Bulgaria’s slow and hesitant approach to implementing its commitments under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) could result in it missing a pivotal opportunity to transform the national economy in line with the European Union's ambitious 2050 climate neutrality targets. Despite Bulgaria's formal commitment to implement the European Green Deal, several governments have refused to commit and initiate a coal phaseout timeline.
The in-depth modeling impact assessment of the different scenarios for a coal phaseout by 2030 or 2038 at the latest, developed by CSD in partnership with the Regional Energy Policy Research Centre (REKK), shows that Bulgaria is fully capable of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 without a significant increase in electricity prices and without the need for the construction of new nuclear or natural gas-fired power plants.
The analysis was presented during a roundtable on Bulgaria's Roadmap to Climate Neutrality by 2050: Energy and Climate Security on 12 September 2023. In addition to the CSD experts, the panel discussion included Delyan Dobrev, Chairman of the Energy Committee of the Bulgarian National Assembly, Nikola Gazdov, Chairman of the Board of the Association for Production, Storage and Trading of Electricity (APSTE), Laszlo Szabo, Director of the Regional Institute for Energy Policy Research (REKK) and Yves Le Thieis, Vice President, European Energy Market Modelling Expert at the Compass Lexecon consulting company.
During the discussion, Delyan Dobrev pointed out that there are key laws under consideration in the Bulgarian Parliament that are focused on the unlocking of renewable energy investments in Bulgaria. Among the priorities are the acceleration of the grid connection process and the unlocking of the offshore wind energy potential. Nikola Gazdov noted that the assumptions for the introduction of new RES capacities could be even more ambitious given the market trends. He claimed that in the next 12 months Bulgaria will achieve the target of 3.5 GW of new capacity, originally envisioned for 2025. Yves Le Thieis focused on the security of supply risks as a key element of Compass Lexecon’s modelling study and insisted that the necessary investments in storage will materialise before 2030 enabling a faster transition. Laszlo Szabo reiterated that the decarbonisation of the electricity sector will not undermine Bulgaria's position as a net exporter in South East Europe.
All speakers and participants agreed on the need to improve energy efficiency, unlock Bulgaria's potential for decentralising renewable electricity generation and create a transparent legislative framework in which energy citizens are at the centre of the energy transition.