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Press conference: Bulgaria’s Energy Security Risk Index
On 25 September 2013, the Center for the Study of Democracy presented Bulgaria’s results in the International Index of Energy Security Risk (IIESR) of the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the American Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Director of the Economic Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy, opened the event by highlighting the importance of energy security for Bulgaria and suggesting that the Center aims to develop a national index and advocate to make it a regular policy monitoring tool.

Mr. Martin Tsanov, Analyst in the Economic Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy, began his presentation by suggesting that the index is a useful tool to identify energy security risks and can be used to develop policy recommendations aimed at improving energy security. He summed up the most important message from his presentation that in the case of Bulgaria, policy makers should aim to reduce import dependence and increase the number of fossil fuel suppliers, use local and renewable energy resources and reduce overall demand by using more energy-efficient technologies.

Bulgaria’s Energy Security Risk Index shows that although there has been a dramatic improvement in the county’s energy security since 1980 (the starting point of the study), there has been a rise in the risk again since 2011. The main challenges Bulgaria faces in terms of its energy security are: energy expenditure volatility, fossil fuel import expenditure in relation to GDP, and high levels of energy intensity, which all highlight the reliance on imports from very few suppliers. Bulgaria has lower than the OECD average risk in terms of CO2 emissions trends, transport energy and energy consumption per capita. The low energy security risk profile in these areas is characteristic of transition economies and highlights the high levels of energy poverty in the country. Mr. Tsanov, underscored that one of the most effective energy security risk reduction strategies for Bulgaria would be to diversify its gas market, which would also ease the pressure on household incomes.

During the subsequent discussion, Mr. Ivan Ivanov, representative of the political party Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, welcomed the presentation of the index and also emphasized its use as a policy tool. He agreed with the importance of developing Bulgaria’s gas market, even though according to him the prospects of the South Stream project are at best unclear. The option of building the Belene Nuclear Power Plant was also discussed as unfavourable for Bulgaria’s energy security because as electricity demand has declined, building such a complex structure is a long term and expensive commitment, fraught with transparency and corruption risks.

Agenda (Adobe PDF, 127KB)
Presentation by Mr. Martin Tsanov, Analyst, Economic Programme, Center for the Study of Democracy (Adobe PDF, 732 KB)
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