Parliament decided: Thermal Power Plants will Operate without Restrictions until 2038. Bulgaria may Lose a lot of MoneyPolitics | January 12, 2023, Thursday // 14:48| views
The thermal power plants will operate without restrictions until 2038, and Bulgaria is abandoning its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by the end of 2025.
The general draft decision of the energy parliamentary committee passed in the hall with 187 votes "in favor", 2 "against" (WCC) and 9 "abstentions" (5 from DB and 4 from WCC).
Early this morning, the deputies from the energy committee gathered for an extraordinary meeting, during which they united around the general draft decision. It also stipulates that battery money is halved and the rest goes to a grant scheme. The money to develop the geothermal energy opportunities will go to remediation and the other half to a grant scheme. In addition, the Council of Ministers will redirect all the saved sums on completed projects from the Recovery and Resilience Plan to the energy renovation project of the residential building stock. Reform 11, related to the separation of the ownership of the two operators Bulgartransgaz and ESO from the corporate structure of BEH, is also abolished.
The draft decision obliges the acting Deputy Prime Minister Atanas Pekanov to make a proposal for a change in the Recovery Plan in the "Energy" part and to reach agreement and a preliminary positive assessment by the EC by March 31.
However, the draft decision does not guarantee that the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) will be renegotiated. If the European Commission does not agree to the changes, then Bulgaria may lose all the planned funds from the "energy" part of the National Energy Policy, explained to OFFNews the Deputy Chairman of the Energy Commission in the National Assembly, Radoslav Ribarski from WCC. According to him, because of the war in Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis, the country cannot afford to reduce energy capacities.
From the rostrum of the National Assembly, the co-chairman of “We Continue the Change” Kiril Petkov called to start talks on a regional basis - with Greece and Romania. He is of the opinion that only this approach will be successful and the renegotiation of the RRP will be allowed.
Yesterday, from the rostrum in the National Assembly, Petkov announced that the Energy Minister of Greece, Kostas Skrekas, in a telephone conversation, expressed support for the idea of "We Continue the Change" for a general renegotiation of the RRP in the energy sector, regarding the reduction of carbon emissions. This is exactly the kind of draft decision submitted by WCC, but it was not admitted to the agenda of the parliament, and yesterday, in the energy committee, it was rejected. For this reason, the former prime minister today once again called for negotiations on a regional basis. In his words, otherwise, the people at the protest are deceiving themselves about the real possibilities.
Zhecho Stankov from GERB-SDS told OFFNews that individual plans cannot be renegotiated by several countries. He said he was optimistic that negotiations to change the PVA would be successful. The deputy stated that the draft decision adopted by the deputies is of key importance, since an interim government is not as stable in the EC as a regular one, which is why it is necessary for the National Assembly to give a mandate to the Council of Ministers. Stankov added that reducing carbon emissions is a threat to national security, and in this sense, coal plants should operate without restrictions until 2038.
He also said that it is more profitable for Bulgaria to give up the money for energy in RRP than to close the plants. According to him, last year alone, the profit for the state from thermal power plants was BGN 1.2 billion, while the amount for energy at the RPP was around EUR 1 billion.
"Rather, we should radicalize ourselves and at some point say that we are abandoning Reform 10 of the RRP (the reduction of emissions by 40%)," he said and predicted that even then the country would not to lose all funds pledged for energy reforms.
While the deputies were deciding, a KNSB protest was held in front of the National Assembly for the preservation of the power plants.
Shortly before the vote on the entire text, BSP asked for a break so that the deputies could go out to the protesters. The action was organized by the trade unions, and workers at thermal power plants and mines joined it.
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