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Analysis: Is Bulgaria’s decade of dormancy giving way to a wind revival?

Danish wind developer Eurowind and Bulgarian renewable investor Renalfa this September broke ground on a hybrid wind-solar-and-storage project in southeastern Bulgaria, the country’s first hybrid project – and one sign of the country’s renewed interest in wind energy. 

Work is underway on the roughly 238MW solar photovoltaic (PV) portion of the project, which is set to be followed by 250MW in battery storage and “at least” 250MW of wind, says Elena Markova, Bulgaria country head for Eurowind. The project is the first fruit of Eurowind and Renalfa’s EURA Energy joint venture set up in 2021. 

Markova expects the project to use turbines from Eurowind’s usual suppliers – Vestas or Siemens Gamesa – with the first of to be installed in late 2024 or early 2025 and a target of end 2025 to complete the project. 

Eurowind’s Bulgarian wind pipeline is approaching 2GW, notes Markova.  

Other international players including CWP Global and Wpd are also developing onshore wind projects in the country, alongside local developers working for institutional investors or for companies seeking a source of green energy. 

A decade of dormancy 

Bulgaria’s cumulative wind capacity now stands at just over 700MW, almost all built more than 10 years ago.

Martin Vladimirov of the energy security and environment team at the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), a Bulgarian research institute, notes that Bulgaria’s wind sector went into a “state of slumber over the past decade because there was no support from the state in terms of preferential tariffs.”


Yet economics are also driving new interest in Bulgarian wind projects, after electricity prices shot up in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2021. Prices have come down a little since then but are still quite high, and the low levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for onshore wind compared to other power sources also bolsters the business case, points out Vladimirov. 

Clean and affordable energy 

Markova says the investment climate for wind energy has improved, as has the awareness of policymakers that “Bulgaria needs clean and affordable energy.” Compared to 14 years ago, Bulgaria’s wind energy sector is also now “more for professionals,” she says. 

To improve the investment climate further, particularly as project costs rise, renewable energy associations have called for the use of contracts for difference. 

As once dormant projects are brought back to life, Vladimirov estimates some 4GW of onshore Bulgarian onshore wind project are at or near the ready-to-build stage. 

Obstacles and disinformation

Developing wind projects in the country nonetheless remains problematic. 

“As in many places, the biggest constraint is the grid,” says Markova. To help sidestep these grid limitations, she says Eurowind is also prepared to invest in battery storage and green hydrogen. 

Another issue can be local opposition to wind projects, often fuelled by disinformation campaigns about wind energy.  “Often when we talk to landowners, there are strange rumours about wind energy affecting soil fertility or causing whatever diseases you could imagine,” says Markova. 

Black Sea potential 

As Bulgaria’s onshore wind sector gets restarted, albeit with difficulty, Bulgaria is also looking to exploit its offshore wind capacity. 

“In the coming years we see the most wind potential in Bulgaria’s offshore [wind],” says Vladimirov. 

The CSD has prepared a regulatory framework for offshore wind, which foresees both government and investor-led development, and which was approved in a first reading in parliament last year. A slightly amended framework is now set to be discussed shortly.  

The research institute has assessed that Bulgaria’s technical wind potential in the Black Sea stands at 116GW. “Only about 26GW of this can be accomplished with bottom-fixed turbines and about one quarter of this is in areas where it can be done more easily, because there are lower water depths and higher wind speeds,” says Vladimirov. 

French floating wind technology group Eolink and its European renewable energy partners may be the first to install offshore wind capacity in Bulgarian waters in their EU-backed Black Sea floating offshore wind project (Blow). The partners aim to install a 5MW turbine on Eolink’s floating platform about 25km east of Varna, Bulgaria, by 2025.