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Securing EU money for Bulgaria’s energy transition will be difficult without coal phaseout date

Securing EU money for Bulgaria's energy transition will be difficult without coal phaseout date

Photo: Alexander Droeger from Pixabay

Published

August 9, 2021

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Published:

August 9, 2021

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If Bulgaria doesn’t set a year for abandoning the production of electricity in coal-fired power plants, it will be difficult to obtain money from the Just Transition Fund, managed by the European Commission, said Professor Koso Stoychev, Head of the Department of Regional and Political Geography at the Faculty of Geology and Geography at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.

Bulgaria has so far refused to accelerate coal phaseout plans as it stuck to the European Union’s final 2050 deadline, but according to the analysis by media outlet Kapital.ba, measures and investments envisaged by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan may lead to the country’s rapid coal exit, by 2025.

Slovakia, Romania and Greece have set dates for phasing out coal, and Bulgaria must do the same

Speaking for Bloomberg TV Bulgaria, Professor Koso Stoychev said Slovakia, Romania and Greece have set an exact date for phasing out coal, and that Bulgaria must do the same.

Without a deadline, the country will have difficulties in absorbing funds from the Just Transition Fund, he said, adding that the European Commission expects the Bulgarian government to set a coal exit date to provide cash.

In late 2020 the EU agreed to launch the Just Transition Fund worth EUR 17.5 billion to help member states with coal-dependent regions to transition toward green energy. A number of states such as Slovenia are already preparing plans to use these funds.

Stoychev: Bulgaria will abandon coal in five years at most

Professor Koso Stoychev said the production of energy from coal must end because it harms the environment. He added every energy system in the history of mankind, four so far, had a beginning and an end. The first was water, the second coal, the third was oil, and the fourth was nuclear energy, in his view.

The fifth energy system is based on renewable energy sources and hydrogen, so coal must stop being used as fuel in Europe, Stoychev said.

He stressed the period until the coal phaseout year, which he believes would not be longer than five years, should be used to create alternative energy sources in order to prepare for the transition of the entire economic structure to another type of energy system.

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