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Bulgaria might lose EUR 1bn investment if it halts renewables

Bulgaria might lose EUR 1bn investment if it halts renewablesBulgaria might see upwards of EUR 1 billion of investments slip through its fingers if it imposes a moratorium on clean energy development, an industry expert warned on Wednesday. His statement comes after last week environment minister Nona Karadjova announced a temporary suspension of projects in an early development phase until the government drafts a strategy on clean energy capacity.

The ministry explained the move was aimed at avoiding an infringement procedure initiated by the European Commission (EC) against wind farm construction in the EU Natura 2000 Network of protected species habitat sites. The Commission should have its say on the clean energy plan and its environmental impact assessment by mid-2010.

Nikola Gazdov, chairman of the newly-founded Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association (BPA), said the proposed restrictions will drive away investors for years after they are lifted. He estimated Bulgaria faces EUR 250-300 million in missed opportunities, plus thousands of jobs that would not be created. Gazdov cautioned the restriction would have a widespread impact, noting that the announcement has stirred up "panic and chaos" among investors and banks.

Financial institutions are growing increasingly wary of renewable energy projects, turning down projects that have already secured a preliminary power purchase agreement with state-run utility company NEK, BPA said.

The suspension of renewable energy development might foil Bulgaria’s plans to boost the share of green energy to 16% of its total supplies, BPA warned, adding that the target calls for bringing on stream 150 MW photovoltaic (PV) capacity each year.

17 December 2009 - Dnevnik

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