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Bulgarian Energy Efficiency Forum on Smart Finance for Smart Buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BeSMART (Bulgarian Energy Efficiency Forum on Smart Finance for Smart Buildings)

Berichtszeitraum: 2021-05-01 bis 2022-10-31

Bulgaria is facing a serious challenge to radically transform its extremely grant-dependent energy efficiency support schemes, while at the same time preserving the speed and scope of the clean energy transition. This is especially valid for the residential sector, where the existing 100% grant mechanism for building renovation has to be quickly reformed into a sustainable financing scheme, at the same time targeting more ambitious energy targets and taking into account the overspread energy poverty. Similar situation is evidenced in the industry. Considering the principles of functioning of the EU Green Deal and the possibilities under the Recovery Package, innovative financial instruments have to be quickly designed and adopted in a transparent and inclusive way, significantly improving the leveraging effect of public resources, while at the same taking into account the limited investment capacities and purchasing power of the consumers. To address these policy and market gaps, BeSmart aims to support smart financing implementation by setting up a permanent discussion forum, gathering central and local authorities, energy efficiency experts, the financial sector, ESCOs, homeowners, industry, construction and SME sector representatives. The discussion forum and the 9 roundtables planned under the project are specifically designed to support new business models and utilize investment opportunities derived from the increased financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy at EU level. They will gather and upscale existing best practices, support the development of national and local-level strategies, propose improvements in the national policy framework and implementation programmes, develop the institutional and legal framework, and increase the transparency in the policy-making process, leading to increased trust of the investors and better functioning of the market.
As of today, the project team has established the analytical foundation of the actions, developing a coherent and comprehensive stakeholders’ mapping using the networks of all 11 project partners. In parallel, a comprehensive analysis of the energy efficiency policies and instruments towards 2020, encompassing 12 major national plans and programs related to supporting EE investments in Bulgaria was performed. An in-depth analysis of the European best practices in strategic planning and design of financial support instruments was also performed, focusing on the applicability of specific products of international financing facilities and optimal use of the EU investment programmes. With the goal to provide a solid basis for the deployment of the roundtables’ strategy, a detailed list of possible topics was elaborated, grouped in 5 major areas: 1)Building a Transition Enabling Bulgarian Financial Infrastructure; 2)Bulgarian Industry in Transition – New Challenges and Opportunities; 3)Healthy Comfortable and Affordable homes for the Bulgarian citizens; 4)Municipalities as Leaders of Local Communities Transition towards sustainable and Healthy Environment; 5)Next Generation Central Governance for the needs of the 21st century.
Despite the political insecurity and the lack of stable government in Bulgaria within the entire 2021 and 2022, a draft strategy for the organization, timing and design of the roundtables events was prepared, utilizing synergies with external initiatives and events as the SMAFIN roundtables and series of events targeted to the local authorities, including the EcoEnergy conferences and the annual gatherings of the Association of the Bulgarian Energy Agencies. With all key developments and external events taken into account, the 4 roundtables were scheduled under the guidance of EcoEnergy and successfully organized in hybrid format, allowing the participation of the desired speakers even in case of limitations regarding physical attendance. Except for project partners, representatives from the Bulgarian Fund of Funds, the Bulgarian Development Bank, the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund, various NGOs such as Habitat for Humanity and WWF, as well as the biggest commercial banks were among the speakers at the events. The events are considered as very successful, attracting 455 on-site and online participants and resulting in more than 138 publications in the professional and general media.
The conclusions of the events were documented in extensive proceedings in Bulgarian and English (available on the website of the BeSmart project). Based on the preliminary planning and the roundtable discussions, 4 technical working groups were formed and working under the coordination of AEE. As a result, a long list of 29 potential topics for policy recommendations is prepared, out of which 4 are already delivered: 1) Establishing of interactive national ESCO register; 2) Creation of a working segment to the NDF with the capacity to interact with innovative models for the implementation of EE/RES projects of the ESCO type; 3) Introduction of regulations that ease the financial burden on the citizens when programming the NRRP in the project for renovation of multifamily residential buildings; 4) National roadmap for renovation of the multifamily residential buildings. The recommendations are presented at thematic roundtable sessions, applied in the public consultation process for the relevant projects under the NRRP, and used in the discussions of the Commission for Energy Efficiency and Energy Poverty at the National Council for the EU Green Deal under the auspices of the deputy prime minister of Bulgaria.
In addition to the results achieved so far, the following activities are the focus for the coming months:
1. To organize and conduct the remaining 5 roundtables with the involvement of the government, local and regional authorities, financial sector, ESCOs, homeowners, industry sector, construction and SME sector, providing sustainability, enlarging the scope and promoting the activities and outcomes of the Sustainable Energy Investment Forums in Bulgaria;
2. To support the application of innovative business models, commercial and industrial partnerships, and projects pipelines, based on the emerging financial instruments, through development of template documents and contracts leading to a better functioning of the market;
3. Preparation of at least 4 more political recommendations by the Technical working group to support the development and provide written recommendations to the implementation programmes under the national LTRS and to influence the design of the operational programmes in the next EU financial framework to maximise the leverage of public resources.
4. To continue the work on a new national energy efficiency financing platform integrating the capacities of the different existing financing instruments, providing a concept for its establishment, embodied by the National Decarbonisation Fund proposed in the new LTRS.
Second national round table 29.11.2021
Third national round table 02-03.06.2022
First national round table 05.10.2021
Second national round table 29.11.2021
Fourth national round table 26-27.09.2022
Third national round table 02-03.06.2022