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Bulgaria To Boost Energy Efficiency, Support Renewables

Date: 24-Nov-09
Country: BULGARIA
Author: Tsvetelia Ilieva

SOFIA - Bulgaria plans to boost its power efficiency and support the green energy to fight climate change and achieve European Union environment targets, Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said on Monday.

The center-right government which took office in July was working to set up of an energy bourse and make the gas and electricity system operators independent to open the power market to newcomers and cut prices for energy consumers.

"To decrease the greenhouse gasses, we need to consume less and cleaner energy," Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov told an economic forum, presenting the key lines of Bulgaria's energy strategy until 2020.

"The three steps - the transparent development of the electricity and gas networks, the set up of an energy bourse and the separation of the operators can be carried out during our mandate," he told an economic forum.

The gas and the electricity operators are part of the state power holding BEH at present. Traikov said their separation, aimed to enforce easier and cheaper access to power and gas networks for competitors, will be carried before 2011.

The new strategy is expected to be completed and approved by the government by the end of the year or early next year.

Traikov said Bulgaria will rely on hefty European Union aid and bank loans to cut the energy intensity of gross domestic product in the Balkan country, which was two times higher than the EU's average level at present.

The government plans to set up a board for technical infrastructure and prepare maps outlining the specific conditions for renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass in each region, as well as the grid's capability to add new generators.

Bulgaria relies on coal for over 40 percent of its electricity and nuclear energy accounts for 35 percent.

Its renewable energy comes mainly from hydro plants and makes just about six percent of its total energy consumption.

Out of over 11,200 installed power capacity Bulgaria has 330 megawatts of wind power generators and about 3 megawatts of solar installations.

To meet its target to provide 16 percent of its power mix from renewable sources by 2020, Sofia has to install 300 megawatts of hydro, wind, biomass and solar generators a year, analysts say.

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