Association formed to spur geothermal development in Bulgaria

Association formed to spur geothermal development in Bulgaria BAGE website screenshot (source: BAGE)
Carlo Cariaga 18 Jul 2022

The Bulgarian Geothermal Energy Association (BAGE) hopes to help harness Bulgaria's geothermal resources through policy changes, information, and technical expertise.

Despite having relatively good resources, there have not been any significant developments in the geothermal industry of Bulgaria. To change this status quo, the Bulgarian Geothermal Energy Association (BAGE) was formed by a small group of experts with many years of international experience in exploratory geology.

In an interview with ProfiLand, BAGE Chairman Engr. Nikola Sechkaryov explained the objectives of the BAGE, the hurdles of geothermal development in Bulgaria, how the country can benefit from geothermal, and the current state of any geothermal projects in the country.

Sechkaryov mentioned that the lack of legislation made the implementation of geothermal projects impossible at the moment. Fort his reason, BAGE has formed a permanent commission consisting of lawyers and experts of international law to analyze the best practices in the legislative spheres of key countries, both within and outside Europe. With this knowledge, the group can propose legislative changes. Only then can talks of upcoming use in geothermal energy in Bulgaria will be possible.

There is also a lack of information about modern technologies with regards to geothermal energy use. The focus so far has been on the use of warm and hot springs and mineral waters mainly in the popular spa resorts. Sechkaryov insists that spa complexes have their place, but the country has much more potential – particularly from the high-temperature fluids located at depth.

Harnessing the geothermal resources of Bulgaria can make it possible to generate electricity and industrial heating. This can then help the country achieve its decarbonization goals in conjunction with other renewable energy sources.

Long-term strategies must be realistic and take into account that this transition will take time. The good news is that the current government of Bulgaria is making a serious effort to support this transition. According to Sechkaryov, the government has expressed full support during the conversations with BAGE. He believes that there will be significant process in a very short period of time.

In the beginning of the year, contracts were signed between the Ministry of Energy and several Bulgarian municipalities for the construction of heat pump systems for the heating or cooling of municipal or state buildings using shallow geothermal energy. These projects will be executed through program funding.

The government of Bulgaria had previously published a proposal for funding of EUR 800 million for the country’s green energy transition, part of which were plans for geothermal development.

There are also a few local initiatives on the geothermal front, such as the Municipality of Shumen building a new spa complex around the village of Marash.

Sechkaryov bemoans the lack of any geothermal projects that Bulgaria can boast about, despite having very good opportunities. Changing this status quo is partly the reason for the formation of BAGE. The group is composed of optimists who believe that there is genuine desire on the part of the government to eliminate the problems of developing the geothermal industry in Bulgaria.

BAGE is operating an official website where they will be collecting and summarizing all news related to geothermal energy in Bulgaria.

Source: ProfiLand