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Investments in Renewable Energy - a Priority for the Foreign Investors Council

The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) analyzes the crucial issues of the current economic climate, both from the standpoint of overcoming the financial crisis and of the necessary measures for a better relationship with the decision-making factors. In the current economic and political context, the Romanian authorities' main priority should be the stability of the fiscal policy, in order to maintain a positive climate and to support a strong business environment.

"In the last years significant progress was made in the electric energy sector. Some distribution companies were privatized, allowing big international players to enter the Romanian market (Enel, E.ON, CEZ) and to create the platform for continuous investments in the distribution network, which will lead to a genuine improvement of the quality of services. On 1 July 2007 the market was entirely liberalized, according to European regulations, and the legislative framework necessary for free competition was created, but efforts have still to be made until the effects of an impartial competition environment can be felt. For a sustainable development which includes environment protection and climate change, legislative regulations were drafted at a European level regarding support mechanisms for renewable energy development. In the last years many investors announced their intention to invest in energy production in Romania, both in plants that use renewable energy sources and mineral fuels, but actual results are still to come", said Ms. Mariana Gheorghe, Vice President and Chairperson of FIC Energy Task Force.

FIC noticed that, at present, the regulations framework supporting energy production from renewable sources is in a continuous change, and the national objectives for the use of green energy are ambitious and require significant efforts at all levels in order to be achieved.

As a EU Member State, Romania has to reach a 24% rate representing energy from renewable sources of the total energy consumption for 2020, from 17.8% in 2005. The increase of the proportion of renewable energy is difficult to accomplish because this requires a very high level of investments. FIC appreciates that promoting the production of energy from renewable sources should not be considered only as an obligation for Romania, it should be regarded first as an opportunity.

Besides the positive impact on the environment and energetic security, promoting the production of energy from renewable sources means new investments in Romania: creation of new jobs, acquisition, creation and promotion of new technologies and also the development of new industries related to renewable energies.

Jean Valvis, Co-Chairperson of the FIC Energy Task Force, appreciates that: "Law No. 220/2008 adopted last year by the Parliament, even if perfectible, is a step forward with regard to promoting the production of energy from renewable sources in Romania. At this point, the drafting and adoption of the regulations for its application are a prime necessity which shall influence Romania's achievement of the abovementioned target and objectives.In order to develop investments, Romania needs a predictable and stable business environment and the enforcement of a law adopted by the Parliament is a basic condition for encouraging investments."

According to the provisions of Law No. 220/2008, the Government, the ministries and the regulatory authorities nominated by Law No. 220/2008 were supposed to issue, within 90 days from its publication in Monitorul Oficial al Romaniei, a series of legislative measures that would allow the enforcement of Law No. 220/2008. We believe that the three State Authorities involved in the lawmaking process of these regulations for the enforcement of Law No. 220/2008, i.e. the Ministry of Economy, Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) and the Competition Council should make the necessary efforts to enforce the law.

By Government Resolution No. 750/2008 the state aid scheme for the field of renewable energy materialized, in accordance with Axis 4 of the Sectoral Operational Program, whereby EUR 200 million were granted, amount that FIC believes to be insufficient for an entire national project. To the extent that the field of renewable energy is considered a priority for development, so that it may contribute to the country's national energy security, FIC recommends renegotiating this EUR 200 million support ceiling with EU.

FIC believes that the possibility of creating a single contact point for all of the endorsements and authorizations necessary for an investment in renewable products should be taken into account. The legislative arrangements should be accelerated in order to facilitate investments in the transportation network, especially to ensure the fact that investments may be performed without the delay caused by bureaucracy. In addition, efficient rules for the connection to the network should be approved as soon as possible to avoid the effect of a large number of applications without guaranteed financing, which leads to an overcrowded system and blocks the implementation of other projects. Another important aspect regarding the connection to the network relates to the manner in which costs are allocated, which may undermine certain investment projects that need to be continued if Romania wishes to achieve its objectives set for 2020.

In a difficult period of financial and economic crisis, a strategic view on the necessity to implement renewable energies accompanied by a firm desire of the Executive to support this sector, may offer investors, Romanian economic factors and citizens a true development perspective.

The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) is an association of the leading foreign investors in Romania. The FIC was established in 1997 when it officially started its activity with 26 companies as members. Today FIC accounts about 110 companies whose cumulated investments in Romania represent approximately two thirds of the total foreign direct investments made since 1990. FIC includes multinational companies providing the Romanian economy with a variety of goods and services.

The member companies of the FIC believe that the dialogue between policy makers and the investors lies at the very heart of successfully improving the climate for investment while stimulating the development of the Romanian economy.

The FIC is well positioned to provide constructive input to policy makers given the breadth of its membership, both in terms of their international experience and their substantial investment in Romania.

The management of the member companies devotes its time individually or in work groups, proposing solutions to the decision makers. FIC has produced six "White Books", setting out detailed improvements which it felt were needed in the business and investment climate, based on research and debate by FIC members.

Foreign Investors Council (FIC) - www.fic.ro

For more details, plase contact Mrs. Doina Ciomag, Executive Director, at office@fic.ro



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