On 14 March, the European Commission unveiled its proposal to reform the European Union's Electricity Market Design (“EMD”). The aim is to address excessive price volatility, support access to energy from clean sources, and ensure security of energy supply1. The Commission promotes a greater role for long-term contracts, such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) a nd Two-way Contracts for Difference (“two-way CfDs”).
The world is at a critical point in the green transition. Greening the electric grid and electrifying much more of our economy are absolutely crucial.
On 20 November, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) concluded in Sharm-El-Sheik, Egypt. After complex negotiations, a breakthrough agreement was reached to establish and operationalize a loss and damage fund intended, particularly, for nations most vulnerable to climate change.
“Bulgaria can stay on track to decarbonize the Bulgarian power system by further developing renewable capacity combined with new flexible low carbon capacities”. This is the key message the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (AmChamBG) gives to the Bulgarian Government’s current analysis of its energy sector. It also underpins efforts to develop a strategy for a responsible transition towards decarbonization.
In November 2022, the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27) will take place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, with a view to building on previous successes of the Paris Agreement and COP 26 and paving the way for future efforts to tackle the global challenge of climate change.
Hydrogen is a multifaceted tool and energy carrier, recognized by many countries as a valuable technology to de-carbonize their economies, in particular in hard to abate sectors such as heavy industry and transport.
At the beginning of May, the Council approved the highly anticipated Bulgarian Recovery and Resilience Plan (BRRP) which is viewed as one of the most robust green plans within the European Union. The plan comprises a total funding envelope of €6.3 billion in grants, of which 58.9% of the total will be allocated to investments to accelerate the decarbonisation of Bulgaria’s energy sector.
Solar energy is increasingly one of the most cost effective and abundant renewable energy resources in the world. Estimates from BloombergNEF (BNEF) show it is now cheaper to build typical utility-scale PV farms than it is to generate electricity from conventional thermal power stations in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and several more non-EU markets globally.
Emissions from passenger vehicles generate a large share of global greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to poor air quality in many urban cities. Switching to electric vehicles (EVs) is necessary to accelerate a cleaner energy future for everyone. The good news is the transition has already started. Many automotive companies are committed to eliminating sales of internal combustion vehicles and to make all vehicles electric in the future.
The ‘Fit For 55’ package, proposed by the European Commission in July, constitutes the single most ambitious climate policy proposal put forward by the EU.
Natural gas is a key technology in the transition to decarbonization. With the goal of achieving a 55% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to meet Europe’s Green Deal ambitions, EU Member States must adapt their infrastructure and investments to pave the way for renewable technologies.
The urgency of the climate crisis is driving world leaders to give more attention to their climate neutrality strategy and assess whether the expected results will be sufficient to bring about change. The European Union has been a key early driver of the green transition. At the end of 2019, the European Commission published the European Green Deal, comprising a roadmap for making the EU's economy sustainable.
At AES, we partner with communities to enhance the lives of local people, powering their businesses with reliable and sustainable energy. This is what AES Bulgaria, the largest foreign investor in the country’s energy sector, has been doing for over a decade.
In March this year, the largest wind farm in Bulgaria – St. Nikola – celebrated its 10th anniversary since the start of its commercial operations. With an installed capacity of 156 MW – and 52 wind turbines with 3 MW of capacity each, the farm is providing over 22% of the total wind capacity installed in the country. The facility is part of the diverse portfolio of AES in Bulgaria.
INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIER MARQUETTE, PRESIDENT OF AES BULGARIA
In light of its significant historical dependence on fossil fuel power generation, Bulgaria is set to be heavily affected by the decarbonisation of its economy. Can you give us your perspective on the key challenges for a successful energy transition in Bulgaria?
Energy workers’ small town is only one of the numerous measures against COVID-19 undertaken by the company
Safety comes first at AES. We harness one of the world’s most powerful forces: electricity. Our people always have safety in mind when they come to work each day. We ensure that each employee can return home safely. It is central to our daily activities and decisions. We always put people’s wellbeing first, and we measure our success by how safely we achieve our goals.
Serving the communities where we operate has always been an important priority for AES. Ever since we began operating in Bulgaria we have also actively partnered with national and local authorities to deliver projects that improve people’s quality of life, supporting education, modernizing healthcare and infrastructure. AES has invested more than BGN 14 million in community-oriented projects in recent years, becoming the largest contributor in the region of Galabovo.
My career at AES Bulgaria started 14 years ago as administration support to the construction team for the Galabovo coal-fired power plant, the most modern plant in the Balkan region.
The falling temperatures in recent weeks in Sofia reminded us that winter is only two months away. Winter is a testing time for all energy companies as demand rises and the risk of supply problems is at its highest.
AES Galabavo, the most modern and efficient power plant in the region, is well prepared for the challenges that winter can bring.
Three great scientists, John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. What was their area of discovery? Lithium-ion batteries!
Every day, AES Bulgaria contributes to Bulgaria’s economic growth and social development by providing safe and reliable energy, but also by investing in community-oriented projects.
Liquidity on markets for same-day and day-ahead use is essential for generators, distributors and customers
Across the world, fully liberalized, liquid and transparent electricity markets are essential for all market participants, be they generators, distributors or customers, since they ensure competitive market access. This applies in Bulgaria as much as anywhere else.
Investors and operators need a predictable regulatory framework
Bulgaria enjoys significant opportunities for developing its energy sector as the country moves ahead with implementing the EU’s clean energy strategy. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Bulgaria has the potential to produce up to 35% of its energy consumption from renewable sources.
Did you know that AES Bulgaria is part of a global company that provides energy to customers in 15 countries worldwide?
The AES Corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, employs 9,000 people and manages global energy assets with a value of $33 billion. Every day we strive to provide reliable and affordable access to power for our customers worldwide while working towards a sustainable energy future.
State-of-the-art monitoring systems protects birds from collision with turbine blades
AES is best known in Bulgaria as the largest foreign investor in the country’s energy sector. The first association with the company’s name is AES Galabovo, the country’s newest and most environmentally friendly thermal power station which supplies around 7% of the country’s total electricity needs.
What do thermal power plants provide? Electricity, of course. But that’s not all. They are essential to ensure sufficient capacity. This means having the ability to generate electricity when it is needed. Why is this important? Because demand for electricity varies depending on the time of day and the time of the year. Demand is usually lower at night when people are asleep and higher in the winter when people need to heat their homes. Most of these daily and annual variations are predictable.
The AES Corporation has set a target to reduce its carbon intensity by 70% by 2030 compared to 2016. This means that the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour of electricity generated will be cut by 70%. This target is higher than the 50% reduction that was previously announced.
Since the launch of operations in Bulgaria in 2011, the company has invested over BGN 14 million (€7.2 million) in programs for local communities and provides employment, directly and indirectly, for more than 4,500 people in Bulgaria.
AES contributes to Bulgaria’s economic growth and social development by providing reliable electricity supplies and employment but also by investing in local infrastructure and the communities where the company operates.
Innovation is essential for success in the energy business. An energy company that fails to invest in the technologies of tomorrow will be left behind in the global race to provide affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
Energy security is at the heart of the EU’s Energy Union project which aims to provide “safe, affordable and climate-friendly energy” for all European citizens. It literally means keeping the lights on for hundreds of millions of people while protecting the environment.
Energy companies must embrace the transition to clean energy. It is an obligation to future generations AND a business imperative. Any company that does not invest heavily in clean technologies and renewable energy will struggle to survive.
But the transition cannot – sadly – happen overnight. And ironically, the types of energy we have to shift away from, like coal, can actually support the deployment of renewables in some cases. Traditional energy sources can be a bridge to a clean-energy future.