Bulgaria to set up new body for renewable project mapping
Bulgaria will establish a new government agency in 2011 that will be in charge of sustainable energy development, according to the country's new sector strategy by 2020. The document was presented on Thursday, just hours after it was submitted with the European Commission (EC). The new government body will succeed the existing Energy Efficiency Energy, which will be closed.
The new sustainable development agency will develop and maintain a geographical information system encompassing maps of the areas eligible for renewable energy development. According to the original plan, the maps had to be drawn by the Ministry of Economy on the basis of data provided by the ministries of environment and agriculture.
On Wednesday, the Bulgarian Parliament approved at first reading the new Agriculture Land Protection Act, which bans clean energy generation on cropland included in categories one through four. The only exception will be the sites included in the geographical information system. However, before it comes into being in 2011, no new applications for renewable energy projects will be accepted for these areas.
Bulgaria's National Action Plan on renewables was developed by the Ministry of Energy in cooperation with a consortium between Portugal's Ecoshere, the UK's IT Power and the Black Sea Regional Energy Center. Unsatisfied with the job done by the tie-up, the ministry rewrote parts of the strategy, with work continuing minutes before the document was emailed to Brussels late on Thursday. The plan centres on the administrative and regulatory measures the Bulgarian government will take to spur on sector growth but does not outline specific action.
Bulgaria should produce 1,666 kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe) to deliver on its 16% EU legally-binding renewable energy target by 2020. The country's clean energy potential is estimated at 4,500 ktoe, with biomass and hydro energy tipped as the main contributors with 36% and 31%, respectively. Wind energy is projected at 7.5%.