150 energy prosumers, utility companies, PV suppliers and central authorities participated on February 18 at the First Conference of Romanian Prosumers, organized by EnergiaTa (‘YourEnergy’), a Romanian initiative launched three years ago in order to make prosumers a reality in Romania and to accelerate the transition to a green economy.
Starting January 1st, 2019, after many efforts, Romanians can produce energy from the sun and inject it into the grid, receiving money for the produced energy, namely: 0,046 euros/kWh. In March-April, the Environmental Funds Administration will run a program to encourage the adoption of solar energy, offering up to 4200 euro as subsidy. According to the new legislation, energy distributors have the obligation to make connection within 30 days, and suppliers are obliged to purchase electricity at the regulated price.
In the first part of the Summit Conference, representatives of ANRE – National Regulatory Authority for Energy, AFM – Environmental Fund Administration and Transelectrica talked about the subsidy program, which will give the AFM almost 120 million euros for the Romanians. They will be able to receive up to 4200 euro, covering up to 90% of the amount needed to buy and install solar power systems. They also discussed the regulations generated by ANRE in the context of European legislation, the technical requirements and the certification of the equipment by Transelectrica and about the procedures of three of the energy distributors on the market.
“This meeting aimed to encourage installers to get involved in the AFM program and to clarify the prospect’s path for those interested. Authorities, stakeholders and decision-makers have met the energy community to find out real market status and respond to the questions of those present, thus giving individuals the chance to apply and benefit from a smooth path to become prosperous,” said Claudiu Butacu, co-founder of the energy project.
The settlement process involves the involvement of installers, which must be validated by the AFM. The subscriber period is 25.01 – 01.03.2019, but so far, a small number of installers have registered. Beneficiaries will be able to apply to the grants offered not directly, but by these installers. In March the list of installers validated on the AFM website will be published. The assignment of the enrolled will be done on the first come, first served system, so those who apply just need to make sure they are eligible and apply as soon as possible.
“In March-April, we hope to start the program for individuals, after adopting the AFM budget and obtaining the European funds from the POR. Individuals will be able to sign up with the validated installers, there will be an IT application, we have tried to create a system. Documents will be submitted directly to installers, they will be sent in real time through the application,” said Andrei Iorgulescu, representative of the Environmental Fund Authority (AFM).
The main problem for installers saying they are reluctant and not enrolled in large numbers is the fear that they will not recover their money or that they will recover them very late; given the large amounts invested, this is a risk for all small and medium businesses.
“We are quite advanced, we have over 40 files submitted for validation, we hope to have as many as possible to cover all regions of the country. We assume the term of 2-3 weeks, even if it is not written, because until the end of the validation period we cannot make any legislative changes in this respect,” mentioned Andrei Iorgulescu.
At this time there is no official information on the number of existing prosuments, EnergiaTa estimates show somewhere between 10 and 20, a few hundred others being in the process of becoming prosumer.
“It is a fact that the interest that we find is major, by your presence here at this conference […] ANRE will try to work on a guide of the prospective or will support the realization of one,” said Ion Dumitru, Directorate General Energy Efficiency, Renewable Sources, Cogeneration and Thermal Energy, National Regulatory Authority for Energy.
In the second panel, the representatives of 3 energy companies on the distribution area explained what the process is and what is the company’s position with regard to prosumers.
“Enel’s vision is the active consumer of the energy ecosystem, so we hope that the procedures will evolve to a simpler version. I would look at the stage in which we are a first iteration, which needs to be improved by all those involved,” said Andrei Covatariu, responsible for energy management regulations and Enel X.
“I think the next year will be encouraging for prosumers, but the biggest pressure will be on the shoulders of network operators due to the high volume of demand we anticipate. However, we declare ourselves prepared for the wave of demands that will follow,” said Aurora Raducanu, Network Extension Division, Oltenia Distribution.
“We are ready for prosumers, for which we have put details about the ATR release procedure,” said Ligia Costin, director of distribution network development, Electrica.
Another point raised by those present was the necessity and implications of the Building Authorization. One of the points mentioned was the possibility for the mayor to oppose or postpone the obtaining of authorizations at a local level for various reasons.
“In our talks with the Ministry of Development, we have tried to avoid the building permit. As there is a derogation for solar panels that produce heat, we tried to introduce the same thing for photovoltaic, but we did not succeed. The discussion showed that the need to have a building permit depends on the designer, who has to technically evaluate the impact on the building, and then it will be possible to give a derogation,” the AFM representative said.
At the Prosumers Conference, a large number of questions have been answered. However, there are still unresolved and unclear issues, processes that can be improved, costs that can be reduced, and these will be debated in a future meeting of the Energy Community.
“For three years we have worked to make prosumers a reality in Romania, and today this is possible. In the coming period, we are proposing to launch the Consumer Guide, but also to help simplify the licensing process and reduce VAT on energy products and services for prosumer. In the medium term, we hope to reach 100,000 prosumers in Romania, and in the long run Romania will operate 100% renewable energy by 2050,” said Mihai Toader-Pasti, energy project co-founder and president of Future Energy Leaders Romania.
energiaTa is an educational and awareness project that has been doing three years to make prosumers and network injectors possible and to simplify the legislative process. energiaTa prosumers comunity currently has over 4,000 members from across the country.