Electricity

Romania to switch its coal plants to reserve as it closes them, without decommissioning

Romania switch coal plants to reserve closes decommissioning

Photo: BeValorous from Pixabay

Published

July 6, 2022

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Published:

July 6, 2022

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The Romanian cabinet decided to extend the coal phaseout back to 2032. Faced with the energy crisis, it also gave up on the plan to dismantle some of the thermal power plants that it closes, opting instead to keep them in reserve.

Just a month after announcing it would accelerate the coal exit deadline by two years to 2030, Romania backflipped and again determined 2032 as the final year of the use of the fossil fuel in the country. In its emergency ordinance, the government gave up from the initiative that was included in the draft.

Romania vowed in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP or PNNR) to phase out coal by 2032, so the proposal to push forward the deadline by two years was a surprise given that most European countries are turning back to fossil fuels in light of the energy crisis and the risk of Russian gas supply disruptions.

Romania is increasing the production of coal and reactivating some of the coal plants that were closed due to financial losses

Furthermore, the cabinet of Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă gave up on the plan to dismantle some of the coal-fired thermal power plants that are due for closure. The final version of the executive order stipulates they would just be kept idle.

Coal plants in the country have a combined capacity of 4.9 GW. The plans to replace some of it with gas-fired power plants weren’t changed. Romania is also increasing the production of coal and reactivating some of the coal plants that halted production earlier over high costs for carbon dioxide emission permits and the lack of liquidity.

The closure of two coal plant units, planned for the end of this year, could be postponed

Citing the need to maintain the safety and stability of the national electricity system, the government left the possibility to postpone the closure of coal plant units Rovinari 3 and Turceni 7, totaling 660 MW. They are due to be shut down on December 31. The emergency ordinance stipulates the closure can be delayed upon the request of transmission system operator Transelectrica.

Several European Union member states formally stuck with their climate goals but are still getting retired coal plants back online to prevent a collapse in the electricity and district heating systems. The emergency measures and planning are being ramped up to prepare for the winter.

The administration in Brussels is developing its REPowerEU package with the aim to wean off Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, while also pushing for faster deployment of renewables.

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