While the RES share in electricity generation is still very modest and Bulgaria has 33% protected territories, the interim government has huge plans for green hydrogen production for export purposes.
– RES in Bulgaria are not being prioritized for electricity and heat production to phase out coal and gas facilities.
– The NECP revision is an opportunity to focus the RES utilisation for electricity and heat production.
– Authorities strive for RES-produced hydrogen to be sold and transported to neighboring countries which are also building their own green H2 facilities.
In the so-called “Strategic vision for the energy sector 2023-53”, presented by the interim government in early January and adopted soon after, a big emphasis is made on the green hydrogen production facilities; mainly for export purposes. Despite the interim government almost aborting the expert work in thematic commissions for the NRRP reforms and investments, one of the already finalized products is the Hydrogen Roadmap, already adopted.
Just a small detail is that 33% of Bulgarian territory consists of protected areas and is already challenging enough to accommodate RES for electricity generation. Green hydrogen is requiring additional RES, which is not clear where could be found, also not to forget the conversion losses.
While the green hydrogen is a good solution to decarbonise certain hard to decarbonise otherwise sectors like cement, chemicals, glass, etc. it is not the ultimate “fix it all” solution. Especially in the heating sector there are much greener and more efficient alternatives, while many hydrogen heating pilot projects are underway with public funding.
Transporting hydrogen on big distances would require hydrogen pipelines or hydrogen ready, which is in practice new pipelines to be built to new consumers.
A better solution is hydrogen to be produced at the place of consumption or at least nearby. Despite that in the 6th PCI List there are already new pipelines envisaged with EU money, but are they really needed? Considering that Greece, one of the target countries for this export, is also planning on producing and exporting green hydrogen, the need is even more questionable. All the megalomaniac plans to green hydrogen export to neighboring countries is just too much. It seems there is poor communication between neighboring countries and overcapacities are on their way, with not enough future buyers.