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Bulgaria has a very decent renewable energy target by 2020 – the country has to achieve only 16% of renewable energy share in the energy mix. The country started half way with already 8% covered with large hydro built in the past. Now the target is almost reached according to the government – largely through wind and solar-PV. In 2011 the government realized the feed-in-tariffs are set too high and too many investment opportunities have mushroomed. But these were mostly large developments. Currently the renewable energy in Bulgaria is under attack from public authorities that conveniently blame the new RES capacity for the increasing prices of electricity (while a careful look in the situation would prove that 2/3 of the increase are due to fossil fuel power plants).

Community energy is practically non-existent. Cooperative law is outdated, there are no existing financial instruments that can support community power and people themselves are not used to cooperate in the name of achieving synergy and common good. An obvious example is the fact that multifamily residential building are eligible for up to 75% subsidy for renovation but such projects almost do not happen.

The other main barrier is the heavy procedure to get a permit for integrating a small scale renewable energy capacity to the grid and even greater challenge for integrating small renewable heat into an existing district heating network. The procedures are a nightmare and despite the promises of three consecutive governments they did not become very simplified.

The way ahead is small decentralized renewable energy owned by people and used by the people locally. In the poorest member state of EU it is even more crucial for the energy independence that the community power schemes get established against the odds.

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