The year 2022 brought changes to Romania's renewable-energy sector with the introduction of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 163/2022 (GEO), which clarifies the definition of the prosumer to include the prosumer’s right to store and sell electricity generated or stored to its electricity supplier and/or to consumers connected through direct lines. The renewable energy prosumer facility may be owned by a third party or managed by a third party regarding installation and operation, including metering and maintenance.
Amendments were also introduced to Law No 220/2008 on promoting energy production from renewable energy sources. According to these changes, public authorities with competence for authorisation, certification and licensing procedures applying to power plants and associated transmission and distribution networks are obliged to issue authorisations, certificates and licences on the basis of specific procedures developed in accordance with the principle of proportionality and the principle of "energy efficiency first".
For decentralised installations and for the production and storage of energy from renewable sources, simplified permitting procedures have been established, including a simple notification procedure.
According to these recent amendments, building regulations and codes now include measures to increase the percentage of all types of renewable energy in the building sector.
The licensing and the permitting process has also been clarified. In brief, the licensing process covers the relevant authorisations and permits for the construction, refurbishment and operation of energy-generation facilities and the assets necessary for the grid connection. The permitting process includes all procedures, from confirmation of receipt of the application to communication of the outcome of the procedure.
In this process, there will be single contact point online where a manual of procedures to developers of renewable energy projects will be made available. The cases of small producers and prosumers will be addressed separately.
The licensing process will not exceed two years for power plants, with up to a one-year extension for justified reasons.
The permitting process will not exceed one year for capacities less than 150 kW, and can be extended one year for exceptional cases.
The public authorities with competence in authorisation procedures will facilitate the refurbishment of existing renewable energy power plants by ensuring a simplified and fast permitting process. The duration of this process will not exceed one year.
Within six months from the introduction of the new GEO, ANRE will adopt a simple notification procedure for grid connections, whereby prosumers and demonstration projects with an approved capacity of less than or equal to 10.8 KW or equivalent for connections other than three-phase connections, will be connected to the grid following the submission of a notification to the DSO. Following DSO approval or in the absence of a decision, the installation or aggregation unit may be connected within one month of notification.
Within 15 days of notification, the distribution system operator may refuse connection to the system or may propose an alternative point of connection to the system for duly substantiated safety reasons or technical incompatibility of system components.
The GEO also mentions that central government authorities and ANRE may apply non-discriminatory and proportionate fees and tariffs to prosumers of electricity from renewable energy sources in relation to self-produced electricity from renewable energy sources that remains on their premises in one or more of the following cases:
- whether self-generated renewable electricity is effectively supported through support schemes, only to the extent that the economic viability of the project and the incentive effect of such support are not undermined;
- from 1 December 2026, if the installed capacity in prosumers' power plants exceeds 8% of the total installed capacity in electricity generation capacity at the national level and if it is demonstrated, by means of a cost-benefit analysis carried out by ANRE through an open, transparent and participatory process, that the provision referred to in paragraph referred to in paragraph (3)(b) has either resulted in a significant disproportionate burden on the long-term financial sustainability of the electricity system or creates an incentive that goes beyond what is objectively necessary to achieve cost-effective use of energy from renewable sources, and that such burden or incentive could not be minimised by taking other reasonable actions; or
- if the self-generated electricity from renewable sources is produced in installations with a total installed capacity of electricity exceeding 30 kW.
It is also important to take into consideration the recent amendments of the REPower EU, which EU member states must address and should eliminate the last administrative barriers against the development of RES projects. According to these amendments:
- the permit-granting process for the installation of solar energy equipment, including building-integrated solar installations, in existing or future artificial structures, with the exclusion of artificial water surfaces, will not exceed three months, provided that the primary aim of such structures is not solar-energy production. Such installation of solar equipment will be exempted from the requirement, if applicable, to carry out a dedicated environmental impact assessment under Article 2(1) of Directive 2011/92/EU.
- Moreover, until climate neutrality is achieved, member states must ensure that, in the permit-granting process, the planning, construction and operation of plants for the production of energy from renewable sources, their connection to the grid and the related grid and storage assets should be considered as being in the overriding public interest and serving public health and safety when balancing legal interests.
For more information on the Romanian renewable energy sector, contact your CMS client partner or local CMS experts: Varinia Radu and Ramona Dulamea.