Minister Julian Popov: The trend in Europe is for natural gas and coal consumption to decrease

20 Feb, 2024 | 14:10

"The trend in Europe is to have the consumption of natural gas and coal decrease." This is what Environment and Water Minister Julian Popov said at the Energy Forum 2024 organized by the Capital newspaper. He noted that every year there is a decline in coal-fired power generation by 26%.

"The data over the last 10 years show that gas is not a transitional fuel and does not act as a transitional fuel," said Minister Popov, adding that gas-fired electricity generation fell by 15 percent last year. "It cannot be a transitional fuel. If it were a transitional fuel, it would have gone up by 15%, not down by that much," he explained. According to Julian Popov, electricity generation from wind power for the first time increased and surpassed that produced from natural gas, despite the fall in gas fuel prices and despite the fact that there are not enough wind generators built yet and there are excess gas assets. He pointed out that once emissions from natural gas use are tracked from its extraction to its combustion, these will end up being as much as the ones from coal.

The Environment and Water Minister also emphasized that against the background of the overall collapse in prices and consumption of energy resources, emissions from electricity generation in Europe in particular fell by 19% last year. According to Popov, this was due to a combination of energy efficiency and a structural change in the energy sector, but certainly not because of the propaganda explanation that our industry was not working.

"We have a very strong industry that is growing. It is also very modern. Production lines that were built in Germany 30-40 years ago were built here in the last 10 years, which is why they are more modern than the corresponding ones in Europe. We have quite a serious mining industry, metallurgy, chemical industry, Sodi Devnya, for example, is the largest plant of this type in Europe," noted the minister.

He also highlighted that the MOEW is working very actively with the largest industrial enterprises to create a cluster for decarbonization. "The potential is huge because these are the most energy-intensive enterprises," he clarified.

"When we set high targets for decarbonization, it is very important to link them to the interests of the industry - how to support innovation in the industry, how to develop the energy market so that it does not burden the industry with costs that are not generated by the industry itself," Minister Julian Popov said in conclusion.