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Romania tells EU it would close all coal mines by 2032

Romania EU close all coal mines 2032

Photo: Giglio_di_mare from Pixabay

Published

May 26, 2021

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Published:

May 26, 2021

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Within the proposal for its National Recovery and Resilience Plan, Romania said it intends to stop the excavation of coal in 2032 at the latest and replace conventional power plants in the meantime. The European Union allocated EUR 29.2 billion in grants and loans from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, but the government asked for EUR 41.5 billion.

Without an official announcement from the country’s officials, Romania committed to phasing out coal by 2032 in a document it sent to the European Commission. Hotnews.ro reported the package for negotiations on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP or PNNR in Romanian) includes a plan to start clearing “a large part” of the coal mines by 2030 and stop producing the fossil fuel within two years after that.

The move is part of renewable energy promotion and related reforms with a provisional budget of EUR 1.8 billion. It was listed in an accompanying document and scheduled to be implemented by 2023.

A large part of the proposed measures lean on decarbonizing the transportation system

Romania said it would roll out a hydrogen strategy and remove regulatory hurdles alongside a gradual replacement of the conventional electricity generation capacity, the report adds. One of the milestones is to reach a renewable energy share of 34% in consumption by 2030.

In the section for decarbonization of the transportation system, the government said it would introduce ecotaxes, discourage the registration of cars older than 15 years and boost scrapping schemes for polluting vehicles and tax incentives for zero emission vehicles.

Only 660 MW in coal plants to remain as of 2027

Of note, the plan for the restructuring of coal mining company and thermal power plant operator Complexul Energetic Oltenia – CE Oltenia revealed the electricity generation capacity would be cut by 82% to 660 MW by 2027, leaving just two units at the Rovinari facility.

The troubled coal utility earlier dropped plans to install another 600 MW there and Minister of Energy Virgil Popescu claimed Romania wouldn’t build coal-fired thermal power plants anymore. There are also three such systems currently operating in the country that are not run by CE Oltenia and there are still no plans for their closure.

Romania asked for EUR 16 billion for green transformation

The green transition pillar of the NRRP is valued at EUR 15.3 billion. Trains and urban mobility take up EUR 5 billion and the second-largest element is water management – EUR 4 billion. The remainder is for afforestation, waste management and circular economy, energy efficiency in buildings, renewables and energy efficiency.

Officials have failed to present coal phaseout deadlines to citizens

Separately, the country said it would spend EUR 600 million on the development of the natural gas infrastructure so that hydrogen and other green gases could be added. The government proposed to fund the solutions for cycling, walking and other nonmotorized forms of transportation with EUR 120 million.

Government wants 42% above its quota from EU

Romania has entered negotiations with the European Commission on its draft NRRP.

It asked for EUR 41.5 billion in grants and cheap loans through 2026, but only EUR 29.2 billion was allocated to the country from the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. It is worth EUR 672.5 billion, making it the biggest component of the sustainable recovery package outside of the regular seven-year budget and the overall European Green Deal.

The EUR 29.2 billion for Romania is split almost evenly into grants and loans.

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