AMSTERDAM – Bulgaria plans to achieve its 2030 climate targets by increasing investment in the energy sector and renewables step by step, Bulgaria’s Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov told New Europe.

“We’re very proud that during the Bulgarian Presidency we managed to negotiate and to close the negotiation of three very important files: governance regulation, energy efficiency, and renewables. And, of course, it is important to say that for renewables and energy efficiency we didn’t just agree on the targets but in the governance regulation we agreed on the way to achieve the 2030 targets … step by step to increase investment in the energy sector and renewables,” Stankov said in an interview on the sidelines of the RE-Source 2018 conference in Amsterdam on November 21.

He reminded that countries like Poland, Bulgaria, and Greece are also very much affected by the energy transition because a lot of energy is produced by coal. “We should into take into account the specifics of each member state. This transition should be happening slowly and, of course, keeping in mind that we need security of energy supply,” Stankov said.

Turning to the United Nations Climate Change Conferences, he said in regards to the COP agreement that Bulgaria is in the same camp with Poland.

“We don’t want to raise the ambition from the Paris Agreement. We want to see the first results of the existing agreement,” he said. “At the moment our energy mix is the following one: We have about 35% of our energy coming from nuclear, about 45% coming from thermo-power plants from fossil fuels and lignite and the other 20% hydro and renewables. Hydro is also a renewable, of course, but I’m just saying hydro because the big hydro producers’ facilities are owned by the national electricity company and by the state,” the Bulgarian deputy Energy Minister said.

He stressed that one third of Bulgaria’s energy is exported and the country is contributing to the security of supply of the whole region, including Turkey, Greece, FYROM, and Serbia, which are buying a lot of energy from Bulgaria.

Stankov said Bulgaria has found the right way of balancing the renewables, correcting past mistakes.

He said that while in the past Bulgaria had not only reached, but it exceeded the targets for production and consumption of electricity from renewable sources set in the Europe 2020 strategy from 16% to 19.3% at the moment, the high share of electricity from renewable sources was produced at a high price.

“The same mistake made by Spain, Romania, and some other member states was to invest a lot in renewables while the technology was very expensive,” he said.

Turning to natural gas, Stankov said the diversification of the gas supply is one of the most important aspects of the Bulgarian government’s strategy.

“One of the projects that gives real diversification is the interconnector Bulgaria-Greece (IGB),” he said.

Bulgaria mulls 20% stake in Alexandroupolis LNG terminal

In addition to gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz-2 field via the IGB pipeline, Bulgaria is considering at the moment participating at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Alexandroupolis in Greece.

“We’re going to participate with about 20 percent share in the project. That will give us opportunity to access to delivering gas from the US, Egypt, Algeria, and Australia,” he told New Europe.

Stankov also stressed that Bulgaria is betting on domestic offshore gas production from the Black Sea. “At the moment, (France’s) Total is working very hard for exploration. They’re drilling the third well and we hope for good results there. At other parts of the Black Sea coast, the colleagues from (Royal Dutch) Shell will start drilling the first well at the start of this year in the first or second quarter,” he said, adding that gas, which will be produced at the territory of Bulgaria will be at least 30 percent cheaper.

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