Energy in Romania in numbers
Currently, electricity generation in Romania is based on fossil fuel thermal power plants, with important support from hydro power plants (13).
The installed capacity of hydropower represents nearly 30% of Romania’s total installed electricity generating capacity. The country’s hydropower potential is extremely large, only about 6 GW being currently used. The estimated additional potential counts for more than 9 GW (13).
Wind share of total electricity consumption in Romania was 1.6% by the end of 2010. Overall in the EU, in a normal wind year, installed wind capacity at the end of 2010 meets 5.3% of the EU’s electricity needs (12).
Romania has exploited a significant amount of solar resources in the past especially in terms of solar thermal. This type of applications has started to be used again, after about 20 years of being blocked (13).
Direct burning in the kilns, stoves for space heating, cooking and hot water preparation is about 95% of the biomass use. Burning in thermal plants to generate industrial steam and hot water in sawmills and in other industries equals about 5% (13).
With its many rivers, Romania has great potential for hydroelectric power, but the current generating capacity only contributes to a relatively small amount of Romania's power needs. The total hydroelectric power potential is about 40 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year of which 12 TWh per year has already been developed. There may be as many as 5,000 locations in Romania that are favorable for small hydroelectric power plants (10).
From the theoretical perspective, Romania is endowed with the 3rd (after Italy and Greece) highest geothermal potential of all European countries (10).
Romania is considered to have the highest wind energy potential in the region (13).
There are good opportunities for biomass development in Romania. Biomass applications can be used as substitution of the fossil fuels in existing and new (small towns, villages, countryside) district heating schemes, as industrial fuel, and in biomass boilers for heat supply of farms and small villages (in the medium term) (13).
The following vulnerabilities have been identified for the energy sector in Romania (13):
- Hydropower covers more than 25% of electricity production in a normal hydrologic year. During long-lasting droughts (such as 2003, 2007), the electricity deficit in the system has to be covered by energy produced from coal, which puts pressure on coal production and the electricity price;
- Low efficiency of investment projects in wind power due to decreasing wind speed over time;
- Lack of river cooling water for the thermal/nuclear power plants;
- Extreme weather conditions may affect energy infrastructure;
- Decrease of the heat demand for winter heating (estimated to be 6 to 8 % by 2021 to 2050 (11)) will probably not compensate for the increase of electricity demand for air conditioning and cooling devices during the hot summer days, leading to an imbalance of the development of energy production, transport and distribution infrastructure.
For 2070-2099 compared with 1971-2000, declines in hydropower potential >15% are projected for south-eastern Europe (Balkan countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia) (15).
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) (14).
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 (14).
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 in Romania
The following adaptation strategies have been proposed (13):
- determine the critical infrastructure in the energy system (hydroelectric dams, the transportation and distribution system, natural gas transportation system, oil and its derivatives) in order to determine the measures required in case of extreme weather phenomena (storms, tornadoes, floods, droughts, very low temperatures);
- promotion of the energy production from renewable sources.
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Romania.
- 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)
- Ministry of Environment and Watermanagement (2005)
- Vajda et al. (2004),in : Alcamo et al. (2007)
- European Wind Energy Association (2011)
- Ministry of Environment and Forests (2010)
- Van Vliet et al. (2012)
- Van Vliet et al. (2015)