The Bulgarian parliament has obliged the government to change the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) in the energy segment, and to abandon the obligation to lower carbon emissions from energy production by 40% from the 2019 level by 2025.
The decision to force the government to start negotiations with the European Commission on the changes to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan was backed by 187 votes, while only two lawmakers were against it. During the vote, several hundred coal mine and utility workers protested in front of the parliament building.
The political groups in the National Assembly achieved unity in the defense of coal plants, Bulgaria’s parliament said on its website.
The NRRP was officially approved by the European Commission in April of last year. It envisages EUR 6.3 billion in grants for the country from EU funds.
Circumstances have changed and Bulgaria isn’t able to fulfill its commitments
With the decision, the parliament obliged the Council of Ministers to take all necessary actions by March 31 with the aim to change the NRSP. It said that circumstances have changed, arguing that Bulgaria isn’t able anymore to fulfill its commitments.
In order to achieve the priorities of the REPowerEU plan, the government should make a justified request to the European Commission to amend the NRSP and secure its preliminary positive assessment for the changes, the parliament said.
The aim is, as it added, to drop the commitment to reduce carbon emissions from electricity production by 40% by the end of 2025, from the levels registered in 2019.
Coal-fired power plants should be allowed to operate without restrictions at least until 2038
The EU should align decarbonization commitments with pan-European targets, ensuring the operation of coal-fired power plants without restrictions at least until 2038, the parliament said.
Of note, Bulgaria’s NRSP envisages coal to be abandoned by 2038 in electricity production.
The 40% aim for reducing emissions must be achieved in 2025 and will be strengthened by updating national legislation in the Climate Change Limitation Act, which will also establish a clear plan for the phasing out of coal-fired power plants by 2038, reads the NRSP.
The measures to reduce CO2 emissions will affect eight coal plants and one district heating facility.
Coal power plants produce around 50% of electricity in Bulgaria, while the Kozloduy nuclear plant accounts for about 35%.