Acasă » Analyses » Major delays in assessing applications for structural funds

Major delays in assessing applications for structural funds

25 June 2021

More than a hundred projects worth RON 2.68 billion are being analyzed by the Ministry of Investments and European Projects (MIPE) only on the priority axes relevant for the energy sector; some of them have been waiting for a decision (rejected or contracted) since October 2018. Lack of qualified personnel is one of the reasons already publicly accepted by several government officials. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to new delays, in conditions in which since March 2020 all ministry’s efforts seem to have focused on assessing projects (over 800 have been submitted) that could contribute to increasing the capacity of managing the health crisis, and in 2021 on the preparation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

The latest presentation of projects submitted for funding through the Large Infrastructure Operational Program (LIOP) dates from the end of 2020. We focused our attention on priority axes (PA) directly related to energy, namely PA 6.1.-6.4., PA 7.1.-7.2. and PA 8.2. In total, about 400 financing projects were submitted worth a total of around RON 7.5 billion.


Of these, 219 appear with the mention “Submitted”, but without any amount written in the chapter “Total value of the project”. They were all submitted in the last quarter of 2020 (202 out of 2019, in December!) for financing on priority axis 8.2. – Increasing the interconnection of the National Gas Transmission System with other neighboring states. Other 24 projects were submitted during August – October 2020 on this axis, worth a total of RON 1.18 billion. At the end of last year, 14 were rejected and 10 under assessment.

At the end of May, MIPE announced that it had approved 10 projects targeting the development of gas networks, worth a total of over RON 410 million. For 8 projects, grant agreements had already been signed.

Also, MIPE mentioned on May 27 that 219 projects were being assessed, probably those submitted at the end of 2020, and the value of projects submitted within this call is EUR 2.5 billion. As 14 projects worth RON 700 million were already rejected and 10 projects worth RON 410 million were approved, we can estimate that projects worth a total value of EUR 2.27 billion remain under assessment.

On PA 8.2 the eligible categories are Intercommunity Development Associations and local public authorities from the less developed regions of Romania. Investments eligible for financing aim both at the use of smart instruments in the field of gas network infrastructure (pressure, flow, metering etc.) and the acquisition of integrated IT technologies, which will facilitate the integration of participants’ activities on the gas market, as well as technologies to ensure increased reliability of gas supply.

Through this type of project, the aim is to develop adequate infrastructure, in the property and area of responsibility of local public administration authorities, so that they can meet the essential needs of utility and public interest in the supply of natural gas to the communities they represent.


Priority Axis 6 aims at promoting clean energy and energy efficiency in order to support a low-carbon economy, by increasing the production of energy from less exploited renewable sources (biomass, biogas, geothermal). At the end of 2020, 39 projects were being assessed, worth a total of RON 1.023 billion. Of these, 29 projects, worth RON 780 million, are submitted by municipalities, for thermal energy production and distribution systems. 11 projects aim to capitalize on geothermal energy for the production of heat and domestic hot water; 5 in Arad County (Nădlac, Pecica, Șemlac, Sântana and Socodor), two in each of Bihor (Sălăcea and Cefa) and Timiș (Dudeștii Vechi and Lovrin), one in Sălaj (Pericei) and one in Vâlcea (Călimănești). Most projects propose biomass-based solutions (16) and two consider biogas production. The largest projects submitted by municipalities and waiting for the decision of the environmental authority are the one in Călimănești – RON 71.3 million for the production of energy from geothermal resources, and the one in Râmnicu Sărat – RON 71.6 million, for a biomass-based cogeneration plant, with a capacity of 0.99 MWhe and 4MWht.

On PA 6.1., 9 projects were rejected and 4 files were withdrawn by initiators. 9 projects were approved and contracted, with a total value of over RON 263 million, all submitted during 2016-2019. The high value of these 9 projects is explained by the fact that RON 84.7 million went to electricity distribution companies that worked at the modernization of 20 kV lines in Dolj and Gorj (Distribuție Energie Oltenia) and of substations (Delgaz Grid and E.ON Distributie Romania).

The largest contracted amount went to Oradea municipality, for the project submitted in 2018 for the use of geothermal energy in association with heat pumps, for the production of heating and hot water in Nufărul I Neighborhood- RON 66.1 million total eligible amount, in a project of RON 86.7 million.

10 projects with a total value of RON 159 million are still being analyzed, projects submitted during January 2019 – December 2020. The largest – RON 43 million – is the project submitted by Distribuție Energie Oltenia, in July 2019, for upgrading the power distribution network and increasing the distribution capacity of 110/20 kV Caracal Vest substation, for the evacuation of electricity produced by photovoltaic power plants. Distribuție Energie Oltenia has other two similar projects, with an aggregate value of over RON 60 million. Transilvania Nord has three projects under analysis, with a total value of almost RON 60 million, Delgaz Grid has two projects, in total RON 48 million.


A second objective specific to priority axis 6 is the reduction of energy consumption at the level of industrial consumers, a field that has attracted 67 projects during 2016-2020, with an aggregate value of RON 73.6 million. Of these, however, only 29 have a certain status: 7 files were rejected and 3 were withdrawn by companies. Four applications, worth a total of RON 3.6 million, were approved: Faist Mekatronic SRL, Schaeffler Romania and CRH Ciment Romania, with two projects. 14 projects were contracted, with a total value of RON 16 million. With a single exception, these projects had individual values of about RON 1 million. But what stands out is the fact that all the 19 approved projects were submitted between 2016 and 2019.

33 projects remain under assessment, at least at the end of 2020, with an aggregate value of over RON 40 million, submitted after July 2019. 20 of them were submitted in the last quarter of last year. Of the files waiting for the verdict of the management authority, the most important, in financial terms, are the projects submitted by Azomureș (RON 3.2 million) and Chimcomplex (RON 2 million).


All the large distribution companies have submitted files for financing of investments in smart systems for the management of power grids. In 12 months, from December 2019 until December 2020, 10 projects were submitted, with individual values between RON 50mln and RON 95mln: Delgaz Grid (Bacău city, Suceava municipality and rural area of Neamț County), E-Distribuție (Timișoara, Constanța County and Giurgiu County), Distribuție Energie Oltenia (Pitești and Căzănești, Vâlcea), SDEE Transilvania Nord (Rogerius neighborhood, Oradea) SDEE Transilvania Sud (Codlea, Ghimbav, Târgu Mureș), SDEE Muntenia Sud (Galați). Almost 8 months have already passed for the first six projects since they have been “under assessment”!


Only 10 files were submitted to obtain European financing to increase savings in the consumption of primary energy produced by high-efficiency cogeneration – priority axis 6.4. In the first wave, 2017-2018, three files were approved, of which grant agreements were signed for two: AMBRO SA (total value of RON 51.4 million) and Cemacon (RON 12 million). The high-efficiency cogeneration unit at SC Petrocart SA, although approved, does not appear in the list of financed projects, on April 30, 2020.

Submitted in August, October and November 2019, three projects are still waiting for the completion of the assessment process. The Pulp and Paper Mill in Drobeta Turnu Severin (RON 44.5 million), the high-efficiency cogeneration plant of maximum 8 MWe from Chimcomplex (RON 44.8 million) and the high-efficiency cogeneration unit from Rifil SA (RON 15.6 million) are in this situation.

Of the four projects submitted in 2020, W2E-COGEN Prutul has a total value of over RON 90 million and proposes the use of biomass for the production of thermal energy (technological steam) and electricity in the cogeneration plant. In the end, Silcotub, Avicarvil and Pajo Agriculture are also waiting for the decision of experts from the Ministry of Investments and European Projects.


Too few, they seem to have worked last year almost exclusively to complete financing projects in the health area, where over 800 projects were submitted on financing axis 9.1., with a cumulative value of over RON 7.1 billion. Of these, 108 projects were contracted, with a total value of almost RON 2 billion (28%). Only two projects were rejected and two were withdrawn by the beneficiary. Other 687 projects (85%) are still under assessment.


This article first appeared in the printed edition of Energynomics Magazine, issued in June 2021.

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