On 14 April 2017, Government Decision No. 216/2017 approving a state aid scheme for investments promoting energy production from less exploited renewable energy resources, namely biomass, biogas and geothermal energy (the "Decision"), was published in the Romanian Official Gazette.

The state aid scheme aims at increasing the installed capacity of electricity and thermal energy from biomass, biogas and geothermal sources by 60 MW.

According to the data published by Transelectrica SA, the Romanian transmission system operator, there are currently some 130 MW installed in biomass and biogas installations and only one geothermal installation having installed power of 0.05 MW. ANRE, the Romanian energy market regulator, reported that biomass sources contributed a mere 0.75 % to electricity generation in 2016.

Beneficiaries. The state aid scheme addresses (i) large, medium, small and micro enterprises, including newly established ones, that list electricity and thermal energy production in their articles of association, corresponding to division 35 of the NACE codes (Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply), and (ii) local municipalities and their sub-divisions and inter-community development associations.

Scope of the state aid scheme. The state aid scheme applies to investments in construction and/or refurbishment of generation capacities for electricity and/or thermal energy from biomass, biogas and geothermal water. The state aid scheme does not apply to projects located in the Bucharest-Ilfov region.

Eligibility criteria. The proposed project should meet the following eligibility conditions:

  • the project is implemented on Romanian territory, in the following development regions: West, North-West, North-East, South-East, South, South-West, Centre;
  • the implementation period shall not exceed 31 December 2023; and
  • the investment did not benefit from public financing in the past five years, except for the financing of preliminary studies (ie preliminary feasibility study, geo-topographical analysis, feasibility study, technical project, execution details).

Construction or refurbishment works shall not commence before the competent authority confirms the eligibility of the project.

Duration of the state aid scheme. The support scheme starts on the date when the Decision enters into force (ie 17 April 2017) and ends on 31 December 2020.

Budget. The non-refundable financing that may be granted to each beneficiary shall not exceed EUR 15,000,000, while the support may represent up to 45 % of the total amount of the eligible expenses. The estimated number of state aid beneficiaries under the scheme is 40 and the total budget for the scheme shall be the RON equivalent of EUR 100,630,588.

The programme will be open for application once the state aid provider launches the request for project proposals.