Hidroelectrica Building a Giant Photovoltaic Park

Hidroelectrica, Romania’s largest electricity producer, has put out to tender a contract for the purchase of a feasibility study for the construction of a 1,500 MW photovoltaic park in Dabuleni-Sadova, Dolj County. The estimated value of the contract for this study is about RON 3 million and the cost of the photovoltaic park is estimated at EUR 1.2 billion. During this period, the company is preparing several renewable energy projects that will position it among the biggest players in the domestic market.

The term of the contract is two years, and Hidroelectrica is awaiting bids from consultants for the studies needed to start the project by October 12, 2023. The contract award criterion is “best value for money”, where the price has a weighting of only 40% in the score. The rest of the score is awarded for the experience of the key personnel, i.e., the project coordinator – 26%, and the ANRE certified designer – 10%, and for the work plan and resources used – 24%.


Investment on 2,200 hectares

The future photovoltaic park, which will be among the largest in Europe, will be built on land leased directly from the State Property Agency (ADS).

The project has already been declared by the Supreme Council of National Defence to be of national importance.

Hidroelectrica estimates in the specifications that 2,200 hectares will be used for the photovoltaic park, which will have a capacity of 1,500 MW, while about 3,000 hectares are available. The location is the best in Romania for a photovoltaic park, with a solar radiation level of 1,400 kWh/sqm/year, the highest in the country.

The project would also benefit from a 300 MW storage facility and would be connected to the 400 kV Tantareni-Kozlodui line. At its optimal operating level, the PV park can produce about 1.75 TWh of electricity per year.


Environmental permits hard to get

However, the feasibility study is a lengthy process, including both the technical and the permitting parts.

As far as the approvals are concerned, things are a bit more complicated here, because we are talking about the environmental ones, which are extremely restrictive. Considering this, the study is expected to take about a year and a half to complete.


300 MW photovoltaic park in Brasov County

Another very important project of Hidroelectrica is the construction of a floating photovoltaic system with an installed capacity of 300 MW in Brasov County, on a reservoir fed by the Olt River.

The company launched the tender for the purchase of a feasibility study in January this year, the contract has already been awarded and should be ready in about a year and a half. To build it, Hidroelectrica wants to use a site on which a 27 MW hydropower plant was planned before 1989, but which was abandoned because it was not economically justified.

The photovoltaic park should be ready sometime in 2024, if things go well, it will be located within the ‘Mandra’ development on the Olt River, in the basin of the former Fagaras-Hoghiz reservoir.


New green hydrogen projects

The energy that will be produced here would feed the hydrogen production unit that the company wants to build at Ostrov, near the Iron Gates on the Danube.

A feasibility study is also pending for its construction, which would also establish the value of the investment.

The green hydrogen production unit on the Olt River, extracted by electrolysis of water, would be designed for a capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year.

Hidroelectrica is aiming for a target sales price for hydrogen from Mandra of EUR 4 per kilogram by 2026. At 15,000 tonnes per year, the minimum production, this would mean that the plant would generate revenues of around EUR 60 million annually.

Hydrogen would be extracted at a minimum yield of 75% and would be of the ‘ultra-high purity’ type, i.e., the purest possible.


Record mid-year profit

Hidroelectrica reported a net profit of RON 3.94 billion for the first half of the year, up 46% compared to the first six months of the previous year, amid rising energy production. The profit achieved at mid-year is almost equal to that achieved for the whole year 2022, which was RON 4.4 billion. The company has seen exponential growth in the supply segment, reaching almost 550,000 customers at the end of the first half of the year.

Hidroelectrica operates 182 hydropower plants and five pumping stations, with a total installed hydropower generation capacity of 6.3 GW. They are supplemented by Crucea wind farm, with an installed power of 108 MW.

Hidroelectrica was listed this year on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

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