Hydropower Association and SPEE (Union of Environmental Energy Producers) held a working meeting at the invitation of the Ministry of Energy. The subject of the meeting was the problems facing the HPP sector, as well as potential solutions.
Danail Kamenov and Radoslav Slavov, co-chairs of the Hydropower Association, explained in detail the essence of the two main problems – the lack of a clear regulatory framework that directly threatens not only operating hydropower plants but also all other water users in Bulgaria – water companies, irrigation systems and industrial enterprises. As well as the latest changes introduced by the new Ordinance on the use of surface water, which oblige all HPPs to submit a document for the established construction right for water intake facilities in the riverbed upon extension or change of the Water Permit, without which they can not to work. Such a document is not required under the current regime for construction of HPPs and according to the current legislation cannot be obtained at a site that has already been put into operation. This blocks the work of the sector, which in turn will lead to indisputable consequences not only in economic terms, but also throughout the chain – production – consumption.
During the meeting, attention was drawn to the fact that NEK’s plants are facing the same case as private HPPs and in practice no division can be made between private and public HPPs in solving these priority tasks. The Ministry of Energy has expressed a strong position to take into account the key role of HPPs in security and stability of the energy sector, as well as to meet EU commitments in relation to the Green Transition, where HPPs are key among renewable energy sources (in 2021). 61.9% of renewable energy is produced by hydropower). A readiness was declared for full support and assistance in resolving these issues. The Ministry has undertaken to assist in organizing meetings with the other two ministries, which are also relevant to the issue – the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the Ministry of Environment and Water.
An unequivocal consensus has been reached that the only indisputable, sustainable way to solve the problem is through precise and effective legislative changes. Subsequent interdepartmental working meetings are forthcoming to clarify the details of resolving sectoral cases.