Power sector in 2030
Due to the role of electrification of other sectors, a rapid decarbonisation of the power sector is essential to achieve overall emissions reductions. According to 1.5°C compatible scenarios, the emissions intensity of electricity generation in Romania needs to decrease from around 310 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to 20-40 gCO₂/kWh by 2030. This can be achieved by replacing current reliance on fossil fuels with heavy investments in renewables.
Current targets indicate that the Romanian power sector will be far from 1.5°C compatible by 2030. Despite a stated 2030 coal phase-out, greater ambition is needed to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C long-term temperature goal. The planned replacement of some coal plants with fossil gas plants would be a move in the wrong direction, let alone the 3.9 GW fossil gas capacities under construction as of august 2022.11 By 2030, the share of renewable energy in the power sector needs to be 88-92%. This would require a considerable upscaling of ambition from its current 2030 target of 30.7%.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
In order for Romania to decarbonise its power sector at a 1.5°C compatible pace, coal needs to be phased out by 2029 and fossil gas phase-out should occur between 2035 and 2039. Electricity generation should be fully decarbonised by the late 2030s.
Despite the significant return on investment provided by renewables, the Romanian Government shows no sign of committing to a rapid increase in their share within the power sector, with only 7.8% of investments in the period 2014-2020 directed towards the sector.7
All analysed scenarios rely almost entirely on renewables to meet growing demand and replace fossil fuels. Scenarios with slower fossil fuel phase-out rely on the roll-out of CCS are characterised by a higher reliance on carbon removal technologies at a later date. These technologies are currently unproven at scale and are extremely expensive.
1 European Commission. Assessment of the final national energy and climate plan of Romania. 2020.
2 Government of Romania. National Energy and Climate Plan – Romania. 2020.
3 European Environment Agency. EEA greenhouse gases – data viewer. 2021.
4 International Energy Agency. IEA world energy balances, 2020. 2020.
5 European Environment Agency. Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption. 2021.
6 European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. Making the transition to zero-emission mobility: 2021 progress report. 2021.
7 Bankwatch Network. The Romanian renewable energy sector: a potential still untapped. 2020.
8 Romanian Government. National long-term renovation strategy. 2020.
9 Ministry of Public Works Development and Administration. Romanian national long-term renovation strategy: key elements. 2020.
10 Petre, G. Romania might become one of Europe’s biggest hydrogen hubs: investments of over 1,6 bn euros are in early stages of development. CEEnergy News. 2021.
11 Global Gas Plant Tracker, last updated August 2022, by Global Energy Monitor can be found here.
Romaniaʼs power mix
terawatt-hour per year
- Renewables incl. biomass
- Unabated fossil
- Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
- Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
Romaniaʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity
- Historical emissions
- High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
- SSP1 Low CDR reliance
- SSP1 High CDR reliance
- Low energy demand
1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks
Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Romania
Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
20 to 40
−30 to 0
2035 to 2039
Relative to reference year in %
−94 to −87%
−109 to −100%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Share of unabated gas
3 to 5
2035 to 2040
Share of renewable energy
88 to 91
96 to 97
97 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
5 to 7
Demand shifting towards the power sector
The 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here tend to show a strong increase in power generation and installed capacities across time. This is because end-use sectors (such as transport, buildings or industry) are increasingly electrified under 1.5°C compatible pathways, shifting energy demand to the power sector. Globally, the “high energy demand” pathway entails a particularly high degree of renewable energy-based electrification across the various sectors, and sees a considerable increase in renewable energy capacities over time.See the power section for capacities deployment under the various models.
Romaniaʼs renewable electricity investments
Billion USD / yr
Yearly investment requirements in renewable energy
Across the set of 1.5°C pathways that we have analysed, annual investments in renewable energy excluding BECCS increase in Romania to be on the order of USD 1 to 6 billion by 2030 and 1 to 8 billion by 2040 depending on the scenario considered. The ‘High CDR’ scenario, which shows comparatively lower annual investments into renewables, has lower levels of electrification and at the global level relies more on carbon capture and storage and negative emissions technologies – which themselves can require high up-front costs and face sustainability constraints.