Round Table on Energy Communities in Bulgaria
On 23 November 2021, the Center for the Study of Democracy organized a round table with the title "Challenges in Financing Energy Communities in Bulgaria in the Low Carbon Economy Transition". The project SCORE and its piloted energy communities in Prague (CZ), Essen (DE), and Susa Valley (IT) were presented at the event.
The online event gathered participants from across Bulgaria and from different types of institutions, including representatives of local authorities such as the mayor of Gabrovo city Tania Hristova, Elena Anastasova, Energy Security expert in the municipality of Dobrich, and Ivaylo Trendafilov, chief expert in the International Cooperation and Integrated Territorial Investments Unit in the municipality of Burgas. Financial institutions were represented by the Bulgarian Development Bank by the head of Strategic Analysis and Development Sofia Kasidova, the director of the Funds unit for Project Information and Funding, as well as Iva Petkova, senior expert in Fond FLAG unit for Finances.
The round table was focused on the Bulgarian experience of municipalities and financial institutions and discussed the challenges they are facing in continuing their activity for local energy efficiency. One of the main problems identified by the panelists was the lack of legal framework targeting local communities and their projects, also known as energy cooperatives, as well as the low level of awareness across citizens about the energy cooperatives, their advantages and drawbacks and the fight against energy poverty. The lack of a politically agreed model for energy efficiency projects was also identified as an important obstacle for the development of a new innovative instrument combining grants and market-oriented financing.