Energy in Moldova in numbers
Moldova has only very limited energy production capacities, limited mostly to electricity production by 3 co-generation power plants (CHPs, producing both electricity and heat) and one hydro power plant. Given the limited domestic energy generation capacities, Moldova relies heavily on imports to satisfy its energy needs: imports made up almost 90% of the total in 2007. Use of renewable energy remains quite limited so far, being estimated at 3% to 4 per cent of the total (hydro and firewood) (11).
The following renewable energy sources can be employed in the Republic of Moldova: biomass, solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy. Solar energy potential is estimated at 1,200 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe). Biomass energy potential is estimated at 2,700 toe. Wind energy potential is estimated at 0.7 toe. Hydraulic energy potential is estimated at 0.3 toe (11).
More frequent and more violent extreme weather events such as storms or lightning strikes could damage supply grids and present a threat to electricity transmission and distribution (12). In Moldova, recent extreme weather events, such as the floods of 2008, caused serious disruptions to power supply in the affected locations. At the same time, other weather calamities, such as strong winds and heavy rains, reportedly caused local power supply disruptions in different Moldovan regions in July 2009. Almost 300 localities suffered power supply disruptions in January 2009 because of strong winds and related events (10).
One of the climate change effects on water supply will be growing instability in annual water flows: growing short-term oversupply due to spring and flash floods and scarcity due to longer and more severe droughts. Hence, growing water scarcity may become the main obstacle to enhancing local hydro- and cogeneration power production (10).
Overall, climate change is associated with rising temperatures, which can result in a lower demand for heating during winter and higher energy demand through summer due to a surge in the use of air conditioning. The anticipated rise in the number of days with temperature over 10°C will mean that building heating will be required on a smaller number of days. At the same time, summers and autumns are expected to become hotter and drier. Therefore, demand for the electricity required to ensure air cooling in the buildings is likely to surge (10).
The current key renewable energy sources in Europe are hydropower (19.8% of electricity generated) and wind. By the 2070s, hydropower potential for the whole of Europe is expected to decline by 6%, translated into a 20 to 50% decrease around the Mediterranean, a 15 to 30% increase in northern and eastern Europe and a stable hydropower pattern for western and central Europe (1,3,4). In areas with increased precipitation and runoff, dam safety may become a problem due to more frequent and intensive flooding events (5).
It has become apparent during recent heat waves and drought periods that electricity generation in thermal power plants may be affected by increases in water temperature and water scarcity. In the case of higher water temperatures the discharge of warm cooling water into the river may be restricted if limit values for temperature are exceeded. Electricity production has already had to be reduced in various locations in Europe during very warm summers (e.g. 2003, 2005 and 2006) (5,8).
Extreme heat waves can pose a serious threat to uninterrupted electricity supplies, mainly because cooling air may be too warm and cooling water may be both scarce and too warm (9).
Climate change will impact thermoelectric power production in Europe through a combination of increased water temperatures and reduced river flow, especially during summer. In particular, thermoelectric power plants in southern and south-eastern Europe will be affected by climate change. Using a physically based hydrological and water temperature modelling framework in combination with an electricity production model, a summer average decrease in capacity of power plants of 6.3–19% in Europe was shown for 2031–2060 compared with 1971-2000, depending on cooling system type and climate scenario (SRES B1 and A2) (13).
Overall, a decrease in low flows (10th percentile of daily distribution) for Europe (except Scandinavia) is projected with an average decrease of 13-15% for 2031–2060 and 16-23% for 2071-2100,compared with 1971-2000. Increases in mean summer (21 June - 20 September) water temperatures are projected of 0.8-1.0°C for 2031–2060 and 1.4-2.3°C for 2071-2100, compared with 1971-2000. Projected water temperature increases are highest in the south-western and south-eastern parts of Europe (13).
By the 22nd century, land area devoted to biofuels may increase by a factor of two to three in all parts of Europe (2).
It may become more challenging to meet energy demands during peak times due to more frequent heat waves and drought conditions (1). Strong distributional patterns are expected across Europe — with rising cooling (electricity) demand in summer in southern Europe, compared with reduced heating (energy) demand in winter in northern Europe (7).
Adaptation strategies Moldova
Flatenning consumption curve
Given rising energy prices as well as the eventual strain on the development of local power production (due to the climate change effects), rationalisation of energy consumption is needed. Since electricity is mostly consumed during day hours and much less so during night hours, an eventual rebalancing of consumption would mean more efficient use of the electricity produced during night hours through Demand Side Management (DSM) measures. One of the major incentives would be the introduction of a tariff difference for the consumption in peak and non-peak hours for industry consumers (10).
Changing consumer behaviour
There is a need for technological modernisation with regard to energy consumption that would induce the implementation of energy saving lighting and equipment in households, industry and in all sectors of the national economy. A public awareness campaign and relevant tariff incentives (higher tariff s for high energy use) may be important steps in this direction (10).
Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources
Energy efficiency can be improved by introducing technology standards for energy efficiency (equipment, buildings, etc.), promoting a tariff policy that supports ‘energy-savers’, educational and information campaigns that would encourage efficient energy use, modernisation of current energy production capacities in order to make them more efficient, and supporting consumers’ efforts aimed at thermal insulation of buildings (10).
Renewable energy can ensure a more secure supply of energy to small rural communities and allow them to diversify their energy supply, which has become more and more costly and often imposes additional costs for connecting to centralised networks (especially in the case of the gas systems). Furthermore, the production of energy from biomass presents new opportunities for rural farmers who are already involved in rape growing. Development of processing plants will also mean better energy supply for rural communities (including for heating schools, kindergartens, etc.) and a greater source of income for the biofuel sold (10).
Consolidation of infrastructure and adaptation to climate change risks
Consolidation of existing networks is needed with a focus on wind-proofing of cables, emergency water connections for power plants, etc. At the same time, the relevant state agencies’ capacity to respond in an emergency situation should be enhanced (10).
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Moldova.
- Lehner et al. (2005), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
- Metzger et al. (2004), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
- Kirkinen et al. (2005), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Veijalainen and Vehviläinen (2006); Andréasson et al. (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Rothstein et al. (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Alcamo et al., 2007
- EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
- Behrens et al. (2010)
- UNDP (2009)
- Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Moldova, NBS (2008), in: UNDP (2009)
- German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (2008), in: UNDP (2009)
- Van Vliet et al. (2012)