Blackouts on the national power grid was the grim future that the explosive growth of renewable energy projects in Bulgaria would lead to, according to the chief executive of the company that runs the power grid.
Ivan Ayolov, head of the state power grid operator ESO was quoted by Reuters as saying that the Government should impose stricter regulations to bar speculators.
Government incentives for wind, solar and biomass energy was said to have led to what was called an "avalanche-like" increase in projects, totalling more than 11 000MW in installed power, as of September 2009, Reuters said.
"This has to be stopped in an intelligent way, otherwise we face a catastrophe," Reuters quoted Ayolov as saying.
Ayolov's remarks came on November 24, one day after Economy Minister Traicho Traikov told a business forum that Bulgaria planned to boost its power efficiency and support green energy to fight climate change and achieve European Union environment targets.
"To decrease greenhouse gases, we need to consume less and cleaner energy," Reuters quoted Traikov as saying on November 23.
Government planned to introduce specific requirements for renewable energy, as well as the grid's capability to add new generators, Reuters reported. No further details as to what the requirements would be were given at the time.
A day later, Ayolov told journalists that currently the power grid was reliable, but that its capacity to add new installations was limited to 1800MW. "It is not reliable when it comes to 10 000 MW," Ayolov said.
Apart from offering incentives to investors, Bulgaria should have a strategy on increasing the share of renewable energy in a sustainable way without straining the power grid, Ayolov said.
ESO suggested Bulgaria should ask prospective investors to deposit five per cent of the project value in order to separate speculators from serious investors, Reuters said.
Bulgaria would have to add 300MW in renewable energy power generation capacities annually in order to meet its EU-mandated target that 16 per cent of domestic consumption comes from renewable energy by 2020, according to analysts.