The Federation of Associations of Energy Utility Companies (ACUE) and the strategic communication agency Links Associates, in media partnership exclusively with RRA and Rador, organized the online conference “Romanian Energy Policies in a European context. Liberalization of the energy market in Romania”.
The challenges of the Green Deal for Romania, the liberalization of the Romanian natural gas and electricity market were the main topics debated by political decision makers at the highest level and relevant players in the Romanian energy industry.
The conference was opened by the message of the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, who announced an increase in the transition fund to achieve the goal of climate neutrality, including for Romania.
"We will support the sectors and regions most affected by the transition. Carboniferous regions, such as those in Romania, are an example. The proposal envisages increasing the transition fund from € 7.5 billion to € 40 billion. Specifically, for Romania, it is an important increase from 700 million euros to over 4.4 billion euros. This is the third largest allocation from this fund and will support vulnerable workers in Romania, creating new economic opportunities for SMEs and start-ups, "said Kadri Simson.
The Commissioner also welcomed Romania's efforts and initiatives anchored in the Green Deal.
"In the field of renewable energy sources, Romania has an excellent history. By 2017, you have exceeded the target of 24% energy from renewable sources. And you are on the right track to meet the goal set for 2020. It is a huge investment opportunity for Romania, "said Kadri Simson.
The Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Environment, Virgil Popescu, spoke about how Romania can make the transition from coal to green energy. "Romania must start building new power generation units. We can't jump directly from coal to renewables. We need a transition and this transition can be through natural gas. And I want to thank the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, for her support.
In parallel with the transition from coal to gas, we must also deal with renewables. We need to find new forms. Solar and offshore wind are some of them, but we have enormous potential to explore in the Black Sea. We have nuclear energy, we have Unit 1 and 2 from Cernavoda, we want to build Unit 3 and 4. We want nuclear energy to be supported by all EU states. We want nuclear energy that meets high safety standards.
We want security for our citizens, we want competitive prices for our citizens, Romanians and Europeans. We want greater interconnection between Romania and all EU states, we want interconnection at the level of natural gas transmission, at the level of electricity transport, we want a united European market ", declared Minister Virgil Popescu.
Present at the debates, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the European Union, E.S. Luminița Odobescu, gave assurances that the energy sector is a priority on the Brussels agenda.
"The Green Plan is already on the table, it is extremely important because it will practically guide the use of European resources by the member states. The energy sector is very important, it is a priority on our agenda and is practically an integral part of this economic recovery and resilience plan. We also have this Ecological Transition Fund to deal with the economic and social consequences in the most vulnerable areas, we are talking mainly about mining areas, but also about mono-industrial areas. These are amounts imported with money, they are allocated on the basis of a transition plan that the Ministry of European Funds is already working on in close cooperation with the local authorities ", specified Luminița Odobescu.
The total deregulation of gas and electricity prices is a first for Romania and follows the rules adopted at the level of the European Union. It is a process that takes place in stages, and the date of July 1, 2020 is a benchmark, when gas prices for household customers will be set on the free market, depending on supply and demand. Also, from January 1, 2021, electricity prices will be completely deregulated for the population.