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Romania Energy Regulator to Decide Next Year on Solar Cuts

Romania’s energy regulator will decide early next year whether to recommend a cut in solar incentives as project costs fall.

The regulator, known as ANRE, has so far proposed a reduction in the number of green certificates granted for solar-power production to five from six per megawatt, said Nicolae Havrilet, who heads the organization.

“We need to analyze the 2012 report on investment costs and we will see whether the number of green certificates needs to be reduced or not,” Havrilet said at a conference in Bucharest today. “Based on the current legislation, no change in the incentives will be applied before January 2014.”

Romania may join Spain, France, Italy and the U.K. in curbing incentives for the industry. The eastern European nation currently offers green certificates for each megawatt-hour of energy produced from wind, solar, hydro or biomass, as it seeks to attract about 5 billion euros ($6.4 billion) in energy investments through 2020 to reduce carbon emissions.

Romania is counting mostly on its wind energy potential in regions close to the Black Sea, which has already attracted investments from companies such as CEZ AS.

At the moment, Romania hands out two green certificates for each megawatt of wind energy produced and six certificates for a megawatt of solar power. The value of a green certificate varies from 27 euros to 55 euros, according to ANRE data.

Romania may have as much as 100 megawatts of power produced from solar plants at the end of this year, said Zoltan Nagy-Bege, a director at ANRE. The country’s solar capacity may increase to 1,500 megawatts in 2016, he said.

Nagy-Bege said the investment cost of one megawatt of solar power has dropped in half in the past two years to about 1.5 million euros.

EDP-Energias de Portugal SA acquired a portfolio of solar projects in Romania with total capacity of 60 megawatts, Ziarul Financiar reported Sept. 26. EDP, Portugal’s biggest utility, may spend about 120 million euros on the projects, the newspaper said, citing its own calculation.

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