The construction of an artificial energy island in the Black Sea would represent the “optimal option until 2030” for the offshore wind build-up in Romania and Bulgaria, Bucharest-based think tank Energy Policy Group (EPG) said in a study.

The energy island would bundle 3GW of offshore wind capacity each from both Eastern European countries, the study ‘Offshore wind – the enabler of Romania's decarbonisation’ proposed.

An energy island option would be ideal both from an energy security point of view and as far as associated costs are concerned, which were estimated at €8.4bn ($9.1bn).

The concept of artificial energy islands to bundle several offshore wind farms – and possibly combine them with other energy features such as green hydrogen production on site – so far has only been pursued in northern Europe, where Denmark and Belgium are in a race to build the first North Sea energy island still this decade.

EPG had launched its study a year ago, bringing together representatives of the Romanian parliament, with its energy regulator (ANRE), transmission system operator (Transelectrica), business, civil society and the media.

To reach climate neutrality in Romania by mid-century, the country would have to develop 15GW of Black Sea wind capacity, which would account for more than 40% of its power production, EPG said.

In order to install a first 3GW by 2030, the country would need to push for the adoption of an offshore law that lays down the legislative framework of wind at sea, develop a maritime space development plan that identifies the best areas for offshore wind, and close a partnership agreement with Bulgaria for regional cooperation in order to reach economies of scale.

The think tank suggests the use of contracts for difference (CfDs) to support offshore wind farms in order to attract investors.