At the initiative of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Norway and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), a bilateral conference was held in Bucharest, Romania June 18-19, 2019.

The background for this initiative was the EEA funded energy program cooperation between Norway and Romania, as well as Romania’s Presidency of the EU. The main themes of the conference were Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Renewable energy technologies - hydropower, geothermal energy, wind power and solar energy. A well-conducted conference, with good support from Innovation Norway, which is the program operator for the EEA funded energy program in Romania.

About 15 participants from Norway were present, including State Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Director of NVE. The total number of participants of the conference were about 80. From public sector basically, but also to some extent from NGO’s, companies and academia. There were presentations from both the Romanian and Norwegian sides on all topics, as well as from Iceland under geothermal energy. The conference went on for about two days. About 30 presentations were held, with focus on the status in the two countries regarding CCS and the different renewable technologies, as well as emphasized potential future areas of cooperation between Romania and Norway within the areas.

State secretary from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Norway, Mr. Rikard Gaarder Knutsen, opened the conference. He reminded that the EEA agreement is 25 year this year. In his presentation, he mentioned, among other things, that Norway has challenges in reducing emissions within transport and industry. In the European perspective, he touched on the significant reduction that can be achieved by switching from coal to gas in the energy supply. After him, General director Mrs. Andrea Mihalache from the Ministry of Energy in Romania gave her welcome greeting.

The next part of the agenda was overall questions on energy development and climate change. First four presentations from Romania and then two from Norway. The presentations from Romania were, among other things, related to climate targets (Romania has reached its 2020 target for renewable energy), challenges in relation to profitability for bio-power plants and modernization of gas and coal-fired power plants with EU support. From the Norwegian side, NVE's director Mr. Kjetil Lund pointed out the importance of hydropower in Norway, and the desire for a long-term development of a profitable wind-power sector. He also mentions NVE's international work, and in particular the current EEA energy program cooperation with Romania, including future cooperation opportunities. Mrs. Elin Økstad from the Ministry of Climate and Environment in Norway mentioned, among other things, instruments in the climate policy, such as carbon tax, direct instruments, financial support R&D and electro mobility.

In the hydropower part, the underlying challenges are related to climate change, modernization of hydropower stations and more variable renewable energy (as wind and solar) into the energy system. From Romania, there was presentations from Hidroelectrica and Roman City Hall. From Norway presentations from NVE and the company Rainpower.

Next topic were CCS. Three presentations from Romania on R&D, a CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage) project and CO2 in geological formations. Two presentations from Norway were held, one from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and one from the Norwegian Research Council.

Next part was about geothermal energy. One presentation from Romania and two from Iceland/Norway. Romania put emphasise on projects funded by EU funds during the 2014-2020 period. Iceland (energy authority Orkustofnun) and Norway (research institution NORCE) presented broadly both high temperature and shallow geothermal energy utilization.

Next topic was basically about wind power, but also hydrogen. Two presentations from respectively Romania and Norway.  According to the Ministry of Energy, Romania has about 3000 MW installed capacity wind power, where much of it was developed between 2011 and 2016. Further development is primarily dependent on increased grid capacity. Norway by NVE presented the masterplan for wind power in Norway, and the company Kjeller Vindteknikk presented “mapping of wind resources”.

The last part of the agenda was solar energy. Three presentations from Romania and two from Norway. From the Romanian side was presented the development of solar energy in Romania and support schemes for solar energy. From the Norwegian side was presented the state of the art technology on solar energy (NVE) and an off-grid case using solar energy, from the company Norsk Energi.

The conference was led and moderated on an excellent way by Mr. Paul Serbanescu from the Environment Fund Administration in Romania and Mr. Bogdan Popa from the Polytechnic University in Bucharest. 

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