In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has stepped up its decarbonization plans, which had been temporarily disrupted by the Kremlin’s weaponization of energy supplies in Europe. The EU adopted a new energy and climate security strategy that aims to overcome the dependence on fossil fuel imports, accelerate investments in renewable energy sources (RES) and transform the economy based on a comprehensive low-carbon transition. Bulgaria is yet to define a clear, coherent long-term energy and climate strategy to decarbonise the economy by 2050.
Bulgaria is capable of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, which requires a profound transformation of the national energy sector with a focus on accelerating low-carbon investments. Decarbonising power and heat demand is crucial, as these categories account for two-thirds of all national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country. There is a need for a strong commitment to build sustainable energy infrastructure, spread the use of renewables, invest in innovative technologies, and remove legal and administrative barriers to decentralisation and democratisation of energy production.
These are some of the key messages of CSD’s latest analysis Back to the Drawing Board: The Contours of Bulgaria’s Climate Neutrality Roadmap presented at the roundtable “Bulgaria's 2050 Climate Neutrality Roadmap” on 23 March 2023. CSD experts were joined by Ivaylo Aleksiev, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy Development Agency (SEDA), Borislav Sandov, Deputy Prime Minister for Climate Policies (December 2021 - July 2022), Delyan Dobrev, Chairman of the Energy Committee to the National Assembly (August 2022 - January 2023) and Nikola Gazdov, Chairman of the Board of the Association for production, storage and trading of electricity (APSTE).
During the discussion, all speakers agreed that Bulgaria should undergo an ambitious policy agenda with measures to improve energy efficiency, encourage low-carbon behaviour change, and finalise the energy market liberalisation enabling active energy citizenship. Bulgaria should implement policies to reduce the overall transport demand and focus on the electrification of production processes in the industrial sector using renewable energy sources.
Speakers at the roundtable stressed the need for the development of a comprehensive, evidence-based energy strategy that builds on an inclusive stakeholder engagement process. Addressing the overarching risks to energy and climate security requires political will, a substantial improvement in the governance of the Bulgarian energy sector, and a renewed comprehensive strategy for the full decarbonisation of the whole economy.