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Governance shortcomings hold back Bulgaria’s wind potential, says CSD

Various governance shortcomings are preventing Bulgaria from realising its significant wind energy potential, according to Sofia-based public policy institute Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD).

The obstacles include frequent regulatory changes, technical and administrative difficulties in getting grid access, opposition from local communities, land use and environmental conflicts, as well as a lack of political will to accelerate investments in the sector.

Northeastern Bulgaria offers the best conditions for wind generation due to the combination of high wind speeds and the availability of suitable land. A CSD policy brief this week says that at least 10 GW of onshore and offshore wind with high utilisation factors and appropriate land use and environmental conditions can be added in the Varna, Dobrich, Razgrad and Shumen regions.

Based on industry data it could be inferred that at least 5 GW of projects are currently at different development stages, with at least 4 GW of them expected to come online by 2030, according to the paper. The cumulative wind capacity is projected to exceed 11 GW by 2050, helping to balance the abundant solar sector and contributing to the security of supply and grid stability.

The report outlines a number of next steps that include grid capacity expansion, especially in northeastern Bulgaria, designing onshore and offshore wind priority zones to streamline the wind energy planning process and simplifying the land use and construction permitting procedures. To unlock offshore wind development, adopting an enabling regulatory framework will be needed. Bulgaria should also consider the introduction of competitive auctions to attract large-scale international investors, especially in the offshore wind segment