Are Romania’s renewables ambitions declining?

Image credit: Bankwatch

Despite the consistent availability of European funds, Romania’s current plans for developing the renewable energy sector are less ambitious than in previous years. This is according to the latest report from Bankwatch, The Romanian renewable energy sector: a potential still untapped.

Despite suggestions by the European Commission encouraging Romania to set its 2030 renewables target at 34%, the country has set a target of 30.7% ” up less than 7% from the current share of renewables in energy production, finds Bankwatch.

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According to their report, Romania’s renewables sector has come to a standstill due to low ambitions and an unstable legislative framework. Market conditions are uncertain for investors due to a lack of strategic coherence, frequent legislative changes, and legal frameworks under constant revision. Romania’s failed support schemes for renewables have also left the country without a system that can facilitate the increase in renewable energy demanded by the 2030 targets. Thus, despite technological progress in the field of renewables, Romania has seen new investments come to a halt in recent years.

Bankwatch suggests that if Romania is to make its contribution to the EU’s target of 32% renewable energy production and a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, it needs to establish a cohesive legislative framework that will speed up the development of a sustainable renewables industry.

The report recommends that Romanian authorities and utilities provide policy frameworks that encourage prosumer participation and decentralised mini-grids to boost rural electrification.

The report also suggests that Romania has massive untapped renewable potential. According to the estimates of the National Energy Strategy, harnessing Romania’s solar resources can lead to installing a total capacity of 4000MW and producing 4.8TWh of energy per year.

The national onshore wind potential is estimated to 23TWh/year and will be reached by installing a total capacity of roughly 14 000MW. When it comes to offshore wind, measures to develop this sector are lacking or not sufficiently covered in energy strategy documents.

Romania also has significant geothermal potential. In 2020, a new project was signed into action supported by European funding. The project seeks to increase energy production from less exploited renewable sources such as biogass and biomass. Furthermore, the project will result in new heating production capacity from geothermal sources and increased existing capacity. The implementation deadline is 2022.

Laura Nazare, coordinator of the Energy Transformation campaign at Bankwatch Romania and author of the report, said: “With the broad support for renewable energy at the European and global levels, Romania has the opportunity to modernise its energy system with new and non-polluting technologies. Decarbonising the economy is necessary to reduce greenhouse gases and environmental impacts, and replacing fossil fuels with green technologies is the sure way to achieve these goals. The Romanian authorities must be aware of this and establish a fair and predictable legislative framework for the sustainable development of the renewable industry.”

Download the report.

Bankwatch is an environmental and human rights group based in Europe. They monitor public finance institutions that are responsible for large investments across the globe, promoting transparency and encouraging a balance of power.

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