Romania seeking 492 mln euro EIB financing for nine energy projects

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BUCHAREST (Romania), September 15 (SeeNews) - Romania is seeking 492 million euro ($581 million) financing from the European Investment Bank's (EIB) Modernisation Fund for nine mostly green strategic investment projects, the energy ministry said on Wednesday.

The projects have a total cost of 693 million euro and were sent to the EIB for approval on September 14, the energy ministry said in a press release.

For a project of electricity transmission system operator Transelectrica [BSE:TEL] the energy ministry is seeking 23 million euro from the EIB. The project envisages the construction of a new 400kv aerial power line between Constanta Nord and Medgidia Sud. According to the ministry, the project will contribute to the security, flexibility and adequacy of the National Energy System, providing the ground for the commissioning of new capacities for the production of energy from renewable sources.

"In order to be able to rapidly replace closed coal capacities, renewable energy must play a key role in supporting national decarbonisation targets and in line with country-specific recommendations," the ministry explained.

The other eight projects belong to state-controlled energy holding company Complexul Energetic Oltenia (CE Oltenia) and have a total estimated value of 670.8 million euro, of which the energy ministry is seeking EIB financing in the amount of 469.6 million euro.

They involve construction of photovoltaic parks at CE Oltenia coal mining sites and closed ash and slag deposits at several locations. These projects will help Romania meet the objectives of the National Plan for Energy and Climate Change (PNIESC) to reduce emissions by 2030, increase the share of energy from renewable sources and replace coal in the energy mix.

CE Oltenia, a Romanian majority state-owned lignite-based electricity producer, has been faced with financial difficulties. In December, Romania notified to the European Commission a plan for the restructuring of CE Oltenia that envisages around 2 billion euro of support to CE Oltenia, of which 1.33 billion euro of public support by the Romanian state, in the form of grants and loans, including a 251 million euro rescue loan that CE Oltenia has not reimbursed. The remaining amount would be covered by the EIB's Modernization Fund.

In February, the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether Romanian support measures in favour of CE Oltenia would be in line with EU rules on state aid to companies in difficulty.

Transelectrica's shares traded 1.24% higher at 24.4 lei ($4.9/ 3.8 euro) as at 0939 CET on Wednesday on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

($=0.8464 euro)

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