We will give a chance to the technologies on a market principle to realize each of the investments, with the main goal not to burden the citizens and businesses additionally, commented the Deputy Minister of Energy Zhecho Stankov within the hybrid conference "Transition to Green Economy and Employment in Bulgaria - direction, goals, policies, opportunities and challenges. ”The Bulgarian government will take advantage of the freedom given by the EC to each country to determine its own energy mix. However, he stressed that about 40% of the energy can come from nuclear power plants, Bulgaria has the opportunity to store energy through PAVEC Chaira, we will be able to store green hydrogen.
Bulgaria has 3.6 times more energy intensity and carbon intensity than the EU countries and the transition to a circular economy will not be easy.
The difficult transition in the regions
He gave the example of economic industrial zones, in which the goal is to develop hubs powered by ecological energy. The goal is to build infrastructure completely, to create new green jobs, to provide 100% access to green energy, to create energy communities in this park for energy exchange. A nearby hydropower plant that supplies the buildings or photovoltaics of each building will also provide energy efficiency.
The biggest reform is forthcoming in the largest coal regions. A contractor has already been selected for the regional plans, which will start to be implemented in November next year, Stankov commented. We expect ideas from regional organizations, trade unions and the non-governmental sector to offer ideas for economic transformation, Stankov stressed. The goal is to make this happen without shocks. The € 1.2 billion fund under the Fair Transition Fund will be complemented by the Recovery and Sustainability Plan after COVID-19. Unfortunately, at the moment the regional plans in three settlements have been approved for implementation - Stara Zagora, Pernik and Kyustendil. But we will strive to prepare the reforms and find funding for the other regions of the country - Burgas, Varna, Targovishte, Sliven, Yambol, Haskovo, Gabrovo and Lovech, where coal mining and industry are of great importance.
They profile everyone in coal mining
More than 120,000 people will be affected by the energy transition from coal mining to a green economy. 94,000 people will be directly affected, and social unemployment costs are estimated at 1.2 billion levs, explained Zornitsa Rusinova, deputy minister of labor and social policy. We are currently profiling each of these people to see their capabilities and desire for retraining. The problem is that most of these people are of pre-retirement age and have no incentive to retrain.
Bulgarian productions are intensive in nature and no matter how many ecological investments they introduce, they will remain energy-intensive, commented the energy adviser to the office of the President of CITUB Anton Ivanov.
Let people see their place in this transition
What is the production of green products in Bulgaria and how many are the consumers of green products, he asked rhetorically. The topic of energy vulnerable consumers is bypassed, and according to this indicator we are at the forefront with the highest levels. We have many economic instruments, but whether we plan them properly, the unions have doubts, he said. We have not seen any plans to discuss, we want to see the proposals of the newly elected consultant for the reforms in the three regions, Ivanov added. People should not enter the labor market and then retrain, this should happen now, he stressed.
At the moment, people are a deaf opposition in these regions, they need to see their place in this transition, the expert added.
In Germany, for example, a 100% survey was conducted of employees for their opinion on the transition to a green economy, which we must do, said Georgi Stefanov, climate and energy expert at the International Wildlife Fund WWF. Currently, the Plan for decarbonisation of Bulgaria does not provide for complete liberation of Bulgaria from its dependence on fossil fuels. Green energy will find its own way in the transition to a green economy. We have no choice but to make a quick green transition, because it will cost us an additional loss of competitiveness and jobs, said Diana Dimitrova, director of nature protection at WWF. It is wrong to think that the transition to a green economy will have severe economic consequences for the poorest country in the EU. The topics of decarbonisation, the circular economy, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity are ignored in the Post-COVID-19 Recovery and Sustainability Plan, she added.
On the contrary, the opportunities you have can put you at the forefront of clean energy production, you have, sun, wind, sea, a country like Germany, where we do not have such natural resources, we do it successfully and Bulgaria can, said the German Ambassador to Bulgaria. HE Christoph Eichhorn.
The hybrid conference is organized by the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GBITC) and the World Wild Fund (WWF).