In 2022, Bulgaria’s economy was ranked 68th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the export of refined copper, wheat, electricity, refined petroleum, packaged medicaments, and iron pyrite.
In 2009, Bulgaria as a member of the European Union (EU) committed to the Renewable Energy Directive, which requires each country to use renewable energy for 20% of its total energy needs by 2020 and 27% by 2030.
In 2016, Bulgaria as a member of the EU signed the Paris Climate Agreement. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
Power Generation Capabilities
In 2021, 99.8% of the people in Bulgaria had access to electricity. In 2022, state owned utility National Electricity Company used coal (42.3%), nuclear energy (32.5%), renewable energy (18.7%), natural gas (5.8%), and oil (0.7%) to generate electricity in Bulgaria. Hydropower, biomass, solar, and wind are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Bulgaria.
Recent renewable energy projects in Bulgaria include:
- 592 MW Onshore Wind Project – Bulgarian renewable energy company, CWP Global is continuing work on the Dobrotich Wind project at a site approximately 250 miles east-northeast of the nation’s capital, Sofia. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2027.
- 400 MW Solar Project – In September 2021, Enery Development commissioned a solar project at a site approximately 125 miles southeast of Sofia.
- 180 MW Solar Project – In September 2022, Bulgarian company, 4B Solar commissioned the Devnya Solar project at a site in northeastern Bulgaria.
- 124 MW Solar Project – Bulgarian company, Sunotec is continuing work on a solar project at a site approximately 35 miles south-southwest of Sofia. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
- 66 MW Solar Project – In September 2022, SENS LSG GmbH, a joint venture between German company STEAG Solar Energy Solutions and Austrian company, LSG commissioned a solar project at a site approximately 75 miles southeast of Sofia.
Commercial coal mining began in Bulgaria in 1885 in the southern region of the country. In 2021, Bulgaria produced 28.51 million metric tons of coal, which is primarily used for domestic power production.
In 2021, Bulgaria used fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) to generate 70.2 % of the nation’s electricity. In 2021, Russia provided approximately 90% and 45% of Bulgaria’s natural gas and crude oil imports, respectively.
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.
On 27 April 2022, Russian energy company, Gazprom halted natural gas exports to Bulgaria for refusing to pay in the official Russian currency, rouble.
Bulgaria has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including onshore wind, solar, offshore wind, biomass, and hydropower. Bulgaria is now fast-tracking renewable energy projects to ensure energy security.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.