On 6 October 2020 the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, in a partnership with the Center for Study of Democracy organised an online energy seminar The Green Deal: the pathway for the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Bulgaria towards a low-carbon and green economy.
In September 2019, Bulgaria and Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of energy to facilitate the knowledge exchange, technological transfer and capacity-building in the field of low-carbon energy and sustainable development.
Both countries have committed to the Paris agreement and carbon neutrality by 2050 and are putting in place policies for the green transformation of the energy sector in the context of the post-COVID economic recovery and the implementation of the Green Deal. Korea adopted the Green New Deal in July 2020 as part of their economic recovery program and Bulgaria committed to the goals of the European Green Deal that was launched by the European Commission in December 2019.
As part of its international climate and economic cooperation, the Republic of Korea is sharing same goals with Bulgaria and other countries around the world - to promote clean technologies, implement sustainable energy programs and develop adequate strategies according to the local specifics.
As the European Parliament endorsed a legally binding target for EU to cut planet-heating emissions by 60% by 2030, adopting a long-term coal phase-out strategy in Bulgaria to take place before 2030 becomes crucial for the just transition process in the country and economic restructuring of the coal regions, so that they could take advantage of the financial opportunities of the new MFF (in particular the Just Transition Fund) and the new recovery instrument “Next Generation EU budget” that place the ecological transformation and digitalization at the heart of the economic recovery process in Europe.
The panelists discussed the political, economic and social challenges related to the coal phase out in Bulgaria and the different financing schemes that could be used at EU, international and national level to support the energy transition and the economic restructuring in the coal regions and support alternative green projects.
The speakers also highlighted the opportunities and challenges for RES investors in Bulgaria and how the regulatory framework should be adjusted and improved in order to accelerate the RES integration into the market, improve the grid stability and facilitate the shift towards a more prosumer-oriented and decentralized electricity market. Experts also provided an overview of the diverse financial instruments that could be used and adjusted according to the degrees of commitment and tolerable risk. The diversification of financial sources and financing schemes could also lead to more opportunities to support new alternative sustainable energy projects and facilitate the energy transition.
The last panel was devoted to the hydrogen deployment as a solution of climate challenges in both countries. The EU H2 strategy for carbon-neutral Europe and the Korean H2 Road Map provide new impulses - while solving their climate issues, Bulgaria and Korea should also grasp the opportunities to revive their economies and boost technological and social innovations. Korea has a leading position in H2 auto market and vision to become the “World’s Top-Class Country in Hydrogen Economy”. Bulgaria plans to apply renewable and low-carbon hydrogen technologies for its energy transition and an enhanced knowledge and technological transfer between both countries could provide valuable learning experience on how such technology could be applied and deployed in a Bulgarian context.