Forthcoming changes concerning biomass plants

According to the current legal provisions only new power plants which correspond to the below -mentioned requirements could benefit from the compulsory purchase of electricity at preferential prices. These are power plants with combined cycle and indirect use of biomass which shall be constructed in urbanized territories, agricultural sites and production area and:

  1. having installed capacity up to 1,5 MW and indirect use of biomass as 60% of the overall weight of the biomass shall be animal manure, or
  2. having installed capacity of up to 500 kW for production of energy with indirect use of biomass of plant waste from own production.

The above preference continues to apply for biomass plants, as described above, which will be put into exploitation by 30 June 2016. With the transitional and final provisions of the Bill for Amendments to the Agricultural Lands Protection Act, adopted on first reading on 23.09.2015, the Parliament is expected to review on a second reading amendments in the preferential purchase of electricity from biomass. As a result of the expected amendments the purchase of electricity at preferential prices is expected to be cancelled for all biomass electricity plants that are not commissioned until 01.01.2016.

Meanwhile, the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) shall review proposed amendments to the currently effective preferential prices for electricity produced from biomass plants. New, significantly lower prices shall be subject to a public discussion that shall take place on 21.10.2015. The new prices are expected to enter into effect from 1 November 2015.

The plants affected from potential decrease in preferential prices shall be plants having installed capacity up to 1,5 MW and indirect use of biomass as 60% of the overall weight of the biomass shall be animal manure. The proposal provides significant decrease of their power purchase price, as follows:

  • from BGN 483,81 per MWh (currently effective price as from 01.07.2015) to BGN 340,69 per MWh – for power plants having installed capacity up to 500 kW; and
  • from BGN 450,09 MWh (currently effective price as from 01.07.2015) to BGN 306,28 per MWh – for the power plants having installed over 500 kW to 1,5 MW.

Decrease in the preferential prices is suggested also for power plants with combined cycle and indirect use of biomass from plant waste from own production having installed capacity up to 500 kW – from BGN 397,09 per MWh (currently effective price as from 01.07.2015) to BGN 309.11 per MWh. The decrease is grounded on significant changes in the pricing elements according to EWRC’s report.

Corporate Commercial Bank pronounced bankrupt

Since the five – member jury of the Supreme Administrative Court left without consideration the appeals filed by the majority shareholders in Corporate Commercial Bank against the decision of the Bulgarian National Bank to withdraw the banking license, the bankruptcy court proceedings were resumed.

In the last day of the statutory seven-day term the court announced its judgment by which it declared Corporate Commercial Bank bankrupt and determined 06 November 2014 as initial date of the bank’s insolvency – this was the day, on which the Bulgarian National Bank withdrew Corporate Commercial Bank ’s license.

With the judgment dated 22 April 2015, Sofia City Court opened the insolvency proceedings against the bank and enacted termination of bank’s activities, deprived its corporate bodies from their rights, imposed a general injunction over all its assets and started cashing of its property. The judgment can be appealed before Sofia Appellate Court within a seven-day term.

Supreme Court confirmed CCB license withdrawal

A three-member jury of the Supreme Administrative Court left without consideration the appeals filed by the majority shareholders in Corporate Commercial Bank. The court stated that the shareholders did not have any direct interest in appealing the resolution of the Central Bank for withdrawal of the license since they were only indirectly affected by the special measures undertaken by the Central Bank. According to the court ruling Corporate Commercial Bank represented by its corporate bodies is the one and only person, who has direct interest in appealing the resolution of the Central Bank.

The court ruling can be appealed before five-member jury of the Supreme Administrative Court.

Report on preferential prices of electricity produced from biomass

On 08.01.2015 at 10.00 am in the office of the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC) public discussions shall be held on a report for amendment to preferential prices of electricity produced from biomass

A working group within SEWRC has prepared a draft report, pursuant to which it suggests amendments to the effective preferential off-take prices of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (RES) – biomass from wood representing wood waste, forest cleaning, forest pruning, etc.

Pursuant to Art. 32, Para. 1, p. 1 of the Renewable Energy Act (REA), SEWRC is entitled annually (i.e. once per year) by 30 June to determine preferential off-take prices of electricity produced from RES. Pursuant to Art. 32, Para. 1, p. 2 of REA SEWRC is also entitled to determine / amend the preferential prices in any case, when there is material change to one or more of the price forming elements. Pursuant to §1, p. 28 of the Additional Provisions of REA „material change to a price forming element” exists, when there is a change of more than 10% in the value of the price forming element since the formation of the respective price.

The SEWRC working group has established such a material change in one of the price forming elements (expenses for raw materials) to the preferential price for electricity produced from direct or indirect burning of biomass from wood made from wood waste, forest cleaning, forest pruning, etc.

The working group suggests decrease of the said preferential prices. The decrease varies between 32%-34% for the price of electricity produced from direct burning of biomass, and between 13%-15% for the price of electricity produced from indirect burning of biomass through thermal gasification.