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Bulgaria bans clean energy projects on arable land

Bulgaria bans clean energy projects on arable landThe Bulgarian government yesterday voted new legislation prohibiting renewable energy development on arable land. The bill, which sparked an outrage with the industry, is now making its way into Parliament. Under the amendments, renewable energy projects will not be allowed in irrigation and farm lands included in categories one through four, a move aimed at protecting Bulgaria’s arable land.

Farmers cheered at the new bill following recent complaints by the major grain producers that wind farms interfere with modern farming equipment and spoil the soil. However, renewable energy developers have slammed the proposed changes as discriminatory, saying they do not apply for other types of construction.

"It’s outrageous that only renewable energy development should be restricted," Stoyan Tenchev, chairman of the Ecoenergy association of independent energy producers, told Dnevnik. Velizar Kiryakov, chair of the Bulgarian Renewable Energy Association, suggested that the restriction should be only imposed on land included in categories one and two, dubbing the new measure conflict of interest.

According to the bill, a centralised commission will be put together to judge renewable energy project on a case-by-case basis for all category types. Furthermore, specific deadlines will be set for each phase of the construction process. The Ministry of Agriculture explained the measures were designed to prevent land purchases for speculative use. The farming ministry said more than 11,000 hectares of land has been converted for renewable energy development.

8 April 2010 - Dnevnik

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