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Milena Videnova, Managing Director of Axpo Bulgaria, discusses innovation and the energy transition

Author SeeNews
Milena Videnova, Managing Director of Axpo Bulgaria, discusses innovation and the energy transition

Axpo Bulgaria was established in 2006 as a subsidiary of the Swiss energy group Axpo. Axpo covers the entire energy value chain and is a marketer of renewable energies in Europe. In 2007, Axpo Bulgaria received a power trading licence and since then has been a participant in the power markets in Bulgaria and neighbouring countries. In 2011, the company expanded and built a service centre, which renders operations and various back office services to the Axpo Group. Milena Videnova has been Axpo Bulgaria’s Managing Director since August 2020. 


Ms. Videnova, Axpo is an active trader in Bulgaria’s power market. What solutions does the company offer for traders and producers of renewable energy?

Axpo Bulgaria EAD, a subsidiary of the Axpo Group with headquarters in Switzerland, has been conducting business activities in Bulgaria for 16 years. Axpo is the largest producer of renewable energy in Switzerland and an international leader in energy trading and the marketing of solar and wind power. 

More than 5,000 Axpo employees combine their professional experience with their passion for innovation to develop cutting-edge energy solutions for customers in over 30 countries across Europe, the United States and Asia. With an initial focus on electricity, the company now also focuses on gas, given the emergence of new gas markets in Southeast Europe.  

Axpo Bulgaria is an active wholesale trader in 15 European markets. We offer renewable producers innovative, tailor-made derivative solutions with physical delivery or without i.e. only financially. We are active in trade with guarantees of origin and we offer tailor-made power purchase agreement (PPA) solutions. Our expertise in asset optimisation services for renewables is unique.

Renewables is one of the markets that relies heavily on innovations to move forward rapidly and decrease costs. What is Axpo Group and Axpo Bulgaria’s policy on encouraging innovation within the company?

Axpo Group encourages innovations through a special initiative, called ‘Power Go weeks’. If you work for Axpo in Bulgaria and you have a brilliant disruptive idea, you are encouraged to submit it to the local innovation board. If you are successful during the Power Go weeks, and go on to receive the digital board approval, your idea might be financed and scaled up. 

The Axpo Bulgaria team, comprising 100 energy professionals, also conducts regular ideation workshops to help inspire innovation.  These workshops cover various topics, such as origination and optimisation services for renewable producers, energy logistics, wholesale trade, and back office services.

Without risking your own capital, it’s possible to become an entrepreneur within the company and gain unique innovation experience, not only in Bulgaria but also internationally. 

Hydrogen and energy storage have been at the forefront of energy transition talks across the EU, and Bulgaria is no exception. Do you think we have the ways and means to become a hydrogen producer and use energy storage batteries? 

Certainly. From a medium to long-term perspective, Bulgaria, as part of the European Union, will become a hydrogen producer as well as be part of the energy storage batteries ecosystem. New technologies should lower the price of energy storage batteries and make the power trading markets more predictable. This will accelerate investments in renewables and support the energy transition. However, to be successful, Europe will need to invest not only in hydrogen production, but also in the grid infrastructure. 

Given their importance to the future of energy supply, the Axpo Group has been investing in both hydrogen production and energy storage batteries for some time now.  

This includes building Switzerland’s largest hydrogen production plant in Wildegg-Brugg, which is expected to produce around 2,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually – enough to power around 300 trucks or buses. In Italy we are working with ABB to research and test new technologies along the entire hydrogen supply chain, and we have signed a cooperation agreement with RINA to build a robust hydrogen supply chain with its partners.

We have also been pursuing the development and use of battery storage systems for several years, including creating a competence centre for battery storage solutions. For some time now, we have been involved in the construction, operation, management, and marketing of battery storage systems, with projects both in Switzerland and abroad. The company markets around 100 MW of battery storage capacity across Europe, and intends to continue this growth.

Therefore, Axpo is well placed to help Bulgaria achieve its hydrogen production and energy storage battery ambitions.