Bulgaria is set to expand its wind power output in the next ten years from 330MW to 3,000MW installed capacity by 2020, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
‘With installed capacity increasing more than fivefold in less than two years, Bulgaria is one of the fastest growing markets for wind energy in the world. Moreover, it has another 8,000MW of wind projects in the pipeline,’ said Christian Kjaer, EWEA’s chief executive.
The expansion means wind energy will meet 13.5 per cent of Bulgaria’s electricity demand.
‘If current planning and grid access barriers are streamlined, Bulgaria will soon be one of Europe’s wind energy front-runners, reaping the economic benefits in the form of new jobs, reduced fuel import dependency and technology development,’ he added.
The European Union directive establishing mandatory targets for renewable energy for all EU Member States requires Bulgaria to increase the amount of renewables in its energy mix to 16 per cent by 2020, up from the current level of 9.4 per cent. Bulgaria must submit its national action plan outlining the measures it will take to boost renewable energy by June 2010.
Kostadinka Todorova, director for energy efficiency and environmental protection at the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy, said, ‘We are working on a new renewable energy law. Once in place, it will attract even more investment to the sector in Bulgaria.’
‘Bulgaria is well placed to exceed its target which would allow it to create revenues by selling excess Bulgarian renewable energy production to Member States struggling to meet their targets. This could create revenues of €7.5bn to €10bn,’ said Velizar Kiriakov, Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) president.
In 2008, 36 per cent of all new electricity generating capacity built in the EU was wind power, ahead of coal, gas and nuclear. On average, 20 wind turbines were installed for every working day of 2008. By the end of 2008, a total of 160,000 workers were employed directly and indirectly in the sector, which saw investments of about €11bn in the EU.