Bulgaria can attract over 6 billion euros in green energy by 2030 with a predictable investment environment

The next parliament will launch reform in the field of green energy by removing administrative barriers and creating a predictable network access regime

Energy / Bulgaria
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The next parliament to start with reforms in the field of green energy. Deputies from GERB, ITN and DB united around this during the regional conference for renewable energy supply RE-Source Southeast, held last week in Sofia. The removal of administrative barriers and a predictable regime for access to the network - these and other proposals of the sectoral organizations will be considered immediately after the elections by the Energy Committee in the new National Assembly.

Romania will build more than 7,000 MW of sun and wind by the end of the decade, and Greece more than 30,000 MW. Bulgaria also needs a more ambitious plan and could increase its target from 2,000 MW to at least 10,000 MW, according to Delyan Dobrev (GERB). Requests for connection of 8500 MW of new capacity have been received only in the last year, said the director of ESO Angelin Tsachev.

The construction of self-contained solar power plants is one of the measures the industry has taken to reduce its electricity costs. This became clear from the speeches of Rumen Radev (AIKB) and Ivaylo Naidenov (BFIEC). Examples with specific factory power plants and ambitious plans for new projects were presented by Kiril Domuschiev (CEIBG) and Tim Kurt (Aurubis).

According to a recent study, Bulgaria could attract more than 6 billion euros in green energy by 2030 if it offers a predictable investment environment. The sector can develop without subsidies, as long as market liberalization continues.

Bulgaria's first long-term corporate contract for the purchase of energy from a new renewable energy plant is expected to be announced by the end of 2021. This type of contract will give a new impetus to investment in green power plants because they offer security to investors and financial institutions.

The first regional RE-Source Southeast conference was held on September 14th in Sofia, with 150 participants and 30 speakers. It was organized by RE-Source Hub Bulgaria - Association for Production, Storage and Trade in Electricity (APSTE) and the Bulgarian Wind Energy Association (BWEA), under the auspices of RE-Source Platform, the leading European forum for corporate renewable energy supply.

"Renewable energy is the most affordable opportunity for businesses to protect themselves from high electricity prices. We are pleased to have brought together industrial consumers, green electricity producers and electricity traders. We are building a regional platform for exchange of experience, networking and implementation of corporate transactions, "said Nikola Gazdov, Chairman of APSTE.

"The first event for corporate supply of renewable energy in Southeast Europe is held just in time - in the context of the immediate dynamics of the electricity market and the need for decarbonisation," said the chairman of BGVEA, Miglena Stoilova.

The conference Policies and regulations opened with a discussion on policy strategies for decarbonisation of energy. The panelists agreed that new renewable energy projects do not need subsidies because they can produce electricity at lower than market prices.

"High stock market prices increase the pressure on thermal power plants and are an additional incentive for the construction of new green power plants," said Delyan Dobrev. According to Vladislav Panev (DB), coal-fired power plants are not competitive even at current prices. The investment interest of the business is related to the construction of new RES projects for own consumption. "The development of renewable energy should be combined with the construction of the seventh unit at Kozloduy NPP and new gas capacity to ensure the security of the system," said Ivan Hinovski (ITN).

Deputies pledged to propose a reduction in the administrative burden for new RES plants. They called on RES associations and employers' organizations to prepare specific texts to simplify the procedures to be submitted for discussion to the Energy Committee of the next National Assembly.

Delyan Dobrev raised the issue of increasing the ambitions for green energy production in Bulgaria: “Currently, Bulgaria's national goal is to build 2,000 MW of new RES capacity against 30,000 MW in neighboring Greece. Why don't we set a more ambitious goal of at least 10 GW of RES by 2030? ”

The panelists agreed that the development of the network is key to the integration of cheap green energy. "As much money as possible from the national recovery and sustainability plan should be invested in the development of the transmission and distribution networks," said Delyan Dobrev.

"It is certain that in the next decade there will be billions needed for the network. These funds must be invested transparently so as not to sink into corruption schemes ", added Vladislav Panev.

ESO Director Angelin Tsachev shared data on increased investment interest in green power plants: “Only for the last year ESO received applications for joining 8.5 GW. Of these, nearly 500 MW were received from the distribution companies," Tsachev said. "Only in the area of ​​Svilengrad and Lyubimets there are inquiries for solar power plants with a capacity of 600 MW, but the lack of network capacity is an obstacle to their implementation," added the director of ESO.

Tsachev announced that ESO has launched a new service related to the implementation of technical and administrative activities. "This service will simplify the process of reviewing and coordinating project documentation and will accelerate the implementation of new renewable energy projects," he added.

The director presented a proposal for legal changes that will ease the procedure for reserving network capacity against payment of a guarantee by investors. Tsachev also stressed the need to introduce energy storage technologies to improve the management of the energy system.

Market integration

The regional integration of the electricity markets of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania for the Day Ahead market is progressing and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, confirmed Zoltan Nagy-Bege, Deputy. Chairman of the Romanian energy regulator ANRE and Angelin Tsachev from ESO.

"We need to replace polluting and expensive plants. "Most of the new capacity will come from renewable sources," Nagy-Bege said. "We expect about 7,000 MW of new renewable capacity to be built in Romania by 2030," said Ciprian Glodeanu, president of the local photovoltaic association.

Zoltan Nagy-Bege outlined the reforms Romania has implemented in the last year - allocating funds for investments in the electricity grid, simplified procedures for connecting RES and the possibility of trading outside the organized market. A good signal for the effect of the reforms is the conclusion of the first long-term contract between a producer and a consumer, concluded in September ", added the Deputy Chairman of the Romanian regulator.

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