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Towards a Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition: Strategic Partnership for Energy and Climate Security

In the aftermath of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, it is imperative that European countries embark on a new energy policy pathway towards independence from fossil fuel imports. Unlocking the full potential of the European seas for offshore wind energy would play a key role in achieving the EU’s energy and climate security targets in the coming decades until 2050. Bulgaria is the only littoral EU member state yet to begin developing this sector.

The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), in collaboration with the Energy Policy Group from Romania, the Turkish Offshore Wind Energy Association, and the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association, launched the Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition (BSREC) – а dynamic platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration in the deployment of zero-carbon marine renewable energy and infrastructure in a nature-friendly way.

The inaugural meeting of the Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition was held on 13 June 2023 in Sofia. CSD experts were joined by Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Moritz Seiler, Head of the Economic Section, Embassy of Germany to Bulgaria, Cristina Simioli, Programme Manager of Offshore Energy and Nature at Renewable Grid Initiative, Ana-Maria Seman, Regional Climate Lead of World Wildlife Fund CEE, Assoc. Prof.Nikolay Valchev, Director of the Institute of Oceanology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, George Visan, Director of the Energy Market Division at Transelectrica, the Romanian Transmission System Operator, Liviu Gavrila, Vice President of the Wind Energy Association, Romania and Veli Bilgihan Yaşacan, Vice President of the Black Sea Offshore Energy Federation.

During the discussion, the speakers agreed that the Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition is a key instrument for creating a shared vision for renewable energy in the Black Sea, considering the economic, social and environmental implications of offshore wind energy development. The panel discussion also focused on the need for concrete sustainability indicators, guidelines and standards for legislative changes needed to unlock the potential of this nascent sector. There is an urgent need for adopting and implementing a regulatory framework for offshore wind energy, better regional cooperation, and competitive industrial development in line with other maritime, economic activities.