Bulgaria’s 116 GW offshore wind power potential in the Black Sea is an opportunity for decarbonization

The Bulgarian territorial waters of the Black Sea offer 116 GW of technical wind potential, of which 26 GW can be used in accessible areas with the technological solutions currently available, according to a new report from the Center for Democracy Studies (CSD) of Bulgaria.

“The territorial waters of the Bulgarian Black Sea hold significant decarbonization potential for the country’s energy system, for the low-carbon transformation of the industrial sector, and for economic development in coastal communities. By following the UK’s lead in developing the offshore wind energy sector, the Bulgarian government could change the national energy policy framework to unlock the country’s enormous potential, ”said participants in an online event entitled Unlocking the Offshore Wind Energy Potential in the Black Sea. It was organized by the CSD and the British Embassy in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria has yet to declare its coal phase-out year, which could reduce its ability to raise funds for the energy transition, experts say.

The study presented at the conference confirms the findings of the World Bank, the Joint Research Center of the European Commission and other energy models in recent years. It also builds on this by using national data and taking into account current trends in the development of wind energy technologies in maritime areas.

The costs for electricity from solid-floor wind systems are 62 to 90 euros per MWh

The World Bank estimated the technical potential of offshore wind energy in the Black Sea last year at 435 MW, of which 269 GW on solid-ground turbines and the remaining 166 GW on floating systems. Romania, a neighboring country to the Black Sea, has announced that it will pass a law on offshore wind by the end of the year. The European Union has adopted a strategy with a 300 GW target for offshore wind by 2050.

According to the CSD study, the costs per megawatt hour of electricity generated by fixed wind turbines close to the coast are between 62 and 90 euros, while the costs per unit of energy for floating wind farms are between 120 and 158 euros per MWh.

Two of the largest Bulgarian ports could become hubs for decarbonization

In developing offshore energy, Bulgaria could benefit from job creation, new technology clusters and local equipment supply chains. The offshore wind industry could transform the two largest Bulgarian ports (Varna and Burgas) into decarbonization centers, which will contribute to the further development of the sector in the Black Sea.

“Nevertheless, the current national strategy paper roadmaps do not recognize the potential of the Bulgarian sea areas for the decarbonisation of the energy sector. As a result, the lack of strategic focus on the development of offshore wind energy is reflected in the timetables for maritime spatial planning and the development of the energy network, ”said CSD.

The European offshore wind strategy recognizes all untapped opportunities in the Black Sea region

The study recommends the administrative and regulatory changes, infrastructure improvements and incentives necessary to attract long-term high-tech investments.

The European Offshore Wind Energy Strategy recognizes all the untapped opportunities in the Black Sea region as well as the funding mechanisms of the European Green Deal, which provides a timely opportunity to fund the prerequisites for the formation of a regional offshore wind energy industry in Bulgaria, CSD said.

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