BUCHAREST, April 1 Czech utility CEZ
is exploring the sale of a minority stake in its 1.1 billion
euro ($1.5 billion) wind park in southeastern Romania, Europe's
largest land-based wind farm, a company official said on
The company did not say why it was looking into such a move,
although some foreign investors have expressed concern over
recent cuts in incentives for renewable power in Romania.
CEZ, central Europe's largest utility, is the leading
private investor in Romania's wind energy sector and also
operates a local power distributor.
"This possibility is currently under analysis at headquarter
level," Adrian Borotea, corporate affairs director at CEZ's
Romanian unit said.
"It is premature to say when a decision will be made. At the
moment, they are analysing the possibility, investigating
whether there will be interest."
Foreign-owned firms have ploughed billions of euros into
wind, solar and biomass power projects in Romania, lured by the
Balkan nation's support scheme.
The incentives, once deemed too generous by the European
Commission, drew scores of foreign investors, including Italy's
Enel and Energias de Portugal.
The support scheme gives developers green certificates for
each megawatt generated and forces power suppliers and large
industrial users to buy them based on a gradually increasing
annual quota set by the country's energy regulator.
Green energy investors gain once by selling certificates and
again when they sell their electricity. But last year the
government decided to hold off paying some of the certificates
for several years to avoid over-compensating investors.
Last month, it capped the amount of renewable energy that
large industrial clients must buy this year to stave off the
threat of job cuts ahead of elections.
CEZ and other foreign energy firms operating in Romania have
also raised concern about sudden shifts in government policies
and a lack of a comprehensive strategy for the sector that make
it difficult to plan long-term energy projects.
($1 = 0.7256 Euros)
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Michael Kahn and Mark