Decarbonization and the green transition will face Bulgaria with special challenges, considering that the country consumes 3.6-fold more energy per unit of GDP than the European average, EU Cohesion and Reform Commissioner Eliza Ferreira said here on Friday, addressing a conference on “The Green Deal – Innovation, Investment and a Just Transition”.
In Ferreira’s words, coal-fired power plants produce over 40% of Bulgaria’s electricity. The Just Transition Fund will allocate EUR 1.3 billion to mitigate the effects of the transition, which will be most acute in Pernik, Kyustendil and Stara Zagora, the Commissioner said. Loans will also be provided to those region, and they will also be supported to transition to a zero carbon economy. The industries that generate heavy carbon emissions will be declining, and their share as a source of livelihood will be shrinking, Ferreira pointed. She noted that a new livelihood in new fields of economic activity, including innovation and clean energy, should be found for people in Kyustendil, Stara Zagora and Pernik.
The Just Transition Mechanism will provide private- and public-level investments, the Commissioner said, adding that unleashing resources from the Just Transition Fund requires plans with clear interim targets for 2030, so as to make region-by-region decisions.
Ferreira argued that people need to remain confident in the green deal initiative and the economy because the gross and unprecedented invasion of Ukraine and its ramification in the energy sector are closely linked to energy security. She said that the EU should make use of its largest asset: the commitment that no Member State will be left back and lag behind the rest.
She was adamant that Bulgaria will be able to count on European solidarity in the future, too. Grant financial aid is budgeted for recovery and resilience policies. The idea is to implement modernization and decarbonization and to achieve energy security. The EU contributes some EUR 11 billion to this vision of Bulgaria, focusing on the areas in which the country has made least progress.