Romania’s climate strategies: a missed opportunity to support industrial transformation

It is difficult to overstate the urgency and magnitude of Romania’s industrial transformation. Heavy industry sectors such as steel, cement, and chemicals employ thousands of workers and are key contributors to the national economy. But their conventional, carbon-intensive processes are becoming increasingly obsolete in a world rapidly moving towards sustainable forms of production, as the competitive edge in industry slowly shifts from cheap to green. Transforming these processes is a sizeable challenge, but also an opportunity of significant proportions.

By 2034, Romania’s steel, cement, and chemicals manufacturers, all sectors deemed to be at risk of carbon leakage, will no longer benefit from exemptions from paying for their emissions. In today’s carbon prices, this could mean costs of €60 million per year just for emissions for a plant producing 1 million tonnes (Mt) of cement; close to double if EU carbon prices rise as predicted by some models. There is one decade left for Romania’s heavy industry to slash its emissions in order to continue operating and competing. This is just about enough time to assess feasibility, make an investment decision, secure new equipment and technologies from an increasingly oversubscribed market, install, test, and phase in these new technologies and processes, and reskill the workforce. All this under the optimistic assumption that Romania’s existing infrastructure is fit for purpose, new infrastructure has been deployed to the required scale, and state support is forthcoming to leverage the massive required investments.

luciana miu - epg
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.


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