Bulgarian Minister to Inspect Legality of Capacity Restrictions on Renewable Energy Plants
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva has ordered Asen Vasilev, caretaker Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, to demand an inspection whether the restrictions on the production of renewable energy imposed by the Electricity System Operator (ESO) are in line with Bulgarian and EU law.
The measure was agreed after a meeting of Zaharieva and Vasilev with representatives of the Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) at the beginning of the week, according to reports of dnevnik.bg, citing a media statement of the Regional Development Ministry.
The inspection was ordered after a complaint of owners of renewable energy power plants that their output was constantly being restricted through orders of ESO to power distributors.
Vasilev is to come up with a report on the matter within a few days.
The report is to cover the period April 1 – May 10, 2013 and the results are to be discussed with BPVA representatives.
Meanwhile, the BPVA issued a media statement Friday, stressing that ESO had ordered power distributors to limit the output of renewable energy plants for the 15th time since April 1, 2013.
The BPVA argued that the order for restricting the capacity of renewable energy plants was illegal, adding that there was no information about which producers were affected, how they had been selected, and the extent and schedule of the limitations.
The BPVA noted that the capacity restrictions, alongside the grid access fee for renewable energy producers introduced in September 2012, deprived industry representatives of 64% of their revenues, spelling bankruptcy for over 1600 small and medium Bulgarian companies and unemployment for 23 000 people.
The Association also noted that the prospect of renewable energy producers leaving their loans of BGN 2.8 B unserviced also entailed a threat to the banking system.
The BPVA claimed that the actual problem of Bulgaria's energy sector was not renewable energy plants, which had been built with private capital and on the basis of a clear regulatory framework, neither were power distributors the only ones to blame.
"The real problems have to do with the inefficient and opaque management of the energy sector, where billions of expenses are generated, which are not indicated in the electricity bill," the BPVA stated.
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