Region, EU member states’ efforts to target 672 billion euros in recovery and resilience funds

, SEE Energy News

According to a report developed by coalitions of non-governmental organizations CAN Europe and EEC Bankwatch Network, EU member states’ efforts to target 672 billion euros in recovery and resilience funds to climate action are undermined by investments that could harm the environment and climate.

For example, in Romania, the National Plan for Resilience and Recovery includes the construction of a fossil gas distribution system in Oltenia, which was accepted only because it will be partially used for the transport of green hydrogen. It is true that the development of hydrogen from renewable sources is necessary for sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as steel production, chemicals, aviation and shipping. Romania’s plan is to use hydrogen mixed with fossil gas for heating, where it is inefficient and expensive.

At the same time, the report also identifies positive measures for the energy transition. In Romania, Italy and Spain it has been proposed to
expand renewable energy sources and amend legislation, while Slovenia and Lithuania have included public transport reforms.

Specifically, the measures for a green economic recovery from the Romanian Plan officially cover 41 % of the budget, but according to the Green Recovery Tracker tool, which uses a more rigorous green labeling methodology than the European Commission, the plan contains sustainable funding of only 24 %, while 12.8 % of the funds will have a negative impact on the environment.

According to Laura Nazare from Bankwatch Romania, investing in fossil fuels is hampering the energy transition. On the one hand, these are
investments in infrastructure that will be replaced in 10 years from commissioning, so the cost of the transition doubles, and on the other hand, fossil gas has a significant impact on the climate system through carbon and methane emissions.Sustainable development, with a positive impact on citizens and the environment, can only be done through renewable energy, in combination with other measures of storage, energy efficiency, digitization and decentralization of production.

The report examines ten plans submitted to the European Commission by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain and approved by the Council to access the funds.