26 May 2021

Leaked Romanian government document outlines 2032 coal exit

BUCHAREST, 26 May 2021 – A leaked Romanian government document entitled Flagship reforms of the Romanian Recovery and Resilience Plan indicates that Romania intends to phase out coal by 2032. The document states that a large share of the country’s operating coal mines will be “put to safety” by 2030, and closed when the country phases out coal by 2032. The document offers no specific closure dates for any of the country’s coal plants, but says Romania aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 34 percent by 2030.

The leak comes as the European Commission decides whether to authorise a Romanian government plan to inject EUR 1.3 billion in state aid into state-owned energy company Complexul Energetic Oltenia (CE Oltenia). The company produces 90 percent of Romania’s coal-fired electricity, but will soon go bankrupt [1] if it is not restructured. Its proposed plan [2] does not foresee a coal phaseout – contradicting the leaked government document – and if enacted, would result in a 28 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

This is the first time we’ve seen an official document containing a coal phase out date for Romania, but to align with the Paris agreement and the EU’s Green Deal, Romania needs to phase out coal by 2030 at the latest and implement a series of reforms that start boosting renewable energy now, and leave fossil gas behind,” said Vlad Catuna, energy campaigner at Greenpeace. “We’ll have a clearer picture of how Romania plans to do this when we have the final restructuring plan for state-owned energy company Complexul Energetic Oltenia. That’s currently with the European Commission, which must decide whether Romania’s planned use of state aid supports EU decarbonisation targets or undermines them.”

Romania’s government clearly understands that its loss-making coal industry has become a burden, and that closing it is the only logical way forward. But plans for winding down the industry must include clear support measures for coal workers and their communities to transition,” said Alexandru Mustață, Just Transition Coordinator at Bankwatch Romania. “The leaked government document only covers Romania’s coal mines and says nothing about its remaining coal plants, in particular Paroseni, Iasi or Govora, which are not covered under the restructuring plan for state-owned energy company Complexul Energetic Oltenia. They should close well before 2030, and there are quality studies showing this is possible without endangering Romania’s energy security.”

Until now, all we heard from the Romanian government was how it wanted to use taxpayer money to bail out coal. Seeing evidence that Romania plans to exit coal in this decade is a majorbreakthrough in Europe’s coal end game, and if carried through, would lay the foundations for the smooth transition of the country’s coal communities,” said Mahi Sideridou, Managing Director at Europe Beyond Coal. “Romania cannot afford to continue mining and burning coal; it just doesn’t add up for the climate and Romania’s balance books.”

 

NOTES:

  1. CE Oltenia has only been able to pay for its own Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) allowances thanks to substantial injections of public funding, including a government rescue loan of EUR 251 million approved by the European Commission in 2020:   https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/mex_20_323
  2. CE Oltenia restructuring plan: https://www.ceoltenia.ro/documente/Transparenta/Plan%20restructurare%20CEO.pdf
  3. Leaked Romanian government document, Flagship reforms of the Romanian Recovery and Resilience Plan: https://media.hotnews.ro/media_server1/document-2021-05-21-24812623-0-document-reforme-pnrr.pdf
  4. Study showing Romania can exit coal without risking energy security: https://www.enpg.ro/study-accelerated-lignite-exit-in-bulgaria-romania-and-greece-eng-ro/

 

CONTACTS

Vlad Catuna, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace (English, Romanian)
[email protected], +40 31 435 57 43

Alexandru Mustață, National campaigner, Bankwatch Romania (English, Romanian)
[email protected], +40 726 770 808

Mahi Sideridou, Managing Director, Europe Beyond Coal campaign (Greek, English, French)
[email protected], +45 93 602033

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal (English)
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185

 

ABOUT:

Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu

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