KER TOKI POWER AD is a licensed electricity trader, part of the Renalfa AD group - a leader in the RES industry in Southeast Europe. The company delivers and purchases electricity at competitive and stable prices, trades with all products on the Energy Exchange and serves a wide range of SMEs and large corporations in Bulgaria and the region. Meglena Rusenova is Executive Director of KER TOKI POWER and Chairwoman of the Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association.
Ms. Rusenova, which global developments currently have an impact on the Bulgarian RES market?
In the past few years, we have seen an increasing interest in renewable energy sources. Recently, this has been mainly due to the growing commitment of businesses and governments to protecting the environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and slowing down global warming. In many ways, the current energy crisis has increased this interest, due to the rise in prices of traditional energy sources - an effect of the recovery of economies after the COVID-19 pandemic, the record high prices of carbon emissions, and increased prices of basic raw materials. In addition, Russia's invasion of Ukraine disrupted supply and demand patterns and destroyed many long-standing relationships, leading to a dramatic increase in fossil fuel prices.
Now, more than ever, investors' attention is turning to RES plants as a tool to ease the current energy crisis and prevent future crises. Technologies for generating clean and renewable energy are becoming more and more efficient and are now preferred not only for environmental reasons but also for economic.
What are the main challenges that RES producers are facing and what solutions can be implemented?
The biggest challenge for investors in Bulgaria is the risk of connecting to the electricity distribution grid and the related costs. These depend on many factors, including legal procedures and the commitment and requirements of the grid operator. A set of legal measures are needed to guarantee the implementation of the European directive for free and easy access of small producers to the energy grid. Another key challenge is the grid modernisation. It is necessary because of the complete transformation of the energy industry and the decentralisation of production. To have a successful energy transition, it is necessary to introduce smart metering devices and digitalise the network, which will allow a better and efficient balancing of energy.
And finally, when the source of energy is not constant, as is the case with solar and wind plants, we need to ensure we have effective and reliable energy storage systems, which act to balance the energy supply and would allow for increased share of RES energy in the total energy mix and will guarantee a constant and reliable electricity supply. Without a definite solution to this problem, the global energy transition will not be possible.
What is your prediction, how will Bulgaria cope with the energy transition?
Bulgaria has the chance to meet these challenges successfully and become an energy leader in the region, as we have both extremely favourable climate conditions as well as the scientific, and human potential to rapidly develop our technologies and infrastructure. There is already a plan to establish production of energy storage facilities that will also serve to balance the system. All this will inevitably facilitate and encourage many investors, and with the necessary amendments in the legislation and administrative procedures, the current crisis can become an extraordinary opportunity for our economy.