The Bulgaria World Energy Council Committee is an independent, non-governmental and non-profit organisation formed of individuals and legal entities. It was founded in 2002, according to WEC’s practice of representing the member states through their national organisations. The activities of the Bulgarian National World Energy Council Committee include research studies and discussions on energy issues, analysis of topical energy problems and proposal of solutions to overcome them, development of strategic recommendations, organising conferences, seminars and meetings for a wide exchange of views, publications, participation in research and working groups of the World Energy Council, and cooperation with other organisations.
Mrs. Albena Trassieva has been Secretary of the Bulgarian World Energy Council Committee since its foundation in 2002. She has a Masters degree in International Cooperation and Foreign Trade, as well as a Foundation in Energy Management, Energy Diplomacy and Public Administration. She is currently working in the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism.
Energy in Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s energy leaders identify an energy landscape where uncertainties are influenced by Geopolitical concerns around Russia and EU Cohesion and broadly defined around Macroeconomic Issues. Action Priorities revolve around Energy Vision and Technologies, with attention to Energy Policies and Business Environment.
Russia is perceived with high uncertainty as the sole supplier of natural gas and nuclear fuel. The government has taken measures diversify its natural gas sources and routes by building interconnections with neighbouring countries and seeking alternative sources of nuclear fuel. The Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) gas pipeline and the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal will ensure real diversification and security of gas supply. The modernization of the existing national gas transmission network, the expansion of the Chiren underground gas storage facility and the liberalisation of the gas market will contribute significantly to the implementation of the Balkan gas distribution centre on Bulgarian territory. It will also improve security of gas supply in Southeast and Central Europe.
Commodity Prices are also perceived as a Critical Uncertainty. Efforts are focused on full energy market liberalisation, which will lead to competition that will benefit energy consumers. In order to guarantee a smooth and gradual transition, Bulgaria continues to promote measures for the active participation and protection of energy consumers.
EU Cohesion is identified with the highest impact among Critical Uncertainties. The most sensitive issue is the restriction on coal thermal power plants that account for over 43% of gross electricity production. Lignite coal is the only local energy resource and wider utilisation is expected though this will have to conform to EU climate policy requirements.
Energy Efficiency is perceived with low uncertainty and high impact, as this is one of the main priorities of the national energy policy. The government has introduced a number of measures to improve energy efficiency. These include improvement of buildings’ efficiency, modernisation of electricity and gas distribution grids, rehabilitation of heat transmission networks as well as mechanisms for financial support. Regular energy audits are also planned.
Nuclear is seen as an Action Priority. For Bulgaria, nuclear energy plays an important role in ensuring national and regional energy security while providing affordable energy. This is a key element in the country’s transition to a low carbon economy. Given Bulgaria’s long-standing experience in the safe use of nuclear energy, the government is planning to build a new nuclear power plant at Belene in the north as part of its effort to expand the use of nuclear energy to provide clean, affordable and secure energy supply for the country and the region.
Regional Integration is also one of Bulgaria’s Action Priorities. Bulgaria is actively working to enhance energy cooperation within the framework of international and bilateral initiatives and regional projects in order to build the necessary infrastructure to guarantee energy security and market integration.