All posts tagged: Romania


Romanian Power Move: damming rivers, halting renewables, blaming NGOs

With electricity prices sky-high, at the end of 2021 Romania’s government slapped huge new taxes directly on energy producers, with one huge carve out: the tax only applies to green energy producers – fossil fuels are exempt. Worse, Bucharest amended other laws that effectively cancel the nation’s Green Certificates scheme, the only renewable energy incentives in place. Just months after agreeing to phase out coal, green investors are being punished. In this edition of Romania’s Power Move, Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum explains this fresh challenge to renewables.

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Romanian Power Move: Artists, Civil Society and local governments strive for a Just Transition

With national offices in Bucharest, NGOs Bankwatch and Greenpeace have long been active in Romania’s coalfields. Today both NGO’s are working closely with local governments in Gorj County – the nation’s lignite center – to help guide its transition into a renewable energy powerhouse. In this edition of the Romanian Power Move, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews how NGOs are assisting leaders on the ground to access Brussels-based support to fuel a green tech transformation within the nation’s most polluting region.

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Romanian Power Move: Retraining for a Just Transition from coal

Following advice from the World Bank, most of Romania’s coal mines started shuttering in 1997. But this pivotal sector’s collapse left hundreds of thousands unemployed with few resources to help them transition to new careers. Only now, as the nation’s last underground mines prepare to close and Bucharest plots their lignite phase-out, are so-called “Just Transition” retraining programs and other projects finally being implemented. Next in the on-going Romanian Power Move series, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the nation’s rocky steps towards a “just” coal transition.

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Romanian Power Move: Decarbonization means burning wood instead of coal

Weeks after agreeing to phase out coal, Bucharest struck a deal to convert an aging state-owned coal-fired power plant to burn locally-sourced “sustainable” biomass instead. But Romania’s forest-covered mountains are already suffering from illegal timber harvesting and biodiversity loss. Yet until this twist in the nation’s “decarbonization” plan, little biomass was burnt for electricity. Activists fear accelerated deforestation. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the development in his on-going Romanian Power Move series.

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Romania part 2 | The Global Energy Transition Podcast – Episode 4

After committing to phase out coal by 2032, Romania has begun a sweeping energy transition. But it is off to a very rocky start. Though a key condition of their nearly €30 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan approved by the European Commission calls for the nation’s coal mines and coal burning power plants to shutter, what will replace them remains a cause of concern. During COP26 in Glasgow, Romania’s provisional government surprisingly inked a deal with the U.S. to construct a fleet of experimental nuclear units while partnering with a Norwegian company to convert an old coal plant to burn biomass instead – despite Romania already having a large problem with illegal timbering. But more than an economic issue, Romania’s energy transition requires a cultural shift as well as an influx of worker re-training programs. And now as energy costs rise, Bucharest is blaming several NGOs for higher prices.

In this episode, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes a deeper look in Part Two of his Romanian Power Move series. Listen for interviews with campaigners from Beyond Coal Europe, researchers from NGO 2Celsius, and Bankwatch Romania’s National Director, Ioana Ciută who recounts her experience testifying before Parliament. Miner’s Hymn by Jurjak from the Planeta Petrila Original Soundtrack used by permission. The full video can be found here.

You can also read more from host Michael Buchsbaum about Romania’s energy transition in the ongoing Romanian Power Move series on the Global Energy Transition blog here, visit his website here or follow Buchsbaum on Twitter: @LMicalBuchsbaum.

You can play the episode below, and it’s also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Shownotes:

Report “Coal in Romania – A review of coal-based assets and how they affect the environment” by Bankwatch Romania

Europe Beyond Coal “Romania commits to exiting coal by 2032 at the latest

Energy Policy Group & Greenpeace România report “The sustainable transition of Gorj County

2Celsius – Romanian environmental NGO

Audio from the podcast was mixed and edited by audio expert Christian Kreymborg.

 

Romanian Power Move: Building Uncle Sam’s Nukes

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.

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Romania part 1 | The Global Energy Transition Podcast – Episode 3

Now committed to phasing out coal by 2032, Romania is set to embark on a sweeping energy transition. A key condition of their nearly €30 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan approved by the European Commission, the mines and old power plants will be replaced by new solar and hydrogen as well as fossil gas development. But during COP26,  Romania’s provisional government surprisingly inked a deal with the U.S. to construct a fleet of experimental nuclear units their too.
In this episode, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes a deeper look in Part One of his Romanian Power Move series. Listen for interviews from Romania’s Energy Ministry State Secretary Dan Drāgan who explains the government’s “decarbonization” vision and the country’s planned shift to fossil gas and solar.
Offering more insights and color commentary, we also hear from Bankwatch Romania’s Just Transition Campaigner, Dan Dobre, just after he returned from the coal fields, and also Bankwatch’s Romanian Energy and Transition Campaign Coordinator, Laura Nazare from the NGOs national office in Bucharest. Click here for more reports from Bankwatch and to go deeper, readers and listeners can click herehere and here. To read one of the transformation strategies for Gorj County, click here.
You can also read more from host Michael Buchsbaum about Romania’s energy transition in the ongoing Romanian Power Move series on the Global Energy Transition blog here, visit his website here or follow Buchsbaum on Twitter @LMicalBuchsbaum.

You can play the episode below, and it’s also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Shownotes:

Report “Coal in Romania – A review of coal-based assets and how they affect the
environment” by Bankwatch Romania

Europe Beyond Coal “Romania commits to exiting coal by 2032 at the latest

Greenpeace CEE Press Hub “The Oltenia Energy Complex calls for more than € 1 billion to restructure and decarbonize, but significantly increases CO2 emissions over the next 10 years

Energy Policy Group & Greenpeace România report “The sustainable transition of Gorj County

2Celsius – Romanian environmental NGO

Balkan Green Energy News “Romania tells EU it would close all coal mines by 2032

Romania Insider “European Commission greenlights Romania’s EUR 29.2 bln recovery and resilience plan

 

Romanian Power Move: Promises of a gassy, green hydrogen (r)evolution

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.

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Romanian Power Move: Coal-lapsing into solar, fossil gas and beyond

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.

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Romanian Power Move: Bucharest takes billions in EU decarbonization funds

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.

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