A Government Decision granting RON 2 775 722 (EUR 596 000) to Oltenia Energy Complex to expropriate the land needed for the planned Craiova Power Plant ash storage expansion has been put into public debate by the Ministry of Energy.
Alexandru Mustata, National campaigner in Romania | 12 December 2018
Valea Ceplea ash storage
According to the Council of Europe Decision 2010/787, state aid for the coal industry is only legal for closure and conservation works. But the Government Decision’s explanatory memorandum mentions the opposite: the purpose is to “continue the activity of the plant for energy production”.
This year, Oltenia Energy Complex’s Valea Mânăstirii ash storage made headlines after its dust cloud covered the city of Craiova, reducing visibility on many streets. The company reported then that the phenomenon was caused by “global climate changes”, failing to mention that these changes are produced by greenhouse gases such as those emitted from burning coal.
This is not the first time Oltenia Energy Complex receives money from the state budget. In June, the company received RON 7.8 million (EUR 1.68 million) through a Government Decision (399/2018) for expropriations in the Roșia mine expansion corridor. Two months later, an almost identical Government Decision (552/2018) resulted in the allocation of RON 4.2 million (EUR 902 000) for Jilț Sud mine.
This year alone, the Company received in total RON 14.7 million (EUR 3.2 million) from the state budget.
While Romania wastes important resources to keep the coal industry alive, ten EU countries have strategies to phase out coal from the energy mix by 2030 and another seven have no installed coal units. The rest are working on strategies for a just transition to clean energy that does not affect workers and mining communities.
The European Commission supports the search for alternatives to coal through the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition, providing technical assistance to finance projects that create low-emission jobs in these areas. Yet only Hunedoara, the hard coal region, was included in this initiative. Authorities in Oltenia continue to imagine a future where lignite is at the front and centre of the economy, despite national and global signs to the opposite.
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