Romania Table of Contents
Enormous investments made in the sector following World War II resulted in dramatic gains in capacity and output (see table 9, Appendix). Despite the impressive growth in output, averaging 8.3 percent annually between 1966 and 1985, however, the power industry did not keep pace with overall industrial growth, which averaged 9.5 percent annually during the same period. The result was an acute and worsening energy deficit.
Thermal power plants burning fossil fuels accounted for more than 80 percent of electricity output in the mid-1980s, and the development program envisioned an installed capacity of 16,518 megawatts at such plants by 1990. The largest thermal plants operating in the mid-1980s were located at Rovinari in Gorj judet, (1,720 megawatts), Turceni in Gorj judet, (1,650 megawatts), Braila (1,290 megawatts), Mintia in Hunedoara judet, (1,260 megawatts), Craiova (980 megawatts), Deva (840 megawatts), Ludus in Cluj judet, (800 megawatts), Borzesti in Botosani judet, (650 megawatts), Galati (320 megawatts), and Bucharest (300 megawatts). After 1965, thermal plants producing both heat and electricity were favored, and by 1984 their combined capacity exceeded 6,100 megawatts--roughly onethird of total installed capacity. A serious problem for thermal plants during the 1980s was the deteriorating quality of lignite fuel, which was damaging equipment and causing frequent shutdowns. At the start of the 1988-89 peak-demand season, only 45 to 50 percent of total installed generating capacity was operational.
Capitalizing on the country's considerable hydroelectric potential, the government built some 100 hydroelectric plants between 1965 and 1985, bringing total capacity to 4,421 megawatts. Nevertheless, it was estimated in early 1989 that only 35 percent of the technically feasible hydroelectric potential had been tapped. The most important project was the 2,100-megawatt Iron Gates I complex on the Danube. Built in collaboration with Yugoslavia, which operated a twin plant on the right bank, the project was completed in 1972. In 1977 the two countries began work on a much smaller Iron Gates II project (sixteen twenty-seven- megawatt generating units). Other important projects were the 220- megawatt Gheorghiu-Dej plant on the Arges River and a chain of fourteen smaller plants downstream with a combined capacity of 179 megawatts; the V.I. Lenin complex of twelve plants on the Bistrita River; a chain of plants along the 737-kilometer Olt River totalling more than 1,200 megawatts; a chain of sixteen plants on the Mare River with a total capacity of 536 megawatts; and numerous stations along the Buzau, Jiu, Prut, and other rivers.
To offset declining petroleum and gas reserves, the PCR pinned its hopes on nuclear power. But these hopes were partially frustrated by repeated setbacks in the construction of the first nuclear power plant at Cernavoda, which appeared unlikely to become operational before 1992. The Cernavoda plant would use five 660-megawatt Canadian-built reactors. The Canadians also had been engaged to build a nuclear station at Victoria-Brasov. In 1982 a contract was signed with the Soviet Union to build the Moldova nuclear plant, which would have three 1,000-megawatt reactors. And preparatory work began in March 1986 for construction of a nuclear plant at Piatra Neamt, to be equipped largely by the Soviet Union. As late as 1985, the government was anticipating that nuclear plants would be supplying 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 1990, when some 4,500 megawatts of capacity would be on line, but the long-range goal of building sixteen nuclear plants by 2000 appeared unattainable.
Geothermal, solar, wind, methane, and small hydroelectric installations produced the energy equivalent of nearly 450,000 tons of conventional fuel during the first three years of the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1986-90). The plan called for starting up some 240 alternative-energy installations during this period, including 125 solar and 70 methane plants. Methane accounted for over 80 percent of nonconventional energy production. In 1989 alternative energy sources were expected to double their output. The development program anticipated that such sources would contribute one-fifth of total energy capacity in 1995, when more than 60 percent of the geothermal, nearly 50 percent of the methane, and 63 percent of the small-stream hydroelectric potential would have been harnessed.
A transmission grid of 110-, 220-, and 400-kilovolt lines with a total length of about 27,000 kilometers in the mid-1980s distributed electricity throughout the country. Integrated into Comecon's Peace Unified Power System, the Romanian network was connected to the national grids of all neighboring states. In 1988 a 750-kilovolt transmission line built jointly with the Soviet Union and Bulgaria delivered some 5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to Romania from the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Station.
Data as of July 1989
Romania Table of Contents