2015 to bring a new energy strategy

Following several delays, the delegate minister for Energy Razvan Nicolescu promised to place under public debate the new energy strategy for Romania, right after the elections. Thus, following two rounds of public debates, one carried out in 2013 and the second one this summer, the consumers, the producers and the operators in the energy system are expected to put forward their points of view on key issues of the future energy strategy.

For the time being, we’ve learned that two of the four chapters of the document have been already finalized. These two are the least consistent, it’s true, as they are in fact reviewing the current situation of the Romanian energy system and the commitments our country has assumed in this field. After two years of debates issues not yet settled are related to the development of energy transport infrastructure, the future of the thermal energy sector, the future of the nuclear sector, energy security, competitive energy prices, etc., as well as decisions needed to meet the objectives.

“In view of 2020, we have the chance for Romania to produce more primary energy than it will consume. If possible, we would stimulate its domestic processing. It is up to us, this is an achievable objective. By 2020 we could be, along with Denmark, the country to produce more energy than it consumes. This is an important issue if we want to play a regional role in energy,” minister Nicolescu was recently saying.

Analysing the officials’ statements and especially the ones coming from the delegate minister for energy, we could already discern several priorities. One of them could be the rethinking of the energy system by integrating the energy companies, following their ‘breaking apart’ on criteria of production sources or in accordance with the ‘advice’ coming from international organisations, although the move was contradicted by the European energy markets.

The setting up of energy conglomerates including energy producers from several sectors would allow achieving lower production costs – this is an older initiative coming from the authorities, yet its putting into practice has been blocked by trade unions in court.

As the industrial production amounts to 30 percent of the GDP, having low energy prices would be vital for Romanian industry. All thermal energy producers, which face higher costs, agree an energy mix is needed, especially that costs would be shared. One should not forget 30 percent of the energy price is coming from the generating component, the rest coming from distribution tariffs or taxes added on the way to the final consumer, to his pocket.

Another issue is related to nuclear energy, involving everything needed for the nuclear sector’s reorganization. Minister Razvan Nicolescu recently stated that Romania is not going to give up the building of reactors 3 and 4 at Cernavoda nuclear power plant. Romania has already started an analysis of the entire nuclear cycle, from Uranium ore production to energy generating at Cernavoda. Meanwhile, state companies such as Nuclearelectrica and Electrica will take part to the selling auction of distribution and power generating companies that is to be organized by Enel. At the same time, the strategy might reconsider the use of electric power on large scale for heating, giving up the one based on natural gas.

As we are speaking of natural gas, things seem to be simpler following the discovery of resources on the continental shelf of the Romanian Black Sea, as these reserves are expected to provide long-term independence on Russian gas, an independence becoming reality already.

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November 2014

June 2017