Climate changeEnergy

Romania’s renewable energy sector’s current state and future prospects

The Black Sea region has enormous on-shore, and offshore energy potential in natural gas verified reserves and renewable energy. It is located on the European Union’s eastern border and offers to diversify the European energy market’s convenient energy sources. The Black Sea projects are of strategic importance for Romania, the EU’s second-largest natural gas producer since they potentially extend the country’s mix of regional relevance and energy resources.

In terms of the renewable offshore potential, a World Bank assessment estimates that the overall technical capacity of the offshore wind that is in Black Sea is 435 GW (floating 166 GW, fixed 269 GW). According to the estimates, Romania has a total capacity of about 76 GW (floating 54 GW, fixed 22 GW). Furthermore, on 19 November 2020, the EU (European Commission) announced the EU Strategy on the Offshore Renewable Energy, which aims to increase Europe’s deployed offshore wind capacity from 12 GW today to over 60 GW in the year 2030 and 300 GW in the year 2050. These goals would assist the EU in meeting its energy and climate goals by 2030, as well as achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. However, due to unfinished offshore wind energy initiatives of member nations, including Romania’s, Europe has not seen mature projects that will harness Black Sea renewable power potential.

The growth of renewable energy alternatives in Romania was envisioned by Law No. 220 of 2008, which established a system to promote energy generation from renewable sources. Following the initial wave of renewable energy development, Romania now has installed wind energy capacities of 3,000 MW and photovoltaic energy capacities of over 1,400 MW. These figures correspond to the European Union’s target of 24 percent renewable energy in final consumption by 2020, which Romania has adopted.

Due to the conclusion of the GC accreditation term for eligible producers and decommissioned hydro generating units, total RES capacity decreased slightly after 2016. Since 2015, RES production has remained largely stable, with no new capacity constructed, but electricity generated has been quite low due to older plants’ reduced capabilities (c.22%).

The generation blend is one of the most well-balanced in the EU, with 19.5 GW of installed capacity and consequent power generation evenly distributed across renewable energy sources such as hydro, nuclear, natural gas, wind and solar as well as coal. With the exception of RES units that were installed in the last decade, the remaining electricity production assets have reached or are nearing the end of their useful lives. Coal plants will be decommissioned in the future, and traditional generation sources will be replaced (of which coal and the natural gas-propelled units are exposed to the increasing EU ETS costs not covered by the market earnings). These assets should be substituted with new capacity that uses renewable energy sources or high-efficiency conventional power plants.

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