Rovinari power station

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The Rovinari power station is a 1,320-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Romania. It became part of the Oltenia Energy Complex in 2012.

A new unit of 600 MW has been proposed.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Gorj County.

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Background on existing power station

The subcritical coal-fired power station first consisted of two 200 MW units and four 330 MW units, built in 1976-1979. The first two 200 MW units have been retired.[1]

The plant is owned by SC Complexul Energetic Rovinari, owned in part by the Government of Romania. The Rovinari Power Station, along with the Craiova power station and Turceni power station, merged into the Oltenia Energy Complex in 2012.[2]

In November 2018 Greenpeace Romania and ClientEarth filed a complaint asking the Gorj Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the plant's permit, saying it does not comply with new, tougher EU pollution laws and fails to consider the impact on public health and environment.[3]

Expansion plans

In May 2012 Rovinari selected China Huadian Engineering Co. Ltd to build a 600 MW coal-fired plant worth US$1.3 billion (1 billion euro) at the station. Rovinari and China Huadian plan to set up an independent power producer (IPP), which will implement the project. Rovinari plans to replace two 200 MW energy blocks at the station that are currently out of use.[4][5]

According to Romanian press reports, Rovinari is one of several power investment projects for Chinese investors. Others include Hunedoara, Turceni, Cernavoda and Tarnita.[6]

Construction was expected to begin in 2014, and be completed five years later,[7] although as of 2014 the company is still preparing its environmental impact assessment toward required permits. The energy produced by the new plant would be exported to Austria and Turkey.[8]

On October 31, 2014, Energy Complex Oltenia and China Huadian Engineering agreed to set up a joint venture for the construction of a new unit at the Rovinari station, at an investment of almost one billion dollars. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and take three to four years.[9]

However, the steps to create a Romanian-Chinese joint-venture were later frozen, according to Oltenia Energy Complex CEO Laurentiu Ciurel. Concerns were raised about the plant's profitability, once the feasibility study was completed. According to the organization Bankwatch: "The main concern appears to be that the Oltenia Energy Complex – the company that represents the Romanian side of the joint-venture – on several recent occasions had to sell its energy for a price way under production costs. There were times when the energy complex sold its electricity for as little as EUR 0.25 /MWh - not even one per cent of the production costs of EUR 35-55/ MWh. This price is not only too small to cover the production costs for any existing power plant but will never be able to cover investment and production costs of a new power plant which in this case are estimated to rise above EUR 1 billion."[10]

A completed feasibility study for the project is mentioned in an October 2015 Complexul Energetic Oltenia shareholder document.[11]

According to the NGO Bankwatch, the project was revamped by the new Energy Ministry in 2017, with an expected commissioning around 2020.[12] Negotiations between Romania and China Huadian Engineering resumed in August 2017, after almost a year of stagnation.[13] In November 2018 it was reported that negotiations are still ongoing.[3]

Coal ash spill

The ash remains

In December 2013, a coal ash deposit belonging to the Oltenia Energy Complex flooded 15 hectares of agricultural lands and 10 households in the Submaidane area of the Turceni and Ionesti settlements.[14]

Project Details of expansion plans

  • Sponsor: Complexul Energetic Oltenia
  • Parent company:
  • Developer: China Huadian Engineering
  • Location: Rovinari, Gorj, Romania
  • Coordinates: 44.910633, 23.134754 (exact)
  • Status: Pre-permit development
  • Capacity: 600 MW
  • Type:
  • Start date: 2020
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: Romania Exim Bank

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