Bulgarian grid operator reviewing connection requests for 24 GW of renewables


Bulgaria‘s Electricity System Operator (ESO) revealed has accepted applications to build new renewable energy projects with an aggregate installed capacity of more than 24 GW.

It said the country's installed generating capacity now exceeds 12 GW, and new projects require a significant expansion of its grid. It is also talking to investors about the necessary changes.

“The absolute limit of the electricity system has been reached, which requires urgent and adequate planning of the future expansion of the electricity transmission system,” it said. “ESO is currently holding a series of meetings with renewable energy investors to discuss joint, coordinated actions to meet the huge investor interest in building new renewable energy assets.”

Bulgaria could become one of the most dynamic solar markets in Europe in 2024, according to a recent report by SolarPower Europe. It said the country reached 1.1 GW of cumulative installed PV capacity at the end of 2020 and will reach 3.8 GW by 2024. Market uptake will mainly be supported by unsubsidized large-scale solar via power purchase agreements.

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The current support schemes for solar in Bulgaria focus on PPA and prosumers and there is no auction system for utility-scale PV,” the report said. “Introducing an auction system could provide incentives and unlock the immense solar potential in Bulgaria, one of the highest in Europe.”

Non-hydropower renewables make up around 2.3 GW of Bulgaria's 12.4 GW power generating fleet, with lignite and hard coal-fired power stations supplying 4.5 GW, hydro 3.2 GW, nuclear 2 GW, and natural gas 600 MW.

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