© ICIS HEREN - Bulgaria moves closer to Day-ahead bourse launch
Bulgaria could start its Day-ahead exchange in the second half of 2011, experts familiar with the project told ICIS Heren on Monday (16th August). The country is considering introducing and running a Day-ahead and balancing market in which prices would be estimated by the transmission system operator, on the basis of players` bids and offers. However, Bulgarian officials do not discount the possibility of linking up with a regional exchange, such as Romania`s Opcom. A Day-ahead exchange is the lynchpin of Bulgaria`s wider energy strategy to 2020, which the country is currently preparing, according to Kaloyan Golemanov, electricity trade and regulation specialist at Energo-Pro Bulgaria, a Central and East European independent power producer. Bulgaria is currently undertaking a feasibility study into the exchange. The study is funded by the Norwegian government. The exchange itself is likely to follow existing European models. Bulgaria operates a system of regulated prices, which means that most transactions are carried out under power purchase agreements. Although Sofia has theoretically backed liberalisation in line with EU directives, the traded market only represents up to 25% of transacted volumes (see EDEM 23 March 2010). This means that, on average, only 8TWh of power is sold on the market each year, according to government figures. Golemanov said that the results of the feasibility study should be ready by the end of the year. The outcome would form the basis for deciding the most appropriate format for organising the exchange - whether it should be an independent national power exchange or be incorporated into a regional exchange. However, one trader active on the Bulgarian market was sceptical the new exchange would launch next year. "We heard the same story several times. Ministers don`t seem to be keeping their promises. It would be very good to have a Day-ahead exchange in Bulgaria, but I think it`s several years away," he added. (THE ICIS HEREN REPORTS - EDEM 14.157 / 16 August 2010)

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