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NGOs want a more drastic recovery plan at CE Oltenia

1 June 2021

Six environmental organizations are calling for a more ambitious restructuring plan for the Oltenia Energy Complex. The organizations argue in a report addressed to the officials of the European Commission that the restructuring plan in its current form makes Romania more dependent on fossil fuels and prevents the fair transition of Gorj County.

The final vote in the European Parliament ruled that the Fair Transition Fund does not allow “fossil fuel investments” and makes funding conditional on the commitment to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at national level. In addition, recent media reports indicate Romania’s commitment to give up coal in 2032, despite the need to eliminate this fuel by 2030 in order to comply with the Paris Agreement.

Thus, CAN Europe, Greenpeace, Bankwatch and Europe Beyond Coal, with the support of the European Environmental Bureau and ClientEarth claim that the Oltenia Energy Complex (CEO) plan contradicts the conditions of the Fair Transition Fund, European state aid rules and the principles of the European Green Deal.

The main criticisms brought by the environmental organizations refer to the continuation of coal mining after 2030 and the installation of new fossil gas-based capacities that will become irrecoverable assets and will hinder the energy transition. According to the International Energy Agency, in order to achieve climate neutrality in 2050, new investments in coal and fossil fuels must now be stopped. CEO not only plans new investments until 2026, but also plans to increase carbon emissions in the context of the accelerated rise in the price of carbon certificates, NGOs claim.

The territorial plan for fair transition of Gorj County, which should be submitted in June, is in question because there is no restructured plan finalized and approved for the CEO. The European Commission has been involved in managing the elaboration of the Territorial Plans for the fair transition in Romania and should ensure the good governance and coherence of the plans with the national and European climate targets. If the Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp) allows the restructuring plan to keep coal-fired energy later than 2030 while increasing fossil fuel assets, it would undermine the support of DG Regio and DG Energy to the Gorj authorities to complete The plan for a Fair transition, also emphasizes the organizations in the report.

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