Assoc. Prof. Ivanov: With the conclusion of contracts with various suppliers, Bulgaria is currently completely independent of Russian natural gas, which guarantees the country's energy security
The role of natural gas as a transitional energy source in the process of decarbonization of the economy and energy, current aspects of regulatory policies in the field of natural gas and the cessation of energy dependence of Bulgaria and Eastern Europe on Russia were the main topics of the held on 13.06.2023 meeting of EWRC chairman Assoc. Prof. Ivan Ivanov with the management of the American Institute for Energy Policy Energy Futures Initiative in Washington. The non-governmental organization has visited our country to participate in the Round Table, organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy /CID/, on the risks of importing Russian liquefied gas into EU countries and the need for measures against dependence on Russian nuclear technologies and fresh nuclear fuel. The meeting was attended by Melanie Kenderdine, executive vice president of the Energy Futures Initiative, Rick Westerdale, executive director, and Martin Vladimirov, director of the "Energy and Climate" Program at the CID.
EWRC chairman informed that after the suspension of natural gas supplies from Russia, Bulgaria has taken key measures to diversify its gas supplies. "With the conclusion of contracts with various suppliers, we are currently completely independent of Russian natural gas, which guarantees the energy security of the country. In this way, the predictions that without Russian gas our economy will collapse have completely failed," he emphasized. As a priority task for the Commission, the active support of the transition to a low-carbon economy by means of regulatory mechanisms, including and the introduction of new energy storage and hydrogen production and storage systems was pointed out. According to Assoc. Prof. Ivanov, compared to other countries, Bulgaria has not yet achieved a high level of share of energy from RES and uneven production is a very good option to convert excess energy into hydrogen fuel. "Hydrogen is the energy fuel of the future and for the Bulgarian regulator, the exchange of experience with other countries for the creation of a regulatory framework in this area, including the mechanisms for its pricing, is very relevant," said EWRC chairman.
The director of the American energy policy institute Energy Futures Initiative Melanie Kenderdine emphasized that regardless of the decision of many European countries to reduce the consumption of natural gas, it will retain its role as an important energy source in the transition to decarbonization. EWRC chairman was briefed on the findings in the institute's latest study, which states that renewable energy technologies cannot currently provide the reliability and sustainability of industry consumption to enable countries to achieve energy security and decarbonisation. “We have alternatives to natural gas for power generation, but we don't have enough alternatives in the industrial sector. Natural gas is needed for key industrial processes, but we still don't have the ability to produce enough green hydrogen to meet industrial energy demand," she said. According to the study, natural gas can have a role as a cleaner alternative to coal and oil, an important role played by the supply of US liquefied natural gas to Europe after Russia's aggression in Ukraine. These supplies will continue to play a central role in achieving global energy security, climate, economic development and food security goals, is one of the key findings of the report.