Offshore wind potential of 116 GW can boost Bulgaria's energy transition - CSD

The Triton Knoll offshore wind farm. Source: RWE AG.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), September 24 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria has 116 GW of technically feasible offshore wind power capacity, 26 GW of which could be utilized in shallow waters by mature bottom-fix technology concept, Sofia-based public policy institute Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) said.

The data indicates achievable capacity factors of 40-48%, while the average cost for a unit of generated electricity from bottom-fix installations is estimated at 62-91 euro/MWh and from floating installations at 110-150 euro/MWh, the CSD said in an assessment paper of the Black Sea offshore potential published last week.

The offshore energy industry can significantly contribute to local communities on the Bulgarian coast in terms of highly-skilled job creation as well as for the formation of new technological clusters. The turning of the two largest Bulgarian Black Sea ports, Varna and Burgas, into decarbonization hubs would support offshore wind industry formation, CSD noted.

Unfortunately, the existing national strategic roadmaps fail to recognize the decarbonization potential of Bulgarian maritime areas. The lack of strategic orientation towards offshore wind energy development reflects on maritime spatial planning and grid development. Improvements to infrastructure together with regulatory and administrative changes are necessary for opening the door to future investors in the offshore wind energy sector.

The World Bank said in March 2020 that the total technically viable wind energy potential of the Black Sea is 435 GW. This puts Bulgaria's CSD-assessed offshore potential at almost 27% of the total. However, Bulgaria currently has only 0.7 GW of installed onshore wind capacity. An increase to 0.89 GW by 2030 is envisaged in the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

According to the CSD, the European Green Deal offers an opportunity for financing the pre-conditions for the formation of a regional offshore wind energy industry in Bulgaria. The assessment paper also says that seabed-fixed wind power installations as mainstream technology can deliver the cheapest electricity generation as early as 2022.

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