The World Energy Council Romanian National Committee is a non- governmental organisation and a founding member of the World Energy Council. It is also a strategic partner in Romania’s sustainable energy development programme. WEC Romania offers useful and topical information for all forms of energy (coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro and renewable); has a steady communication strategy with its members, keeping them abreast with the latest energy policies; represents the interests of its members within the meetings and events organised by the World Energy Council; and contributes to decision making at worldwide level, with Romanian representatives in all of the World Energy Council’s Study Groups.
Mr Stefan Gheorghe became Executive Director General of Romanian Member Committee of World Energy Council in December 2017.
Mr Stefan Gheorghe holds a Ph.D. in electroenergetics from the "Politehnica" University of Bucharest (1994) and an MBA with the OPEN University Business School – UK (2004).
Mr Stefan Gheorghe has over thirty years of experience in the Romanian energy sector, in various positions of execution and top management of transmission, distribution, supply and generation of electricity.
He also worked in various study boards and international working groups as a representative of the Romanian electricity distribution sector, as a member of CIGRE and EURELECTRIC, currently as a member of the largest world organization of electrical and electronics engineers, IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (USA).
Mr Gheorghe has a teaching career as Associate Professor in two Romanian Universities: “Valahia” University of Targoviste, at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and "Politehnica" University of Bucharest at the Faculty of Power Engineering.
He has also published nearly 100 scientific papers in the country and abroad, books, university courses and international energy reports.
Energy in Romania
Endowed with abundant energy resources and a relatively balanced mix, Romania can hope to achieve energy independence and even become a significant player in the European energy market. Romania is a complete player in the European energy scene with a relatively balanced energy production mix: 31% of natural gas, 15% of oil, 17% of coal (63% of fossil fuels), 24% of renewable energies and 12% nuclear. As a producer of gas and oil, Romania enjoys a relative energy autonomy since it produces locally 78% of the energy it consumes.
The significant share of coal in the Romanian energy mix has brought a lot of attention to alternatives such as natural gas to reduce environmental and health impacts. Currently, replacing coal as an energy source is a priority for Romania’s energy industry. Nuclear resources represent a part of the energy mix, having an important role in the Romanian energy balance. At the moment, Romania has a nuclear power capacity of 1,400 MW via 2 reactors, constituting about 18% of the country’s national power generation. The Romanian Energy Strategy 2018 – 2030 plans for the further development of nuclear power.
. Talent in the energy field and affordability of energy for customers have both been identified by Romania’s energy leaders as Critical Uncertainties. Indeed, the population’s purchasing power is decreasing, especially in rural areas. Russia represents an uncertainty, even with the country’s low dependence of Russian gas resources. The geopolitical situation involving Russia must be taken into account due to Romania’s geographical position.
The role of energy efficiency and digitalisation are essential to pursue the triple objective of competitiveness, de-carbonisation and security of supply. Furthermore, based on reports issues by Romania’s Ministry of Energy, the country’s action priorities include energy efficiency, renewables and climate change.
Electricity Prices are perceived by Romania’s energy leaders with great uncertainty and high impact on the sector and its consumers. This uncertainty can be related to the new targets pledged by the Romanian government aimed at increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix. In addition, they include a future mandatory reduction in GHG emissions and the expected new investments in the sector. The government is considering protecting the vulnerable consumers through a wellestablished social aid programme.
The uncertainty around Nuclear power in Romania relates to the trend of some EU countries to renounce to this form of energy. About 42% of the country’s energy demand is supplied by coalfired power plants, about 18% from nuclear power plants and about 40% from renewable sources. To replace the coal-based generation in the country, building further nuclear capacity is seen as a necessity. Although Romania has all the conditions to feed the nuclear cycle, uncertainties persist due to the investment costs.
The brain drain of Romania’s energy specialists to other EU countries is considered a critical issue, with special regards to the impact of talent absence on utility businesses.
Limiting the environmental pollution in Romania by reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in accordance with the Climate Framework involves the development of a clear plan for the replacement of coal-based power plants in the country. This will be done through the development of two new nuclear units and through measures to promote the development of solar photovoltaic sources on rooftops. The increase on the prices for CO2 emissions certificates generates high costs and contributes to a significant distortion in the Romanian electricity market. This also raises social issues, both for the lignite-mining sector as well as for the electricity sector’s employees. The development of a transportation system based on electric cars will require an appropriate set of regulations which currently does not exist.
Romania has significant potential to improve its energy efficiency as the country’s energy intensity figures are higher than the EU average. The Romanian Energy Strategy for 2030 focuses on policies and good practices in the Energy Efficiency domain. The two main directions in Romania’s energy strategy are as follows: (i) thermal insulation of buildings through modern methods and techniques, and (ii) switching the source of heating from wood to natural gas for rural dwellings.
Romania has a total of 40% participation of renewable energies in the total electricity mix, with 16% coming from wind and solar and 24% coming from hydropower. A further increase in the share of renewable energies requires a set of clear regulations on the development of prosumer systems, energy transmission and the support mechanisms for the development of these systems. The support scheme for renewables must be changed to reach the established EU targets.
Romania has sufficient energy resources and a balanced mix of energy generation that makes it less dependent on imports. A good interconnection with energy systems from Europe and a stable national energy system with sufficient resources ensures a high level of safety in the energy supply for consumers. Modernising the country’s energy system by increasing digitalisation and implementing of new technologies in energy storage can speed up the process of increasing energy efficiency and raising the level of security of supply.
Romanian energy leaders consider that the Romanian energy system can provide for the country’s energy needs in the coming years. However, as the country decarbonises its energy mix, the focus will be on developing nuclear power plants, using natural gas as a transition fuel and working on energy efficiency improvements with a special focus on the insulation of modern buildings. Supporting decentralised renewable generation through the growth of prosumers and developing appropriate access regulations to the public energy system can further increase the share of renewable energy sources in the country’s energy mix.