31 July 2012Angel Semerdzhiev, Chair of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR), has said that the practice of placing the entire financial burden of renewable energy with the National Electric Company (NEK) will be terminated.
Speaking at a Tuesday press conference, he explained that a new methodology was being prepared under which all power distributors would be burdened with the cost of renewable energy.
Semerdzhiev specified that the move had already been opposed by some of the power distributing companies.
The DKEVR Chair vowed that renewable energy prices were not expected to increase over the next pricing periods.
"The problem was not that the renewable energy surcharge increased but that it spiked by over 300% in a year, which was the major factor for the increase in end prices. We must not let that happen," Semerdzhiev told journalists of private TV station bTV.
The 13% increase in electricity prices in Bulgaria has largely been attributed to the increased renewable energy surcharge.
"The truth is that we have 600 MW of photovoltaic plants, over 600 MW of wind turbines and the rest is minor hydropower plants and almost no biomass plants. There are biomass plants which are mostly powered by waste products. There is only one real biomass installation, which presented its proposal for a price per MW, and it is facing launch problems," Semerdzhiev noted.
"The difference between photovoltaic plants, wind farms, and biomass plants is huge. The investment process with photovoltaic plants lasts a month and a half, while with biomass projects it lasts years," the DKEVR Chair commented.
He emphasized that Bulgaria was not developing biomass projects despite the fact that they brought substantial advantages.
"Biomass has greater advantages for balancing the energy system because it allows for a regulation of the plants' working hours and non-working hours. Apart from that, it will result in substantial job creation. There were forecasts that there would be 200 MW last year, which proved ridiculous," Semerdzhiev declared, assuring that the energy watchdog would respond to any opportunity for price reductions.
Commenting on the issue of the planned referendum on the Belene NPP project, he suggested that it was better to postpone construction works until an investor showed up.
He vowed that the Belene project would not burden Bulgaria's energy system because it would not be given the chance to sell energy under long-term contracts.
"There will be no more long-term contracts like the ones with the Maritsa Iztok 1 and Maritsa Iztok 3 thermal power plants, which are a burden on end prices, "the DKEVR Chair concluded.