FOREIGNERS IN A RUSH FOR BULGARIAN WIND
Wind power plants have become the source of significant wealth lately, especially for countries with well developed economies. It is curious that regions where there is the greatest number of wind power plants are not among the most windy on the planet. And they are far behind the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and high mountain areas in this ranking. Still, wind power plants are rare in Bulgaria, even though production of wind electricity has been discussed for some ten years now. The issue became extremely popular after 2000, when Bulgaria began to negotiate for its integration into the European Union (EU). By the end of 2012, the share of energy generated from renewable energy sources in the community should have reached 12% of the total production.In order for the country to meet the European requirements, the respective documents were prepared and the National Electricity Company (NEC) was obliged to acquire all the wind electricity produced. The State Commission for Energy Regulation (SCER) fixed a prefential price - BGN120 per megawatt hour, which is 50% above the water power plant tariff (BGN80 per 1 MWh). Nevertheless, just two projects have been successfully completed on the territory of the country so far. At the end of last year, a wind generator with 225 kilowatt capacity was commissioned in Sliven. The other pilot facility is located in the village of Aheloy near Pomorie, where there is a farm, operating on energy from the wind. The power of the generator is 1.5 kilowatt and part of the financing was provided under the EU's SAPARD programme.As a matter of fact, lots of objective difficulties have accompanied the development of this type of energy. The main one has been the need of a significant initial investment - more than USD35,000, for a generator with 20 kilowatt capacity. Another serious obstacle has been the installation of 10-15 metre high masts which must be put on by cranes. However, such machines cannot be used in mountain regions. Still, more than 30 companies have been examining in the SCER the opportunities to invest in wind power plants during the past nine months. The commission supported all initiatives in principle and also provided information about both the wind potential of the country and the procedure for construction of the equipment. Usually, candidates present their project to the mayor of the municipality in which they want to carry it out, as well as the investments planned and the number of jobs they intend to open. In return, certain parts of the ground is requested. In case of municipal approval, the applying company buys the land or is ceded building rights. Then a technical, economic and ecological project is developed and then submitted to the SCER for the required permissions.Right now, the biggest Bulgarian project of this type is for the construction of a wind park at the cape of Kaliakra. Two companies won the 5,000 dka ground bidding, invited by the municipality of Kavarna - the Japanese Mitsubishi and the French Societe Endustriele d'Atlantique. The land was assessed at EUR650,000 and we signed agreements to cede the building rights, the Mayor of Kavarna Tsonko Tsonev said. Each of the companies presented an EUR500,000 bank guarantee and met the experience requirement. Representatives of these companies have already started to investigate what influence the equipment would have on the environment.Another competition for a ground near Kavarna where wind generators will be built will be invited by December. The land is located to the north of Russalka resort.A wind power plant will also be built with American assistance in the municipality of Karlovo. On June 21, the US Ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. James Pardew, and the Mayor of Karlovo, Emil Kabaivanov, signed a USD384.5,000 subsidy agreement. The money is earmarked for examination and the analyses will be made by the US Electrotech Concepts and General Electric Wind Energy.The French SIIF Energies is a potential investor in the branch, too. Recently, its director for Bulgaria announced that in the next three years the company intended to invest EUR70MN in construction of wind parks with total capacity of 50 megawatt. The exact site where the French company plans to build is not known yet. One of the grounds chosen is near the Black Sea coast, and the other - in the high areas of Stara Planina mountain. SIIF Energies is part of the French energy holding EdF and builds power plants supplied by renewable energy sources all over the world. Its wind generators have a total capacity of 600 megawatt.