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EBRD supports major hydro power upgrade in Romania

By Sergiy Grytsenko

The EBRD is continuing to support the implementation of Romania’s ambitious renewable energy generation programme with a major investment to modernise the country’s oldest hydro power plant.

The new €110 million loan to S.C. Hidroelectrica S.A., the state-owned hydro power company and the biggest electricity producer in Romania, will increase energy production capacities and improve operational efficiency and safety across the whole sector.

The EBRD will provide €70 million of the total financing, with €40 million being syndicated via commercial banks – Erste Bank Group AG and Caixabank.

This new investment will finance the rehabilitation of six units at Stejarul Bicaz, a 50-year old hydro power plant with a total capacity of 210 MW on the Bistriţa River in north-eastern Romania, and is part of the Bank’s support for sustainable energy infrastructure investments in the region.

“With this key investment, the EBRD is continuing to provide assistance to Romania in securing reliable access to sustainable energy. Our project will bring about significant energy efficiency improvements and will play an active role in strengthening further development of the country’s energy sector,” said Riccardo Puliti, EBRD Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources.

Hidroelectrica, with a market share of around 35 per cent, manages a network of 273 hydro power plants and pumping stations with a total capacity of 6,482 MW. In 2010, Hidroelectrica had a total generation capacity of 19.85 TWh.

“The €110 million loan covers approximately 80 per cent of the project cost, which stands at €136.9 million. Hidroelectrica S.A will cover the difference in the project’s total cost using its own internal sources. The implementation of this project confirms our strong position on the market, which has also been reflected in the ratings by international agencies,” said Constantin Trihenea, General Manager of Hidroelectrica S.A.

In power and energy, the EBRD focuses on renewable energy sources, state-of-the-art clean generating technology and efficient and smart transmission and distribution networks.

In 2010, while international funding still remained scarce as an impact of financial crisis – especially for renewable energy – the Bank boosted its support to the power sector by approximately one-third, investing more than €1 billion in 21 power and energy projects, spread across 13 different countries.

Since the beginning of its operations in Romania, the EBRD has committed over €5 billion to various sectors of the country’s economy, with about 80 per cent of the project investments into the development of the country’s private sector.

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