Transelectrica, TAQA, Meridiam, E-INFRA and Fluor will explore the feasibility of an underground low carbon electricity transmission project in Romania.
The Romanian Power Grid Company Transelectrica, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA), Meridiam, E-INFRA and Fluor have signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study for an HVDC infrastructure project in Romania.
Due to their shared commitment to energy security and green energy, the signatory companies intend to carry out a feasibility study to explore the technical, economic, and legal prerequisites for a landmark project that would see the design, construction, and development of an underground 850 km HVDC infrastructure with the capability to bring an additional 5 GW low carbon power capacity to Romanian communities and the European Union.
The energy infrastructure would be placed along the route of the Tuzla-Podisor gas pipeline and the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria (BRUA) gas pipeline, leveraging the existing corridor routes. The Ministry of Energy of Romania, in line with its vision for a sustainable energy transition, has provided institutional support for activities under the Memorandum of Understanding. In addition, the parties proactively engage with other relevant Romanian authorities to enable the necessary regulatory support to be obtained.
As global demand for reliable, efficient, and long-distance power transmission solutions continues to grow, HVDC technology is proving to be a key driver. HVDC systems offer many advantages, including lower electricity losses during transmission, greater grid stability and the ability to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources, which are often located at great distances from existing infrastructure. As more and more countries move towards cleaner and more sustainable energy systems, HVDC technology has become a strategic tool for modernising power grids and supporting the global transition to renewable energy. In addition, the growth of international power exchange projects and the expansion of offshore wind farms are further boosting demand for HVDC technology.
The signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding pool their extensive experience and expertise, underlining their commitment to achieving this ambitious goal. In this sense, the project has the potential to reshape the energy landscape, promoting sustainability and green energy production for Romania and Europe.
“We believe that the feasibility study we have agreed to carry out in order to incorporate such an innovative project as the HVDC project into the Romanian Transmission Grid must strictly comply with the technical requirements of grid security as well as economic and legal provisions. In addition, it can create the prerequisites for a strategic position of Romania in the region. Our collaboration with TAQA, Meridiam, E-INFRA and Fluor marks a first step in this direction, meeting technical, economic, and legal requirements, in order to advance cleaner and more efficient electricity transmission solutions in Romania,” said Stefanita Munteanu, President of Transelectrica’s Management Board.
“We are pleased to be a part of this ambitious project, which is a strategic collaboration between the governments of Romania and United Arab Emirates, setting the stage for a future powered by low carbon electricity in Romania. The HVDC infrastructure will provide an unprecedented degree of flexibility in crucial sectors of the national energy system, while simultaneously stimulating green energy production. As the HVDC market continues to evolve and innovate, it presents significant opportunities for businesses, utilities, and stakeholders across the energy sector, shaping the future of global electricity transmission and distribution. As a low carbon power and water champion, TAQA has firmly established its experience when it comes to critical infrastructure like HVDC, which enables both energy security and decarbonisation of energy systems,” added Jasim Husain Thabet, CEO and Managing Director of TAQA.
“We are happy to join forces with our partners in this strategic, ambitious, and innovative project. This critical underground HVDC infrastructure aligns perfectly with Meridiam’s mission of sustainable infrastructure development. This initiative will not only transform Romania’s energy landscape, enabling energy security, but also contribute to a more sustainable future for Europe,” said Thierry Déau, CEO and Founder of Meridiam.
“It is truly an honour for us to work with these large companies specialising in power transmission infrastructure and we are equally delighted that the technical solution under consideration is the one proposed by E-INFRA,” noted Teofil Muresan, CEO and Founder, E-INFRA.
“Fluor is proud to be part of the collaboration for this landmark development to expand low carbon energy security in Romania, the region and the European Union,” mentioned Frank Dishongh, President of Nuclear Project Services. “Fluor will bring its experience as a program manager of large complex projects, building on our commitment to drive innovation and sustainability in the energy sector by supporting this critically important HVDC project.”
In the near future, Romania is expected to harness its substantial energy resources in the Black Sea region, making one of Europe’s largest sources of sustainable energy accessible to the continent. The energy resources in the Black Sea region, accompanied by strategic interconnections with the European Union, will position Romania as a potential energy hub.
Over the last ten years, Transelectrica’s main objective has been to identify and implement projects to increase the transmission capacity of renewable energy generated in the Dobrogea region. In this respect, Network Development Projects have as their primary purpose connecting Dobrogea to the entire interconnected network. With increasing carbon neutrality targets to be achieved by 2050 and renewable energy sources accounting for 45% of the country’s generation mix, in line with EU Climate and Energy strategies, current alternatives are insufficient. In this respect, Transelectrica is considering the adoption of HVDC transmission solutions.
This feasibility study project is TAQA’s second Electricity Transmission project outside the UAE and the third major HVDC project undertaken recently. Earlier this year, TAQA invested GBP 25 million (AED 113 million) in Xlinks First Limited to install the world’s longest subsea HVDC cables between the UK and Morocco to transport renewable power to the UK. In September 2022, TAQA and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) reached financial closing for a strategic project to provide 3.2GW of power to significantly decarbonise ADNOC’s offshore production operations, through a first-of-its-kind HVDC sub-sea transmission network in the MENA region.
In addition, Meridiam will use its extensive experience as the lead developer of NeuConnect, the electricity interconnector project linking the UK to Germany via a 725 km, bi-directional HVDC submarine cable – 1.4 GW (2 x 525 kV). This GBP 2.4 billion/EUR 2.8 billion privately funded project is a vital energy link between two of Europe’s largest energy markets and the first direct link between the UK and German energy markets. Implementation of the HVDC project will result in a net carbon reduction of 13t CO2 over 25 years, which is equivalent to planting around 28 million trees or removing around 400,000 cars from the road each year.
Sustainable infrastructure and clean energy projects are some of the main projects in E-INFRA’s portfolio, which aim at energy security and independence in the context of vulnerability at the south-eastern border of the European Union, in line with European energy and climate change objectives. Through its expertise, E-INFRA aims to actively participate in the realisation of significant energy projects by integrating different energy sectors and operating systems.
Transelectrica is the only transmission and system operator in Romania with a key role in the national electricity market and in the region, responsible for managing and operating the power transmission system in Romania and ensuring electricity exchanges between Romania and the countries with which it is interconnected in Central and Eastern Europe as a member of ENTSO-E. Since 2006, Transelectrica has been listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange in the Premium category under the symbol TEL. The main shareholder is the Romanian state, with a 58.688% stake. For the next 10 years, Transelectrica has an investment plan of EUR 1.4 billion.
Established in 2005, TAQA is a diversified utilities and energy group headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX: TAQA). TAQA has significant investments in power and water generation, transmission and distribution assets, and upstream and midstream oil and gas operations. The company’s assets are located in the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Canada, Ghana, India, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Meridiam was founded in 2005 by Thierry Déau, with the belief that the alignment of interests between the public and private sector can provide critical solutions to the collective needs of communities. Meridiam is an independent investment Benefit Corporation and an asset manager. The firm specializes in the development, financing, and long-term management of sustainable public infrastructure in three core sectors: sustainable mobility, critical public services, and innovative low carbon solutions. With offices in Addis Ababa, Amman, Dakar, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Libreville, Luxembourg, New York, Paris, Vienna and Washington, Meridiam manages US$20 billion and more than 120 projects to date. Meridiam is certified ISO 9001: 2015, Advanced Sustainability Rating by VigeoEiris (Moody’s), ISO 37001 Anti-Corruption certification by AFNOR and applies a proprietary methodology in relation to ESG and impact based on United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
E-INFRA is a private group of Romanian companies, active in the fields of energy and civil engineering and telecommunications infrastructure, with over 26 years of experience in large-scale projects, both nationally and internationally. E-INFRA Group has been involved in the development and implementation of major infrastructure projects, demonstrating high quality results.
E-INFRA is a group of 5 companies: Nova Power & Gas – electricity generation, electricity and natural gas supply, natural gas distribution infrastructure; Electrogrup – General EPC, infrastructure projects and professional services; Direct One – fibre optic infrastructure and data transport services; Netcity – operator of underground fibre optic telecommunications infrastructure in Bucharest; WESEE – services and maintenance for wind farms.
Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) is building a better world by applying world-class expertise to solve its clients’ greatest challenges. Fluor’s 40,000 employees provide professional and technical solutions that deliver safe, well-executed, capital-efficient projects to clients around the world. Fluor had revenues of US$13.7 billion in 2022 and is ranked 303rd among Fortune 500 companies. Based in Irving, Texas, Fluor has been providing engineering, procurement, and construction services for over 110 years.