Bolstering the electricity grid: A priority to achieve Romania’s 2030 decarbonisation objectives

Electricity grids play a critical role in the European Union’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and become climate neutral by 2050. They must accommodate an increasing demand of clean electricity in transports, buildings’ heating and cooling, industry, production of green hydrogen, and data centres. Projections indicate a surge in electricity consumption of no less than 60% between 2023 and 2030 at EU and UK level.

According to the draft NECP, Romania’s electricity consumption is expected to grow by approximately 38% until 2030, from 46.5 TWh in 2021 to 64 TWh. The increase will be driven by the electrification of several economic sectors. The adoption of heat pumps, along with a steady rise in the number of electric vehicles (EVs) will visibly add to higher electricity consumption.

The European Commission (EC) estimates needed investments of €584bn in the power grids to achieve the integration of vastly increased RES generation – 42.5% by 2030. The figure includes both the distribution and transmission networks, with about of €170bn required for digitalisation (EU Action Plan for Grids, 2023). As Romania charts its course toward a sustainable and decarbonised energy future, the importance of expanding and modernising the transmission and distribution grids cannot be overstated. Grid infrastructure forms the backbone of the energy transition, facilitating the integration of renewable energy sources (RES) and ensuring a reliable and efficient delivery of electricity to consumers, as well as their empowerment according to the new electricity market design.

The investment needs for Romania’s electricity grids are substantial, with €6.8bn earmarked for transmission and an estimated €9.2 – 11.5bn required for distribution. Such investments are essential to accommodate the growing RES capacity and to meet the targets outlined in the draft NECP. Failure to adequately invest in the power grid risks bottlenecking the transition to clean energy and Romania’s ability to achieve its climate and energy objectives.

Investing in the power grid development represents a critical opportunity for Romania to modernise its energy infrastructure, enhance grid resilience, and drive economic growth. Strategic investment in grid modernisation will improve energy efficiency, reduce transmission losses, and bolster reliability, ultimately benefitting consumers and businesses alike. To realise these benefits, the following recommendations should be considered:

  • Stable and clear regulatory framework that supports investments
  • Increased funding from EU mechanisms such as the Modernisation Fund (MF)
  • Consistence between the national strategic documents
  • Ensure adequate workforce for grid development
  • Prepare for a back-up scenario in which not all investment needs are met by 2030.

alina chirita team epg
Alina Arsani, EPG Head of Energy Systems

Alina Arsani is leading the Energy Systems Programme of EPG. She has experience in (macro) economic analysis and public affairs, being specialised in public policies assessment.

She is a PhD candidate at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, where she taught microeconomics and macroeconomics courses for undergraduate students.

Before joining EPG, Alina worked for the Department for Foreign Investments and Trade within the Romanian Government, as well as a public affairs expert for one of the largest utility companies in Romania and as a manager for PwC Romania.


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