Bulgaria's Energy Minister Vows New Strategy in June
A new energy strategy will be submitted in Parliament in June, according to Dragomir Stoynev, Minister of Economy and Energy.
Stoynev's announcement was made during the debates on the no-confidence motion against the government initiated by center-right party GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) over its failed energy policy.
Bulgaria's Energy Minister spoke for more than an hour, saying that there were a lot of achievements to report.
He expressed hopes that the new energy strategy would be approved by consensus among all parliamentary groups.
Stoynev, as cited by dnevnik.bg, explained that the new strategy was based on 4 pillars, including the liberalization of the market, the implementation of commitments to the EU, the stabilization of key companies in the sector, the diversification of energy supply sources and routes, and the halt of the sale of assets in the sector.
He assured that big energy projects would only be implemented in line with national interests.
Stoynev insisted that Bulgaria had to develop its gas and nuclear energy.
He accused GERB of hystericizing Bulgaria's relations with the European Commission and of an excessive politicization of the projects, adding that these developments would bring no benefits.
Stoynev noted that the South Stream gas pipeline remained a strategic project for the socialist-led government despite the pressure from the opposition.
He underscored a number of advantages, including the fact that the annual interest rate on the loan had been reduced from 8% to 4.25% and that the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) would not be required to provide guarantees for the EUR 620 M loan and that BEH would be allowed to retain 20% of the dividends from the year of reaching full capacity, 2018.
Stoynev claimed that the development of nuclear energy was on line with Bulgaria's national interests.
He accused the GERB government of a number of mistakes in the frozen Belene NPP project, adding that the current government had tried to fix them in the arbitrage proceedings involving the EUR 1 B claim against the National Electric Company (NEK) at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.
Stoynev attributed the poor state of the energy sector to the large share of costly renewable energy and the long-term contracts for purchasing electricity produced by the thermal power plants Maritsa Iztok 1 and 3 and the failure of the municipally-owned heating utility Toplofikatsiya Sofia to settle gas debts of BGN 500 M to the Bulgarian Energy Holding.
He also claimed that the transmission fee of BGN 34/MWh introduced by the GERB government had decreased electricity exports, thereby triggering a loss of over BGN 190 M for NEK.
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