Expert advice on spatial planning for renewable energy sources and land hierarchy conflict

In response to the Commission’s communication on March 8, 2022, titled “RePowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure, and sustainable energy,” EU Member States have been called upon to diversify their energy sources and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. To facilitate the rapid development of renewable energy projects while minimizing their territorial impact, the European Commission introduced several key initiatives as part of the "REPowerEU Plan."

Why Romania needs to establish an independent scientific advisory body on climate change

Independent scientific advisory bodies are consultative organisations composed of various experts with the role of advising governments on climate policy and monitoring progress towards reaching climate targets. Their overarching role includes identifying the shortcomings in climate policy and offering scientific advice to improve it. Climate policy would thus be enhanced by linking the latest scientific evidence to policymaking and filling the gap left by the lack of institutional capacity and in-house expertise of the government. Through this influx of expertise, Romania could also gain more ownership over its climate policies, by enabling domestic debate and initiative, rather than merely transposing EU legislation. Ana-Maria Niculicea, EPG Researcher, Clean Economy Team Ana-Maria Niculicea is a Researcher at Energy Policy Group focusing on aspects relating to climate governance and the social acceptance of the transition. She holds a MSc in Politics, Economics and Philosophy from University of Hamburg and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from National University of Political Studies and Public Administration.  Contact: ana.niculicea@enpg.ro

A Whole-Lifecycle approach to the Romanian construction sector: status and barriers in the contextof the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) brings new provisions on accounting and managing whole-lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions in buildings. This approach, which implies addressing emissions along a building’s entire value chain (fromthe production of construction materials to demolition and post-demolition phases) can help increase coordination and grow low-carbon construction industries and had already been applied in several EU Member States before the revision of the EPBD. For countries yet institutionally unfamiliar with the concept of whole-life carbon (WLC), such as Romania, implementing the EPBD provisions on lifecycle emissions will imply a major regulatory overhaul. In Romania, the major barrier to implementation of a WLC approach to buildings is the diversity and siloed application of existing legislation. Responsibilities are fragmented between multiple competent authorities, with insufficient coordination, as well as a lack of appropriate updating of policies. Existing or new policies could serve as umbrella frameworks, increasing coherence between the regulations, standards and specifications governing the materials production, construction, refurbishment, and demolition phases of buildings. Specific points of entry could be national construction laws, public procurement frameworks, or the transpositions of EU directives on sustainable materials, such as the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation. To implement WLC and launch a low-emissions construction industry, Romania must overcome other barriers, including the high cost of producing low-carbon construction products, a lack of accessible funding and market creation instruments, low institutional capacity for implementation and cultural barriers including resistance to change driven by a lack of clarity in the benefits associated with green buildings. If these barriers are addressed, Romania’s construction sector, already an important employer and economic contributor, can create additional value by entering the green construction market, which is growing across the EU. Overcoming these barriers will also ensure compliance with the revised EPBD and aligning Romania’s construction legislation with the EU-wide transition to a low-carbon economy. Luciana Miu, EPG Head of Clean Economy Luciana Miu is the Head of Clean Economy at Energy Policy Group. She holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Systems from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Energy Efficiency of Residential Buildings from the Imperial College London. Before joining EPG, Luciana worked for the UK Parliament and for the British Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as well as a consultant for Climate-KIC and London City Hall. She is passionate about volunteer work, being one of the founding members of European Youth Energy Network and a professional speaker for conferences dedicated to the role of youth in energy transition. Contact: luciana.miu@enpg.ro

Modelling of the Romanian Electricity Sector, 2025-2040

To reach climate neutrality by 2050, the European Union has set a 55% emission reduction target for 2030 and the European Commission has proposed a 90% reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Romania, through its multiple strategies and plans, has set out a vision for gradually decreasing its emissions. While these documents reflect significant strides forward for the energy transition, especially by committing to a coal phaseout calendar by 2032, they are fraught with inconsistencies and partly rely on sizeable investments in fossil capacities. Various projects on nuclear and hydro energy are also constantly announced with limited assessment of their suitability in an increasingly decarbonised power sector. In this report, we assess Romania’s energy transition pathway. The European Gas Market Model and the European Power Market Model developed by REKK were utilised to understand the impact of Romania’s plans on emissions and the energy market and to see how Romania could resize its fossil capacity investments and achieve a carbon-neutral power sector in 2040. The models simulate a fully functional and liberalised energy markets to show the impact of different measures on wholesale energy prices. Based on the modelling results several important conclusions can be drawn: Romania can reach a completely decarbonised electricity production mix in 2040 with no security of supply risks by aiming to have no more than 3.5 GW1 of total installed gas-fired capacities by 2030 and by focusing more on wind power and a higher deployment of storage technologies. In contrast, the investments outlined in Romania’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) do not ensure a decarbonised energy sector by 2040. The Romanian power sector would emit 9.2 MtCO2 in 2030 (which can be halved in a lower-gas scenario) and 3.5 MtCO2 in 2040, at slightly higher wholesale electricity prices. Replacing natural gas with hydrogen in 2035 in the all-installed capacities (as outlined in Romania’s Long-Term decarbonisation Strategy) would mean that these assets would no longer be utilised. This is because replacing gas with hydrogen would significantly deteriorate the cost-competitiveness of these capacities, immediately reaching a utilisation rate lower than 0.1%, given the high fuel prices of 82 EUR/MWh in 2030, according to renewable hydrogen cost estimations presented in the draft National Hydrogen Strategy. There is therefore a significant risk that even ‘hydrogen-ready’ investments would continue to operate on fossil fuels for economic reasons, consequently not achieving their promised emissions reductions. A higher focus on wind energy (17.7 GW onshore and 7.3 GW offshore in 2040,compared to 13.1 GW altogether in official plans) can contribute to decarbonising the power sector by 2040. Romania appears to have a regional competitive advantage in wind production. The market value of wind remains higher than that of solar for all modelled years, while lower wind investments are expected in Hungary and Bulgaria. Even with higher renewable shares than presented in official documents, Romania’s power sector can deliver on security of supply requirements. The higher balancing reserve requirement can be accommodated through investments in storage (reaching 880 MW in 2030 and 3.4 GW in 2040) covered by existing hydro capacities, new storage installations and, until 2035, gas power plants. An annual installation of 800 MW rooftop PV and 120 MW in battery can further decrease balancing pressures and slightly decrease wholesale prices (by about 1.1 EUR/MWh in 2040). A high renewables scenario would also have a positive impact on the electricity trade balance. In either scenario, Romania becomes a net exporter of electricity from 2030. 17.5 GW of solar capacities as well as 17.7 GW onshore and 7.3 GW offshore wind is sufficient to achieve a decarbonised power sector by 2040. Existing hydro power facilities are key for balancing a renewables-dominated power sector. However, new investments in hydro capacities (including 300 MW in small hydro installations and a 1 GW pumped hydro capacity that would come online in 2032) would only have a limited effect on electricity prices and security of supply – assuming the mentioned battery storage investments are realised. Hard coal and lignite phaseout are manageable from a security of supply perspective, even with lower than planned investments in gas capacities. Based on market prices alone, the modelling results show that coal fired production will rarely be economical from 2025 (expected capacity factor of less than 1%). New nuclear energy capacities can contribute to achieving a decarbonised power sector, even if the planned investments suffer delays. The modelling results show that slight delays in the construction of new nuclear (two new conventional CANDU reactors and 460 MW of small modular reactors) do not pose security of supply risks, even in a lower-gas scenario of 3.5 GW installed gas capacities. Even with such delays, Romania would continue to be a net electricity exporter after 2030 based on the expansion of its renewable capacities, albeit the prices of electricity and CO2 would be slightly higher, because of the nuclear delay. Additionally, the refurbishment of Cernavodă’s Unit 1, scheduled for 2027–2029, which will take 700 MW out of the system, will not pose supply security risks, even in a lowergas scenario. This is because significant new renewable energy sources (RES) will begin operating, with solar energy nearly doubling from 4.3 GW to 8.2 GW and onshore wind increasing by more than 50% from 5 GW to 7.9 GW between 2025 and 2030. Natural gas capacities will increase by 500 MW, and battery storage will see an approximately fourfold growth in the same timeframe. Mihnea Cătuți, EPG Head of Research Mihnea is the Head of Research at EPG, coordinating the research strategy and activities within the organisation. His expertise includes EU climate and energy policy and the transition in South-East Europe.He is also an Associate in E3G’s Clean Economy Programme, contributing to the work on industrial decarbonisation. In the past, Mihnea was an associate researcher at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), where he led the work on the future of hydrogen in the EU. He was also an associate lecturer in Public Policy at the University of York. Mihnea has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Bristol and...

Scenarii de adopție a pompelor de căldură în România până în 2030

În siajul crizei energetice declanșate în 2022, caracterizată de un deficit de gaze naturale pe piețele europene și niveluri record ale prețurilor energiei, pompa de căldură iese în evidență ca fiind cea mai eficientă și mai puțin poluantă soluție pentru încălzirea și răcirea clădirilor. Prezentul studiu estimează perspectivele pompelor de căldură pentru locuințe individuale și clădiri în România până anul 2030, luând în calcul tehnologiile mature comercial în prezent printr-o modelare bazată pe multiple scenarii plauzibile de adopție a tehnologiei. Prima secțiune a studiului prezintă principiul termodinamic de funcționare al pompelor de căldură, principalele tipuri constructive și caracteristicile generale de utilizare. Supozițiile, scenariile și metodologia de lucru sunt descrise pe scurt în secțiunea 2. Secțiunea 3 redă rezultatele analizei din punct de vedere al numărului de pompe de căldură instalate, pe tipuri de clădiri și de tehnologie, precum și costurile estimate ale instalării și operării acestor sisteme. Rezultatele includ date comparative privind consumul dislocat de gaze naturale prin înlocuirea centralelor de apartament cu pompe de căldură, împreună cu emisiile evitate de gaze cu efect de seră (CO2 echivalent). Secțiunea 4 conține o serie de recomandări de politici publice prin care este facilitată adopția pompelor de căldură în România, inspirate de bune practici din alte state membre ale UE pentru depășirea barierei costurilor mari de investiție (CAPEX) și asigurarea unui raport al prețului final energie electrică/gaze naturale care să stimuleze utilizarea pompelor de căldură. Radu Dudău, EPG Co-Founder & President Radu Dudău is President and co-founder of EPG. He was, from 2007 to 2023, an Associate Professor at the Bucharest University. From 2006 to 2010 he was Deputy Director at the Romanian Diplomatic Institute (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). He graduated in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Iași. He holds a Dr. Phil. degree in Philosophy (magna cum laude) from Konstanz University (Germany) and a PhD in Political Science (International Relations) (summa cum laude) from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA, Bucharest). He was a Fulbright Fellow with the National Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2011), a New Europe College Fellow at the Danish Institute of International Relations (Copenhagen, 2006) and an OSI/FCO-Chevening scholar at Oxford University (1999-2000). His work focuses on energy policy, energy technology, and energy markets. Contact: office@enpg.ro

[CLOSED] Research Assistant within the Clean Economy Unit, with a focus on the decarbonisation of buildings or industry 

This new research position will support the research activities on the decarbonisation of buildings or industry within the Clean Economy program, one of our two main research programs.

EPG 2023 Annual Report

2023 was a good year for EPG: we extended, diversified and strengthened our team, reaching 20 in-house researchers and associates; closed new partnerships with reputed international think-tanks, such as CATF, Third Way, and Reform Institute; and engaged in new policy research, with no less than 15 multi-annual European projects currently ongoing.

Lansare de proiect: RENewLand, o soluție echitabilă pentru desemnarea zonelor de accelerare pentru energie regenerabilă

Lansare de proiect: RENewLand, o soluție echitabilă pentru desemnarea zonelor de accelerare pentru energie regenerabilă Energy Policy Group (EPG) și WWF-România (Fondul Mondial pentru Natură) anunță lansarea oficială a proiectului RENewLand, prin care ne propunem să aducem în atenția autorităților un model de abordare intersectorială și multidisciplinară pentru desemnarea zonelor pretabile accelerării energiei eoliene și solare terestre în România, Bulgaria și Ungaria.

[CLOSED] EPG is looking for experts to perform an evaluation of the potential market for a large-scale liquid hydrogen refuelling station (LS-LHRS)

[OPEN] EPG is looking for experts to perform an evaluation of the potential market for a large-scale liquid hydrogen refuelling station (LS-LHRS)

[CLOSED] Energy Policy Group is looking for experts on spatial planning for renewable energy sources and land hierarchy conflict

Energy Policy Group is looking for experts with technical expertise on spatial planning for renewable energy sources and land hierarchy conflict, to elaborate an analysis on best practices and offer support for an experience exchange webinar.

Captarea și stocarea carbonului, instrument al dezvoltării economice a României

Ca parte a ambițiilor Pactului Ecologic European, România s-a angajat să își reducă cu 95% emisiile de dioxid de carbon până în 20501. Atingerea acestei ținte necesită o schimbare profundă a tehnologiilor, materialelor și proceselor din economie, în sensul electrificării, al eficienței energetice și al reducerii emisiilor de carbon în toate ramurile economice – energie, industrie, transporturi, agricultură, clădiri.