163030 7/22/2008 12:08 08BUCHAREST579 Embassy Bucharest UNCLASSIFIED VZCZCXRO3220 PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHBM #0579 2041208 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 221208Z JUL 08 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8505 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE UNCLAS BUCHAREST 000579
STATE FOR OES/PCI:SSPECHT, OES/ENV:LBRUTTEN, OES/FO:CHILL
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG, EPET, EAID, SENV, SOCI, TRGY, KPAO, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIA: EMBASSY-SPONSORED FORUM PROMOTES RENEWABLES AND ENERGY SECURITY
1. (U) Seeking to build in a local setting on the success of the spring 2008 Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC), post co-sponsored a Renewable Energy Conference with the NGO the "Romanian Association for Energy Policies" (APER) on July 9, 2008. Expert speakers outlined the role of renewable energy in contributing to energy security and addressing climate change, and considered how best to promote the use of renewable energy in Romania. Nearly 80 stakeholders from the Government of Romania (GOR), academia, the business community, and NGOs participated in the event at the Embassy's Public Diplomacy Hall.
2. (U) The genesis of the idea to co-host the conference "Renewable Energy: Opportunities and Challenges in Romania" came during a meeting with the Executive Director of APER, Ioana Opris, after her return from WIREC, where she participated as an observer. Post agreed to work with APER to organize the conference as a way to share the best practices learned at WIREC on a local level. APER, headed by former USAID Energy Project Management Specialist Virgil Musatescu, is a well-regarded, independent NGO established in 1995 to support business development in the energy and environmental fields by providing information and analysis to decision makers and stakeholders. EconCouns gave the opening remarks at the July 9 conference, highlighting the USG's leading role in the promotion of renewable energy and listing key provisions of the new U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act. Ms. Opris of APER shared her positive impressions of WIREC and highlighted some of the major pledges made from around the world.
3. (U) Other experts shared views on how best to advance emergent renewable energy technology in Romania. The consultancy firm ECNet detailed its EU Phare-funded project, commissioned by the Romanian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), to draft a "Renewable Energy Action Plan" to assess the technical and economic potential of renewable energy in Romania and suggest strategies to maximize its potential. ECNet invited conference participants to provide input for the study. The President of the Romanian Agency for Energy Conservation (ARCE) and the Director of the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) discussed the legal framework and measures in place to meet EU renewable energy targets. GE Energy, Continental Wind Partners, and SOPOLEC, all companies with an American component operating in Romania, took part in a panel discussion to share their views on commercial prospects and challenges ahead. To conclude the conference, post screened the documentary "Life after Oil: the New Energy Alternatives," acquired from the Department's Bureau of Public Affairs. Produced in 2007, the film looks at how the world can meet rising energy needs while decreasing reliance on fossil fuels.
4. (U) During a lively discussion period, participants noted Romania's enormous potential for renewable energy production, particularly wind power in Dobrogea (the region on the Black Sea coast) and hydroelectric power throughout the country. However, they also acknowledged the considerable challenges Romania faces in surpassing the EU target of providing 33 percent of national electricity needs from renewable sources by 2010. With hydroelectric power already well established and providing close to a third of Romania's power, future expansion of the renewable sector will have to come from wind or other sources. However, the infrastructure to support this growth is outdated and inadequate. Romania currently has insufficient transmission line capacity to support new wind power projects in Dobrogea, where it has the greatest potential for commercial success.
5. (U) Feedback from participants after the conference was very positive. Although there have been other conferences on this topic in the past, many participants noted that U.S. Embassy sponsorship raises the profile of renewable energy and underscores the importance the U.S. places on renewable energy in addressing the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. The national news agency NewsIn, with print, radio, and video subscribers, reported favorably on the event.