site.btaUPDATED Sofia Hosts "Be Renewable 2023" Conference
Through an awareness campaign and incentives, the state should promote energy saving. This is what Maxim Behar, CEO of M3 Communications Group, said during the opening of the two-day conference dedicated to the renewable energy industry - "Be Renewable 2023", which is taking place in Sofia.
Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov, Chairman of the Solar Academy Association, added that these events are part of Bulgaria's energy transformation. According to him, society will not only save electricity, but it should also take care of it.
The two-day conference is the first event in Bulgaria to bring together institutional and technological advances from the sector in Europe. Key speakers include experts from the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC), Kozloduy NPP, the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET), the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), MEPs, industry organisations and business representatives.
BTA is a media partner of the event.
In order to provide affordable electricity within the EU, we need to determine where our country can get it from, Bulgarian MEP Tsvetelina Penkova said. She pointed out that for Bulgaria the basic energy capacities are those of the nuclear energy sector. Complementary energy is that produced from wind and sun. Attention should also be paid to connectivity in Europe, so that the surplus of energy from renewable sources can be transported where there is not enough.
Tsvetan Simeonov, Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), said that the energy sector should work with a future perspective. Many people who are employed in the energy sector are looking for solutions. He pointed out that there was a long delay in sending the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, but this time was not used to look for a balanced solution. The task of the BCCI is to offer balanced solutions, Simeonov pointed out.
Without the development of nuclear energy, energy independence is difficult to achieve, said Temenuzhka Petkova, former minister of energy (2014-2017). In her words, without base capacities, the Bulgarian energy sector cannot cope. These currently include Bulgaria's coal-fired power plants to make the energy transition smooth. The focus of the Bulgarian Parliament is to develop renewable energy technologies, Petkova pointed out. She gave as an example that the aim of the amendments to the Energy from Renewable Sources Act, which were adopted by the National Assembly on Friday, is to reduce the administrative burden for investors in this field. The aim is to achieve the national target of 27.9% of final gross consumption to be renewable energy by 2030. Energy communities are a very good measure, Petkova pointed out. In this way, consumers will be able to sell surplus energy, and the plan is to reduce some grid connection times.
Maria Mincheva, deputy chair of the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), commented that Bulgaria has missed many years to hold the strategic debate on how it will transform its economy. According to her, this is an obstacle to investment in the country. For BIA, it is important that everyone has access to affordable and competitively priced energy and that different types of contracts are concluded. It should also be clear what energy mix Bulgaria is aiming for. "Without clarity on how the sector will be transformed overall, this also gives uncertainty to investors," Maria Mincheva pointed out.
Angelin Tsachev, Executive Director of the Electricity System Operator (ESO), pointed out that in the last two years about 2,000 megawatts of new capacity have entered the country's energy mix. In addition, there is a declared interest to build over 40,000 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity.
In Bulgaria, the accession processes are going at a much faster pace than in Western Europe, Tsachev pointed out. The pace of grid development is going well, the ESO executive director added. More than BGN 1 billion have been invested in the development of the network in the last 5 years. Several ambitious projects affecting the transmission network as a whole are planned. The share of renewable energy in Bulgaria's energy mix in the last 10 months alone is 20.5%, and the energy produced by solar capacities is over 12%, Tsachev said.
Georgi Stefanov, a climate and energy expert, believes that Bulgaria is terribly late to the energy transformation. According to him, there are deficits in the legislation. A comprehensive solution must be found. "Bulgaria is lagging behind, and that is why the children are leaving," Stefanov said. The positive thing is that this country is starting to develop very fast despite the delay.
Blagoy Golubarev, member of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC), explained that this country is late with many things in the energy sector, so we need to hurry up. According to him, people are most interested in the final price for the consumer. The cost of electricity is a mix along the chain of generation, transmission and distribution. Renewable energy has a very significant role to play in generation, in transmission, with distribution being the most anticipated change that is occurring.
The former diplomat and former Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Demographic Policy Meglena Plugchieva stressed that not only energy, but also construction, forestry and transport are affected by climate change and these sectors must be adapted.
Platform Brown to Green Co-Founder Kristina Lazarova noted that the green transition is not just about energy. “We have totally got the concepts wrong in Bulgaria and everything that has happened so far is very late,” she pointed out and added that at the moment it is very difficult to see good practices at national level. Lazarova underlined that a smooth energy transition should have happened in Bulgaria in the years so far. There should have been an orderly plan for it and capacities that do not necessarily replace the existing ones completely, but a mix should be made, a stable and sustainable mix of base energy, peak energy, storage systems either in the form of batteries, of hydrogen, she explained.