In December, the European Union announced the European Green New Deal that is intended to greatly speed up the EU’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The new goal is for Europe to become Climate Neutral (no net greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050, and to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030. That’s all hunky dory, we love the goals, and we’re right on board with heading in that direction. If only the USA would see this as the correct goal, as well. In any case it is a big goal which will be difficult to reach. In Romania, the Prime Minister held a meeting of business and government leaders last week saying that for Romania the plan risks losing 40% of electrical production capacity.
- 2020: Strategy for smart and sustainable mobility
- March 2020: Circular Economy Action Plan, including a sustainable products initiative and particular focus on resource intense sectors such as textiles, construction, electronics and plastics
- Summer 2020: Comprehensive plan to increase the EU 2030 climate target to at least 50% and towards 55% in a responsible way
- June 2021: Proposals for revisions of relevant legislative measures to deliver on the increased climate ambition, following the review of Emissions Trading System Directive; Effort Sharing Regulation; Land use, land use change and forestry Regulation; Energy Efficiency Directive; Renewable Energy Directive; CO2 emissions performance standards for cars and vans
- From 2020: Funding call to to support the deployment of public recharging and refueling points as part of alternative fuel infrastructure
- 2021: Zero pollution action plan for water, air and soil
There’s many more, but this gives a flavor of the amount of activity the European Union seeks to undertake in just the next couple of years. Of course, this effort is going to cost money, and the worry all along is there might not be enough capital available for the required investment.
On g4media.ro there is a report about last week’s meeting held by Prime Ministor Ludovic Orban. Clearly the claim that Romania will lose 40% of its electricity generation capacity is that under this Green New Deal countries will be required to shut down fossil fuel plants, and to replace those facilities with something else. According to the G4media report, PM Orban called on the assembled leaders to quickly find a way to replace that electricity generation.
Orban said that under the European Commission Objective 1, 35% of its budget is allocated to the European Regional Development Fund which means “smart specialization, innovation, research, smart solutions, smart city, digitization”. He is quoted further saying “Here we will have to obtain resources to reach our goals, because, at least in the energy field, there is a risk of losing up to 40% of production capacity if they consider fossil fuels unusable. However, coal is condemned as an energy resource, and here the thinking we must have in the not too long term, about the horizon 2030, to find energy production solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The G4media report is weak on details, so that leaves us reading between the lines.
For the EU to reach these ambitious goals does mean a radical reconfiguration of electricity generation, and the types of vehicles in use, in the European Union. It may not mean a complete elimination of fossil fuels, because there could be a mix of resources where some are net energy negative, some are net energy neutral, and others are net energy positive.
Romania has long been dependent on fossil fuels and is a significant fossil fuel producer. Its was among the first countries in the world to have commercial crude oil production in the 1800’s, for example, and those oil fields played a significant role in World War II. There are coal mines in the mountains, and natural gas fields both onshore and offshore in the Black Sea. Over the last couple years Romania has discussed new natural gas drilling in the Black Sea.
Among its resources on the clean energy side is a nuclear reactor complex at Cernavoda. Recently a plan with a Chinese company to build two new reactors at that complex fell through. Another is an area near the Danube Delta with high quality wind resources. And it is blessed with the Carpathian Mountains that form the heart and soul of Romania’s culture, and in which Romania should be able to build more hydroelectric facilities.
But Romania’s biggest problem in all areas is the relative lack of funds, there is a current budget crisis left from the previous government, and that Romania is a poor country. To accomplish these goals will require an external input of money and other resources.
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