Industry fumes over Bulgaria’s clean energy hook-up rules
(ADPnews) – Sep 30, 2010 - Bulgarian renewable energy trade groups have pilloried grid-connection tenders that state-run power utility NEK and power distributors are supposed to hold for zones that have ignited interest for more capacity than the grid could accommodate.
The measure is proposed in the country’s national action plan for development of the sector that was submitted with the European Commission (EC) at the end of June.
According to plans, the investor offering the lowest grid-connection cost should pick up the contract. The local wind and solar energy associations argued that this measure renders useless the commitment to stick to preferential power purchase rates (essentially feed-in tariffs) and priority grid access. They also dismissed it as discriminatory.
“The plan was not discussed with the business community. The figures quoted in the document are ungrounded,” said Velizar Kiriakov, chairman of the Association of Producers of Ecological Energy (APEE). He sounded the alarm that Bulgaria will fail to hit on its 11% renewable energy target by 2011 as the share now stands at no more than 4%.
Kiriakov cautioned against conflict of interest as the tender procedure has not been pinpointed yet. With each power distributor having its own renewable energy generation unit, “guess who’s going to win if for example EVN held a grid-connection tender -- EVN Naturkraft,” he noted.
He further explained that such policy would tip the scales in favour of hydro power technology as it comes with the lowest price tag.
US investor Kenneth Lefkowitz suggested that only developers that do not expect the project to generate good return as they are involved in money laundering can afford to lower grid-connection costs.