"As we have said in the past, we will stop when we have photovoltaic panels on the last roof in Romania. RON 2 billion is certainly a record budget, just as RON 1.75 billion was a record budget for the year 2023, but we intend to be even more ambitious. We will open a new "Photovoltaic Green House" session this year if there is capacity to install these panels. Another thing that I consider very important is related to the "Rabla Plus" Program. Again, we will have a record budget for this program, i.e. RON 1 billion, compared to RON 780 million (€156 million) we had last year. It is a substantial increase and I say this because we will keep the trend that we have established in other years, namely that of taking sums of money from the "Rabla Clasic", i.e. from internal combustion engines and moving them at "Rabla Plus". I hope that at the end of next year, we will have some extraordinary figures, considering this budget that we have never had before", said Fechet.
Another new program that will be run this year with a budget from the Environment Fund Administration (AFM) is "Rabla for tractors and agricultural machines".
"In a fairly early stage I would say, is "Rabla la tractors and agricultural machines", a program that has been discussed before. We propose that, based on a de minimis aid of a maximum of €30,000 per farmer, we finance the purchase of tractors and agricultural machines, because such investments have not been financed from the budget of the Environment Fund until now. Also, in the chapter on new programs, I would like to announce two more programs that we will finance in 2024. The first of them refers to the financing of "Green Weeks" in schools in Romania. Continue, "Public Street Lighting". There are still villages or communities in Romania that use energy-inefficient lamps, old lamps that consume a lot of energy. This program will stop when the last street in Romania has LED lighting. I caught RON 500 million of them in this program. We will open a new energy efficiency program in public buildings, for which we have allocated RON 600 million (€120 million)", the minister mentioned.
For the construction of bicycle paths, the government will allocate a budget of RON 600 million (€120 million)".
Also, for the Water-Sewer Program, based on a budget of RON 1.5 billion (€300 million), integrated water supply systems and sewage stations would be financed, Mircea Fechet said.
Also, the proposed budget for the "Rabla for stoves" pilot program amounts to RON 500 million (€100 million), and funding is granted for devices with a minimum efficiency of 80% and low pollutant emissions, announced the Minister of Environment, Water and Forests, Mircea Fechet.
"For the first time, we are launching in public consultation a financing program that aims to replace old stoves, those with inefficient efficiency, as I said earlier, with new ones, because there are technologies that can increase this efficiency to over 80%. We await with great interest the contribution of merchants, installers of such equipment, town halls in the country, and any specialist who can give us feedback. We want this program to reduce heating costs for Romanians, just as we also want to have cleaner air. The program is a pilot one, I want to specify this once again, and it is initially addressed to the communes in the 28 counties of the country, in the mountain area, as defined by the legislation in force, respectively by the Mountain Law. There we know that the winters are longer and harder. We address communes, but probably also other types of administrative-territorial units, such as villages belonging to cities and municipalities. We will make available, from the AFM budget, RON 500 million (€100 million) for these heating devices to begin with. The proposal I am making today is to finance 70% of the costs of such a stove, but no more than RON 10,000 (€2,000) per person", said Fechet.
The competent minister added that the estimate is to finance several 50,000 stoves through the new program.
"We propose if we consider that we finance the maximum amount for each applicant, namely RON 10,000 (€2,000), to finance 50,000 stoves, either on wood, on pellets, or briquettes. There is a specific legislation that defines all these types of heating, but the main claim of the Ministry of the Environment is that these equipment comply with the eco-design directive standards. This assumes that the yield is at least 80% and this assumes that particle emissions are below 40 grams for each cubic meter of solid fuel, volatile organic compound emissions are below 120 grams per the same unit of measure, carbon monoxide is below 1,500 mg, and emissions of nitrogen oxides below 300 mg per cubic meter. I remind you that the main problem of Romania is related to the excesses of nitrogen oxides and particles. Anyone who will be interested in this program will get a one-time financing, of a maximum of RON 10,000 (€2,000)", said the minister.
Of the 7.5 million households in Romania, 3.5 million heat with firewood, says Mircea Fechet.
"30% of a log put on fire turns into heat, the rest turns into smoke and pollution. For this reason, there are mathematical calculations that also demonstrate the fact that a stove with such a low efficiency pollutes more than a diesel truck of a very old generation. According to statistical data, over 6.4 million sqm of wood end up on fire every year. This means as I said earlier, a pressure including on the forest fund", explained Fechet.