Plovdiv Outreach: AmCham Discussed Decarbonization of Energy Sector, Electricity Prices at Trakia Economic Zone

On October 19th, 2021 AmCham Bulgaria had an outreach to Trakia Economic Zone (TEZ). The visit aimed to present AmCham Energy Industry Decarbonization Study, to discuss the electricity bills for the business, as well as to engage with the topic of the qualification of the workforce in the Plovdiv region.

Before representatives of some of the leading investors in TEZ such as Sensata, ADD, Zobele, ABB, PPS Manufacturing, as well as the senior leadership of TEZ, Olivier Marquette, AmCham Bulgaria President and Krassimir Nenov, Co-Chair of the “EU Green Deal Working Group” presented the ongoing project “Bulgarian Energy Industry Decarbonization” study. They outlined the goal of this project, its scope as well was the discussion went into in-depth argumentation on the assumptions, the modelling, and expected outcomes.

“With this study we would like to give our stake in the vast discussion on decarbonization. For making it realistic and trustworthy, we need solid data, proven modelling, and tangible outcomes. It should serve as the basis for any expert discussion and political decisions. In our view, this is our proactive way to engage with stakeholders such as our government, business associations, and EU authorities,” – pointed out Olivier Marquette.

“Energy transition is a very challenging topic affecting everyone. Since the EC has set its priority on decarbonization in the EU Green Deal, it needs fair explanation to the public, concrete steps towards businesses across the industries, as well as it needs to bring some certainty to the investors to continue their operation while embracing transformation. All of this should be done in a transparent manner. In our view a prerequisite for any decision is to have a vast, non-biased, non-partisan, expert analysis of the potential scenarios for the development of the power sector in Bulgaria, along with a consensus on the approach we should follow at national level,” – said Krassimir Nenov.

In late May 2021 AmCham Bulgaria’s Energy and Mineral Resources Committee decided that it should engage a prominent, top-class consultant with global experience in energy regulation, market modelling, and providing solutions to governments, the European Commission, energy champions, to have market- and energy-based arguments that will help Bulgaria to transform smoothly towards decarbonization. The chamber hired Compass Lexecon to conduct a study with that regard. Since mid-September consultant’s experts work with members’ experts to shape the scope of the analysis considering the existing National Energy and Climate Plan and EC’s Fit For 55 Agenda.

Following the proven track of 2021 Healthcare as Investment Report of AmCham, the Energy Committee and the Board have decided that this should be community project. So far its work and funding is supported by AES Bulgaria, ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3, America for Bulgaria Foundation, Westinghouse Bulgaria, Asarel-Medet, Dundee Precious Metals, Enery, EVN Bulgaria, GEOTECHMIN, Glavbolgarstroy, Schneider Electric.

Regarding the qualification and retraining of the workforce, the guests were introduced to the first of its kind in Bulgaria training center, serving companies in the  industrial park.

“Through this center, we meet the needs of the business in TEZ, as well as we train staff from early learning environment,” explained Rosen Kosturkov, director of “Trakia EDU” – operator of the Center for Vocational Training “Trakia”. “Here we analyzed the needs of the investors and defined the professional training to ensure that they will have qualified employees for their activities. In addition, with this center we make it possible for the people from the region to stay and build their lives and careers here,” emphasized Mr. Kosturkov.

Since last autumn the Center has been training over 60 students from 5 vocational high schools in the Plovdiv region. Eng. Plamen Panchev, founder of TЕZ and chairman of the “Cluster Thrace Economic Zone” specifies that the idea for practical classes for high school students with the latest model of equipment and technology in the Center belongs to Eng. Kosturkov and it was implemented with the financial support of the Foundation “America for Bulgaria “. Eng. Kosturkov is also at the heart of the project “Active Learning Community for Upskilling Technicians and Engineers” under the EU ERASMUS + program, in which the “Cluster Thrace Economic Zone” together with universities and chambers of commerce from 4 countries / Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Poland / creates training programs for active learning for the engineering and technical company`s staff. He is also actively involved in the team developing the “new generation” of carbon-neutral industrial parks of TEZ.

The Plovdiv Outreach was attended by Olivier Marquette, AmCham Bulgaria President; Co-Chair Energy and Mineral Resources Committee; Krassimir Nenov, Executive Director, ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3; Co-Chair “EU Green Deal” Working Group at AmCham, Petar T. Ivanov, CEO, AmCham Bulgaria who welcomed the Vesela Malinowska, Business Development Manager, ADD Bulgaria; Georgi Kaishev, Plant Director, Sensata Bulgaria; Yordan Lambrev, Plant Director, Zobele Bulgaria; Georgi Petkov, General Manager, PPS Manufacturing, and Maurizio Riva, Country CFO, ABB Bulgaria.

Host was Trakia Economic Zone represented by Plamen Panchev, CEO, Rosen Kosturkov, Director for Education, Innovation, Digitalization, Trakia Economic Zone; Katya Staykova, Director of Public Relations, Emil Yankov, Business Development Manager.

The AmCham Team was represented by Petya Kostova, Membership Manager, Stephania Semova, Committees Lead, Daniel Kiryakov, Communications and Public Affairs Manager.