The Draft Strategic Vision for the Development of the Electricity Sector by 2053 repeats the vicious oligarchic corruption model built for decades in the country
The Draft Strategic Vision for the Development of the Electricity Sector by 2053 repeats the vicious oligarchic corruption model built for decades in the country (Image Courtesy-Google)

The Draft Strategic Vision for the Development of the Electricity Sector by 2053 repeats the vicious oligarchic corruption model built for decades in the country.

The project envisages the subjection of the sector to large-scale non-feasible energy projects without economic justification. It will preserve the structure of the industry, created and maintained on the Kremlin model, moving Bulgaria away from the European Union and its rules and goals.

Long-Term Dependence: The strategic document moves our country away from the EU’s REEUPowerEU plan goals to restrict the role of fossil fuels and energy dependence on Russia. At least until 2035, Bulgaria’s electricity sector’s reliance on coal combustion is also increasing.

The construction of 4 new nuclear units is on stake without a clear economic basis and in contrast to the poets of all governments of the country over the last 15 years—international commitments for the transition to climate-neutral energy.

The next resurgence of nuclear zombie projects, such as the Belene NPP, will threaten the financial health of the Bulgarian energy sector and the entire economy. They will continue to feed the networks of influence in Bulgarian politics and economy, which are in this direction almost entirely connected to Russia.

Vulnerable Institutions Violate European Rules: The official government proposal once again undermines institutional decision-making mechanisms, including the role of the Energy Transition Commission (CEP), formed by the European Green Pact Advisory Council to the Council of Ministers.

This contradicts the mechanism agreed on in the Recovery and Sustainability Plan (PVU), in which the KEP should issue a report on which to step on the Roadmap for Climate Neutrality of Bulgaria

The proposed vision also needs to meet the requirements and methodology of the EU Energy Union Regulation, which envisages Member States’ work on a common approach in the field of climate and energy at all levels. This questions the funding of vital reforms for the Bulgarian energy sector.

The results of the modelled scenarios have been altered to justify investments in mega projects with ambiguous efficiency. Allowances have been made that violate Bulgaria’s commitments to achieving the Green Pact goals, “Ready for Target 55”, and the REPowerEU plan.

The necessary reforms and investments invested in PVU are missing to start a real transformation of the economy and energy. Higher carbon emissions reduction targets agreed upon by EU Member States (incl. to limit them by 62% in the energy sector by 2030) are absent.

Myth Imposing: The vision suggests that Bulgaria will suffer if it becomes (for a limited period of the year) a net importer of electricity in an attempt to retain subsidies for the coal sector beyond 2025. (more than 1 billion) leva annually from the Electrical Energy System Security Fund), at any cost, without assessing the negative consequences. 

Security risks of electricity supply are greatly exaggerated during a period when Bulgaria is the third largest exporter of electricity in Europe.

Recent data from the Electricity System Operator also ignores that networks can take new investments in EIs, and Bulgaria can achieve successful decarbonization without risking energy security. 

The proposed vision, in practice, will turn our country into a green energy importer of neighbouring countries, which are now a more preferred destination for WEI investors.

The impact and energy efficiency of reducing electricity consumption needs to be better reported, which would render the supply and maintenance of large base powers meaningless after 2030, out of the role of current installed capacities at the Kozloduy NPP.

What to do: The long-term security of the energy supply means energy independence and the decline of fossil fuels—achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 and meeting the goals for 2030. is a possible destination for Bulgaria.

Tackling the comprehensive risks of energy and climate security requires political will, a significant change in the management of the Bulgarian energy sector, and a new working strategy.

It shall be based on:

– Placing citizens at the centre of any reform relating to the energy 

transition as one of the fundamental goals of the European Green Pact.

– Complete democratization, decentralization and liberalization of Bulgarian energy.

– Specific proposals for investments in EI, creating energy communities and encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises to implement innovations to reduce their energy consumption and turn them into active producers.

– Using cutting-edge green technologies such as offshore wind plants, energy storage systems, smart grids and digital power management systems.

– Minimizing political risk created by the ever-changing strategic and regulatory framework that deters serious investors and financing institutions from implementing large-scale WEI projects.

– Burying its heads in the sand to serve private, local and foreign state interests, the government condemns Bulgaria to continued economic sinking even compared to the peripheral European economies in our region. 

It is time for Bulgarian energy policy to make a clear commitment to economic transformation based on low-carbon innovations, decarbonization of not only energy but also of all major industries, and last but not least, diversification of the key growth engines.

Only in this way will we eliminate structural dependence on low-value-added sectors and give a real perspective for a fair transition to the most vulnerable groups in Bulgarian society.