Mixed messages in Romania’s energy and climate plan, as new coal projects are shelved but no date set for a coal phase-out
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Mixed messages in Romania’s energy and climate plan, as new coal projects are shelved but no date set for a coal phase-out

Romania’s new national energy and climate plan (NECP) is sending incoherent signals regarding the country’s commitment for a just transition away from fossil fuels, finds an analysis by Bankwatch Romania.

The NECP removes plans for new coal projects that appeared in earlier drafts, including  a 600 MW unit at the Rovinari power plant, a project proposed in 2012 and postponed indefinitely because a cost-effective solution for all stakeholders could not be identified. Yet Romania remains one of seven EU Member States that has not yet set a date for coal phase-out. In the NECP, it estimates installed coal capacity in 2030 at almost 2 GW, even though this electricity is already unprofitable, and it is unclear how coal-based energy companies will survive until then. The Romanian economy is dependent on industries with high greenhouse gas emissions, but the NECP does not detail measures to support a just transition away from fossil fuels. Jiu Valley is already part of the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition and is currently receiving technical assistance to identify the most suitable projects and funding sources for the area. But for Gorj County, where over 10 000 people are directly employed in quarries and power plants, the next steps for decarbonisation are not addressed in the Plan. The NECP also proposes a decrease of 43.9 per cent of greenhouse gases emissions until 2030, compared to 2005, a 30.7 per cent share of renewable energy in the gross final consumption (in contrast to the European Commission’s recommended share of 34 per cent), and a drop in final energy consumption of 40.4 per cent.  Yet the specific measures proposed in the NECP to reach these targets are not detailed enough nor adequately funded. Alexandru Mustață, campaign coordinator for Bankwatch Romania, said “This is a wasted opportunity. While the European Commission is ready to support Member States to achieve the energy transition with the one trillion euros Investment Plan in the European Green Deal, Romania proposes massive investments in natural gas and keeps coal in the energy system. Although almost all EU Member States have understood that clean energy is the future, Romania does not have enough courage to capitalize on its enormous potential for renewable energy.” The full analysis of the Romanian NECP is available here. * The second version of the NECP was published by the Romanian Ministry of Economy on 31 January and defines the strategy in the energy sector until 2030.

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