In a Nutshell

  • Bulgaria’s scenarios forecast GHG emissions reductions of 80% to 95% to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The remaining emissions will need to be compensated by removals. Some of these forecasts also mention BECCS.
  • Geological CO2 storage is allowed in Bulgaria.
  • There is one major CCS project in Bulgaria, which covers the whole value chain, from capture at a cement plant to permanent geological CO2 storage under the Black Sea.
  • Bulgaria has yet to publish its draft updated version of its NECP, most likely delayed by the formation of a new government in June 2023.

Role for carbon removal in national climate policy

Bulgaria is the European Union’s most carbon-intensive economy. While it has not yet submitted a draft updated version of its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), Bulgaria’s previous NECP already highlighted forests and grasslands as the two biggest carbon sinks in the land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector.

 

Bulgaria’s Long-Term Climate Mitigation Strategy until 2050 is primarily built around scenarios aiming to help the country reach climate neutrality by 2050. In these scenarios,  the use of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is expected to come into play after 2035 for the iron, steel, chemical and cement industries. CCS is also used in electricity generation in gas-powered, but not coal-powered plants. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is included in the models as well.

 

In some scenarios outlined in Bulgaria’s Climate Mitigation Strategy, the electricity sector as a whole will produce negative emissions due to a high increase in renewable power and the use of BECCS. The scenarios plan for 80% to 95% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels to reach climate neutrality. Several policy measures aiming to decarbonise the waste management sector list  biogas capture in new, existing and old landfills. Finally, the strategy turns to the LULUCF sector to deploy CDR, namely by increasing forest areas, stocks of timber and carbon storage in forest areas, as well as limiting deforestation.

 

Bulgaria’s Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan provides a framework for agricultural policies and measures. These include preserving soil health through various techniques, an increase in forest areas and urban forests, and the restoration of wetlands and peatlands.

 

Another national policy document relevant for the LULUCF sector is the National Forest Biomass Energy Action Plan for 2018-2027, which foresees about 80% of national biomass to be used for domestic heating

 

The current Minister of Environment of Bulgaria stresses that Bulgaria has a strong capacity and potential to participate in carbon credit schemes through forest management.

Support for R&D and Innovation

The ANRAV project, directed by Heidelberg Materials, received a EUR 190 million grant from the Innovation Fund. It aims to capture about 0.8MtCO2 per year starting 2028 and would be the first full-chain CCUS project in Bulgaria, covering capture, transport, geological storage and reuse. The capture will take place at a cement plant and the CO2 will be transported through pipelines to a storage location situated under the Black Sea. Constructions of a pilot plant began in October 2023. Once built, the demonstration phase will last 12 to 24 months before the full-scale plant is built.

 

According to a limited number of studies, Bulgaria has an estimated CO2 storage capacity of at least 2.6Gt, which, based on Bulgaria’s current CO2 emissions represents storage for roughly 79 years’ worth of emissions.

On the horizon

Bulgaria is set to publish its draft updated version of its NECP at an unknown date. A new government was formed in June 2023, which likely delayed the drafting process.

Contributors

Targets

  1. Net zero target: 2050
  2. Net Negative Target:

    No

  3. First interim target: 2030
  4. Type of interim target: Emissions reduction target
  5. GHGs covered: Carbon dioxide and other GHGs
  6. Separate target for emission reduction and removals: No
  7. Comprehensive CDR Target: no
  8. CDR Target for Conventional Removals: no
  9. CDR Target for Novel Removals: no
  10. Historical emissions: No
  11. Annual reporting mechanism: Less than annual reporting

CDR Plans

  1. Plans for carbon removal (CDR): Not Specified
  2. Planning to use external carbon credits: Not Specified
  3. Conditions on use of carbon credits:

Key stakeholders

Think Tanks and NGOs

  • Za Zemiata– Independent NGO working on environmental protection and restoration.