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Aid worth EUR 254 million for Bucharest heating system's rehabilitation from European Commission

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Comisia europeana UE

The European Commission approved, on Tuesday, under EU state aid rules, Romania's plans to support the modernisation of the heating system of the municipality of Bucharest, informs a press release of the Community Executive, according to AGERPRES.

This aid measure of EUR 254 million, financed through the EU Structural Funds, will help Romania achieve its energy efficiency targets and help to reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions without unduly distorting competition, said European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.

Romania has presented to the Commission the plan to grant public aid amounting to about 254 million euros (1.208 billion lei) for the rehabilitation of the distribution network (especially the pipes through which hot water reaches the main distribution points) of the heating system in the urban area of Bucharest. The expected support will be provided in the form of a grant directly funded from the EU Structural Funds managed by Romania.

In size, the heating system in Bucharest is the first in the EU and the second in the world, serving 1.2 million inhabitants throughout 940 km of thermal pipelines for the transmission system and 2,800 km of pipelines for the distribution system. The rehabilitation of the heating system of the municipality of Bucharest will consist of the replacement of sections of the main hot water transport pipelines, representing about 10 pct of the total length of the network. This investment will reduce heat and water losses, as well as other types of losses, generating lower network maintenance costs. The measure will therefore contribute to energy savings and reducing greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions.

Since about 80 pct of the heat introduced into the system comes fron cogeneration plants, the Commission has found that the heating system in Bucharest is an efficient district heating and cooling system, as defined in the Energy Efficiency Directive. The Commission also found that the measure is necessary - as the project could not be carried out without public - and proportionate support - because the project will provide a reasonable rate of profitability.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure does not distort competition and is in line with EU state aid rules, in particular due to the reduction of greenhouse and other pollutant gas emissions and the improvement of the energy efficiency of the heating system.

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