1. What electricity storage projects have been commissioned in your jurisdiction to date?

In terms of energy storage capacity in Romania, there are a number of pumped storage hydro power plants with a total capacity of over 200 MW. However, due to technical issues such projects, which are state-owned, are not operational. 

Recently, Romania has also started to promote electric vehicles and invest in charging stations. Currently there are approximately 53 electric charging stations. A supermarket chain has recently launched the first charging station in the parking of their new concept store in Bucharest. Another supermarket chain is currently developing a project as set out below.

2. What electricity storage projects are anticipated in your jurisdiction in coming years?

The biggest project in Romania in terms of energy storage is Tarniţa-Lăpuşteşti pumped storage project with a capacity of 1 GW, which, according to public information, will be finalised within five to seven years. 

Another supermarket chain in partnership with an energy technology company is currently developing a project to build ten public charging stations located in the parking of their store on the Arad-Constanta route, which will allow electric cars to cross the country from West to East.

3. Is there any specific legislation/regulation or programme that relates to energy storage in your jurisdiction?

Even though the benefits of the energy storage are recognised, this particular domain is not defined in the Romanian legislative framework. There are only a few references to energy storage in specific pieces of legislation, such as:   

  • Government Ordinance no. 28/2014 regarding specific measures for developing the infrastructure of energy storage and balancing the national electricity network by building and operating hydroelectric pumped storage power plants with installed capacity exceeding 15 MW. The Government Ordinance no. 28/2014 encourages investments in new-built hydroelectric pumped storage power plants, which are considered public utility works;
  • Law 121/2014 on energy efficiency lists the energy storage services as one of the criteria for assessing energy efficiency for energy network operators;
  • Romanian Energy Strategy 2007–2020 under which the Romanian government intends to increase the energy storage capacity by construction of the 1 GW Tarniţa-Lăpuşteşti pumped storage hydropower plant.

The representatives of the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (“ANRE”) intend to include the energy storage in a future legislative package given that “electricity should be used close to the point of use and it would be better for Romania to increase the number of large consumers among industrial users than to export energy.”1

4. Please give examples of challenges facing energy storage projects in your jurisdiction and how current projects have overcome these challenges.

The main challenges for energy storage projects are:   

  • lack of appropriate legislation – the Romanian Parliament has not yet adopted a specific legal framework for electricity storage, which could hinder the implementation of such storage systems, given the requirements and features needed and their specific particularities. As already mentioned above, the energy storage could be included in a future legislative package to be adopted. Depending where the energy storage is needed (i.e. generation, transmission, distribution or customer level) the existing legislation shall be amended in order to be correlated with the new legal provisions to be approved. Also, in case the research programmes for developing energy storage projects intends to be performed in collaboration with the public authorities, the legislation for public-private partnerships needs to be amended.
  • technological aspects – the energy storage involves developing new technologies or upgrading the current technologies. Also, the national electricity network should be adapted to the new systems (upgrades to the national network) and applications brought by the implementation of the energy storage projects in order to ensure their integration.
  • institutional – for the implementation of the energy storage legal framework, the existing public institutions with authority over the energy sector shall collaborate and new departments shall be created in order to implement and supervise the energy storage projects. Also, research laboratories specialising in the development of energy storage technologies will be created. At national level there is a scientific capability to approach such research topics, many of universities and research institutes having some notable results in characterisation and development of new materials with applications in electrochemical storage (i.e. development, characterisation and implementation of new technological solutions for Lithium-Ion batteries and Redox batteries, for both stationary and mobile applications).

5. What are the main entities in the electricity sector and what are their roles or expected roles in relation to energy storage?

The main entities in the electricity sector are the Ministry of Energy and ANRE. The Ministry of Energy is expected to adopt this year Romania’s Energy Strategy for 2016-2030 which provides, among other measures, the construction of Tarniţa-Lăpuşteşti pumped storage project and promotes investments in the energy storage technologies. 

ANRE is expected to adopt technical regulations and to monitor the implementation of mandatory national regulations necessary for the operation of the electricity storage systems. 

In addition, the National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies initiated ten years ago research based on two energy carriers: hydrogen and electricity. The Institute has a National Centre for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (the “National Centre”) and a Low Temperatures Laboratory for energy applications. The National Centre is a relatively recent Government investment, with the mission to develop, promote and implement the hydrogen-based energy technologies. The activities are interdisciplinary, being related to the whole chain of hydrogen technologies, from its production and to the core of this system – the fuel cell. In parallel, the Low Temperatures Laboratory for energy applications is currently involved in the development of energy storage systems based on the superconductivity phenomena.