Construction of Wind-Power Stations in Bulgaria

Technical ArticlesSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 5/2008

Common European framework, long-term national objectives and problems the branch development is facing
During the last several years investment interest in wind power engineering in Bulgaria has been continuously increasing. A number of factors contribute to the development of this branch, among which the EU policy on increasing the share of electricity generated from renewable energy resources and accompanying programs for renewable energy resource projects subsidizing. The active legislation and statutory instruments in Bulgaria in this field also contribute as they provide for a number of long-term economic preferences and stimuli for sites utilizing power from renewable energy resources.
Another reason for the growing interest in facilities utilizing the wind power potential is the permanently increasing power consumption under the conditions of rising prices of conventional fuels. Growing dependence on the import of energy resources from foreign countries is a serious challenge the European Union is facing nowadays.

Common European Policy in the Field of Renewable Energy Recourses
In 1997 The European Union directed its efforts to achieving a share of 12% of renewable energy in the union’s gross domestic consumption until the year 2010. The community united around the necessity of support in the utilization of renewable energy resources as a priority measure. There exists a consensus concerning the opinion that their use contributes to the preservation of our environment and to accomplishing the goals of sustained development.
A number of major instruments have been adopted such as the Green Book of supply security, the White Book of renewable energy resources, etc. Their purpose is to accomplish balanced development of the total energy market and to minimize the risks related to the security of energy supplies by complying with the requirements for reducing the harmful impact on the environment and alterations of climate.
By the introduction of Directive 2001/77/AC on the stimulation of electrical power generated by renewable energy resources at the electricity domestic market the European Commission aims at the increased use of such resources and establishment of the appropriate stimuli for their development as the Ministry of the Economy and Power Engineering reports. The Directive has defined national indicative objectives for each member-state with a view to accomplishing the global indicative objective of a 12 % share in gross domestic power consumption. The indicative share of electricity generated from renewable energy resources in the total consumption of electricity in the union until the year 2010 is 22,1%.

Bulgarian national indicative objective - 11% until the year 2010
By virtue of the Technical Adaptations in the Agreement on Bulgarian Accession to the EU (section “A. General”, ADD 13 – Adaptations necessary due to accession adopted by Directive 2006/108/AN) additions have been executed in Directive 2001/77/AN on stimulation of electricity generated from renewable energy resources at the domestic market of electrical power.
According to those additions the national indicative objective stipulated for Bulgaria is a share of 11 % of electricity generated from renewable energy resources in the gross domestic consumption until the year 2010 a. There is, of course, the prerequisite that in order to accomplish said objective it is necessary that climatic factors be favourable. They should allow for the achievement of this objective and take into account the limitations for hydro resources utilization arising from EU environmental legislation.

20% of power consumption from renewable energy resources until the year 2020
At the European Council meeting held last year new even more ambitious goals were approved in relation to the development of future European policy in the field of climate alteration and power engineering. One of these goals is related to reaching a share of 20% of renewable energy in EU total power consumption up to the year 2020.
At the beginning of 2008 the European Commission introduced a portfolio of legislative measures Power Engineering – Climate and a draft of a Directive concerning the stimulation of the use of power from renewable energy resources constitutes a part of this portfolio. The Directive draft outlined a common binding objective of a 20 % share of renewable power /from renewable power resources/ in the end consumption of every member-state.
The member-states have to develop National Action Plans determining branch objectives pertaining to the share of electricity from renewable energy resources, the share of energy for heating and cooling and the share of biofuels respectively. It is also necessary to develop the specific activities to be undertaken for their achievement. The Directive draft envisages establishment of a system of emission and trade with “guarantee of origin” for electricity and heating and cooling power generated from renewable energy resources.
Determination of national obligatory objectives for the member-states is performed on the basis of a fixed rate of 5.5% for each member-state and an additional rate accounting for the GDP per capita for the respective country. For Bulgaria the objective stipulated is 16 % share of power from renewable energy resources in the end power consumption as of the year 2020. This objective is to be accomplished through utilization of the potential of biomass, wind, solar and geothermal energy.

Legislation Framework Pertaining to Wind-Power Stations
The legislation framework directly pertaining to the construction of wind-power stations includes the following acts: the Urban Development Act, the Power Engineering Act and the Act on Renewable and Alternative Energy Resources and Biofuels. These acts stipulate the basic steps investors must follow in the construction of wind-power stations.
The Act on Renewable and Alternative Energy Resources and Biofuels (editor’s note: the instrument was adopted in June 2007) entirely complies with Directive 2001/77/AN on the stimulation of power generated from renewable energy resources at the domestic market of electrical power and with Directive 2003/30/AU concerning the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels in the transport sector, as the Ministry of the Economy and Power Engineering assure.
The instrument regulates public relations in terms of stimulation of the generation and consumption of electrical, heating and/or cooling power from renewable energy resources and alternative energy resources and the production and use of biofuels.
The following stimulation mechanisms have been envisaged in order to increase the use of renewable energy resources for electricity generation:
•priority connection of the electricity generating companies utilizing renewable energy resources by the transmission or distribution company;
•issue of certificates of origin for the electricity generated from renewable energy resources by the State Commission on Energy and Water Regulation (SCEWR);
•purchasing the total amount of electrical power generated from renewable energy resources,
•determining by the SCEWR of preferential prices for buying out of electricity generated from renewable energy resources, excluding hydro power plants with installed output exceeding 10 IW.
The major statutory instruments related to the construction and integration of wind-power stations for electricity generation from renewable energy resources include the following: Regulation 16 - 27 (concerning the conditions and order of performing an assessment of the available and forecasted potential of the resource for generation of power from renewable and/or alternative energy resources), Regulation 14 (concerning the technical rules and normative requirements for the design, construction and utilization of sites and facilities for the generation, transformation, transmission and distribution of electrical power) and Regulation 6 (concerning the access of manufacturers and consumers of electricity to the electrical transmission and distribution networks).

Interest in Wind Parks Construction
In Bulgaria there is investment interest in the implementation of projects for the construction of wind power plants, commented the representatives of the Ministry of the Economy and Power Engineering. Another proof includes the increasing number of wind generators constructed and connected to the national electrical power system. At the end of the year 2007 the installed power of wind power plants amounted to 41 IW, while the generation they accomplished reached 46.9 GWh. In comparison to the year 2006 production has increased more than twice. At the same time the National Electricity Company /NEC/ received requests for connection of more than 2200 IW from new wind power plants. The data presented indicate that there is a good business environment in the country and that wind power plants construction is an attractive and profitable business, according to the comments of the Ministry of the Economy and Power Engineering.
The total investment process of wind power plants construction and in general of the construction of plants utilizing renewable energy resources encompasses a wide scope of public relations provided for in individual legal acts and statutory instruments concerning said acts application.

Technical facilities – mainly second-hand
A considerable portion of the wind power plants build in the country constitute dismounted wind generators from EU countries, i.e. these facilities are obsolete according to the representatives of the Ministry of the Economy and Power Engineering. Such a selection on behalf of investors is due to the lower initial investment and shorter return on investment periods. The generators used have a shortened operational lifecycle and lower technical parameters.
Another problem comes from the settlement of issues related to ownership rights, and respectively with the establishment of the material right to build onto terrains where the construction of such plants is envisaged. A large part of those terrains fall within the application area of The Protected Territories Act or are public property, which automatically means that any disposal activities or transactions related to them are forbidden.
The obligations of Bulgaria under a number of international agreements such as the Bern Convention on preservation of the habitats of migratory birds and the Common European Network of Protected Territories – Natura 2000, predetermine the necessity of a careful assessment in the selection of terrains on which the facilities for electricity generation by wind turbines are built, said in conclusion the representatives of the Ministry of the Economy and Power Engineering.