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Most Important Highlights in the new Law from Renewable Sources Act

With the adoption of the new Law from Renewable Sources Act on 21st April 2011 by the National Assembly and published with the State Gazette copy 35 dated 3rd May 2011, repealing the Renewable and Alternative Energy Sources and Biofuels Act (RAESBA) there were introduced some new regulations as follows:

Regarding the connection of energy production projects to the grid
  • The law stipulates maximum electricity production capacities that can be provided for connection by region of connection and by voltage levels, which are provided by the operators of electricity distribution grids by 28 February each year to the respective electricity transmission grid operator.
  • The State Commission of Energy and Water Regulation approves on annual basis by 30 of June of each year the estimated electricity capacities for one-year period, considered from July 1, that can be connected to the electricity transmission and distribution grid by region of connection and by voltage level.
  • Applications for building an energy facility for production are considered by the respective electricity grid operator in the order of their receipt and he comes up with a reasoned statement of opinion as to the acceptability of each application within 14 days of its receipt. After the applicant receives the decision as to the acceptability of the application he has 6 months to file a request for drafting of a preliminary grid connection agreement. After all approved electricity capacities for the respective region have been allocated the electricity grid operator shall return the applications filed and not considered, which shall be deemed a reasoned refusal for connection.
  • At the time of filing of the applications a guarantee for participation in the procedure in the amount of BGN 5,000 per megawatt (MW) of capacity applied for connection shall be deposited in favour of the operator of the respective electricity grid.

Regarding conclusion of preliminary grid connection agreements
  • At the time of conclusion of a preliminary grid connection agreement the producer of electricity from renewable sources shall owe to the transmission or to the respective distribution company, which connects it, an advance payment in the amount of: (i) BGN 50,000 for each megawatt (MW) installed capacity of the future energy project, where the installed capacity is higher than 5 MW; (ii) BGN 25,000 for each megawatt (MW) installed capacity of the future energy project, where the installed capacity is up to 5 MW, inclusive.
  • The preliminary grid connection agreement shall be with a term not longer than one year. According to the repealed RAESBA the term was 2 years.
  • The grid connection agreement shall be with a term not longer than the term for entry into operation of the producer's project and the facilities for its connection, but not longer than two years, where the entry into operation is to be done in one stage. 

Prices and terms for purchase of electricity from renewable sources
  • Producers, whose energy projects are with total installed capacity over 30 kW, shall conclude an agreement for access with an operator of the transmission or the distribution electricity grid.
  • The State Commission of Energy and Water Regulation shall set on annual basis, by 30 June of each year, preferential prices for purchase of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, with the exception of electricity produced by hydroelectric power plants with installed capacity over 10 MW.
  • The purchase price is fixed as of the date of preparation of Act 15 pursuant to Article 176, Paragraph 1 of the Spatial Development Act.
  • Electricity from renewable energy is purchased based on long-term purchase contracts signed for a term of twenty years.
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