New legislation could slow down wind energy development in Bulgaria
3 November 2011
Bulgaria's new renewable energy law could discourage wind energy financing and disrupt the country's market, participants in a workshop in Sofia heard today.
While Bulgaria saw good wind energy growth in 2010 - installing 153 MW of capacity to take it to 488 MW - investors now face increased risk in terms of feed-in tariff and capacity allocation.
"The new law fixes the feed-in tariff only after the renewable energy project is completed," said Sebastian Noethlichs, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Wind Energy Association. "But since a wind farm takes 18 to 24 months to be built, tariffs could be revised downward while the project is still under construction. Banks are reluctant to be exposed to this kind of risk" Mr. Noethlichs added.
Moreover, the new law is not clear on whether the new renewable energy project will be able to get a suitable grid connection at the right location. This uncertainty could discourage developers and financiers.
Mr Kiriakov, President of the Association of Producers of Ecological Energy, agreed and stressed that lack of transparency was a major issue with the current regulatory environment: "The law is already in force. The major problem is that the institutions are not complying with their national legislation. The lack of transparency leads to many questions. We want to escape the vicious circle and have the access to the public information, as stated in this very same law."
With an adequate legislative framework, Bulgaria has the potential to install 3,000 MW of wind power by 2020 generating between 13.5 and 15% of total electricity consumption from wind energy, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
"Investors need to be certain that the policies that impact their businesses are stable," said Pierre Tardieu, EWEA's regulatory affairs advisor. "That is the experience of the wind energy across Europe and regulatory uncertainty could hurt investments in Bulgaria. The country has a huge potential as demonstrated by its impressive growth in recent years. The wind energy industry has therefore come together to ensure that the government focuses its policy towards stable growth and further job creation in the sector."
Kiriakov, Noethlichs and Tardieu were speaking at an event organised today in Sofia by EWEA in cooperation with the Association of Producers of Ecological Energy (APEE) and the Bulgarian Wind Energy Association (BGWEA).