SOFIA (Bulgaria), April 27 (SeeNews) – The Bulgarian unit of Danish wind turbines producer Vestas hopes to keep its dominant position on the local market but sees controversial new legislation as the main obstacle to the further development of the industry, a senior company official said.
Vestas had 264 megawatts (MW) out of the 406 MW of installed capacity connected to the grid at all wind parks in Bulgaria at the end of last year, Vestas Bulgaria sales director Pavel Marinikov told the 7th Southeast European Congress on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy held earlier this month in Sofia.
Marinikov told SeeNews on the sidelines of the congress that although the company had no precise end-2011 market share target, they see their current share as the minimum and hope for growth.
“We are striving to be a wind energy market leader in Bulgaria the way we are globally – and to share our expertise and 30 years of experience.”
Worse than losing market share is having no new projects at all, Marinikov added, referring to new renewable energy sources legislation. The bill was approved by parliament last week and is now before Bulgaria's President awaiting to be signed into law.
Marinikov told SeeNews that if the new legislation takes effect, it would make it impossible to evaluate the viability of a wind park project and no new projects will be launched this year as a result.
“No bank or investor would agree to give money for a project in which they are unable to forecast what the return will be and what the risks will be,” Marinikov said.
The Law on Renewable Energy Sources calls for cutting to 12 years from current 15 the time period, in which state-owned grid operator NEK will be obliged to buy electricity generated by wind farms. A similar cut - to 20 years from 25 years - was imposed for solar parks.
Another requirement says the feed-in tariff that investors in renewables would get for their projects will be determined only after construction works on those projects are completed. At the same time the current cap on the possible lowering of the feed-in tariff, which can take place during operation, will be scrapped.
“If the question is what kind of projects we expect this year – we expect no projects if the draft amendments become law,” Marinikov said before parliament voted the draft legislation into law.
If the new bill does not take effect, Bulgaria has a wind power growth potential of 100-150 MW of new capacities per year on average, and up to 200 MW a year depending on how much the grid would allow, said Marinikov, adding these broad estimates were based on forecasts of the European Wind Association and take into account Bulgaria's climatic conditions.
“Roughly said, between 2012 and 2020 it will probably be between 100 and 200 megawatts annually. If the new legislation takes effect, construction of new wind capacities in Bulgaria will stop.
“Investors have no emotional connection to a country, they are pragmatic. If Bulgaria offers no conditions, Romania is there. It is only a several hundred kilometers away, it has better wind parameters and better incentives. They will go there and put their money there.”
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