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01.11.2010
The Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and Energy presented the new Law for Renewable Energy
The long disputed tenders for grid connection will be replaced by a selection procedure, managed by the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission
AUTHOR: Atanas Georgiev

The Bulgarian Ministry of economy, energy and tourism published on its website the draft of the new Law for renewable energy. According to the text, the current interest of investors for building new green energy capacities will be regulated with special connection procedures, which will be controlled by the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC/DKEVR). The new law also sets the ground for a new Agency for Sustainable Energy Development (ASED/AUER) which will take the functions of the existing Agency for Energy Efficiency (AEE) and some of the regulatory procedures related to the certification of green energy.

New connection procedures

According to the procedure, described in the motives to the new Law for renewable energy, the investors in green energy will have to apply to DKEVR. Commissions, appointed by the chairman of the regulator, with participation from the transmission and distribution companies, will decide whether the application could be satisfied. When there is a large number of applications, these commissions will decide on what part of the projects will actually take place.

The operators of electricity distribution grids will have to send to the transmission grid operator their possibilities for connection of new capacities until February 28 each year. The Transco will the present to the DKEVR and the minister of economy and energy until April 30 the maximum number of capacities that could be connected. After that DKEVR will publish until June 30 each year the number of capacities that could be connected. All investors who want to use the renewable energy preferences will have to apply to the DKEVR between July 1 and September 30 each year and the regulator will decide until October 31 about the acceptability of applications and until November 30 - which of the capacities will be connected if there are more applications than free capacities.

1 MW = 25 thousand EUR connection fee

The selected investors will have to pay then a price for connection - 25 thousand EUR for each MW of installed capacity of the future energy plant. The money will be distributed to both the distribution and transmission grid and will have to cover all expenses for rehabilitation and/or upgrade of the grid. If the grid companies could not connect the plant within the provided deadline, they will have to return to the investor an amount which is double the fee, paid by the investors.

The investors will receive a feed-in tariff which will not be diminished during the period of the long-term contract. For solar and geothermal power, the long-term contract with the public supplier and suppliers of last resort will be for 25 years. All other renewable energy plant will receive a 15-year contract. The new renewable energy law also proposes a change in the Energy act so that now all new capacities over 1 MW will have to be licensed. The old text requires licenses for capacities over 5 MW.

The role of the new agency - AUER will replace AEE

According to the proposed texts, AUER will be responsible for the certification of green energy sources. It will also have to organize the national information system for renewable energy potential. The Ministerial council will have to vote a new regulation for the structure of AUER within 2 months of the official publication of the green energy law. Thus the new agency will take over the functions of the energy efficiency agency as well.

Green energy and buildings

The new law also sets rules for using green energy in buildings. There is a possibility for installing up to 30 kW capacities on rooftops of buildings in towns without licensing and up to 1 MW of renewable energy capacities in industrial facilities. In order not to be licensed through the official procedure for all renewable energy, these sources will have to give up the preferences like feed-in tariff and long-term contracts. They will also have to provide online information to grid operators about the current power provided to the grid and a possibility for the operator of the grid to remotely limit the electricity produced if there is a need to do so.

Another requirement for all new buildings or retrofitted ones is to provide at least 15% of the energy needed for heating and cooling from renewable energy - biomass, geothermal or solar power.
 




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