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Bulgaria Faces EU Anger over Wind Energy Restrictions

Date: 15.07.2010

The European Commission may launch an infringement procedure over limitations on projects for producing energy from wind-energy sources, the Bulgarian wind-energy association has warned.

Last week the Parliament adopted on first reading the amendment to the Bulgarian farmland protection policy act, which envisions a ban of wind-energy projects on 28 % of the Bulgarian territory. There have been serious objections with various arguments against the amendment.

According to the association, the experience of other EU member states shows that wind-energy projects do not endanger agriculture but rather create job positions and with the implementation of the envisioned limitations, these job positions will be lost, a well as the rent revenues from fields and investments.

“The amendment is good only for the big industrialized mass producers, but it will harm the revenues of small agriculture producers and the local land owners. It also endangers the existing job positions in the agriculture, as well as the future job positions at the sphere of renewable energy,” people from the association said.

They also stated that the amendment isolates the renewable energy, although, in their words, other kinds of construction, like villages, roads, gas stations and others, as well as the change in the purpose of fields for them, would have a similar effect on the agriculture lands.

According to statistics of the association, only 0.017 % of the lands are affected by renewable energy, while there are much more unused lands at the moment.

“The amendment imposes a risk of losses for Bulgaria for hundreds of millions every year,” people from the association said, adding that for every percent energy from renewable sources that is below the Bulgarian goals within the EU, from 2011 the country might have to pay EUR 200-300 M, in order to buy quotas for covering the insufficiencies.

“The amendment is unreasonable. It exposes the state budget at a huge risk, in order to protect the interests of a few mass producers,” the association said.

The Bulgarian wind-energy association includes 20 leading companies for wind energy in Bulgaria and Europe. Among its creators are the turbine producers Vestas, Enercon, Geo Power, which created the biggest wind park in Bulgaria in cooperation with the US AES, and Enertrag, which is one of the biggest wind energy producers in the world.

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