Sep 17, 2012 - Bulgaria’s energy regulator said late Friday that temporary fees of up to BGN 236 (USD 158.5/EUR 120.7) per MWh for access to the power grid would be withheld from the feed-in tariffs (FiTs) that solar installations receive, thus making retro-active cuts in the FiTs.
According to calculations of the Bulgarian Wind Energy Association (BGWEA), these fees represent a 39% FiT reduction for photovoltaic (PV) projects completed by June 30, 2012; a 20% cut for PV plants installed by December 31, 2011; 5% lower FiTs for PV installations between July and August 2012; and a 1% cut for new PV projects. Similar fees, though smaller, have been introduced for other renewable energy sources including a 10% cut in the FiTs for all wind projects.
According to BGWEA the regulator’s move means that "several billion Leva worth of domestic and foreign investment along with hundreds of newly created jobs have been destroyed overnight." BGWEA executive director Sebastian Noethlichs explained that under the logic of the watchdog -- the State Water and Energy Regulatory Commission (SWERC) -- a solar project built in June would be charged BGN 232.64 per MWh and a technically identical project built three months later would be charged only BGN 2.27. "The message to any investor in any sector in Bulgaria is clear: what the law promises you today, can be retro-actively revoked tomorrow," Noethlichs added.
SWERC motivates the introduction of the fees from September 18 with the increased difficulties that grid operators meet in balancing the output of green power projects.
BGWEA also warns that the masked FiT reduction will hit the banking system in Bulgaria, as most projects would not be able to make their loan repayments anymore due to income losses provoked by the high grid fees. The association said it would exhaust all legal means available to fight SWERC’s actions.
(BGN 1 = USD 0.672/EUR 0.511)
Choose your newsletter by Renewables Now. Join for free!