Kick-off Мeeting of the Study – Decarbonisation Options for the Bulgarian Power Sector: Overview

On September 14, 2021 AmCham Bulgaria hosted the kick-off meeting of the project industry study: Decarbonisation options for the Bulgarian power sector.

Moderator of the event was Krassimir Nenov, Executive Director of Contour Global Maritsa East 3 and Co-Chair of AmCham Green Deal Working Group.

“The main concept is to produce a data driven analyses which is technologically neutral but allows us to consider all the available technologies that can lead to the objectives of decarbonisation. It is also important to do this in a sustainable way and in line with EU policies. We are hoping to be able to produce policy recommendations for an investment framework based on the analysis. In this study we would like to focus on the specific needs of Bulgaria and all the constraints and challenges that we have and then to produce a pathway for achieving the decarbonisation targets as of 2030 with the horizon of 2050.

I would like to thank all the AmCham Members who have already committed to support the study. I would also encourage companies who have not yet made their decision to consider the potential benefits of engaging in the study”, Krassimir Nenov said.


Olivier Marquette, President AES Bulgaria and Head of Business Development Eurasia and President of AmCham Bulgaria said in his welcoming remarks:

“It is really important for AmCham to produce content especially through the committees. We have done this quite successfully in the healthcare with a study which has been done earlier this year and it was shared publicly and providing very comprehensive overview of the status of the healthcare system in Bulgaria and some concrete proposals and I think that is the way AmCham can really help not only its members but also the overall business environment in Bulgaria. As we already know the energy sector is in huge transition in Bulgaria and the main focus is to provide concrete definition of the future state of the Bulgarian energy sector. There is a tremendous lack of facts and professionally made studies in Bulgaria to get some insides and to be able to form the future strategy of the government.”


The objectives of the study, methodology and project plan were presented by Fabien Roques, Project Lead and Yves Le Thieis, Project Manager from Compass Lexecon.

They shared with the audience interesting data about the Bulgarian power sector:

1. Sustainability & decarbonisation

Bulgarian power generation heavily relies on thermal generation:

  • 40% of electricity generation come from domestic coal
  • 40% nuclear
  • 5% natural gas
  • 15% RES including 8% hydro
2. Social impact & affordability

The Maritsa basin has a large employment impact:

  • 11 900 12 000 employees direct
  • 14000 22000 jobs indirect

Electricity prices in Bulgaria are currently one of the cheapest in Europe

3. Security of supply
  • Preserving Bulgaria’s energy independence
  • The use of domestic coal avoids to heavily rely on imports:

– Mini Maritsa Iztok operates the local lignite reserves and mines in the range of 20m 30m tons per year.

– This coal forms the basis for about 30% of the total electricity generation in Bulgaria. The three main coal plants at Maritsa basin provide 25 35% of the electricity used in Bulgaria.

  • Preserving sufficient reliable capacity with increasing variable renewable penetration.

“In this context, AmCham is looking to develop an industry study which will provide cost efficient decarbonisation
pathways for the transition in Bulgaria and lay out a possible pathway for the decarbonisation of the power sector
including contribution from different technologies for the decarbonisation of the Maritsa Basin”, said from Compass Lexecon.

They defined the objectives and focus of the study and proposed an approach which combines 2 phases to derive policy recommendations based on quantitative modelling results:

  • Phase 1: Power sector modelling
  • Phase 2: Policy recommendations on investment framework

The power sector modelling will use CL Energy power dispatch model fitted to assess cost efficient generation mix pathways under constraints. CL model relies on a dispatch optimisation software applied to short and to long term capacity scenarios.

“We suggest to define two scenarios combining different technology options by varying key parameters in a consistent
way. The definition of the scenarios will be built together with AmCham and should capture realistic futures for Bulgaria. The first scenario (NECP scenario) will be based on current NECP targets, extended to 2050. The second scenario (Fit for 55 scenario) will be based on increased ambitions for the decarbonisation of the power sector, achieving net zero emission to 2050″, suggested from Compass Lexecon.

They also presented a project timeline for phase 1 and 2 and suggested next steps for the project development.


Download or review the full presentation from Compass Lexecon below.


Watch the full meeting in the video below.

More about the project

In the context of the European Green Deal and the increased ambitions for decarbonisation, Bulgaria, similarly to other coal-dependent countries in Europe, will have to lay out its plan for its energy transition. The AmCham study aims to contribute to the public debate in Bulgaria on the decarbonisation of the power sector and the proposed solutions for this transition.

The study will be led by the AmCham Green Deal Working Group and will be organised in two phases:  
  • Phase I: Study of different options for the decarbonisation of the power sector, based on a detailed modelling of the Bulgarian power sector in different scenarios. The deliverables will include quantitative modelling outputs in the different scenarios to 2050 and the identification of the low-regret options for the next 5 years.
  • Phase II: Policy paper providing recommendations for the development of an investment framework to support decarbonisation, aiming at identifying which type of investment framework could be implemented in Bulgaria to unlock the necessary investments to decarbonise the power sector.

Read HERE more about the sponsorship opportunities and how to became a part of the project.