An interview with Mr. Ivan Hinovsk, Bulgarian Energy and Mining Forum (BEMF):
“We have registered а Chamber of Energy Communities in Bulgaria for development of smart electricity networks and energy cooperatives”
On 17th May 2022, the Chamber of Energy Communities in Bulgaria (CECB) was established. Members and partners of the Bulgarian Energy and Mining Forum (BEMF) initiated the establishment of the CECB in response to the new trends in the energy strategies of the EU member countries for decentralisation of energy production and creation of incentives for European policies.
The initiative is a continuation of the activities under the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme STRIDE project and in response to Europe’s new energy strategy with an emphasis on “distributed” (over “centralised”) energy production.
The Chairman of the Management Board of CECB is Mr. Ivan Hinovski, and founders of the chamber include authoritative Bulgarian and international experts and companies from the energy sector. The BEMF, as a partner in the STRIDE project, is a pioneer in development of strategies for integration of smart grids at the municipal level.
Click here to view the full interview with Ivan Hinovski published on the “Energy, Ecology, Economy” platform, only available in the Bulgarian language.
Q: Mr. Hinovski, what are the objectives of the STRIDE project and who are the other participants in it?
A: The STRIDE project is in its final phase of implementation. Some of its main outputs are the development of Smart Grids Action plans, Smart Grid Strategies and development scenarios in the participating countries, STRIDE platform and training of stakeholders at local level.
The building of energy cooperatives for renewable energy with the application of Smart Grids will be targeted as continuation of STRIDE.
The STRIDE project is led by the Slovenian Local Energy Agency Spodnje Podravje (LEASP) and implemented in partnership with eight organisations from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is funded under the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme 2014-2020. The Bulgarian Energy and Mining Forum is the Bulgarian participant in STRIDE, and the pilot Bulgarian regions are the Municipality of Panagyurishte and the Municipality of Pernik.
The editors of the 3e-news.net platform interviewed Mr. Hinovski in regards to the latest news.
Q: How the energy communities (cooperatives) for renewable energy will contribute to the development of the electrical infrastructure in urban areas?
A: According to Directive (ЕU[i]) 2018/2001, a renewable energy community is a legal entity based on open and voluntary participation, is autonomous, and is effectively controlled by shareholders or members that are located in the proximity of the renewable energy projects that are owned and developed by that legal entity.
The renewable energy community carries out at least one of the following activities – production, consumption, storage or sale of electricity, heat and cooling energy from renewable sources and/or shares within the community renewable energy produced by projects owned by the community, including through virtual net metering.
Directive (ЕU) 2018/2001 defines the “renewables self-consumer” – i.e. a final customer operating within its premises located within confined boundaries – as a consumer who generates renewable electricity for its own consumption, and who may store or sell self-generated renewable electricity, provided that, for a non-household renewables self-consumer, those activities do not constitute its primary commercial or professional activity. “Jointly acting renewables self-consumers” refers to a group of at least two jointly acting renewables self-consumers, who are located in the same building or multi-apartment block.
This new field of energy development is related to solving a number of new serious normative issues that should be further developed in the national legislation, with a view to the specifics of the renewable sources and for fairer metering of produced and consumed energy by energy communities and renewable self-consumers.
Q: What are the main goals of the Chamber of Energy Communities (CECB) in Bulgaria?
A: The establishment of CECB in Bulgaria marks the beginning of implementation of the Europe’s new energy strategy to emphasise “distributed” energy production over centralised energy production. Of course, this process will progress further on and does not mean giving up from large energy generation plants, but rather parallel development. Conceptually, this means reducing the amount of electricity transmitted and distributed in the energy system and replacing it with energy produced “on-site” by energy communities.
Some of the main objectives of the CECB include:
- The creation in the Republic of Bulgaria of a favourable regulatory, public and investment environment for introduction and development of energy communities and intelligent technologies in support of social and solidarity economy;
- The creation of effective channels for exchange of innovative ideas, technologies and leading practices between members of the Chamber and industrial enterprises for the construction of smart networks, smart buildings and energy islands in Bulgaria and within the EU;
- The creation of conditions for attracting investments in the field of distributed energy production in environmental projects with a high public added value.
A draft legal act on energy communities in Bulgaria was developed by experts of CECB. This document transposes European Directive 2018/2001 into the Bulgarian legislation. The document has been proposed for discussion and “recognition” by the Ministry of Energy and the Parliamentary Energy Committee.