The Bulgarian government has proposed a ban on the construction of all wind and solar projects built on farmland, alongside the suggested feed-in tariff cut. These applications are in response to a large uptake in renewables in the country since financial incentives were announced. The government is concerned that this will inflate energy prices for some of Europe’s poorest consumers. Since the introduction of feed-in tariffs (FiT), Bulgaria has seen the installation of 11,000MW of solar, wind, and biomass projects according to Reuters.
In announcing its proposal, the government said, “The goal is to achieve a better balance between protecting the arable land and the need of the investment growth.”
The proposal to put a stop to these installations, which still needs parliamentary approval, is however being disputed. Critics say that the uptake is simply a reflection of the local utilities’ and grid operators’ animus towards renewables, which can erode their profit margins.
Bulgaria will continue to install renewable energy systems as it aims to reach a 16-20% share by 2020. At present the country’s renewable mix is set at 9.9%, yet it must reach its target in order to meet the EU’s legally binding directive, while keeping energy prices low enough to protect its economy.