Thursday, January 27, 2011

Romania Has Best Wind Energy Sites in East Europe, Vestas Says

Vestas Wind System A/S, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, said Romania has the greatest potential for growth for the wind energy industry in eastern Europe during the next five years.

The Balkan nation may produce as much as 14,000 megawatts of wind energy and may develop into a sustainable market, Hans Joern Rieks the company’s president for central and eastern Europe, said at press-conference in Bucharest. Vestas, which opened its first office in Romania today, aims to complete the installation of 450 megawatts of new generation projects by the end of the year.

Romania is attracting investors in wind power because of its location along the western shore of the Black Sea, where the average wind speed stands at about 25.2 kilometers per hour. The local industry has the potential to generate as much as 30.7 billion kilowatt-hours a year, powering the equivalent of Ireland, Serbia or Peru and giving Romania an edge against other east European nations.

“Romania is the market that has the greatest potential on short- to medium-term,” Rieks said. “In Bulgaria, they have all the constraints, and the market would have to mature over time. Ukraine has also a good green energy potential. They have a great wind resources, they have a good electric infrastructure, but they are not far enough in developing the whole system.”

Vestas has installed 22 wind turbines in Romania, with a total capacity of 44 megawatts, according to the latest data available as of June 30.

“I cannot tell you the exact figures at the end of 2010 until we publish the financial results, but I can tell you that the installed capacity is much bigger than the 44 megawatts,” said Catalina Dragomir, the company’s country sales manager.

The Randers, Denmark-based company currently has under construction three wind projects in Romania in the southern region of Dobrogea. Two of them, with a total capacity of 228 megawatts, are for EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, Portugal’s biggest utility.

Other companies installing turbines in Romania include EDP, CEZ AS, which is the Czech Republic’s largest power distributor, E.ON, Germany’s biggest utility, Iberdrola SA and Enel SA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez in Prague atjagomez@bloomberg.net

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