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An energy strategy is needed
Carmen Neagu, regional manager of GE Energy for Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova, presented the company’s views on the development of the Bulgarian energy sector
AUTHOR: Atanas Georgiev

(Picture – Carmen Neagu, GE Energy)

An energy strategy is needed with statistics, prognoses and scenarios inside, said Carmen Neagu, regional manager of GE Energy for Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova during a meeting with media. She gave an example with Romania, where the former state energy institute was privatized, but is now renewing its activities on research and vision for the local energy sector.

We have interest in many sectors, Neagu said. She cited as the most interesting the energy sector, where the company offers wind, gas turbines, cogen and energy efficiency solutions, but also the water sector in which technologies for water and wastewater treatment may be provided. According to Neagu, Bulgaria and Romania should invest in proven technologies for electricity production like the new generation of wind turbines, because they are now mature and have better cost/benefit ration than photovoltaic panels. She also said that energy efficiency and renewable energy should be developed simultaneously and not to be considered as substitute solutions.

Currently the capital markets are still prudent toward the region of Bulgaria and the uncertainty about renewable sources and the energy policy as a whole is making projects more expensive in terms of financing, added Ms. Neagu. She said that this is not affecting only those energy companies who have their own funds to invest in new renewable projects. As an example for these developments, Neagu cited a company-client of GE Energy, which decided to move its wind park project from Bulgaria to Poland. However, Ms. Neagu stated firmly that GE is not going to leave Bulgaria, because the company has a long-term vision to be a stable partner of Southeast Europe.

GE Energy is expecting with interest the new energy strategy of Bulgaria as well as specific secondary legislation like the plan for development of renewable energy sources and the long-term 10-year plans for development of the electricity grids. According to Neagu, a factor of uncertainty in the renewable sector is the regulatory frame, which allows the feed-in tariffs to be changed during the planned period of return of investment. These prices are being changed on April 1 each year and this brings uncertainty, because it can make some of the projects unprofitable without a possibility for investors to predict this. It is important that the state defines the quotas of the different renewable sources in the renewable energy mix so that it is known how much wind energy, biomass or photovoltaic energy and others will be needed in order to implement the target 16% of all energy consumption to be provided by renewable sources until 2020.

According to GE Energy’s analyses, in the region of Bulgaria and Romania the average age of electricity generation assets is 33 years and the average efficiency is 32% considering that the new plants worldwide have an average efficiency of 60% and the new cogeneration plants have an efficiency of 80%. In order to improve our countries’ competitiveness, this has to be changed and we have the chance to invest in the newest technologies – something that is not possible for developed countries, who already built their assets using technologies that are now older.

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