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Romania: OMV Petrom and CE Oltenia to build photovoltaic parks

OMV Petrom, the largest integrated energy company in Southeast Europe, in partnership with state-owned lignite power producer, Complexul Energetic Oltenia (CE Oltenia), will build four photovoltaic (PV) parks with a total power capacity of approximately 450 megawatts (MW).

In December 2021, OMV Petrom was designated as the selected investor for these projects, following a selection procedure organised by CE Oltenia. The expected total cost of developing the four PV parks is over 400 million euros, with approximately 70 per cent being financed through the EU’s Modernisation Fund.

“Our goal is to put in function more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of renewable power capacity by 2030, including through partnerships. We made significant steps towards this objective through the association with CE Oltenia and together we contribute to Romania’s energy transition,” said Franck Neel, Member of the OMV Petrom Executive Board, responsible for Gas and Power. “The installed capacity of the four photovoltaic parks will increase by a third the total national installed capacity of solar energy, which is currently around 1.4 GW.”

The PV parks will be built in southern Romania (Ișalnița, Tismana, Roșia and Rovinari), on the sites of former mining operations operated by CE Oltenia.

“CE Oltenia – the largest coal-based energy producer in Romania has to adapt its growth strategy to the new trends and requirements that aim at the decarbonisation of the Romanian energy system by diversifying Romania’s energy mix and by replacing lignite-based units with natural gas power plants and renewable energy projects, in order to keep safe the national energy system (NES),” added Daniel Burlan, President of CE Oltenia Board said. “The implementation in partnership with OMV Petrom of the four photovoltaic parks represents an important objective for the company, both in terms of contribution to Romania’s energy transition and for the implementation of the measures from the Restructuring Plan approved by the European Commission.”

According to current estimates, the PV parks should supply electricity to the national energy system from 2024.

The project will be developed through four separate legal entities, in a 50 per cent – 50 per cent equity interest structure, with the intention to sell the produced electricity by these entities to the two partners in equal shares.

Romania has committed to phasing out coal by 2032 and replacing it with gas, nuclear and renewable energy. As part of this commitment, the Romanian government plans to restructure CE Oltenia by 2026 and replace its old capacity with solar power and gas. Although, the Romanian Minister for Energy, Virgil Popescu, has said the ongoing energy crisis could push back the deadlines.

In September, OMV Petrom installed photovoltaic panels in 110 OMV and Petrom filling stations across Romania, with the number of filling stations equipped with photovoltaic panels expected to increase to 150 units by the end of 2022.

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