Bulgarian Renewable Energy Protesters: Infrastructure Projects are Corrupt
Strong interests behind corrupted infrastructure projects check the development of renewable energy in Bulgaria, producers have alleged.
“Someone is interested in impeding the renewable energy development and in patronizing the major infrastructure projects in Bulgaria because the latter are corrupt,” said Anton Zhelev, board member of the Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association (BPVA), told reporters on Tuesday.
Zhelev participated in yet another demonstration of the Bulgarian renewable energy producers.
Representatives of photovoltaic companies gathered Tuesday near the Bulgarian Parliament to protest against the proposal to levy a 20% tax on the revenues of photovoltaic plants and wind farms.
The proposal for the changes to the Renewable Energy Sources Act was submitted by the nationalist party Ataka, without discussing it with the stakeholders. It will be voted in the Budget 2014 reading today, Tuesday.
The proposal was criticized for the damage it would bring to the major investments backed by international financial institutions, as well as to the small Bulgarian entrepreneurs, who used mortgage to realize their RES projects.
“The most rational way is to have tens of thousands of energy producers for the state. Politicians manipulated public opinion and now it is very easy to hit the small plants", Zhelev added.
“The photovoltaic association representatives and everyone involved in this business wish for a dialogue with the government. Our request to meet with representatives of the Ministry of Economy, as well as of the Financial Ministry, was ignored. Today we are here and we demand a meeting with MPs, especially with members of the energy commission.
If the proposal is approved, we will appeal, because a fee is charged for a specific service.”, Zhelev added.
“The State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (DKEVR) sets the prices every year so that there are no super profits. The super profit is a myth and there are no audits to show the amount of investments and profits the companies have made. To impose a 20% tax would mean bankruptcy, especially for the small companies, since their purchase prices are currently the lowest not only in Bulgaria but in the entire EU”, Zhelev pointed out.
In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, Ruslan Stefanov from the Center for the Study of Democracy claimed that the measure would trigger a wave of bankruptcy of renewable energy companies and referred to the proposal as an example of opaque governance.
Parliament returned on Tuesday the disputable 20% tax for further motivation and revenue calculations in order for it to fit the 2014 budget framework.
President Rosen Plevenliev indicated that he would probably return the draft for revision.
The postponed vote of the financial framework was proposed by Menda Stoyanova of GERB, who insisted on revising the 20% tax on renewable energy producers.
The tax is supposed to bring BGN 160 M in the budget, however that money is not part of next year's framework.
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