Romania fulfills renewable energy drive

Romania fulfills renewable energy drive

Apr 7, 2010 - Xinhua

Romania may not be a leader in meeting the European Union's targets for renewable energy consumption but it does boast two of the biggest initiatives.

It has the biggest onshore wind farm in Europe under construction and the biggest bio-ethanol producing factory in southeastern Europe up and running.

Romania is well-endowed with wind energy, with an authorized capacity of 2,000 megawatts and the potential to generate 14,000 MW. However, the production capacity currently is only 20 MW, according to the Romanian National Institute for the Study of Energy Resources (IRE).

This significant potential undoubtedly deserves effective exploration and that is happening with Europe's biggest onshore wind farm under construction near the Romanian city of Constanta by Czech state-run energy group CEZ.

It will have a total capacity of 600 MW sustained by 240 turbines.

In addition to the wind farm, Romania can also be proud of its brand new bio-ethanol factory, which was opened in October 2009 in Zimnicea.

The biggest in southeastern Europe, the factory was an 82 million euro investment. It produces bio-ethanol from cereal, maize, wheat and potatoes. The factory plans an annual production of 80,000 tons to 100,000 tons, or about 275 tons per day.

According to a directive by the EU in 2001, EU member states are required to increase the share of renewable energy use to 12 percent of their energy consumption by 2010. In 2008, EU leaders agreed that 10 percent of transport fuels should come from renewable sources such as biofuels by 2020.

Statistics show that Romania's annual fuel consumption totals about 5 million tons. To abide by EU's directives, Romania will need around 350 million liters bio-ethanol each year, meaning 1 million liters should be produced daily to cover domestic needs.

A study by SC Zecasin SA showed Romania's bio-energy potential had been estimated to be equivalent to 7,594,000 tons fuel per year.

About 45 percent of the Romanian population reside in rural areas and engage in agricultural jobs and the country's arable land is estimated at 15 million hectares, of which a large amount remains uncultivated. Given these facts, the opportunities for green technologies are obvious in Romania.