site.btaUPDATED Parliament Passes Resolution on Agreement between PM, MPs and Energy Sector TUs
Bulgaria’s Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution in connection with an agreement concluded between Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, cabinet members, MPs and representatives of energy sector trade unions.
The draft resolution was moved by Kiril Petkov and Atanas Atanasov MPs of Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) and Delyan Peevski MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF).
The vote was 133-66 with no abstentions. The votes in favour came from GERB-UDF (57), CC-DB (45) and the MRF (31). Those against were 1 from GERB-UDF, 2 from CC-DB, 32 from Vazrazhdane, 20 from BSP for Bulgaria, 10 from There Is Such a People and one independent.
The resolution gives the Council of Ministers until December 31, 2023 to continue the procedure for the implementation of a capacity mechanism and to initiate a procedure for the maintenance of simultaneously operating and back-up generation sources directly connected to the electricity transmission network (excluding power electronics) by means of legally conforming solutions ensuring the operation of state-of-the-art dispatchable electricity production capacities as a key element of the critical energy infrastructure and national energy security in order to achieve a smooth energy transition.
In the EU, a capacity mechanism offers additional rewards to electricity capacity providers on top of income obtained by selling electricity on the market, in return for maintaining existing capacity or investing in new capacity needed to guarantee the security of electricity supplies. The Initiative is intended to help European countries, regions, communities and workers to achieve the economic diversification required for a clean energy transition.
By November 30, 2023, the Council of Ministers is supposed to execute the National Assembly resolutions of January 31, 2020 and January 12, 2023 on the prevention of a cessation of the functioning and/or a restriction of the production capacity of the coal-fired thermoelectric power plants of the Bulgarian Energy Holding group. This task is to be carried out through negotiations with European Commission officials involving one representative of each of the nationally representative trade unions in the energy sector. The Council of Ministers is to commit to refrain from restricting the operation of the baseline capacities of the rest of the combustion plant operators if they operate entirely along market lines in accordance with Bulgarian and EU law.
The resolution envisages the drafting, by November 30, of an energy strategy for Bulgaria covering the period until 2030 and, in the longer term, until 2050. The strategy should be drafted with the participation of the social partners, in parallel with the process of updating the Integrated Energy and Climate Plan because these two strategic documents need to be aligned.
The resolution provides for transparent investment intentions and the inclusion in their projects of the power plants, coal mines and affected municipalities in the relevant regions. A monitoring committee is to be established, involving representatives of the social partners, including regional chapters at the power plants, mines and affected municipalities.
The resolution sets October 31, 2024 as a deadline for the unconditional removal from the territorial just transition plans of an enterprise for the conversion of the coal-producing areas. Options for coal emissions capture, treatment or storage at the Maritsa East 2 TPP are to be explored within the same time limit.
The social partners have agreed to continue the negotiations on the draft agreement handed on September 19, 2023 except the point on the unconditional removal from the territorial just transition plans of an enterprise for the conversion of the coal-producing areas.