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Cablegate: Romania: Embassy-Sponsored Forum Promotes Renewables And

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

SIPDIS

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.

TAUBMAN

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