BULGARIA ECONOMIZES BGN41MN ANNUALLY FROM ECOLOGICAL PROJECTS
A total of 225 projects in the sphere of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources have been implemented in Bulgaria so far. Only ten of them are connected with electricity generation using wind power, sun rays or thermal waters, and the remaining are for energy saving. The annual effect from them is estimated at BGN41MN. Domestic production of electricity from renewable energy sources could reach 7-8% if we work more efficiently at the local level, the Chief Secretary of the Agency for Energy Efficiency Stoyan Todorov said. According to official statistics, the share of ecological electricity is presently 0.4% of the total production. However, Bulgaria's undertaken commitments to the European Union project that share to reach 8% in the year 2010.The main reason for the small number of projects in that field is the huge initial investment needed and its return in about 10-12 years. Currently, the State Commission for Energy Regulation is buying the electricity from renewable sources at preferential prices up to BGN120/megawatt, which is about 3- or 4-fold higher than the average price of electricity, produced by conventional power stations. But after the initial investments are regained, the price of electricity becomes 2.5 times cheaper.The Energy Ministry has launched negotiations and consultations with representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other international financial institutions for the establishment of a fund to finance such projects. Such a fund was set up under the Energy Efficiency Act as well, but it will be financing only energy saving initiatives and is expected to start operations in the beginning of 2005. Interest towards joint projects for generation of ecological energy has been shown by Japan, Germany, Austria, and Italy.