site.btaWrap-up: Center for Study of Democracy: Coal Plants Should Be Phased out before 2030, if Bulgaria Is to Achieve Climate Neutrality in 2050
To achieve climate neutrality in 2050, Bulgaria needs to focus on phasing out coal-fired power generation before 2030, Kostantsa Rangelova, a senior analyst for the Energy and Climate Programme of the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) said here Thursday. She was among the speakers during a roundtable on the Road Map for Climate Neutrality in Bulgaria by 2050, where she presented an analysis of different scenarios for transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
Also, this country needs to set clear timelines for transforming coal regions through effective use of available European and national instruments, added Rangelova.
The CSD urged investment in innovative technologies, including renewable energy technologies and smart grids, and to implement various measures to decentralize the electricity system.
As far as buildings are concerned, the implementation of energy efficiency measures should be stepped up and households should be encouraged to be active participants in the electricity market through renewable energy production. This will also reduce energy poverty in Bulgaria, said Rangelova.
The most important CSD recommendations in the transport sector are related to the implementation of sustainable modes of transport. "We cannot focus only on electrification of our vehicle fleet. It is crucial to encourage people to use public transport and alternative methods of getting about," Rangelova said. According to her, this is one of the main steps towards decarbonisation of this sector.
CSD also underscored the crucial role of afforestation and expansion of the forests.
Bulgaria needs 1-2 GW in new renewable projects a year over next 10 years to meet climate neutrality targets
According to CSD research fellow Maria Trifonova, Bulgaria needs to build significant renewable energy (RES) capacity – between 1 and 2 GW – a year over the next ten years to be able to meet the climate neutrality targets.
Bulgaria has not yet installed even 1 GW of renewable projects.
In order to achieve the targets, this country needs to attract investors who have the knowledge and skills to implement such projects without disrupting the system, she added.
Private capital is essential
Ivaylo Aleksiev, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy Development Agency (SEDA), said that mobilizing private capital is essential for renovating buildings. He also pointed out that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan foresees reforms in this department and expressed hope that they will be implemented.
Aleksiev noted that Bulgaria is lagging behind with the regulatory framework related to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
He argued that in addition to a long-term vision, focus is needed in the short-term steps that need to be taken in order for Bulgaria to catch up.
Photovoltaics' Price Down by Over 90% over 10 Years
The Chairman of the Board of the Association for Production, Storage and Trading in Electricity (APSTE), Nikola Gazdov, underscord the dropping prices of photovoltaics: by more than 90% over the past 10 years. For wind power generation systems, the price has come down by more than 65% over the same period. He expects the price of batteries to drop because it is still high.
He admitted, though, that there has been an increase in the price of some components in the past one-and-a-half years.
He argued that the power generation sector, industry, agriculture and transport should be decarbonized at a rapid pace.
Reducing dependence on fossil fuels is key to getting increased support for renewable energy investments, and Bulgaria should take advantage of this opportunity, he also said.
He believes that Bulgaria has a chance to strengthen its role as an exporter of electricity, as well as to create many new jobs related to renewable energy. He said that currently over 12,000 people are directly and indirectly employed in this sector, but there is potential for many more.