In Bulgaria, large-scale hydropower is currently the main source of renewable energy for the generation of electricity, but its technical and economic potential is already fully exploited. For this reason, the country is looking the exploitation of other renewable energy sources for this specific purpose. Bulgaria’s share of gross electricity consumption using renewable energy sources increased from 7.2 % in 1997 to 9.4 % in 2009, and it is expected to increase up to 16 % in 2020; this will represent an increase of 8.8 % with respect to 1997.
According to government sources, the renewable energy market in Bulgaria for the period of 2011–2020 is estimated to be from €250 to €300 million annually. In 2009, the renewable energies represented 8.7 % in the final consumption of energy. The biggest part is produced by the water sector (8.1 %). The part of wind and solar energy reaches only 0.60 %. By 2020, the renewable energy must be 16 % of the final consumption of energy in Bulgaria.
The most suitable region for the wind energy is Northern Bulgaria. To this date, the installed capacity for wind energy is 335 MW and the produced electricity is 236 GW. The Bulgarian government has developed several incentives to popularize the investments in the renewable energy sector, namely the compulsory purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources: 25 years for the solar and geothermal energies and 15 years for the rest of the renewable energies.
It is important to highlight that renewable energy policy for the generation of electricity in Bulgaria is based on the following key mechanisms:
• Mandatory purchase of electricity at preferential prices will be applied until the planned system of issuing and trading green certificates comes into force;
• A green certificate market is planned to be put in place. A regulation will determine
the minimum mandatory quotas of renewable electricity that generation companies must supply as a percentage of their total annual electricity production. Highly efficient CHP will also be included under the tradable green certificate scheme. Under that scheme, there will still be a mandatory purchase of electricity produced for production up to 50 MW.
The goal of Bulgaria’s NREAP (2010) is to significantly increase the share of non-hydroelectric in the energy mix. A total wind power capacity of around 2,200–3,400 MW could be installed. According to EWEA 2011, Bulgaria’s NREAP highlights the country’s desire to exceed its indicative trajectory and the binding target by almost 3 %—the biggest excess of any EU member state. The
Bulgarian authorities clearly earmarked this excess for use in cooperation mechanisms with other EU member states. It may be difficult for Bulgaria to achieve its targets in the power sector (21 % of electricity using renewable up from 11 % in 2005); however, given the power mix forecast in the plan, this could be achieved.
According to the NREAP approved, more hydropower capacity will be installed throughout the 10-year period, yet it will apparently produce less electricity than before. Wind power will be the main new renewable technology in the power mix, yet its capacity increase is unambitious—from just over 330 MW at end 2010 to 1,256 MW in 2020 (2.3 TWh)—and little solar and biomass capacity is planned (see Table 5.12). Furthermore, the action plan forecasts virtually no increase in energy consumption from 2005 to 2020 and does not indicate whether the current feed-in system for renewable will be extended beyond the current 2015 deadline. EWEA considers that by 2020, a cumulative wind capacity of 3,000–3,500 MW should be achieved.
The wind power capacity installed in the country during the period 2003–2013 increased 68.1-fold (from 10 MW in 2003 to 681 MW in 2013). During that period, the wind capacity installed in the country increased in each one of the years considered. The maximum increase was achieved in 2010.
5.14.1 Generation of Electricity Using Wind Energy
The evolution of the generation of electricity using wind energy in Bulgaria during the period 2008–2012 is shown in Fig. 5.26.
According to Fig. 5.26, the generation of electricity using wind energy in Bulgaria during the period considered increased 8.7-fold. It is expected that the generation of electricity in the country using this type of energy source will con- tinue to increase during the coming years and reach by 2020 between 13.5 and 16 % of Bulgaria’s electricity needs, according to EWEA sources.