Royal Norwegian embassy in Sofia holds Bellona Roundtables discussion on CCS

The event was held on September 23rd 2009 at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Sofia on management and expert level. The discussion was attended by government officials, stakeholders, academics, NGOs and media.

The aim of the roundtable was to find out where CCS stands in the Bulgarian energy policy and what the potentials and challenges to the realization of CCS technologies are.  

Given that Bulgaria needs to urgently cut off its CO2 emissions, the lack of coordinated approach and comprehensive plan for the transposition of the Directive on geological storage of CO2 (2009/31/EC) in the national legislation was outlined.

The lack of government policies related to CO2 capture and storage would have a great impact on setting up the business stimulus for investment. A regulatory framework to addresses appropriate market incentives and to ensure CCS lives up to its potential is necessary. To bring business and government together to solve the issue of cutting Bulgaria’s CO2 emissions by doing CCS to accelerate the transition to low carbon economy is necessary, but also costly.

Concerning financial challenges, the Norwegian Ambassador in Bulgaria, Tove Skarstein stressed that, “Bulgaria is eligible for accessing funds under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanisms and the Norwegian Cooperation Program which stimulate economic and sustainable development and it should take advantage of this opportunities.”  

The Director of Bellona Europa, Eivind Hoff, emphasised that, “Romania is taking active steps to eliminate barriers and get closer to CCS. Why should be Bulgaria lagging behind Romania when there are EU funds ready to be accessed,” Hoff added  that “Bellona is currently working with a number of Romanian stakeholders to mobilize and take decisive action and build a pilot CCS project in Romania.”

The first step for improving the dialogue and enhancing the understanding between all groups on the key topical issue has been made through this first CCS event in Sofia. It was decided to continue the dialogue not only by addressing the policy, financial and operational issues but also by the establishment of regulatory mechanisms to speed up the process.

 Olga Bakardzhieva is a Bellona CCS correspondent in Sofia, Bulgaria.