Development of the Romanian Offshore Wind sector

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Authors: Emanuel Flechea

In Romania’s evolving energy landscape, offshore wind energy is a long due focal point, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Currently, a critical regulatory piece is still missing — the offshore wind law. However, this gap is on the verge of being filled, with the Romanian Senate approving the draft legislative piece, marking a significant step towards unlocking the potential of the Black Sea for Romanian renewable energy projects.

One of the key considerations in this unfolding scenario is the timeline for offshore wind farm development. Industry insights suggest that these projects typically require five to ten years for fruition, with a European Union average of seven years. This temporal window positions Romania favorably to connect its inaugural offshore wind capacity to the grid before 2030 – helping in observing REDIII objectives concerning renewable energy.

Romania’s aspirations in the offshore wind sector have not gone unnoticed. The country seeks to be the first Black Sea bordering nation with dedicated legislation for offshore wind, as declared by the president of the energy market regulator (ANRE).

The proposed legislative framework outlines a structured process. Looking ahead, Romania is set to make crucial decisions by June 2025 regarding Black Sea offshore blocks. These blocks will be granted for exploitation to interested investors under 30-year concession contracts that can be renewed. To further incentivize the sector, a subsidy scheme is also considered for the development of wind farms. The new regulatory framework will also delineate qualification criteria, winner selection processes, and other essential procedures for successful tenders. While several building related regulatory permits and approvals are required (from the National Regulatory Authority in Energy and the Petroleum Offshore Authority) and the operation thereof will be performed on the basis of a Power Generation License, the detailed procedures are still to be enacted.

A significant legislative stride was taken in November 2023, with the Romanian Parliament enacting the national maritime spatial plan. This plan, crucial for the future development of offshore wind parks in the Black Sea, complements the forthcoming offshore wind law, laying the foundation for a holistic regulatory approach. This new normative act ensures the harmonization between national and EU legislation and identifies the spatial and temporal distribution of activities and potential activities in marine waters. Competent authorities will now have the main role and mission to establish the principles and long-term objectives to minimize the negative impact on the marine environment and support the sustainable development of the blue economy. The plan aims to promote a coordinated and integrated decision-making process for the sustainable development of the Black Sea region through coherent sectoral policies in areas such as aquaculture, fishing, oil and gas exploration, and other sources of energy, mineral resources, as well as renewable energy production (including offshore wind), maritime transport, raw material extraction, scientific research, and tourist activities.

In conclusion, Romania’s venture into offshore wind energy is not merely a legal undertaking, being another proof to the country’s commitment to sustainable energy practices, emphasizing the national shift towards a cleaner and greener energy future.

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