During COP26 in Glasgow, Romania’s caretaker government announced a surprise new partnership with the United States to develop a fleet of so-far unlicensed Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) to help replace it’s aging coal-fired infrastructure. The announcement builds upon the €8 billion deal the two nations signed over the summer of 2021 to refurbish one reactor at Romania’s only nuclear plant, while constructing two more on site. Michael Buchsbaum reviews Bucharest’s nuclear ambitions in this installment of the ongoing Romanian Power Move series.
Touted as a vital decarbonization tool, hydrogen’s eventual climate benefit hangs upon how it’s produced. When from fossil gas, it’s potentially as bad as coal. But when generated by renewables, it may live up to the hype. Flush with billions in European Union funds, Romania looks to become a hydrogen hub: producing H2 for local industry, home heating, new rail and mass transit projects and shipping on the Danube. And despite being Europe’s second biggest fossil gas producer, Bucharest assures its hydrogen revolution will be green. Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum continues his on-going Romanian review.
Currently generating over a fifth of the nation’s electricity, in September the Romanian government announced a coal phase-out by 2032. Though supported by various EU funds and intended to pave the way towards mid-century carbon neutrality, Romania’s energy transformation plan is far from emissions free. Despite vast renewable potential, Bucharest intends to replace most of their lignite plants with fossil gas and eventually “clean” hydrogen. In this blog, based on field research funded by a Fellowship from the International Journalists’ Program, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes us to both Romania’s coalfields and speaks with Romanian Ministry of Energy State Secretary, Dan Drăgan.
After years of resistance, this September Romania promised to exit coal by 2032 ahead of receiving a €29 billion chunk of NextGenerationEU redevelopment money, some 40% earmarked for green and sustainable projects. But then Bucharest’s coalition fell and a caretaker government has since announced plans for a fleet of new fossil gas and biomass plants to power the country past coal. And during COP26 they signed a partnership with the United States to construct Europe’s largest new nuclear fleet. In this series, based on field research funded by a Fellowship from the International Journalists’ Program, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum, trains a spotlight on Romania’s controversial energy transition.
Southeast Europe is known for its gas dependency on Russia and lignite power, but its enormous potential for renewables could help Europe meet its climate targets and strengthen regional economies. Julian Popov takes a look.
While the European Union has been busy with the new Clean Energy Package, some important developments are also taking place in South-East Europe, where the Energy Community Treaty operates. Journalist and energy expert Oleg Savitsky attended explains how policymakers are trying to transform the energy markets of the EU’s neighbourhood.
Coal accounts for about a quarter of energy produced in Romania, which is a net electricity exporter. Compared to countries like Poland where coal dependency is much higher, discussions about a coal phaseout could be more advanced. Why aren’t they? asks Claudia Ciobanu.