A Future Sustainable Energy Mix

Smart Solutions to Maximize Efficiency, Reduce Costs and CO2 Emissions

Today, natural gas – considered an ideal partner for renewable energy generation in a future sustainable energy mix – provides one quarter of the EU’s energy demand. According to most of forecasts, gas will continue to play a key role alongside renewables in helping to meet future energy requirements. Romania’s energy strategy confirms that natural gas will continue to play a strong role in the energy mix for decades to come. In this context, technology seems to be the right ally in fighting climate change and not only.

The role of natural gas and renewables in a fast-evolving energy market towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals represented the main theme for the Power & Energy Tech Exhibition and Conference Vision 2030 – PETEC 2019. The event brought a fresh approach with an exhibition zone along with high level conference panels that provided insights for the energy industry’s smooth transition towards a low-carbon economy.

Energy efficiency was also a focus area for this event. Energy efficiency is changing, with new digital technologies enabling greater control, optimisation and analytics. Harnessing digital technologies to enhance energy efficiency will require new policies and business models. In this context, it is important that the 2020 targets for energy efficiency are met with measures that can continue to deliver energy savings in the next decade.


Major topics in focus

  • Defining Romania’s place on the European energy market
  • Efficient monetization of Romania’s energy resources
  • Renewable energy policies and markets in the European Union
  • Clean Energy Package challenges and opportunities
  • The disruptive 3D’s impact on the energy transition to a low carbon economy
  • How do challenges vary across energy mix/technology?
  • Regulatory framework to stimulate innovation and investment

Article continues below the photo gallery.

PETEC 2019

Energy Prospects in the Black Sea up to 2030

Prospects of the Romanian energy sector, in the context of the main regional developments, have been analysed by the representative of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment – Secretary of State Niculae Havrilet. He has highlighted the main challenges, from interaction between Gazprom and Ukraine in the gas sector as of January 2020, the potential decrease or even stop of gas transit from the Russian Federation through Ukraine and the consequences of such a measure. The important events marking the regional landscape have also been reminded: unlocking the Nord Stream 2 project, which leads to the erosion of the European desire to diversify sources and routes of supply with primary energy resources; the progress of the TurkStream project; completion of the Power of Siberia project.

Regarding the situation at national level, Niculae Havrilet has stated that the underground storage facilities were filled almost 100% and there was a possibility of reverse flow import of approximately 13.5 mcm/day on Kardam-Negru Voda route; from Hungary, on Arad-Szeged route, approximately 7.3 mcm/day can be imported and on Giurgiu-Ruse route – between 2.5 and 4.1 mcm/day.

Another topic worth mentioning was BRUA gas pipeline, a project extremely important for Romania, which takes safe steps towards completion – more than half of the pipeline section being completed, and 2 of the 3 compressor stations planned being already inaugurated. The project gains new opportunities of capitalization, in the context of interest of the Southern Gas Corridor Consortium in expanding this transmission infrastructure to the Balkans and Central Europe. On the side-lines of the second participation in the Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, organized in February 2019 in Baku, Romania proposed the members of the Council to analyse the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding for exploring the opportunities of using the transmission infrastructure provided by RO-BG Interconnector and BRUA gas pipeline, in the future stages of development of the Southern Corridor. The implementation of this initiative would have a positive impact for many countries in the region, with the potential of increasing regional energy security, diversifying sources and routes of energy supply and reducing the energy vulnerabilities.

Last but not least, the official has also referred to the steps that ROMGAZ takes to participate in the development of the LNG Alexandroupolis project in northern Greece, as well as to the potential involvement of the company in the development of Neptun project, in the Black Sea.

Bruno Siefken, Senior Vice President within GSP HOLDING, has talked about the company’s projects in the Black Sea and the regional ones. Thus, the group will continue ISC Project for OMV Petrom, which has as completion deadline 2027 and includes onshore and offshore operations and maintenance, as well as harbour operations, maritime transportation, aviation services and other support services. Another project is Trinity-1X, for Lukoil Overseas, involving the drilling of a new exploration well – Trinity-1X, for which Saipem’s Scarabeo 9 semisubmersible drilling rig has been mobilized. The following project, also important, is Midia Gas Development Project – the client being Black Sea Oil & Gas, for which GSP will ensure construction, installation and commissioning of the entire project infrastructure, both onshore and offshore, and the execution of five production wells for which GSP Uranus jack-up rig will be deployed.

Regional projects carried out by the company in the following period are Epsilon Field Development Project (Aegean Sea) and North Marmara Natural Gas Storage Extension Project.

Following a brief overview of the global trends in the energy market and the market of energy sources in the Black Sea region, Marco Monopoli – Head of North Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Sea, Offshore E&C Division, SAIPEM, insisted on the projects of the offshore division, highlighting at the same time the company’s solutions in the area of renewable energy. As specific aspects of the Black Sea, he mentioned that oil and gas reserves are in limited areas, while Black Sea sea-state conditions are relatively severe, but the extension of Black Sea is remarkable. Also, energy sources in the Black Sea are suitable for both conventional energy development through oil and gas and new energy development through wind, PV, ocean energy.

With a remarkable fabrication capacity of about 28 mh/y, the company is capable of delivering excellence all around the world. SAIPEM’s technologies enabling the world energy transition address the following areas: Renewables (solar, wind, ocean energy, green hydrogen, geothermal, hydro, energy storage); Sustainable tech (waste to energy, flaring down, CO2  management, bio-refinery, biomass to energy/product, oil & gas to green); Water tech (wastewater, raw water, desalination, drinking water). Also, SAIPEM designs and optimizes any type of structure in-house. Marco Monopoli has also presented the Ploiesti Technology Center, with its main activities: Projects Procedure Qualification Tests (Welding, NDT, FJC applications); R&D (Welding, NDT, FJC Technologies and Equipment); Training of personnel (Technologists and Operators).

The challenges and opportunities of the onshore oil & gas sector in Romania was the topic of the presentation delivered by ROPEPCA President, Stephen Birrell. They include the legislative changes introduced in 2018 – Law No. 73/2018 (making permanent the tax on windfall gains from natural gas – April 2018); NAMR Order No. 32/2018 (calculating the gas reference price according to CEGH Baumgarten – February 2018); Law No. 167/2018 (introducing an obligation for producers to trade 50% of their production on centralized markets – July 2018). The key points that should be solved, in the opinion of ROPEPCA representatives, for an optimal functioning of the market, have also been reiterated, namely the legislative and fiscal framework, Government Emergency Ordinance No. 114/2018 (19/2019), modernization of the Petroleum Law No. 238/2004, launch of the 11th bidding round.

Iulian Popescu – Deputy Managing Partner, MUSAT & ASOCIATII, has also referred to the legislative chapter, his presentation focusing on the impact of GEO 114/2018 and future perspectives of the Romanian energy sector. Thus, the major consequences of GEO 114/2018, pointed out by Iulian Popescu, at local level, consist of losses of RON 2.2 billion/year to the state budget, the competitive gas market will be affected, local producers are discriminated, increase in imports, higher retail price, decrease in investments, affected employees. At European level, they translate into: barrier to natural gas exports between Member States; the obligation to sell natural gas with priority on the Romanian market represents a violation of EU law; measures violating the objective of protecting household customers from excessive price increase; failure to correctly implement the Gas Directive and the Security of Gas Supply Regulation. The lawyer has also pointed out the recent updates related to the application of GEO 114 – ANRE confirmed that the EU had asked for a timetable to deregulate the price of gas from domestic production; on September 2019, ANRE published a draft order limiting the period for priority allocation for household consumers up to March 31, 2020; GEO 114 should be repealed based on consultations rather than a swift legislative debate, as well as the debate points taken into account. The conclusions were however positive. Compared to coal, gas has clear advantages. Increase in gas production will come from unconventional sources. Clean energy transition is the future, he underlined.


Strategies & state-of-the-art technologies transforming the energy lifecycle

The second panel focused on digitization, energy storage solutions, research strategies and innovation in the power transmission grid.

An example of innovative energy storage technology was presented by Valentin Silivestru, President General Director, INCDT COMOTI, who insisted on the benefits of energy storage stations in the technology of electricity production and management – it reduces electricity costs by storing electricity obtained outside peak hours, when its price is lower, to be delivered during peak hours at higher prices; it improves the reliability of energy supply; it supports users when there are malfunctions in the power network; it maintains and improves the quality, frequency and voltage of electricity; emergency energy supply. Regarding plans for the future, the company considers the development of constructive options intended for an energy storage station, of average power, using salt or coal mines in preservation as storage medium, as well as the prospect of turbine engines to reduce CO2 emissions in electricity generation. Another direction is decarbonization of electricity production – solar, wind, geothermal, biomass.

Petru Ruset – Head of Gas & Power, SIEMENS ROMANIA, has introduced a new independent company that will activate exclusively in the energy sector. It will provide a completely integrated portfolio, at international standards, of products, solutions and services, in a centralized approach at the level of the entire value chain of energy. The reference projects focus on electricity transmission, smart metering, electricity storage, the oil & gas industry. The main advantages of the new entity consist of reduced complexity, an experienced and responsible management team, entrepreneurial thinking for the development of unconventional solutions to the most pressing challenges in the energy sector, strategic investments in research and development, innovations and the identification of new growth areas lifting the performance standards.

It should be noted that SIEMENS submitted more patent applications than any other company in Europe in 2018, thus advancing to first place in the European Patent Office’s application rankings. More than 25 percent of the patents are in the areas of Industry 4.0 and digitalization, where SIEMENS submitted considerably more applications for intellectual property rights than in the previous year. The company also reported a substantial increase in the areas of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. SIEMENS holds a total of more than 65,000 patents. The company’s employees submitted around 3,900 patent applications and 7,300 invention disclosure reports worldwide in the fiscal year 2018. Based on 220 workdays a year, this represents an average of about 33 inventions per day. SIEMENS has around 43,000 R&D employees in 44 countries, including some 14,100 in Germany.

While the digital transformation is catalyzing the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the future is electric, claims Razvan Copoiu – Vice President, Industry BU South & East Europe, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC. The own multi-purpose data storage, management and use solutions have attracted the attention of the event participants. The focus remains on the business segment, for which the presented solution is the EcoStruxure platform, tailored for the main key markets (Building, Power, Grid, IT, Plant and Machinery) which capitalizes on the latest discoveries in the IoT, mobility, cloud and cyber security domains.

An ambitious proposal – Schneider Electric Exchange, empowers global ecosystems’ bold ideas to create, collaborate, and scale business solutions and seize new value. This extends EcoStruxure by giving SCHNEIDER the means to activate and extend the ecosystem. Bringing together experts and innovators from across industries will leverage the power of collective intelligence within a dynamic, single workspace, says Razvan Copoiu.

The relevant milestones of TRANSELECTRICA’s research & innovation (R&I) strategy includes the Digital Transformation Program 2018-2027, exposed by Catalin Lisman – Manager of the Technical Analyzes, Consulting-Project Implementation, Research-Innovation Department, Technical, Energy Efficiency and New Technologies Division, TRANSELECTRICA.

The R&I strategy will provide convergence of the company’s strategic and operational objectives with those promoted and approved in the national and European organizations the company is a member of. This is subordinated to the company’s asset management concept, providing the proper conditions for operational technology & information technology convergence and it will contribute to improving the results of the company’s basic activities, namely electricity transmission (operation of grid assets, maintenance of grid assets, asset development, electricity metering), dispatcher management, balancing market administration. Also, it will establish the organizational framework required to capitalize on the opportunities in order to improve operational performance by implementing the Digital transformation concept.

TRANSELECTRICA is focused on implementing new technology based on smart grid concepts, in order to achieve operational excellence in key areas such as: asset management specific to electricity transmission, national power system/power transmission grid security, flexibility and stability, cross-border exchanges, efficient integration of electricity market mechanisms in the electricity transmission grid management.

In addition, the energy storage solutions proposed by the representative of EATON ELECTRIC, Gabriel Tache – Country Sales Manager, cover the Industrial, Buildings and Residential areas. The most important benefits mentioned refer to: a greater control over energy supply and self-consumption of PV; helping avoid peak charges; reducing the reliance on expensive fuels like diesel; facilitating the wider adoption and deployment of renewable power generation; continuity of supply; enabling grid stability and efficiency; safe technology; customer service.

EATON’s Energy Storage System is designed to: reduce the use of generators and provide clean and dependable energy on event day; support reduced energy costs by minimizing peak demand charges; improve network stability; reduce infrastructure costs while providing critical system power requirements.


Advancing energy efficiency across the value chain

The session dedicated to energy efficiency has started with the considerations of Corina Popescu – ELECTRICA CEO, regarding the need to change the business model. She spoke about the role of smart grids enabling energy efficiency and demand management. It should also be mentioned that the transition process should be focused on maintaining energy security and sustainability of the energy system, while developing networks with the help of innovative technologies and rapidly changing the legislative framework, all leading to the change of the classical business model. She also reminded the new European ecological pact (Green Deal) of the European Commission, which leads to even quicker transformations than those assumed so far by the Member States. Renewable energy will be the basis, coal will disappear, gas-fired energy must be decarbonized and the European power grids must be interconnected and digitized. Corina Popescu has warned on the need for investments in the energy sector, highlighting that they must be cost-efficient.

Hydropower – Green for the Future was the topic of the presentation of HIDROELECTRICA representative, Cristian Nicolae Stoina, member of the Supervisory Board. He highlighted the ambitious investment project of the company for the future, dedicated to modernization and retrofitting works at the existing production capacities and the commissioning of new ones. The company wants to become in the following period the most important player on the regional market in terms of green energy production.

A less optimistic perspective on the Romanian energy sector resulted from the speech of Corneliu Bodea – CRE President & ADREM CEO. The presentation ‘From Strategy to Maturity Test. Romania Until 2030’ assessed Romania’s situation 30 years after the Revolution, with a focus on our country’s shortcomings as compared to EU Member States. An example would be the implementation of smart metering systems, statistics showing that in the EU the rate reaches 34%, compared to 4.8% in Romania. Also, CRE President noted a different approach to energy issues in Brussels compared to Romania. As Corina Popescu, Corneliu Bodea believes that the business model will change dramatically and warned of the risk for Romania to become little important in the region in the energy sector.

‘Industrial Insecurity from a Cyber Security Perspective’ presentation from TELETRANS showed that a cyberattack in the energy industry can trigger a chain of negative effects with implications across all industries. Sandu Lucian Leanca – Branch Manager, TELETRANS, explained that the industry depends on the functioning of critical infrastructures and the economy depends on confidence in the operation of critical infrastructures. He also underlined that the cyber security threats are the most important risk at present. General examples of most common insecurity are critical data transmitted by e-mail and VPNs that provide only encryption without security solutions. Strategies of prevention, detection, response and in case of failure, mitigation of consequences are very important. These are: hardening, backup, up-to-date systems, without software and devices that no longer have support from the manufacturer, restricted BYOD policy based on security instead of functionality, training and awareness of IT staff and end users. The final solution must be personalized and dedicated to each business by using a risk-adaptive approach and state-of-the-art security solutions on current models. From insecurity to cybersecurity there is a long and complex process, but current trends lead us to one conclusion, mentioned Sandu Leanca: prioritizing cybersecurity in all decisions is the only option that will ensure business continuity in the future. The big winner is the industry, which protects itself by implementing cybersecurity solutions. The complex security solutions based on current models need to be implemented to minimize the consequences of cyberattacks, but inside an energy ecosystem, such as the one in the Black Sea region, collaboration between companies in the field can be welcome in the fight against cyberattacks for business continuity, he concluded.

The panel ended with the SOCAR PETROLEUM’s presentation – ‘State-of-the-art Equipment for High Productivity and Energy Efficiency’, delivered by Dan Dumitrache, Development Manager within the company. The main topics targeted the implementation of state-of-the-art equipment (heating systems etc.), proper building insulation, using solar panels for own use, waste recycling and water consumption.


The future energy mix to 2030

The fourth panel of the conference brought together experts and players in the field of renewable energy – and not only.

Andreea Strachinescu – Head of Unit Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment in the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, revealed the implications and the role of seas and ocean for a climate-neutral Europe. The European Green Deal was also brought to discussion, together with the major challenges specific to the process of transition to a low carbon economy. She mentioned the scenarios for the 2050 horizon for a clean planet, including: electrification in all sectors; use of hydrogen in industry, transport and buildings; pursuing deep energy efficiency in all sectors; increased resource and material efficiency; cost-efficient combination of options from 2°C scenarios. In order to alleviate the multiple demands on the EU’s land resources, improving the productivity of aquatic and marine resources will play an eminent role in capturing the full range of opportunities of the bio-economy for tackling climate change, the EC representative showed.

The discussion continued with the topic ‘Decarbonization, the New Energy Paradigm – Between Policies and Investment’. Thus, Iulian-Robert Tudorache – Chairman of the Board of Directors, NUCLEARELECTRICA, pointed out the objectives, the costs and the major challenges of the new measure package of the European Commission aimed at facilitating clean energy transition. He reminded that Romania has the major advantage of various resources: hydrocarbons, coal, nuclear energy, hydropower, in other words a balanced energy mix. In his opinion, strategies for developing and maintaining a balanced energy mix must focus on: capitalization on natural resources; development of strategic investment projects and ensuring the increased indigenous capacity and diversity; simultaneous rectification of failures existing on the market to ensure a fully stable, competitive and functional domestic, regional and integrated market; adjusting the legal and regulatory basis; developing the interconnection infrastructure. According to Romania’s energy strategy, nuclear energy will continue to play an important role in the energy mix for decades to come.

Last but not least, NUCLEARELECTRICA representative highlighted the role of nuclear energy, essential for obtaining a deeply decarbonized electricity sector. For most regions, including the EU, meeting the 2050 goals requires a combination of resources, which should be accounted for in c policies. Policies excluding a role for nuclear energy have a direct impact on investments in nuclear energy and directly increase the cost of decarbonization. Policies supporting decarbonization from a single source and the related massive subsidies directly affect not only the cost and the pace of decarbonization, but also the wholesale markets, the energy systems and end-consumers, he added.

In an increasingly dynamic energy market, where energy transition imposes the redesign of the traditional business models, utility companies will have to adopt a strategy adapted to this process. Stefan Popescu – Deputy Director for Public and Regulatory Affairs, ENGIE ROMANIA, believes that energy transition and the pan-European industrial partnerships (e.g. the Battery Alliance), the investment programs intended for EU states through the European Investment Bank represent a major opportunity, even in the case of a country like Romania, whose priority is to exploit Black Sea hydrocarbon fields.  In any case, we will not be able to oppose to these transformations and the Romanian energy sector will have to adapt. The process of adaptation of the traditional business of energy companies, together with the review of the national energy strategy, must start without delay if we want to take advantage of the European financing programs and avoid Romania’s isolation in the EU and turning it into a net energy importer.

The Romania’s energy strategy also confirms the role of traditional fuel such as oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium in the energy mix.

‘Just Energy Transition in Coal Regions’ was on the agenda of the conference, the subject being extensively debated by Sebastian Enache – Group Business Development Manager, MONSSON OPERATION. He presented an ambitious training and professional reconversion project, launched by the Romanian Wind Energy Association (RWEA), for persons in areas dependent on the coal-fired energy production sector. The project involves the opening of an academy for renewable sources and distribution of electricity in the Jiu Valley. During the implementation period of the project, of 10 years, it is planned to re-train approx. 5,000 specialists in wind energy and 3,000 in electricity distribution.

While many approaches can reduce energy-related carbon emissions – a key driver of climate change – there is universal agreement that energy efficiency and renewable energy are the two main pillars. IRENA’s global Renewable Energy Roadmap (REMAP 2030) aims to identify realistic pathways to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. Romania was the first country in Europe that achieved (in 2015) EU targets regarding the share of renewables in the generation mix, far ahead of the 2020 deadline.

The general picture of the future energy mix was completed by Ciprian Glodeanu – President of the ROMANIAN PHOTOVOLTAIC INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (RPIA), who presented the most important landmarks of the history of this industry in Romania and the forecasts for the following period, towards 2030.

PETEC 2019 has once again occasioned the meeting of the key players in the energy sector for a fruitful exchange of ideas and debates of solutions in order to create a sustainable future.

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