Overcoming energy injustice? Bulgaria’s renewable energy transition in times of crisis

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The effects of renewable energy transitions on energy costs and economic growth have led to cost concerns and a prioritisation of economic issues during the economic crisis. Bulgaria, the EU's poorest state has nevertheless already achieved its 2020 renewable energy targets. This achievement seems to challenge the widely held as- sumption that poorer countries struggle to meet environmental objectives. This paper analyses the drivers and implications of Bulgaria's renewables expansion in order to test general expectations on influential factors shaping renewable energy transitions in the context of poor states. The analysis employs the energy justice framework to identify the justice, equity and fairness implications of Bulgaria's renewable energy for its energy system. Despite the clear justice implications raised by changing energy systems, there are limited pieces ana- lysing the relationship between renewable energy transitions and energy justice. The analysis shows that whilst Bulgaria was able to reach its renewables targets, the mismanaged, opaque and corrupted policy framework undermines the longterm viability of its energy transition. The analysis confirms the importance of long term strategies, effective policies and a supportive macroeconomic context for renewable energy transitions, and highlights the negative implications of renewables to achieve greater energy justice if these factors are omitted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust under Grant number RPG-2014-183 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bulgaria
  • Corruption
  • Energy justice
  • Europe 2020 strategy
  • Renewable energy

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