Bulgaria's budget and finance parliamentary committee has included in the draft budget for next year a 20% fee on revenue from sale of renewable energy. The second reading vote on the draft will likely take place next week. The bill passed at first reading on Nov 14 with the votes of 116 lawmakers from the 240-seat parliament.
The fee was first proposed by the nationalist Ataka party, which is a silent partner of the ruling coalition of left-wing BSP and ethnic Turkish MRF. It is speculated that the rationale behind the fee is to partially reduce the incentives to produce green energy and to help the grid operator NEC clear some of its outstanding liabilities, much of which are a result of the mandatory purchase of green energy at preferential prices.
Renewable energy producers, cited by Capital daily, have said that the proposed fee is discriminatory and is in breach of Bulgarian and European legislation.
Construction of wind farms and photovoltaic parks has been rapid in recent years, as state subsidies in the form of guaranteed sale of electricity at artificially high prices attracted significant capital in the sector.
The other side of the coin has been the end-consumer price of electricity. In the beginning of 2013, protests over high electricity bills toppled the government of CEDB (July 2009 - February 2013). Accordingly, one of the first things the cabinet of PM Plamen Oresharski did after taking power in late May was to cut the price of electricity by an average of 4.3%.
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