Frequently Asked Questions
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1. How is a wind turbine built and how does it work?
Bulgaria has over 10 years of successful experience with wind energy and hundreds of wind turbines installed all over the country.
Wind turbine structure
The wind turbine consists of: a foundation, a tower, a nacelle and a rotor. (see a diagram of a typical wind turbine with a horizontal axis)
The foundation keeps the turbine stable, the tower is placed on it, the nacelle is mounted above it. The gondola, in turn, consists of a gearbox, a generator, a transformer and a control system. The components of the rotor are the propellers and the hub. Most wind turbines have three propellers, and their length can exceed 60m.
Turbines use the energy of moving air and transform it into electricity.
- The wind drives the propellers, which causes the rotor to turn.
- Propellers turn a shaft inside the nacelle: wind energy is converted into mechanical energy of motion;
- The shaft drives the generator and the latter produces electricity.
- Electricity from the generator goes to a transformer located in the turbine
- Electricity reaches consumers through underground cables and connection to the power grid.
The gondola rotates automatically following the direction of the wind and thus utilizes a maximum amount of energy.
Wind turbines operate at wind speeds of 3-25 meters per second. The rotor revolutions vary from 9 to 19 per minute, depending on the wind speed and the type of turbine. At a wind speed above 25 m/s, the turbine is automatically switched off.
2. Why is wind energy developing so quickly around the world?
Hundreds of thousands of wind turbines with a total capacity of nearly 743 GW (743,000 MW) have now been safely installed around the world. This equates to approximately 113,000 wind turbines powering over 556 million households (Global Wind Report 2021, Global Wind Energy Council).
Leading countries with the most installed turbines are China (342 GW), USA (139 GW), Germany (64 GW), India (42 GW), Spain (GW 29), Great Britain (26 GW), Brazil 19.1 (GW) , Russia (2 GW) (Global Data 2021). The total installed capacity in Bulgaria by 2021 is 0.7 GW.
The reason why all the countries of the world promote these technologies are the low production costs, independence from imported raw materials and their safe operation, reducing harmful emissions from the energy sector.
3. Why is the production of electricity from wind energy in Bulgaria important?
In 2022, the price of electricity reached record levels. This directly affects Bulgarian consumers and businesses, increases the prices of goods and services and has a direct negative impact on consumers.
Bulgaria’s energy needs are mainly met by traditional energy sources. The majority of power plants in the country are morally and physically obsolete. Much of the production comes from coal, which emits carbon dioxide (CO₂) and particulate matter, contributing to global warming and polluting the environment (International Energy Agency). This has been proven to seriously affect people’s health. In 2021, Bulgaria still has the dirtiest air in the EU. Traditional energy sources are considered “cheap” only because some of their costs are not directly included in the price (storage of spent fuel, pollution through emitted carbon emissions, health problems, etc.).
To date, one of the cheapest and most harmless technologies is undoubtedly wind energy.
Average cost of electricity generated from new plants ($/MWh)
Source: Lazard Analysis, 2021
At a time of an energy crisis, Bulgaria has the opportunity to realize a renewable energy project with an installed capacity of 519 MW, producing about 1.6 million MWh per year or 5% of the country’s total energy needs.
In addition, it comes at an extremely competitive price and without the need for government subsidies.
The production of clean energy also supports the electrification of transport (electric cars), which in turn will reduce the need to import fuels at high prices and reduce emissions from the transportation sector.
4. Why the municipalities Vetrino and Valchi dol?
The company was attracted by the expected favorable environment for investments, as support for RES projects is set out in the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as in all approved national, regional and municipal strategies and programs, in which it is explicitly written that such investments are necessary and will be encouraged through expedited administrative services.
The municipalities of Vetrino and Valchi dol were chosen due to the good combination of available wind potential, low environmental risk and suitable infrastructure. The area is an ideal place for the creation of a wind park due to the presence of:
- Good wind potential, proven by measurements from several wind measuring masts in the period 2008-2009;
- Good road access;
- Minimal impact on the environment – based on several environmental studies and monitoring of birds and bats in 2009, 2010, 2021-2022;
- Near suitable electrical connection facilities;
5. How will the investor cooperate with local communities?
As a company with clear social commitments, Dobrotich Wind AD strives to include the local population in the project development process. The aim of the company is to present all aspects of the construction of the wind farm and to answer any questions that may be raised by the local population. To this end, Dobrotich Wind will organize a series of consultations and meetings to openly consider questions and comments from residents and provide information about the planned investment.
Part of the company’s cooperation and partnership with the local community includes the provision of a social program budget throughout the project’s development and operation period. The budget includes amounts for social initiatives, as well as compensation payments.
The funds that will be provided for the benefit of the population of the two municipalities – Vetrino and Valchi dol, amount to BGN 15 million.
The subject of financing will be social projects initiated by the local population. Our goal is for the project to bring specific benefits to all residents.
6. What will the benefits from this investment be for the municipalities Vetrino and Valchi dol?
In addition to the important advantages of wind energy for the country, Dobrotich Wind park will bring direct and measurable benefits to the municipalities of Vetrino and Valchi Dol and the people here.
In line with our corporate and social responsibility values and plans, CWP will support activities that contribute to the development and improvement of living conditions in the local community. This includes investing in local infrastructure, protecting the environment, supporting vulnerable groups and the activities of educational and sports institutions, as well as local traditions and customs.
Some of the benefits are:
- The project will have a positive impact on the local economy. During the construction of the project with an investment of BGN 1.2 billion, preference will be given to local companies, which will directly and indirectly stimulate the local economy.
- The demand for goods and services during the construction and operation of the project will increase. Local shops, gas stations, hotels and other businesses will increase their income.
- New jobs will be created during the construction phase and the operational period of the wind park.
- This is especially important in conditions of global and local economic crisis, when many sectors are put at risk and there is a threat of unemployment increase.
- The contribution to the municipal budgets will total BGN 840,000 for both municipalities, which will significantly increase municipal revenues and raise the standard of living of the local population.
- Payments to individuals whose properties are located next to the installed wind generators will be in the amount of BGN 2.3 million. This is a guaranteed income in the conditions of an economic uncertainty.
- The wind farm will improve the development of local infrastructure.
Although not yet generating revenue, our company has already conducted various charity initiatives. Until now, attention has been focused mainly on children from schools and kindergartens. Some of the implemented initiatives include: organization and provision of children’s celebrations, providing furniture equipment and playground installations for kindergartens; financing and organizing folk dance lessons for the residents of the two municipalities, providing equipment for pensioner clubs, financing the sports teams of a local football team, mowing and maintenance of green areas and others.
Once the project is operational, Dobrotich Wind plans to continue its social program throughout the park’s operational life (approximately 35 years). The budget for this period will be used to improve the lives of the citizens of the two municipalities through various social and charity programs, such as the installation of new street lighting, playgrounds, sports facilities, school equipment, road rehabilitation, educational and scholarship programs for students and others.
The company will also cover the electricity costs related to street lighting in each of the villages in the two municipalities in which the wind generators are installed.
7. Will the current use of the agricultural land change?
The wind farm will consist of about 74 wind turbines, with each wind turbine requiring 3 dekars of land. Wind turbines will occupy only 0.032% from the total territory of Valchi Dol municipality, which is 472 square km. For Vetrino municipality the area occupied by wind turbines will be only 0.027% from its total territory-264 sq. km. The total area occupied by wind turbines will be less than 1% of the total territory of the two municipalities.
The remaining area is not affected by the built infrastructure and can continue to be used for agricultural purposes.
The investor will ensure the safety of the wind turbines and the smooth performance of agricultural activities. Studies have shown that the use of wind energy does not have a negative effect on agricultural crops. There is no evidence from the conducted researches that shows a decline in the value of yield from agricultural land.
Bulgaria has already over 10 years of experience with the operation of wind turbines installed in agricultural lands.
8. Should there be any health concerns related to the wind park Dobrotich wind?
Wind energy, unlike traditional energy sources, does not emit radioactive waste, dust particles or toxic chemicals, does not pollute the air, does not create smog from nitrogen oxides and does not emit sulfur dioxide. According to a scientific report published in 2016 by Benjamin Sovakul -Journal of Cleaner Production, the production of electricity from wind sources is in the top three of the safest methods of energy production for the human health.
According to the best European practices for studying the effects of wind farms, preliminary noise analyzes were carried out on the territory of the two municipalities. The analysis shows that there will be no negative impact on the environment and human health, as the statutory noise standards will not be exceeded.
It is important to note that the project will begin construction only after it has passed an environmental impact assessment and has received the relevant permits from the divisions of the Ministry of environment and waters, Ministry of agriculture and Ministry of health.
Thus, the project will be built in strict compliance with the Bulgarian legislation and will be safe for the local population and the environment.
9. How quiet will the installed turbines be?
Before the wind farm is put into operation, it must be proven that noise levels in nearby settlements will meet strictly defined values in accordance with legal regulations. These limits are fixed to ensure that the noise from the turbines will not be intrusive and harmful to people. The project approval conditions include mandatory periodic noise monitoring, the results of which are provided to the competent authorities.
By using only well-designed and properly located turbines of the latest generation, even at maximum turbine speed, the sound reaching residential buildings will not exceed the levels generated by a modern refrigerator.
10. How will Dobrotich wind park affect the environment?
The implementation of the project was preceded by a detailed one-year study and analysis, as well as environmental protection measures. Studies of the regional fauna are carried out in accordance with the strictest Bulgarian and European norms. A group of recognized Bulgarian and international experts will prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the project, which will be submitted for review and approval by the administrative authorities and will be subject to public discussions with local communities.
11. Do wind turbines frighten livestock?
Wind turbines do not disturb farm animals. In fact, they are popular because after they are built, farmers can continue to use the land for growing crops and/or raising livestock. Sheep, cows, horses and other livestock are not disturbed by wind turbines. No negative impact on bee populations has been proven either.
12. Do wind turbines disturb regional tourism?
Wind park “Dobrotich Wind” will not have a negative impact on tourism in the municipalities in whose territory it is located. The experience of Bulgaria and other countries shows that quite often wind farms attract visitors who come to see the turbines, take pictures with them and visit local businesses in the region. They are also an attraction for photographers, media representatives and influencers, whose work contributes to the promotion of the region as a tourist destination. A good example of this are municipalities such as Kavarna and Kazanlak, in which over 150 wind turbines have been installed in the last 10 years, and where tourism revenues and the number of overnight stays continue to grow.
The location of the “Dobrotich Wind” project has been chosen so that there is no conflict with the main tourist sites in the two municipalities. After an analysis with a specialized software, the location of the turbines was chosen so that they are remote and the visual effect on the tourism business in the region is minimized.
13. Are the wind turbines safe?
Wind park “Dobrotich wind” is one of the most innovative investments of this type both in our country and worldwide. The project will be equipped with new turbines of the highest quality, low noise, with high-tech control and management systems. The turbines’ high level of safety will be ensured by 24-hour monitoring, regular inspections, surveys and measuring installations.
Research conducted in Germany confirms the high reliability of the turbines, which are certified according to international standards. In addition, as a responsible investor, CWP Global complies with all technical prevention regulations as well as lightning and fire protection.
14. Are the turbines protected against severe weather (e.g. frost)?
Turbines are designed to operate in different climate condition. The wings are made of carbon fiber and coated with special paints to minimize ice build-up when the turbine is in motion. These technologies have been used for years in the aviation field. In addition, for added security, advanced technologies such as turbine performance monitoring sensors are used, which detect even the smallest changes in blade load and automatically shut down the turbine for a specified time. This way, the status of each turbine is controlled based on the collected technical information. These and other technical innovations and prevention systems make Dobrotich Wind park safe in every aspect.
15. What is infrasound? Is the infrasound generated by the park safe?
Infrasound is a natural phenomenon that is present in the world around us (eg storms, wind, waves) and the human environment (eg car engines, household appliances, fans). Based on conducted research, scientists Loren Knopper, Christopher Olsen and team (“Wind turbines and human health”) conclude that the operation of a wind power plant is not a source of infrasound to levels that would endanger human health.
16. What is the stroboscopic effect? Can it have a negative impact on human health?
The stroboscopic effect or shadow flicker (blinking) is an effect on humans that occurs when the sun is repeatedly blocked by an object and then immediately exposed again. This type of effect occurs when driving under overhanging trees when the sun is low, or when behind an operating wind turbine. The effect does not affect human health in any way.
“Dobrotich Wind” park is one of the few wind projects in Bulgaria, in the design of which the stroboscopic effect has been considered. Through detailed computer simulations, the location of the turbines has been optimized so that this effect is negligible.
17. What are electromagnetic fields? Will the turbines emit electromagnetic waves?
Electromagnetic fields are generated around us every day. The indicators measured around wind turbines show that even in close proximity to them, they are safe for human health.
18. How will the project be financed?
Dobrotich wind park will be financed with the investors’ own funds and a bank loan from international financial institutions.
The project does not foresee the use of European grant programs, state subsidies, preferential prices, or other supporting mechanisms using funds from the European or national budget for the purchase of the produced electrical energy.
The income from the project, with which the investment will be paid, will be realized based the sale of the produced electricity. The produced electricity will be sold on a market basis to Bulgarian enterprises and household consumers. The surplus can be sold on the stock exchange.