The fastest and most cost-effective way to reach full decarbonisation of the Bulgarian economy will be to transform the electricity supply mix. This would require the immediate (or fastest possible) shut-down of lignite thermal power plants and the unlocking of the country's huge renewable energy potential. This was one of the key conclusions of CSD’s latest Policy Brief on Accelerating the Energy Transition in Bulgaria: A Roadmap to 2050 launched during an online conference on March 2, 2021. The report outlines three possible scenarios for decarbonising the Bulgarian economy with a 2050 horizon:
- Reference (or baseline) scenario: reflects the ambition of the current Bulgarian policy framework
- NECP scenario: assumes the targets in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan.
- Long-term Transition Scenario: outlines the necessary policy measures to achieve a zero-carbon economy by 2050.
CSD has adapted the ‘EU Calculator’, one of the leading European tools used to build decarbonisation scenarios for the Bulgarian context. The modelling instrument has enabled the development of different decarbonisation scenarios for all economic sectors in Bulgaria, thus contributing to the achievement of the climate goals embedded in the European Green Deal.
The online discussion gathered over 60 representatives from various government institutions, the civil society and private sector including Zhecho Stankov, Deputy Minister of Energy, Miglena Stoilova, President of the Bulgarian Wind Energy Association, Georgi Kolarov, Member of the Management Board of the Bulgarian Green Building Council and Ilia Levkov, Chairman of the Electric Vehicles Cluster.
All decarbonisation scenarios project a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the increased use of electricity in the final energy consumption of the transport and industry sectors. The panellists concluded that the Bulgarian government should promote the increase of electricity generation from renewable energy sources by organising capacity tenders for new renewable energy-based plants, develop a favourable regulatory framework for decentralised power generation and support energy community projects and prosumer-oriented investment models. Other key recommendations included the development of a regulatory framework that will facilitate the deployment of cutting-edge technologies, such as offshore wind in the Black Sea, the advancement of industrial hydrogen production and the development of geothermal-based energy supply at the local level. In addition, the speakers emphasized the need for a targeted strategy for addressing energy poverty, as well as the introduction of incentives to change individual and collective energy choices.
The following 3 to 7 years will be of crucial importance for the realisation of these opportunities and delivering the green economic transition in Bulgaria while simultaneously improving the well-being and quality of life of Bulgarian citizens. The next Bulgarian government will play a critical role in delivering this transformation.