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Perspectives on Energy Transformations in Bulgaria and Romania

Simona Davidescu, Ralitsa Hiteva, Tomas Maltby

This paper explores the energy transformations in Bulgaria and Romania through the development of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) i during post- EU accession. The development of RES is discussed in the context of the countries' energy mix before accession and during the socialist regimes when a significant number of large national infrastructure projects were constructed in both countries -including nuclear, gas and hydro power plants- thus creating powerful lock-ins for the two countries' energy regimes. A process of energy transformation coincided with EU accession, underpinned by EU energy and climate change directives, and foreign policy, which challenged international allegiances and power relations within their own territories. A rapid increase in the new renewable energy capacities like onshore wind and solar photovoltaic created conditions for (re)negotiating the socio-technical regimes of energy. While Bulgaria and Romania struggle to formulate and implement coherent and strategic energy and climate change policies domestically (Stark and Bruszt 1998; Dimitrova and Buzogány 2014), they exhibit striking similarities in negotiating between EU and domestic pressures of energy transformations. Combining insights from transitions (Smith et al 2005; Geels and Schot, 2007; Geels 2010) and Europeanization literature (including Borzel 2005, Epstein 2008 and Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier 2005) this paper explores the extent to which the process of Europeanization is responsible for changes in the RES and fossil fuel regimes in Bulgaria and Romania. By doing so the paper identifies key barriers in the deployment of RES in Bulgaria and Romania, and addresses gaps in the available data for the energy transformations underway in both countries.

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