Electricity

Romanian journalists uncover giant hybrid power plant project on Serbian border

Romanian journalists uncover giant hybrid power plant project Serbian border

Photo: International Hydropower Association / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Published

March 30, 2023

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Published:

March 30, 2023

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A dormant wind, solar and pumped hydropower project valued at EUR 1.9 billion has been unearthed by Economica.net. The complex was supposed to be built on the Danube on Romania’s border with Serbia.

A huge planned investment in the energy sector in Romania has never been publicly discussed, Economica.net reported. Its reporters saw that the country’s transmission system operator Transelectrica deleted a pumped storage hydropower project of no less than 1 GW from its website. It turned out that there is a blueprint for a renewable energy complex of a whopping 2.42 GW.

The site is in Caraș-Severin county in the country’s west, on the border with Serbia. It would span 1,080 hectares on the territory of the Socol commune, which would approve a concession. A local urban planning document was also supposed to be produced.

According to a presentation from 2019 obtained by the news outlet, the renewable electricity production complex was supposed to include a 920 MW wind farm and a photovoltaic unit of 500 MW.

The pumped storage unit was valued at just EUR 300 million in a presentation from 2019, against EUR 1.1 billion for the wind park

The 1 GW pumped storage hydropower facility was envisaged to optimize output and provide balancing services to the national electricity system. It would have an upper reservoir of 18 million cubic meters and use the reservoir of the Iron Gate 1 hydropower plant on the Danube. Romania shares the hydroelectric plant with Serbia. It is called Porțile de Fier 1 in Romanian and Đerdap 1 in Serbian.

The hybrid power plant project was valued at almost EUR 1.9 billion at the time. The idea was to connect it by overhead or underground lines to the interconnector stretching from Reșița in Romania to Pančevo in Serbia, the article adds. The line is part of the Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor.

Annual output was estimated at 2.6 TWh, with carbon dioxide emission savings of 920,000 tons.

The company that launched the project has said it would connect the hybrid power plant in Socol to the Reșița-Pančevo interconnector

The cost of the pumped storage plant, which was planned to work in production and pumping cycles of six to eight hours, was estimated at EUR 300 million. It compares to EUR 1.1 billion for the wind farm, EUR 400 million for the photovoltaic park and EUR 84 million for the high-voltage line.

The project was launched by MOE-HPG Timișoara, registered in Socol, until delisting at the end of 2021, the report reveals. Its representatives told the Ministry of Energy in 2019 that they counted on investment funds, a loan from the European Investment Bank, grants from the European Union, financing from a sovereign investment fund that was planned at the time and potential funds from support schemes for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

In the past several months, Romanian companies revived a string of abandoned hydropower projects.

Of note, Serbia is developing a project for pumped storage hydropower plant Đerdap 3 on the border with Romania.

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