More than 46.000 people in Romania signed a petition with a demand to cut energy bills through green investments. Activists submitted it to the Ministry of Energy at a protest in Bucharest.
Several dozen citizens tore up their electricity and heating bills and gave them in a bag to Secretary of State in the Ministry of Energy Dan Drăgan. The Declic community, a platform for campaigns and petitions from the city of Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, collected 46.000 signatures in just a month behind a demand for the government to cut energy bills through green investments.
Activists gathered in front of the Ministry of Energy to protest as energy costs for citizens surged to records. The event was organized by Declic, Greenpeace, Bankwatch and 2Celsius. Their representatives spoke to Drăgan, who informed them about the reforms that are underway in accordance with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP or PNRR in Romanian).
Authorities failed to back renewables when their costs were declining
“The Ministry of Energy lacks vision and continues to support fossil fuels. At this rate, we will end up with tens of kilometers of unusable gas pipelines, because citizens will simply not be able to afford to pay their bills, ” said Catalina Hoparteanu, Declic’s campaign coordinator, who also asked officials to create a legal framework that would help increase the percentage of renewables in the energy mix.
Nazare: Solar and wind are the cheapest forms of electricity production, but they cover only 14% of consumption needs in Romania
Declic claims it has almost a million active members campaigning for a fairer society.
“The wrong decisions made by the energy authorities have brought us here,” according to Laura Nazare, coordinator of the energy transition campaign in Bankwatch Romania. She said support schemes were stopped during the time when the costs of producing renewable energy were in decline.
“Today, solar and wind are the cheapest forms of electricity production, but they cover only 14% of consumption needs. A massive increase in these forms of energy is urgent to reduce the bill, but also pollution,” Nazare stressed.
Environmentalists demand much more ambitious green energy target for 2030
The four organizations urged the ministry to increase the 2030 green energy target to 40% from 30.7%.
“New gas investments are neither the most environmentally friendly nor the cheapest solutions in the energy transition and will keep Romania stuck in the fossil fuel era for even longer,” said Alin Tănase, campaign coordinator in Greenpeace Romania.
It is time to assume an ambitious target for 2030, especially since Romania has a high potential for solar and wind energy production, both onshore and offshore, executive director of 2Celsius Mihai Stoica asserted.
Declic gave the Ministry of Energy an analysis and recommendations for the energy transition by three researchers from the InfoClima network, showing green energy is cheaper.
Romania rolled out a law in October to limit the prices of gas and electricity for consumers, but it also introduced a windfall tax for producers, with the exception of power plants that run on fossil fuels.