Bulgaria will temporarily suspend applications for renewable energy projects until the industry’s national plan has been adopted, environment minister Nona Karadjova said. Speaking at a meeting with the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (CEIBG) that gathered 150 green energy developers, she provided no timescale for the freeze but said it is scheduled for the "near term".
Energy minister Traycho Traykov said the national plan - which should gauge Bulgaria’s renewable energy potential by regions, outlining zones included in the Natura 2000 Network of protected species habitat sites - could be penned by June or August 2010.
Velizar Kiryakov, chairman of the association of eco energy producers, proposed halting only construction within the Natura area. CEIBG suggested the suspension period should be reduced to two or three months.
"We’ve reached a consensus with businesses that the sector is in chaos," Karadjova said. CEIBG blamed the bad shape of the market on the absence of a clear government policy and development strategy. The group called for implementing transparent approval rules so that applications submitted by speculators could be blocked. It also said projects that have failed to obtain building right and enough land should be rejected.
CEIBG said projects should be plugged to the grid following one-year measurement of wind speed. Developers could be also required to pay a deposit to secure grid capacity. The organisation argued that only 10-15 percent of the submitted applications would fulfill the proposed requirements.
The Energy Ministry has said it has received applications for 112 wind farms with a combined capacity of 8,950 MW and 33 applications for photovoltaic (PV) solar parks that could deliver 1,878 MW if built. However, only 17 grid-connection contracts have been signed.