The share of Russian gas in Europe’s total gas consumption could have dropped below 25% in 2022, „which is a bit surprising to me, because I didn’t expect Europe to be able to reduce its dependence on Russian gas so quickly,” Zoltan Nagy-Bege, the vice-president of the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE), said on Thursday.
“Only for photovoltaics and wind, authorizations of technical approvals for connection are issued for over 8,000 megawatts. Also, connection contracts have already been signed for approximately 7,000 megawatts. We had such spectacular figures before in the first part of the 2010s, when there were over 20,000 megawatts with technical approvals for connection or with contracts and only 5,000 were built. It is very possible that this story will be repeated to some extent, but I believe that the fact that over 1,000 megawatts have in the last year obtained establishment authorization from ANRE is almost a certainty that this capacity will be built. I am convinced that many more and much bigger projects will come. During the last year, but also at the level of Europe, a decrease in gas consumption can be observed. The latest figures show that, compared to 2021, in 2022 the consumption of natural gas in Europe decreased by more than 20%. If in 2021 this share of the total gas consumption of Europe exceeded 40%, certain figures from November shows that, in 2022, it is possible that Russia’s gas consumption dropped to less than a quarter of the total consumption of Europe, which for me personally is a bit surprising. I did not expect that Europe would succeed in reducing its dependence on Russian gas so quickly. It is also good news that we are becoming more efficient, we are consuming less and that we have found alternatives, which reduces our exposure to this source, which has dominated gas consumption in Europe for the last 15-20 years,” said Nagy-Bege , according to Agerpres.
In his view, Romania has no other way but to follow the European strategy “and make sure that, by 2050, we also achieve neutrality in terms of carbon emissions”, which means “that we will have to invest first of all in renewables, something that is slowly happening.”
“If after 2016 we had a break of more than five years in which practically no new renewable energy production capacities were built, in Romania, two waves are already visible. The first wave is of the prosumers, of the small producers of renewable energy who install, most of them, photovoltaic panels on buildings, domestic and non-domestic. And in this regard, the year 2022 brought us an important contribution even to the production capacity and we reached more than 400 megawatts of capacity installed in these small photovoltaic production capacities. We exceeded the number of 40,000 installations, while at the end of 2021 we had just over 13,000, so it has tripled. If this wave continues, we expect to reach, at the end of 2023, even 140,000 installations, so 100,000 new installations this year, with a capacity of over 1,000 megawatts. But for that many things would have to happen. First of all, the financing from the AFM. There is already a commitment from the Ministry of the Environment and the Administration of the Environment Fund. The second wave is the construction of renewable energy production plants, large plants, where the figures we have at ANRE already show that there is interest. In the course of 2022, we issued establishment authorizations for 880 megawatts, and in the first two months of 2023- for over 200 megawatts,” ANRE vice-president also said.