After turning on the hot water tap in the morning, many Romanians have to wait up to 10 minutes for the water to heat up. This low level of service is caused by obsolete networks and sub-standard infrastructure. 30 years ago, there were 315 cities that had a district heating system network in Romania; in 2015 only 61 were left, mainly in the big cities. Moreover, up to 80% of consumers prefer to use individual gas heating systems rather than centralised heating.
A pilot project
The EIB is working with the local authorities in Oradea, Focsani and Bacau to develop district heating business strategies and target new (re-)connections to the system to improve its efficiency. Smart solutions such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, innovative technologies including heat pumps at district level, and geothermal energy are also supported. In addition, combining centralised and decentralised heating systems improves efficiency and ultimately contributes to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. The project will serve as a model for similar projects to be financed under Romania’s Large Infrastructure Operational Programme.