Romania needs 700 million euro for the transition of mining areas affected by the gradual elimination of coal from the energy system by 2030. Investments can be obtained from the budget allocated by the Just Transition Mechanism, from which our country could attract 757 million euro, results from a study coordinated by the think-tank network SE3T.net, to which Energy Policy Group (EPG) and Bankwatch Romania contributed.
According to the quoted source, the delay of a plan for the gradual elimination of coal will lead, in the case of Romania, to higher costs by 200 million euro per year, in the form of subsidies granted for inefficient thermal power plants, which are felt in the citizens’ pockets.
“Instead, the Romanian state can invest these amounts in renewable energy, energy efficiency and the protection of vulnerable consumers, investments that would further generate income and support the energy transition. Romania can gradually reduce the use of coal without endangering energy security, taking into account the low lignite usage of late. In recent years, coal-fired power plants have been used at a capacity of just over 10 percent, and by 2025, the utilization rate is expected to reach only 4-5%. Generally, an unit on coal cannot operate profitably at usage factors below 50%. Decision makers need to plan for the phasing out of coal based on a well-defined strategy that takes into account economic and social impact,” the study said.
Therefore, 28,000 jobs could disappear in Romania, of which 9,000 are industrial workers and 19,000 jobs indirectly affected, the quoted study writes.
“Jiu Valley and Gorj County are the regions that will be affected by coal removal, but the potential for redevelopment of areas is huge and diverse, in areas such as agriculture, tourism, construction and furniture, textile, food or electronic components production. Also, the growth of renewable energy units in the area and energy efficiency projects will create new jobs and can turn the area into a leader in this field,” explains Alexandru Mustaţă, Bankwatch Romania campaign coordinator, quoted by Agerpres.
The data included in the research show that Bulgaria, Romania and Greece currently produce 9% of lignite-based electricity in the entire European Union (EU). “This percentage may increase in the coming years, if the pace of coal removal remains as slow as the rest of the countries modernize their energy systems. Bulgaria and Romania have not yet set a date for the phasing out of lignite, while Greece set it for the year 2028,” the document states.