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Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed a loan agreement totalling up to ¥28.746bn yen for the Turceni Thermal Power Plant Pollution Abatement Project with the government of Romania.

The project is aimed at installing a Flue Gas Desulphurisation System at the Turceni Thermal Power Plant, the country’s largest coal-fired thermal power plant, thereby helping the plant to achieve an environmental standard based on the EU standard. The proceeds of the loan will be applied to the procurement of equipment, civil works and consulting services (assistance for bidding and supervision of work) that are necessary for installing Romania’s first Flue Gas Desulphurisation System.

With its sight set on realising accession to EU in 2007, Romania has been tightening its environment standards. As part of such efforts, and in a bid to reduce air pollution, the government has made it compulsory for existing thermal power plants to meet the SO2 emission standard (400mg/Nm3) by the end of 2011. Those plants that cannot accomplish this target will be required to shut down their operations.

In reality, however, power plants in Romania have hardly made any progress in putting in place SO2 emission control measures. The Turceni Thermal Power Plant, to which the ODA loan is being provided, is no exception; the level of SO2 emissions it currently generates significantly exceeds the national standard.

Installation of the Flue Gas Desulphurisation System is therefore essential for the plant to continue operations. Meanwhile, accounting for 11% of the total power production capacity in Romania in 2003 (17,358MW), the Turceni Thermal Power Plant is an indispensable source of stable power supply in Romania. Should the plant halt operations, it could deal a serious blow to the domestic power supply. By helping the plant to meet the government’s emission standard, this project is expected not only to support the government’s environmental policy, but also to meet the urgent and strong need of the power sector by securing power supply.