February 27 (SeeNews) - Global renewable energy company Nofar Energy is focused on growth and expansion opportunities in Romania, as favourable government policies coupled with increasing financing opportunities and European Union policies incentivise renewable projects, a senior Nofar official told SeeNews.
“At Nofar, we are continuously searching for new opportunities, focusing on greenfield projects and ready-to-build projects. With its ambitious upcoming renewable projects, Romania is expected to achieve its target of generating 30% of electricity from renewables by 2030, which is likely to provide huge opportunities for Nofar and other market players,” Favi Stelian, CEO of Nofar Energy Romania, told SeeNews in a recent interview on the sidelines of the Energy Week Black Sea 2023 conference in Bucharest, Romania.
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In his opinion, the EU’s goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is further enforcing the green energy agenda and reassuring investors of the sector’s viability.
"The European Green Deal is engaging members towards a clean and circular economy,” Stelian said.
Over the next two years, Nofar plans to invest 500 million euro ($530 million) in renewable energy projects already under development in Romania, the company said in January. Its project pipeline in Romania currently exceeds 600 MWp, which will be implemented during the second half of 2023 and connected to the national grid starting 2024-2025.
Nofar set its sights both on acquisitions and organic growth as viable expansion strategies in Romania, Stelian said. Taking over existing renewable energy assets makes for a quick and efficient way to increase market share as long as the financial and operational performance of the targets is sound and compliant with the buyer’s business strategy.
In Stelian’s view, developing projects from scratch is a more time-consuming and resource-intensive process, but could lead to “greater control over project development and to tailor-made projects”.
According to Stelian, Romania’s increasing demand for renewable energy is a key business incentive in the renewables sector, as the country aims to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and meet its greenhouse gas emission targets. Romania’s 2021-2030 Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP) solidifies its commitment to energy transformation, aiming at a 30.7% renewable energy share in gross final energy consumption by 2030.
Growing demand is also supported by a favourable policy environment, as the government promotes clean energy through subsidies, tax incentives and other forms of support, Stelian noted.
“There is a growing availability of financing for renewable energy projects globally, which support companies to secure the funding needed for the development of new projects,” he added.
Romania has abundant wind and solar energy resources which can be harnessed for renewable energy generation, Stelian said. According to studies quoted in the energy ministry’s Romania’s Energy Strategy 2022-2030 report, the country’s technical wind potential is 84 GW, while its technical solar potential sits at 19.35 GW.
The main hurdles in the way of renewable energy projects include regulatory uncertainties, gird infrastructure constraints, competition for land and community opposition, Stelian said.
A complex regulatory environment, subject to frequent changes may create uncertainties and impact the viability of renewable projects, he went on to say. The grid infrastructure is limited in some areas, while upgrades that support the integration of large-scale renewable energy projects can be a challenge, he added.
"Competition for land suitable for renewable energy projects can be high in Romania, and securing the necessary permits and approvals to develop projects can be a lengthy and complex process,” Stelian stressed.
Public opinion also has a say in the fate of renewables as some local communities in Romania may oppose the development of renewable energy projects due to concerns about their impact on the environment, local wildlife, and cultural heritage, Stelian explained.
While countries such as Bulgaria also boast abundant natural resources and a favourable policy environment that galvanises the renewable energy sector, Romania remains Nofar’s main focus in the region.
"Expanding into other SEE countries can also be a viable strategy for Nofar, but our current focus is to maximise our growth and expansion in Romania," Stelian concluded.