We must do our best to preserve the autonomy of our energy system, President Rumen Radev said

We must do our best to preserve the autonomy of our energy system, President Rumen Radev said

President Rumen Radev said that we should do everything possible to preserve the autonomy of our energy system. It is also necessary to create a national energy strategy.
This is what the Head of State said at the international forum “The Green Deal – Innovations, Investments and Fair Transition”, organized by the media portal dir.bg and the specialized website for energy, ecology and economy 3e-news.net.

We must do everything we can to preserve the autonomy of our energy system. To make the most of our natural resources such as high mountain waters, geothermal, sun and wind, as well as our achievements such as mastered technologies, especially in nuclear energy, to use the huge capacity and scientific developments of our scientists and scientific units, Radev said. The President added that for all this to happen, a national energy strategy is needed to unite our efforts and instruments. It ended in 2020, we should have had by then an energy strategy with a scope until 2030 and a scope until 2050, the President recalled. It is high time for such a strategy to emerge, so that when we work with our European partners we can clearly say timeframes. Because when there are no timeframes, we are in the queue of fair transition programs, territorial plans, Rumen Radev said.

The risks and challenges related to the green transition are many, but the opportunities are also many, Radev said, adding that they apply even more to our country, especially in the most important segment – energy. He pointed out that we have a longer way to go in the energy mix, the social package, the overall economic transformation because our economy is much more resource-intensive than the EU average. Paradoxically, but in the conditions of this unprecedented energy crisis, the Bulgarian energy system turned out to be one of the most autonomous and sustainable because of the nature of our mix and because 50 percent of it is from coal-fired power plants, Radev noted. Now we are faced with the challenge of replacing this mix with something else, the president noted, adding that this is the fine balance of how we will approach it because there are many directions we can go and resources are limited.

The President also said that the Green Deal has no alternative, it absolutely has to happen, but it is a continuous and comprehensive process of deep, technological, economic, social and personal transformation. It is also an opportunity for a profound modernisation of our society. It is therefore important to ensure the sustainability of this process by being aware of what the risks are and what tools and approaches we can use to minimise them.

Rumen Radev outlined several risks concerning the green transition. Among them is the risk of high speed. We have heard repeatedly that the big goal is to get to clean energy quickly, as well as calls for a wholesale abandonment of baseload capacity, which is currently coal, nuclear and gas. At the same time, we have this urge to do so without clear technologically – sound and financially rational solutions to the biggest problem of energy storage, President Radev said. In his words, if we go to 100 percent renewable energy without having solved the problem of its storage, this is the surest path to disaster for the idea of the green transition. Radev added that EU countries should do their best to pool their financial and scientific and technical potential as soon as possible to make Europe a leader in this field.

Radev pointed to the risk of excessive ambitions as another risk. He gave the example of the “Fit to 55” package in the transport part, where, in his words, it can be seen that these ambitions often exceed our capabilities and can lead to various adverse impacts on the sustainability of the process.

There is a risk of losing the competitiveness of our economies, the President further pointed out and gave an example of the basis of any economy – the availability of reliable, accessible, cheap energy, as well as its superstructure – innovation and science. Noting that in the first quarter of the year the average price of electricity in the EU was around 250 euros per megawatt hour, in the US it was 65 euros and in China less than 10 euros, Radev said that we need to find the exact reasons why the price of electricity is many times higher in Europe, because if we do not find an answer to the question, it means that in the medium term Europe will lose its competitiveness.

Radev also pointed out that, according to the data, Europe ranks fifth in terms of registered patents and applications, after China, the US, South Korea and Japan, which means that in the long run, in conditions of fierce competition between knowledge-based economies, we will be losers.

Another risk concerning the green transition is the social one, the President pointed out. We have to be careful because if we approach and impose the same approach on the member states without taking into account the national peculiarities of their economies and the social cross-section of their societies, we risk the poor becoming even poorer, Rumen Radev said. That is why the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of the EU are the places where the voice of each member state should be heard and justified in this process, Radev said. He expressed hope that the new social climate fund will solve to a large extent some of these issues.

Loss of trust in the green transition is also among the risks, Radev pointed out and added that all signals to the European citizens that lead in the direction of loss of trust should be eliminated. He gave an example of this with the Mobility package. The trucks should return to the countries of registration with empty runs, they pollute the environment for nothing, or to satisfy someone’s ambitions for double standards and protectionism, Radev pointed out, adding that he categorically cannot agree with this part of the package. He expressed hope that the pressure he has to implement the green deal will also be directed at some of the aspects of the Mobility package.

President Radev also noted that the debate on where our energy sector and the related economy should go has not yet taken place. He pointed out that we have to decide what kind of energy we will develop, to what extent we will preserve nuclear energy – to what extent we will develop new capacities, on what basis – on the reactors we have or on small modular reactors. We also have to decide to what extent we will develop solar energy, to what extent there will be decentralisation for households and businesses, to what extent we will break up and build wind farms. We need to decide what approach Bulgaria will take to energy storage – whether it will be 6 gigawatts of batteries, whether we will develop PAHP, in which we have traditions and conditions and is probably the most environmentally clean energy storage, the President further noted.

Representatives of the institutions, European and Bulgarian experts, representatives of the business and non-governmental sector take part in the forum “The Green Deal – Innovation, Investment and a Just Transition”. BTA is a media partner.