The Potential for Small-Scale Hydro Power in Romania: A Call for More Co-ordinated Governance

FNI Report 13/2011. Lysaker, FNI, 2011, 31 p.

Romania offers significant untapped resources for the development of small-scale hydro (SSH). The technology has been deployed before and is preserved. Projected increases in the demand for electricity coupled with the expected decommissioning of inefficient thermal capacity means that plenty of scope exists for adding capacity in Romania. It is questionable though whether the present lavish treatment of renewables is sustainable. The excessive burden placed on consumers given the likely policy overshoot raises questions about the sustainability of the Green Certificate scheme under the present form. Real hurdles about SSH projects persist in identifying sites, acquiring land and obtaining permits. The key hindrances to a more thorough expansion of SSH in Romania have to do with decision-making transparency, policy predictability and information diffusion. The erratic nature of Romanian renewables policy is directly connected to slow pace of the Romanian authorities in learning how to coordinate policy implementation between the local, central and European level in an effective manner. But given that that no fundamental regulatory transformation occur over the next year or two and that in that interval the issuance of permits and the acquisition of property is standardized, SSH may yet prove a fruitful line of business in Romania.