A policy brief made public by the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) on Tuesday found that Bulgaria needs to address a number of governance deficiencies in order to unlock the huge investments in the wind power sector and thus accelerate the decarbonization of its economy. The country has a potential for more than 40 GW of new wind power plants.
"The ambitious objective to fully decarbonize the European economy is facing strong headwinds from ongoing energy price volatility, supply deficits on the electricity and gas markets, and bottlenecks in accelerating renewable energy investments that are the backbone of the REPowerEU plan. Unlocking Europe's wind energy potential is pivotal to the success of the energy transition," the think tank argues in its analysis titled "The Lowest Hanging Fruit: Wind Energy Potential in Bulgaria".
Bulgaria's huge wind energy potential, both onshore and offshore, estimated at a conservative 40 GW, remains unutilized for electricity generation due to legal and regulatory inconsistencies, difficult grid access, opposition from local communities, environmental conflicts and, on the whole, a weak political commitment to speed up the investment process, the CSD pointed out.
At least 10 GW of installed onshore and offshore wind capacity with high utilization factors and suitable land use and environmental conditions can be added in Northeastern Bulgaria (Varna, Dobrich, Razgrad and Shumen regions).
Around a third of the Bulgarian coastal area is considered suitable for offshore wind deployment with installed capacity potential of 176 GW.
These are part of the findings of the CSD feasibility study of the wind energy sector expansion, conducted in cooperation with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT). The study was presented at a roundtable in Sofia on September 26, titled "Unlocking the Onshore Wind Energy Potential."
The discussants included, in addition to the CSD team, Bulgarian Environment and Water Minister Julian Popov, Gustav Resch, Senior Scientist and Thematic Coordinator for Integrated Energy Markets at the AIT Integrated Energy Systems Competence Unit, András Mezosi, Senior Research Associate at the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research (REKK), Viktoriya Kerelska, Director of Advocacy and Messaging at WindEurope, Electricity System Operator EAD Executive Director Angelin Tsachev, Bulgarian Wind Energy Association (BGWEA) Supervisory Board Chairperson Miglena Stoilova, and Apostol Dyankov, Head of the Climate and Energy Programme at WWF Bulgaria.