but then backed down when it refused to pay that much and wanted a smaller participation.

    So yeah, while in theory you are right, things can happen, they won’t. People are more worried about Irinel, Monica and Pepe while being highly preoccupied that “communists” are going to take over than about their own well being. Si le plac manelele la nebunie.

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