Renewables

Hidroelectrica’s Danube Delta wind park project angers environmentalists

Hidroelectrica Danube Delta wind park angers environmentalists

Photo: Marian Strinoiu on Unsplash

Published

August 8, 2023

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Published:

August 8, 2023

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Hidroelectrica is working on a wind farm project worth over EUR 650 million in the Danube Delta, with the government’s support. Environmentalists warned it would jeopardize hundreds of bird species in the area.

Hidroelectrica, Romania’s largest electricity producer, received the government’s backing for a wind park project of 381.6 MW in the Danube Delta in the country’s southeast. It prompted a reaction from 23 environmentalist organizations, which stressed that Grindul Chituc is a protected area with the presence of almost three hundred bird species registered in the past ten years.

The Federation Coalition Natura 2000 warned the biosphere reserve isn’t suitable for the proposed investment of more than EUR 650 million in 53 wind turbines on 2,300 hectares. The group highlighted the risk for the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis) as vulnerable species.

State-owned Hidroelectrica owns and operates 182 hydropower plants with a combined capacity of 6.3 GW as well as five pumped storage units. Its sole wind farm, Crucea Nord, has 108 MW.

Photo: Red-breasted geese (Åsa Berndtsson / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

Danube Delta wind farm project is part of same government initiative as proposed 1.5 GW solar park

State Property Agency argued that the designated area in the Danube Delta in Dobruja isn’t suitable for food production as grade 5 land. It launched an initiative, in a joint effort with three ministries and transmission system operator Transelectrica, to change regulations so that wind farm construction would be allowed. Earlier it proposed a concession for Hidroelectrica to install a solar power plant of up to 1.5 GW between Piscul Sadovei and Dăbuleni in the Dolj county in Oltenia, Romania’s main coal hub.

Romania declared the plan for a solar power plant of as much as 1.5 GW, intended for Hidroelectrica, to be of national importance

Romania already declared the photovoltaic project to be in the national interest. Also planned on grade 5 land, it is one of the biggest endeavors in the solar power sector in Europe. The area spans 1,830 hectares and the expected annual output is 2.16 TWh.

Both major projects must be fast-tracked to get EU funds

Both projects would have to be completed by the end of 2026 to be eligible for funding from the European Union’s REPowerEU plan. Proponents of the Grindul Chituc investment say the location has the potential like for an offshore wind park as it is on a stretch of land between the Black Sea and a group of lakes.

Romania is under pressure to meet the deadlines for European grants and cheap loans for energy production systems. The country is attracting investments in renewables and nuclear power and adjusting the legal framework.

The government joined forces with Georgia, Azerbaijan and Hungary with the aim to install a high-voltage direct current interconnector under the Black Sea, which would help the transmission of offshore electricity. There is also another Black Sea power corridor project under development.

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