An article published in Capital draws attention to the distribution of the funds from the Bulgarian Recovery and Resilience Plan for renewable energy projects. The idea of the Recovery Plan is to replace coal energy and form a basis for a new type of energy system.
The funds are for solar installations, electricity grid modernization, pilot projects for hydrogen and geothermal energy. In the next five years, the plan envisages the construction of large solar capacity – 1.7 GW, plus batteries. 878 BGN million are provided for partial financing of such projects. There will be a total of six tenders, which will be held once every six months from the beginning of 2022. At each of them projects for at least 285 megawatts will be in competition, with 25% of them, or about 70 MW, will be allocated for small RES – less than 5 MW. This aims to limit the concentration of projects, but in reality this is not the case. The remaining 215 MW can be won by a single candidate, which means a huge plant. Such large projects have already been announced – near Haskovo and Harmanli. It is possible that similar initiatives will be implemented in the complex “Maritsa East”.
An important condition of the tenders is that an energy storage facility must be built, which will have a capacity of 25% of the installed capacity of the RES plant and will be able to discharge for at least 4 hours. This will ensure the evening balancing of the system and will further reduce the need of using coal-fired power plants for this purpose.
Investors’ bids will be ranked according to the lowest grant requested. And in order for all these new RES to be connected to the network, significant investments in the country’s electricity transmission system are planned – 370 BGN million grant for the Electricity System Operator (ESO) and 270 BGN million of ESO’s own funds.
In addition to large power plants, funding is also provided for small rooftop photovoltaics. The total budget of the Plan for such installations is 140 BGN million, and there will be co-financing. Households will be able to receive between 6,000 BGN and 11,000, and for the energy poor the subsidy will be 100%. The condition is installations to have a capacity of 4 kW. For comparison, projects up to 30 kW are now supported with preferential prices. There will also be funding for purchase of solar thermal systems for domestic hot water supply. Money will be given only to households that are not connected to the heat or gas network.
The aid set in the plan for the construction of PV systems for self –consumption targets business consumers. Even without such, in recent years hundreds of companies have already invested in solar installations to ensure stable electricity price, and with grants this process will be significantly accelerated.