Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Production of energy from renewable energy sources (RES) and energy efficiency (EE) are the basis of the Sustainable Development Strategy of the European Union (EU).Sustainable development is a fundamental and overarching objective of the Union aimed at continuously improving the quality of life for present and future generations through the efficient use of resources and development the potential of the economy for ecological and social innovation.

There are many elaborated documents in the area of RES and energy efficiency and their goals and targets - strategies, policy documents and initiatives, legislative instruments at European level, packages such as "Energy - climate" and others, which show close relationship between the two definitions.

Despite these efforts more than a decade after the first Sustainable Development Strategy and the EU Directive on the promotion of the production and consumption of renewable electricity (2001/77 / EC), energy services (93/76/EEC) and energy efficiency buildings (2002/91/EC) the results of these efforts in the individual Member States considerably differ from the main goals and vision of the EU.

In Bulgaria this discrepancy is evident:

  • Unsustainable energy model. Bulgaria's economy relies heavily on finite energy resources, namely oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas.With the exception of nuclear fuel prices, the price of other energy sources have multiplied - by 50% for oil, 80% gas and 30% coal from 2000 onwards, which actually means 40% jump in European energy prices since 2000.Moreover, the expected price of exhaustible energy sources continue to grow due to: 1) its limited nature;2) continuous and often growing demand for these resources;3) trend that extraction of exhaustible energy sources is transferred to a more risky areas and terrains.Therefore, the trend towards the production of renewable energy in Europe is not accidental - the prices of renewable energy are not affected so much by the world prices of raw materials or the introduction of charges for carbon emissions.
  • Waste of energy. Huge energy losses in the country are continuous since 80-ies of the past century.Since then, Bulgaria has followed a course - trying to catch up with Western Europe to increase the consumption of cheap energy.As a result, today a production unit Bulgaria consumes much more energy than their European neighbors, which ranks Bulgarian economy in the first place as the most energy-intensive in Europe.Although data for large losses in the generation, transmission and consumption of energy the reduction measures are pushed away by investments in large energy projects.
  • Unreliability of supply.Energy losses in processes such as delivery and transformation of energy are significant.Power grid needs significant renovation and investment, as it currently cannot meet neither urbanization nor the ever-increasing amount of energy produced from renewable energy sources.Thus Bulgaria's progress in the field of new renewable energy sources is hampered by the lack of consistent investment and significant improvements in the power grid.
  • Energy dependence.Bulgaria relies on imports for about 70% of its total energy consumption; almost all deliveries are carried out by the same importing country.The country is fed by a pipeline, a refinery and a nuclear power plant that rely on resources from Russia.With respect to gas, oil, nuclear energy and technology infrastructure Bulgaria's dependence on Russia is almost 100%.This high resource and technological dependance prevents the increase of national energy security.
  • Technological dependency.The energy sector in Bulgaria is characterized by low scientific and technological potential, focused on conventional energy sources like coal and nuclear power.In terms of competitiveness current development of technological potential of Bulgaria suggests a small part of the added value of the energy for the national economy.Both public and private expenditures on research and development (R & D) in sector "Energy" remain low compared to investments in other sectors.Return on investments for the deployment of new energy technologies is too uncertain and vague.Investors continue to define corruption, heavy bureaucracy, lack of transparency, poor infrastructure, frequent changes in the legal framework and lack of qualified personnel as the main obstacles for effective business in Bulgaria.

Therefore, this energy model of Bulgaria is unstable in the long term perspective for both industry and households.Such a system cannot ensure sustainable growth.There is considerable potential for the implementation of energy efficiency measures and generation from renewable energy sources in order to improve competitiveness and to increase employment and income in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).While saving energy means utilization of the available energy potential without additional costs.