Romania could suffer at any time from a major power outage (blackout), during winter peak periods, warn some specialists. Production capacities are insufficient while the demand is rising, especially during extremely cold periods.
“Romania needs 10,500 MW at the peak of consumption: 1,400 MW are provided by nuclear power, 3,000 MW by hydro, 3,000 MW by coal, 800 MW from other sources, and we need get the remaining 2,000 MW. Maybe we can get 1,500 MW from imports, if it will be available”, says an expert. In cold winters, at minus 30 degrees Celsius, we cannot rely on renewable, he said.
“There is the imports option, but when there is a problem here, there are also problems in the neighboring countries. My conclusion is that a blackout is imminent, “says Cristian Secosan, general manager at Romelectro. “We have less than 9,500 MW, if there is no wind and no photovoltaics,” Secosan said.
In turn, ANRE’s former president, Niculae Havrileț, is optimistic: “I’m not afraid of a blackout, because we had special atmospheric phenomena and there was not blackout. On the other hand, even in more important economies, such as the US, blackouts happen from time to time, on the stadiums for example. It can appear anywhere, but in Romania it is less likely,” Havrileț said, for energynomics.ro.
While some experts say there is a shortage of 2,000 MW on the peak time, Havrileț believes that the capacity deficit is a little smaller and can be secured through investments and imports.
“I think it is not really 2,000 MW, it is not so much. On the other hand, the real capacity is growing. The plant in Brazi will have to complete the repair works that are ongoing to put an additional 400 MW in place, and there are the additional 250 MW that will be entering the system next year when the thermal power plant at Iernut will be modernized. These are very important, and, anyway, we have the interconnection capacity required to provide 1,500 MW of energy security. Nevertheless, we are not under the risk of blackout problems, “Havrileț says.
The National Power Dispatcher expects this winter to confront a situation similar to that from last winter, when there were registered record electricity and natural gas consumption due to the extremely low temperatures (minus 15-20 degrees) recorded for a period of 7-10 days, says the draft Energy Program for the winter 2017 – 2018, crafted by the Ministry of Energy.
In recent weeks, large areas of Bucharest have been left without electricity for several hours, as a result of damage to 220/110/10 kV Fundeni Electric Transformer Station, one of Bucharest’s three transformation stations. According to Corina Popescu, Chief Executive Officer of Transelectrica, in addition to repairs and maintenance work, it is necessary that a fourth transformation station to be built, considering that Bucharest has developed a lot and its energy consumption has increased.