Environment

Romania erases new coal-fired thermal power plants from its plans

Romania coal fired thermal power plants

Photo: Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Published

November 23, 2020

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Published:

November 23, 2020

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Minister of Economy, Energy and the Business Environment Virgil Popescu claimed no more coal power plants would be built in Romania while the wording of a call to shareholders of CE Oltenia suggests the company intends to give up on the last such project.

The plans for a 600 MW thermal power plant in Rovinari seem to be doomed as Complexul Energetic Oltenia – CE Oltenia asked its shareholders to make a decision according to the current conditions in the energy market in Romania and Europe, the domestic media reported. The news follows the claim by Minister of Economy, Energy and the Business Environment Virgil Popescu that not one more coal power plant would be built in the country.

Dead end in talks with Chinese partners

In the call for a general meeting, scheduled for December 14, the state-owned coal and power producer questioned “the real intention and ability” to install the facility. Negotiations with China Huadian began in 2012, after which they were suspended in 2016 and continued two years ago, but without any progress.

The Chinese partner was supposed to become the majority shareholder of the new facility in southwest Romania.

No business case for coal

In the meantime, carbon allowances and other costs burdened CE Oltenia and the company is currently counting on billions of euros of state aid to keep it afloat, close several coal mines and thermal power units and install gas and solar power plants. The COVID-19 pandemic struck another financial blow this year.

Bankwatch noted that the Rovinari project was quietly left out of the National Energy Strategy, published in September, and stressed Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are now the only countries in Southeastern Europe that still intend to build coal power plants. The organization criticized CE Oltenia for the decision to lean on natural gas as an unsustainable.

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