EC Drops Probe on Romanian Solar Park Tender, After Chinese Companies Withdraw

The European Commission will close the investigation regarding the offers of some Chinese companies in a tender regarding the construction of a photovoltaic park in Romania. The auction was halted because Chinese firms withdrew from the bidding, reports Bloomberg.

In early April, the European Commission initiated two thorough investigations into a public tender held in Romania by Parc Fotovoltaic Rovinari Est SA. The tender focused on the development, construction, and management of a 110 MW photovoltaic park.

Bids from companies under Chinese control were submitted for the auction. The Commission is examining potential market distortion resulting from foreign subsidies provided to bidders in this public procurement process.

The bidders, including the German subsidiary of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd, one of the world’s largest solar panel makers, later indicated they would withdraw, according to a statement from European Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton, Bloomberg reports.

Other bidders are Shanghai Electric UK Co. Ltd and Shanghai Electric Hong Kong International Engineering Co. Ltd.

Societatea Parc Fotovoltaic Rovinari Est SA is equally owned by OMV Petrom and Complexul Energetic Oltenia.

According to the Foreign Subsidies Regulation, companies are required to notify their public procurement tenders in the EU when the estimated value of the contract exceeds 250 million euros and when they have received foreign financial subsidies of at least 4 million euros, from at least one third country, in the three years preceding the notification.

According to the Commission, in recent years, foreign subsidies appear to have distorted the EU’s internal market, including giving their beneficiaries an unfair advantage to acquire businesses or obtain public procurement contracts in the EU to the detriment of fair competition.

In the autumn of last year, the company Parc Fotovoltaic Rovinari Est SA put out to auction the contracts for the construction of four photovoltaic parks with a total capacity of 450 MW: Ișalnița of 85 MW, Rovinari Est of 110 MW, Tismana 1 of 128.3 MW and Tismana 2 of 131.67 MW.

The estimated value of the contract is 374 million euros, of which over 280 million euros represent funding from the European Union Modernization Fund, managed by the Ministry of Energy. Until January 2024, the Rovinari Est Photovoltaic Park Company received eight offers at the auction for the construction of the four photovoltaic parks, including two from consortia investigated by the European Commission. The offers of the two consortia cover all four photovoltaic parks.

These investments would aim to replace coal-fired energy, produced by the Oltenia Energy Complex, with green energy, in the context in which the company is going through an extensive restructuring and decarbonization process, which is already behind schedule.

chines companiescloseECEuropean Commissioninvestigationphotovoltaic parkRomaniarovinarisolar parktender
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