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New law on biomass, biogas means cheaper heating

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June 12, 2015

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Published:

June 12, 2015

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Four ministries, regulating authority ANRE and Romanian Association of Biomass and Biogas (Arbio) are preparing the new law for the biomass and biogas sector, while a parliamentary committee is working on the new law for heating, Energynomics.ro reported. The final stage of talks started on the feed-in tariff scheme (for projects with an installed capacity of up to 0.5 MW) and the fourth green certificate, for the bioenergy projects for high-efficiency cogeneration. Also, a new law for energy crops is under discussion and EU grants of 232 million euros were provided exclusively for the biomass and biogas sector, the report said.

Arbio Biomass and Biogas Forum with an Arbio workshop dedicated to energy crops were held on June 9 at Capital Plaza hotel in Bucharest. The investors confirmed that once legislation is in place, they are ready to invest in dozens of projects, as they have agreements with farmers and factory waste.

In her message at the forum, Anca Bujor, counsellor at the Ministry of Energy, confirmed that the government considers biomass a priority, also in accordance with principles of the new energy strategy that it develops.

Thousands of farmers and waste companies will avoid the penalties of EUR 80 per ton as of January 1, 2017 and RON 120 (EUR 26.7) per ton as of January 1, 2018, which will be charged for waste that will not be treated under the new EU directive, the report said.

Arbio’s president Ilias Papageorgiadis stressed that with a stable income and no surprises, this sector will offer a lot more. „The new law for biomass and biogas means cheaper methods for heating for thousands or even millions of citizens, but also for companies with production units. We estimate that the effect will be a reduction of 20–30% of the invoice for the citizens and we already have concrete examples that confirm this”, he added.

Didzis Palejs, Board member of the European Biomass Association, offered an example. „In Latvia we are exporting and importing biomass for fossil fuels. But I noticed that we import the equivalent of 7 TWh of natural gas for EUR 55 per MWh and exporting wood of 7 TWh for EUR 13 per MWh. This means that annually we lose 280 million euros. Romania, with a much larger consumption, is facing the same problem and a greater loss for sure. Therefore, biomass is the solution for energy efficiency and fewer imports,” he said.

Legislation on feed-in tariffs could enter into force in early October or earlier, Anca Bujor told Energynomics.ro. „The support scheme will be approved for projects of less than 500 kW. Any change affecting the budget of the scheme must be notified to the European Commission (EC),” she said at the Govnet conference ‘Biomass, Biogas and Cogeneration 2015’.

In addition, the government is working on transitional provisions for cogeneration projects notified close to the deadline of December 31, 2016, after which obtaining subsidies cannot be possible. Thus, even cogeneration projects notified after that date may benefit from support schemes, as the duration of the implementation of a cogeneration project is much bigger than that of other green industries. At the same time, the new law on granting the possibility to conclude bilateral contracts for players with installed capacity of less than 3 MW came into force in early June. Subsequently, to approve the legislation on regulated, feed-in tariffs for small players, government will have a statutory period of 90 days.

Under the new law on renewables, electricity market participants with a capacity of less than 3 MW will be able to sell green certificates quarterly. Also under the new law, the 125–250 MW wind projects can be approved directly, without notifying the EC.

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