All renewable energy projects in Bulgaria have been hit by a
retroactive change in the fee they must pay for accessing the
electricity transmission and distribution grids.
Wind projects, regardless of when they were or are connected to the grid, have to pay a fee equal to 10% of the relevant feed-in tariff (FIT).
Photovoltaic (PV) and other renewable energy plants connected to the grid before 1 January 2012 must pay a fee equal to 20% of the relevant FIT. Those connected between 1 January 2012 and 30 June 2012 (comprising 90% of all PV generators), must pay a fee equal to 39% of the relevant FIT while those connected between 1 July and 1 September 2012 must pay a fee equal to 5% of the relevant FIT. Any PV plant connected to the grid after 1 September 2012 (when the FIT was decreased by 200% from the one applicable on 30 June 2012) will have to pay a fee equal to just 1% of the relevant FIT.
The changes were introduced on 14 September 2012 without any public consultation or notice by the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, in the form of Decision No 33/2012.
The decision is subject to appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria and is likely to be challenged by renewable energy investors. It also exposes the SEWRC to wider criticism at an international diplomatic and judicial level for the decision's retroactivity and lack of transparency.
Although the process of analyzing the decision to find grounds for appeal is still in its early stages, it seems likely that the decision contravenes the Energy Act and also some secondary legislation. It also seems that the producers could claim that it is a distortion of competition in the sector.
An overview of the FIT changes applicable to the various wind and PV projects can be found here: Read more
A translation of the Decision can be found here: Read more
This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq
Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.
The original publication date for this article was 18/09/2012.