The (un)solvable energy problems of Bulgaria or political stubbornness?

Energy talks so far look optimistic, despite historic "red lines" that parties are still reluctant to cross in the name of the coalition

Energy / Bulgaria
3E news
article picture alt description

Shot: Facebook profile of "We continue to change"

Marinela Arabadjieva, Georgi Velev

Bulgaria's energy problems seem solvable. Only at first glance. The real review of the claims made by the BSP parties for Bulgaria, Democratic Bulgaria and "There is such a people" during the talks for a common position with the newly formed party "We continue the change", which was something like an arbiter, speaks of very distant positions . Perhaps that is why the agreement reached on too few topics comes as no surprise. As it turns out, the vision of the individual parties is distant. And as if wandering in the field just outside Europe.

The challenges are not as simple as the prices of electricity or natural gas. It is a question of approaches, of balancing mechanisms, both at current high levels and at possibly very low values. However, this is in the field of EWRC, not at a round or any other table. Because the policy is one - the one that is drawn by the legislation of Europe. Everyone agrees that the prices are very high, but the actual options for finding a solution are very different, but also outside the party scope. Some of them, proposed by the BSP, take us back to times when there was no energy market. Poorly rewritten temporary practices in a much-altered energy market may prove ineffective. Some of them are even able to destroy a model that no one wants to admit works.

Building a model that relies only on energy-poor, energy-vulnerable consumers, and therefore on such an economy, means a lack of ambition for development. By the way, the categorical refusal declared by We continue the change to touch VAT in the energy sector is a model of an energy-poor society. The sacred budget can afford such a step if we want a gas and electricity market and a functioning economy.

Recording priorities such as smart grids, digitalisation, etc. generally does not mean that the future is sufficiently looked at. The risk of what is declared to remain only on paper is real again due to the ignorance of what the policies are. For example, in terms of stimulating the development of RES for own consumption. Not to mention transport, new infrastructure that needs to be built for the European vision - zero-emission cars.

Nuclear fission

If we include the topic of nuclear energy in this incomplete review, it becomes scary. There is one project in Bulgaria. The Belene project. He is about to become a legend. A legend about a war between knowledge and unenlightenment. A legend of billions in losses as a result of the fear that if the eyes are opened, a generation will grow up in which today's faces, who are now pounding on the table from a position of strength, will have no place. The war between individuals and parties on the topic of Belene has not stopped. Moreover, it is about to be transferred to Kozloduy NPP.

There is one difference - nuclear energy is a science and requires training and staffing with high intellectual potential. Nuclear energy is part of the world's next step towards space technology. RES - not at all. Accordingly, the choice is in the balance of the two technologies. They can outline the level of a future education, economic development, labor market. There is a risk that if not elected this time, the number of citizens leaving the country will continue to grow. At the meeting, however, the energy experts and MPs of the parties debated for about an hour only on the question of how to formulate a new definition / assessment / analysis of whether and how to develop nuclear energy in our country.

None of the parties that stood in the negotiations is aware, and probably does not want to admit that at the moment in Bulgaria there is an established model, there is a base from which to move forward. Non-recognition of what has been achieved, its destruction always means going back and losing.

Moreover, Bulgaria is part of the European Union. The European Commission presented the Green Deal this summer. The road map is on the table. The "Ready for 55" program with the 13 bills containing them is to become part of the future legislation of Bulgaria. Whatever options are offered today by any headquarters, party, or anything else will have to be in line with the vision of the European Union. Staggering in one direction or another will only increase the number of European court proceedings against Bulgaria.

Here is a summary of the main topics on which some were agreed:

The experts agreed on the idea of ​​supporting businesses for high electricity prices. The rules for trading on the stock exchange must be changed with the idea of ​​focusing on long-term contracts. This will help companies avoid market fluctuations on the day ahead.

The possibility of returning budget organizations to a regulated market will be explored. This measure is against plans to liberalize the market and remains controversial for party leaders. However, everyone agreed on the idea of ​​auditing state-owned energy companies.

The future partners envisage an analysis and possible postponement of the entry of household consumers on the free electricity market. There was even talk of measures to limit electricity exports, but no consensus was reached here either. On these and other issues, however, the final word is with the European Commission.

There was agreement to strengthen the CPC's control, but only after a change in its leadership and an increase in its expertise. There was talk again of checking cartels in both the energy and fuel markets.

Everyone agreed that the top priority for our country is gas diversification. Therefore, the completion of the gas connection with Greece is of key importance. The idea to expand the gas storage in Chiren and to consider the technical and economic possibilities for building new gas storage facilities near Provadia and in the sea near Varna's Galata Cape is supported.

The changes in the item Liabilities to society will be interesting, as the idea is for this fee to have negative levels. This was one of the other measures to control prices and was mentioned as an idea even by business. There should also be support for households and businesses through the Electricity System Security Fund. They will be the first to discuss the details on this issue.

The proposal to cut off the electricity only after a second unpaid bill was accepted, as well as the possibility for balancing bills on an annual basis. If the EWRC raises prices in January, there will be 200 kWh of free electricity for the energy poor. But it is also important for party social experts to understand the term "energy poor."

The BSP's proposal for 9% VAT on energy was flatly rejected. As a former finance minister, Asen Vassilev obviously does not like to change the state budget's revenue system, it became clear from the energy meeting.

The idea of ​​taxing "excess profits" was discussed, for example, through a 50% higher tax on corporate profits, with these revenues going to the Electricity System Security Fund. The term "excess profit" will be determined by the EWRC on the basis of revenues above reference prices, which the regulator will draw.

Among the longer-term proposals of the experts were the development of pilot projects for the production of energy from geothermal resources and the compilation of a detailed map on the topic. "We continue the change" strongly supports the idea of ​​building hydropower plants on the Danube. Years ago, a similar idea was launched by MRF energy experts.

Another unifying factor was the idea to limit to 50% the reservation of capacity in the gas network by one supplier.

An important idea is to ease the regime for the construction of renewable energy sources, and when they are for their own use. This will now be treated as a construction site without an electricity assessment, and under a notification rather than a permit regime. This measure has been approved and will really contribute to the serious development of the own energy systems of enterprises and households.

An important point in the program "We continue the change" is to keep the work of the complex "Maritsa East" as long as possible.

It also became clear at the meeting that the rules and audits of energy efficiency measures will change. The aim is to spend the funds correctly and appropriately, and the effect of energy savings is clear.

The parties also united around the idea of ​​creating a new energy strategy, which is ideologically linked to a strategy for oil and natural gas production, utilization of the energy potential of the Black Sea with offshore RES, as well as strategies for hydrogen production and spent nuclear power. fuel.

All parties pointed out that they would look for ways to fight corruption in the energy sector, and the benefits of disbanding BEH would be analyzed.



More from Bulgaria: