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EMI’s Conference in Stara Zagora Focused on “The Clean Energy Package and Energy Investments” – IENE Actively Participated

EMI’s Conference in Stara Zagora Focused on “The Clean Energy Package and Energy Investments” – IENE Actively ParticipatedLast week IENE participated in a ground breaking conference on “Clean Energy” organized by Sofia based Energy Management Institute (EMI), which took place in Bulgaria’s coal producing region in Stara Zagora:

Last week IENE participated in a ground breaking conference on "Clean Energy” organized by Sofia based Energy Management Institute (EMI), which took place in Bulgaria’s coal producing region in Stara Zagora.

"The Clean Energy Package and Energy Investments – Realities and Challenges” conference was held on April 4-5, in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria and IENE participated upon the invitation of Mr. Slavtcho Neykov, Chairman of EMI. Mr. Alexandros Perellis, Researcher at IENE, participated in the conference as a panelist in a round table discussion, which gave emphasis on the status of the investment process at an international, European, regional and national basis through the prism of energy investments regime and the major open issues in this regard, including terms of climate change.

As Mr. Perellis noted, "The region still invests in coal. There are approximately a total of 7.2 GW coal projects under development, in either announced, pre-permitted or permitted phase excluding Turkey, which has 36.6 GW on the pipeline. So, we cannot say that currently energy transition in the region is under way. Even if the planned coal projects end up being cancelled, the region will be tied with the coal economy for at least 15 years into the future”. He then presented the case study of Greece, with regard to energy investments, highlighting the current RES deployment and recent change of RES support regime, noting that even though support mechanisms progressed in a less generous status, the declining prices of RES systems kept driving its deployment, primarily solar PV in the country.

He then pinpointed, based on Greece’s example, that priority for the implementation of the clean energy package, is placed on the reduction of the financial risk of Renewables, which according to IRENA, could have resulted in fivefold deployment of RES in SEE region during 2016 in comparison to the realized RES deployment value. He mentioned that stable policies and long term planning are the means to secure low financial risk for RES in the region. Concluding, the focus of the Mr. Perellis’ opening statement turned on European and regional initiatives currently deployed or under deployment, which could support the energy transition in the region, like South East Europe Regional initiative, run by IRENA and European Commission (EC) and the Platform for EU’s coal intensive regions in transition, currently under tendering process by the EC.

The conference was held in the city of Stara Zagora, which is in the midst of energy transition as it’s the capital of Stara Zagora Province, south-central Bulgaria, where the Maritsa Iztok Complex, the largest energy complex in South Eastern Europe is located. The complex consists of three lignite-fired thermal power stations and is located in a large lignite coal basin, which includes several lignite mines and enrichment plants. The debate on decarbonization is very vibrant in the region, as approximately 12,000 people are currently employed in the coal/lignite industry and many more are indirectly involved in the regional coal based economy; thus the road to decarbonization is passing through the total transformation of the local economy. The problem of investment funding was thoroughly addressed as well as "an economically viable and fair transition for the people of the region, which must be technology neutral”, as Secretary General of Eurelectric, Mr. Kristian Ruby stated. It can be noted that the economy of the Stara Zagora region presents high similarities with other carbon intensive regions of SEE, like the region of Western Macedonia in Greece and Kosovo with similar challenges on the path to energy transition.

EMI’s Conference in Stara Zagora was attended by representatives from Bulgaria’s Energy Ministry, Eurelectric, Euracoal, Energy Community Secretariat, Bulgaria’s Electricity System Operator, Institute for Market Economics (IME), WWF Bulgaria, KNSB/CITUB trade unions, Support Confederation of Labour-Bulgaria, National Expert Council on Climate Change –Bulgaria as well as local and national media, representatives of the local economy and energy experts.


PUBLICATIONS Long-Term Gas Contracting Terms, definitions, pricing - Therory and practice The Greek Energy Sector 2019 SEEEO 2016-2017 More

COOPERATING ORGANISATIONS IEA WEC Energy Community Eurelectric BBSPA AERS ROEC BPIE