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The government has published for public discussion A Detailed Strategy Draft under Priority 4 ‘Circular and Low-Carbon Economy’ of the National Development Program ‘Bulgaria 2030’.

The document is part of the National Development Program of Bulgaria by 2030, containing the vision, objectives and priorities being approved by the Council of Ministers with Decision No33 of 20 January 2020. The main objective of Priority 4 will be to increase resource productivity, and in particular, energy productivity while complying with the circular economy principles and stimulating implementation of low-carbon, resource-efficient and waste-free technologies.

Two are the sub-priorities descried in the document: 1. Transition towards circular economy, with a focus on reducing resource intensity of enterprises and increased efficiency in raw materials and supplies use, launching waste-free technologies and supporting developments and innovations associated with circular economy and introducing ‘green’ business models.

Sub-priority 2. Transition towards low-carbon economy involves measures and policies on sustainable management and natural resource use to satisfy the needs of economy and society while maintaining environmental sustainability, continued efforts towards reducing energy intensity of the economy via energy efficiency measures in enterprises and emission-intensity of power generation via energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy sources in the gross final energy consumption and improvement of energy management.

The following performance indicators are proposed:

Performance Indicators
NameSourceCurrent valueTarget valueEU average
Share of RES energy in the gross final energy consumption by 2030Eurostat20.528%27.09%17.977%
Greenhouse gas emissions per capita,
t CO2 equivalent/person
European Environment Agency8.677.908.46
GHG emission intensity. Mt CO2 equivalent/GDP (PPS)European Environment Agency0.5860.3300.281
GHG emission intensity in energy consumption (ton CO2 equivalent per unit energy consumed)European Environment Agency99.29084.9
Primary energy consumptionNSI18 450 ktoe17 466 ktoe 
Final energy consumptionNSI9 749.5 ktoe10 318 ktoe 
Share of coal in the gross electricity production, %Eurostat39.86%33%20.2%

Impact areas

Energy efficiency

The measures target improvement of energy efficiency in enterprises and households, and promotion of renewable energy resource use for electricity, heating and cooling. Support will be ensured for an integrated approach to implementing energy efficiency measures in all economic sectors, to incentivising sustainable use of raw materials and supplies, to reducing the quantity of raw materials and supplies used in manufacture, to using alternative raw materials, to implementing innovative manufacturing materials and to increasing the use of recyclable materials.

Support will also be provided to measures for energy carriers’ use in enterprises in all economic sectors. Encouraged will be the implementation of innovative technologies, and the combination of energy efficiency measures with the captive use of energy from renewables.

Demand response is an important element towards improving energy efficiency, and in this relation, the application of systemic services from transmission and distribution network operators in order to manage energy consumption should be encourage. According to the requirements of Regulation (EU) 2019/943 and Directive (EU) 2019/944 on the internal electricity market and in view of the future electricity market liberalisation, Bulgaria will endeavour to promote the participation of final customers in optimizing consumption by aggregation and by allowing participation of final customers in all electricity markets in parallel to producers (including those who offer optimisation via aggregation).

Achieving energy efficiency objectives is strategically linked to improving energy efficiency of building stock in enterprises, and residential and non-residential building stock. Priority will be given to matching energy efficiency with the use of energy from renewable sources.

The objective of this sub-priority is achieving savings in the final consumption and in the energy production, transmission and distribution, along with improvement of buildings’ energy characteristics.

The financial resource required is yet to be specified. The financing sources will be the European structural and investment funds, and the state budget.

Low-carbon technologies

The measures will target a 27.09% share of energy obtained from renewable resources in the gross final consumption by 2030. This could be done by elaborating and implementing an adequate normative and regulatory framework, and by promoting the use of energy from renewables in the sectors of electricity, heating and cooling, and transport.

To stimulate decentralised energy generation from renewable energy resources (RES), end-users, in particular households, will have the opportunity to participate in ‘renewable energy communities’ that will be able to produce, use, accumulate or sell energy from RES.

In the heating and cooling sector, priority will be given to the use of high-efficiency heating and cooling installations, to innovative technologies employing geothermal, hydrothermal and solar energy, and waste heat and cold recovery.

In the transport sector, promoted will be the use of new generation biofuels and renewable electricity supplied for road and railway transport. Consumption of such fuels and energy should contribute to achieving the diversification and decarbonisation objectives. Efforts will be put in deploying electrical mobility, developing and stimulating the use of electric public transport as well as an accelerating the implementation of contemporary technologies in the railway sector.

The measures aim to incentivise the transition towards technologies, design and business models or services, which save resources, apply closed cycles or operate in symbiosis, so that the waste from a given enterprise can turn into a raw material for another enterprise.

The financial resource required is yet to be specified. The financing sources will be the European structural and investment funds, and the state budget.

Decarbonisation of regions

The aim is to attain a climate-neutral economy without possible loss in competitiveness, loss in employment, carbon leakages, deepening regional imbalances, energy poverty and demographic issues.

The measures will aim at development of specific policies for the transitions towards a climate-neutral economy. Decarbonisation policy brings forward numerous challenges from both social and economic perspective, including the risk of loss in wealth and employment, and requires targeted measures. The main tool to tackle the challenges will be the Just Transition Mechanism, a key instrument to guarantee that the transition towards climate-neural economy will occur in a fair manner. Actions will be taken to develop specific plans for each administrative region, accommodating the social, economic and environmental challenges. Regional territorial plans will identify the needs and will offer solutions for the necessary economic diversification, requalification, and recovery of the environment. Drawing up these plans envisages the active participation of local, regional and national stakeholders, in line with the Integrated Energy and Climate Plan of Republic of Bulgarian 2021-2030.

The financial resource required is yet to be specified. The financing sources will be the European structural and investment funds, and the state budget.

Natural gas network

In the context of European objectives for developing an interlinked and single common European natural gas market, the policy of Bulgaria for gas infrastructure is directly connected to positioning the country as one of the principal gas-distribution hubs in Southeast and Central Europe. To achieve gas integration by 2030, actions will be undertaken to:

  • Build the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector (IGB), the Greece-Serbia gas interconnector (IBS), participation in the construction of an LNG terminal next to Alexandroupolis, the transport corridor construction project through Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria; Planning and building the necessary infrastructure for ‘Balkan’ gas distribution hub;
  • Extend the infrastructure for natural gas storage by enlarging the capacity of ‘Chiren’ Underground Gas Storage, as well as looking into the possibilities to build a new gas storage facility; Rehabilitation, modernisation and extension of the national gas transmission network, including to new regions;
  • Accelerate the extension of gas distribution networks and promotion of household and small and medium-sized business gasification;
  • Provision of required natural gas quantities to meet the domestic and trade demand in the region;
  • Develop natural gas trade based on the market principle of free negotiation.

Implementation of these projects will guarantee security of natural gas supply for the country and the region while setting up real conditions to diversify natural gas sources and supply routes and create opportunities for transmission of additional gas quantities for and through Bulgaria. Extending the gas transmission infrastructure will also provide natural gas access to a large number of Bulgarian municipalities and final customers, which in turn will contribute to improving air quality and quality of life, and will increase energy efficiency.

The financial resource required is yet to be specified. The financing sources will be the European structural and investment funds, and the state budget.

Electricity infrastructure and energy security

Country policy aims at achieving a competitive energy market and full market liberalisation and integration with the regional market and the common European market. Measures for efficient use of local energy resource as well as for improved interconnectivity will be implemented. Foreseen is the construction of a new nuclear power facility of 2 000 MW and together with the 5th and 6th units of ‘Kozloduy’ NPS will contribute to energy security of both the country and the region.

Analysed will be the need to introduce natural gas replacement capacity, the available possibilities as well as the incentives to attract investments, while accounting for the circumstances and prospects coal-fired thermal power plant operations, including the progress with respect to the intention of building new 2 000 MW nuclear capacity. Putting into operation new natural gas power generation capacities using high-manoeuvrable gas turbines, offers addition opportunities to balance the energy system. This is of particular importance in the background of increasing RES capacity and nuclear basic capacity share.

Foreseen also are measures for energy infrastructure development, support to the integration of RES electricity networks, and wider use of smart systems for energy storage. Measures to improve sustainability of regional and national energy systems and improve network information security are also contemplated. These will make better use of electricity generated by RES, thanks to its easier integration into the electricity system. In order to meet the objective of at least 15% electricity interconnectivity, projects of joint interest and additional initiatives will be undertaken. To attain the objectives of improved interconnectivity and developing a competitive electricity market and its integration to the common European market, a new interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece will be built, along with a 400 kV interconnector between Bulgaria and Romania, at ‘Dobrudzha’ substation and ‘Burgas’ substation; a double 400 kV interconnector between Bulgaria and Serbia; and, a hydro-pumping accumulation project in Bulgaria – Yadenitsa. Considered also are facilities for energy storage and hydrogen power stations (Power to X).

The financial resource required is yet to be specified. The financing sources will be the European structural and investment funds, and the state budget.

The deadline for submitting opinions and comments is 25 August 2020, via the on-line platform of the governmental Public consultations portal.

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