In recent years, Romania has made it its national mission to increase its consumption of natural gas in the medium and long term. Not even the multiple crises we are facing seem to be a wake-up call for decision-makers. This is despite the fact that the European Union (EU) has been facing a gas crisis ever since the summer of 2021 and the war in Ukraine makes it unacceptable to continue importing Russian gas under the same conditions as before.
One of the reasons why Romania has not been able to shift away from the mindset of older projects, which are inadequate for today’s world and even more so for the world we will live in by 2050, is the fact that some wrong and out-of-context ideas still persist in the public discourse and in the thinking of decision-makers. For example, in the plan for increasing gas consumption, the justifications go along these lines:
1.Coal must be replaced by gas, because green energy is intermittent. While it is true that many forms of renewable energy are intermittent, the restructuring of the energy system in the sense envisaged for 2050 can cope with intermittency in a completely different manner from the current system.
2.Gas supports the decarbonisation of the power and heating sectors and is merely a transition fuel.In reality, today’s investments in gas risk increasing long-term dependence on fossil fuels, because the lifetime of these investments goes well beyond 2050.
3.Natural gas provides more energy security than renewable energy.While renewable energy is indeed vulnerable to climate change, Europe’s dependence on imported gas is today a much more serious threat.
4.Gas-fired electricity is cheaper than that generated by renewables.Actually, in terms of investment in new capacities, renewable technologies have become much cheaper and more efficient than even 10 years ago and much more competitive than ”conventional” ones (leaving aside the high fuel and emissions costs of 2021-2022). At the same time, marginal costs – the factor that determines whether one facility of power generation or another enters the market to meet demand at any given moment – are much lower for renewables than for all other technologies.
5.Gas-fired electricity creates more jobs than renewable energy. Although a direct comparison is rather difficult to make, as renewable energy also brings about an overall restructuring of the energy sector, even today it still creates more jobs per each generated MWh than gas-fired power.
This analysis was created by Expert Forum at the request of Greenpeace Romania, the organization that commissioned, monitored and financed the analysis and owns the intellectual property rights to it. Details here: https://www.greenpeace.org/romania/