The RESinvest conference gathered over 400 business executives from the solar and wind energy community from all around Europe, in a common call to action – developing a functional supply chain in Southeast Europe. The timing was impeccable – today the EU Commission released its REPower EU Action Plan, meant to ensure Europe’s energy independence, and thus accelerate solar and wind power development.
Romania’s energy ministry declared that it would offer its full support to the industry and highlighted the opportunity lurking in the nation’s waters. “The Black Sea is a key renewable energy resource – today we are voting on the offshore law that can propel things forward. We have generous funds available for the development of renewable energy – you need only have mature projects to access them,” declared Romania’s Energy Minister Virgil-Daniel Popescu. The point was reiterated by the country’s Prime Minister, Nicolae Ionel Ciuca who said that “Renewable energy is the path to energy security and Romania would be phasing out fossil fuels. We are allocating over EUR 2 billion to support manufacturing and production capabilities, especially for batteries, solar panels, and all auxiliary equipment.”
RESinvest saw Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Croatia unite in their well-matched ambitions. Greece is working to “Simplify permitting, cutting the process from 6-7 years down to 2 years,“ claimed Alexandra Sdoukou, Greece’s Secretary General from the Ministry of Environment and Energy. Bulgaria is making similar efforts, and “working to finalize a law for offshore wind energy, in addition to passing new legislation for CfDs for onshore wind and pv,” declared Radoslav Ribarski, Bulgaria’s Chairman of the Parliamentary Energy Committee. The EU is praising the region, urging national governments to move faster to support RES production chain development. “You have what it takes to become a frontrunner in renewable energy: abundant sunlight, wind, and seaports. The EU will continue to do everything to support the continuous development of RES supply chains, mainly through the European Investment Council and the Recovery and Resilience Plans. This is not only a climatic goal, but a geostrategic priority”, stated Kerstin Jorna, Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission.
The success of this plan goes beyond the installation of new production capacities — it will involve the development of a complex supply chain which includes everything from component manufacturing for wind and solar parks, to digital services and reskilling. “There is a new wind here in Romania,” declared SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger. “There is so much opportunity right now from the EU. We must all work together, from joining forces between our reskilling centers, to growing an efficient production chain.” To strengthen the point, RWEA Vice President Adrian Borotea added that “Reskilling is an amazing Romanian success that deserves to be shared and improved upon. We have the largest miners retraining center in Europe.”
Romania already produces generators and electrical control systems for turbines, bearings and forgings, and is home to the largest center of renewable energy technicians in Southeastern Europe. “China says it wants to be part of Europe’s energy transition. Well, want doesn’t always get. What we need now is EU made equipment, European jobs, and energy independence. Countries, technologies, and industries – we must all work together”, emphasized WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.
“We are on a whole new path, and the discussion goes well beyond the targets. It is about the economically and socially reasoning behind them. We are facing the most propitious moment to start an effective promotion of this investment opportunity to local and global actors,” explained Carlo Pignoloni, President of RWEA and CEO of Enel Romania.
Today Europe’s climate and energy security objectives are converging. “We must not replace a dependency on fossil gas imports with another dependency on renewable technology imports from unstable supply chains. It is high time for Romania to capture as much value as possible from what the technology has to offer, both socially and economically, and develop its domestic manufacturing capacities,” added Mihai Balan, RPIA’s Executive Director.
RESinvest is Southeast Europe’s largest renewable energy conference held in Bucharest on May 17th, 2022. It was streamed online to a global audience: and the recording can be watched here. RESinvest Conference is organized by the Romanian Wind Energy Association (RWEA) and Photovoltaic Industry Association (RPIA), in collaboration with WindEurope, and SolarPower Europe.