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Bulgarian Offshore Wind Bill Passes First Parliament Reading, Faces Strong Opposition

An offshore renewable energy bill that was introduced in the Bulgarian Parliament in December 2023 is expected to soon be up for a second reading, after passing the first reading last month. The bill, which aims to facilitate offshore wind build-out in the Bulgarian sector of the Black Sea, is seeing a backlash from the fishing and tourism industries, NGOs, as well as one of its coastal cities.

The bill sets a framework for designating offshore wind areas off Bulgaria’s coast as one of two types: priority and non-priority, with priority areas to be surveyed and auctioned off by the government and non-priority areas to be allocated by employing the so-called “open door” approach.

Furthermore, if enacted in its proposed form, the bill would see the Bulgarian government holding competitive tenders to award 30-year offshore wind concessions and Contracts for Difference (CfD). The bid price would be capped at BGN 160/MWh (approximately EUR 81.84/MWh).

According to the bill’s sponsors, the framework would enable the country to add more domestic renewable energy capacity, as well as to fulfil the renewable energy commitments Bulgaria has as an EU Member State.

However, the bill has seen strong opposition from various stakeholders, from the fishing and tourism industries, and environmental non-government organisations, to its coastal city of Varna, whose Municipal Council just adopted a declaration to support its local fishing and tourism sector and ask for the withdrawal of the bill that would enable installing offshore wind farms in the Black Sea.

According to the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), Bulgaria’s technical offshore wind potential is 26 GW, of which 2 GW in fixed-bottom offshore wind and 24 GW in floating wind.

While there are no national plans for offshore wind projects in the country yet, last year, France-based floating wind technology developer, Eolink, and 15 European renewable energy partners launched an EU-backed project that aims to install a 5 MW floating wind turbine offshore Bulgaria and link it to a gas platform in the Black Sea.

Named Black sea fLoating Offshore Wind (BLOW), the project will use Eolink’s floating offshore wind turbine design and plans to engineer, manufacture and commission the 5 MW unit by 2025.


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