By 2050, European cities should be carbon-neutral, sustainable and ensure a high quality of life. In order to achieve this goal, society as a whole must become more responsible and mutual accountability must be shared among all actors. In order to successfully achieve the energy transition, we need mechanisms to address the environmental, economic and social aspects of the process, analysing the policies of different sectors in partnership with civil society, taking into account how citizens design their future.
As the energy transition involves radical changes in the structure, culture and practices of energy production, consumption, storage and distribution, local governments cannot carry out this journey on their own. On the contrary, the energy transition requires the effective involvement of key structures and beneficiaries alongside the administration. Ambitious goals and political commitments must therefore be linked to the commitment of civil society in decision-making and their implementation. This interdependence reveals the challenge behind the Municipal Energy Management.
In this context, the new project MENERGERS – Energy Managers’ Services in Municipalities intervenes. This is an EUKI funded initiative to support local administrations to efficiently coordinate the energy transition toward low-emissions cities. The main objective of the project is to enable and empower municipalities in Bulgaria and Romania to best manifest their role as Community Energy Managers and to thus contribute to the national Energy and Climate targets.
MENERGERS will develop and test a model for Community Energy Management in Bulgarian municipalities and, at the same time, Romania will improve and upscale the same services in the framework of its municipal context and legislation. The project is valuable because:
Coordinated by the National Trust Ecofund, the Bulgarian Fund managing assets from the state budget, such as the Debt-for-Environment and the Debt-for-Nature swaps, benefitting from the experience offered by the German Independent Institute For Environmental Issues, a scientific and officially recognized non-governmental organization acting in Energy Efficiency & Energy Transition, Climate Protection & Transformative Education, Environmental Law & Participation, Nature Protection & Environmental Communication, the consortium is also formed of Sofia Energy Agency, a Bulgarian non-governmental non-profit organization established by Sofia Municipality together with the European Commission for local energy management, and of Energy Cities Romania, a network formed of local authorities in energy transition, fighting to reach climate neutrality.
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. More information can be found at www.euki.de/en.
Our first newsletter about our Erasmus+ project VIDEOTEACH with information about the project, the results and first work results is out now.
In November, SOFENA started a new project “MENERGERS – Energy Managers` Services in Municipalities”, under the EUKI program of the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Actions
The kick-off meeting was online on 08.12.2022 with the participation of representatives of all partners from Bulgaria, Romania and Germany.
The National Trust Eco Fund is the coordinator.
The project aims to initiate a change in the roles of the Bulgarian and Romanian municipal administrations by supporting them in building organizational capacity and expertise in order to train effective energy managers who are able to implement their activities towards achieving the national goals in the field of EE and RES .
Within the framework of the project, reports with proposals for changes in the legislation in the field of EE and RES of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania will be developed.
Through consultations and workshops, a model for energy managers will be created, which will be piloted in 3 Bulgarian municipalities for a period of 1 year.
All results and collected data will be analyzed and summarized, and the conclusions will serve to initiate legislative changes in both countries.
The General Assembly meeting of the project Lightness took place in Amsterdam on 29 and 30.11.2022.
On the first day the participants discussed the achieved results for the last 6 months and also the organization of workshops in Bulgaria, Poland, Spain and Netherlands.
The 5 pilot local energy communities with their peculiarities and national features are moving ahead and have some interesting results that will be described in details in the end of the project.
All work package leaders presented their conclusions and reports prepared up to now.
The second day of the project meeting started with a study visit of the Dutch pilot, which is in the new urban development “Quatrebras”, located in Badhoevedorp. For the pilot, is used one of the three parts of Quatrebras, i.e. “Quatrebras Park”, which consists of single-family houses, a school, a sport center and a social house for about 30 people. The PV installations are on the roofs of the single family houses and their number for now is 15.
The use of multiple pilot sites has the potential to provide greater economies of scale, offer a variety in the learnings that will be achieved and allow for the development of multi-community forming strategies.
i.LECO is a technical aggregator and Local Energy Community (LEC) provider, and as a cross-pilot overall provider sub-contract tasks to the pilot site locations such as common activities with local DOS, etc.
On 30th of November 2022 Sofia Energy Agency SOFENA organized a local seminar on the Legal Issues of Energy Communities under LIGHTNESS project in the city of Sofia.
The seminar was part of a two-day event – the XVI National Conference of the Association of the Bulgarian Energy Agencies held on 29 and 30th of November 2022 at the premises of the hotel Hyatt Regency.
The event took part under Panel 3 “Legal aspects for the uptake of the energy communities in Bulgaria and the good practices in other EC countries” in the morning of 30th of November 2020 (see agenda).
As a whole over 60 people were registered and participated in person and online in the event.
44 participants from different organizations and companies, attended the event, in addition over 25 other persons took part online. There were representatives from governmental centres, from the Association of the municipalities along Danube River, the Institute on green politics, the Consumers association, the Chamber of installers in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Council on youth development , State fund on energy efficiency and renewable agency, Greenpeace Bulgaria, Habitat Bulgaria, local energy agencies , SMEs, Isgrei Ltd energy community, law firms representatives, and others.
After the coffee break Mr Kristian Dimitrov from Greenpeace Bulgaria shared some thoughts on the legal aspects concerning the tasks on the transposition of energy communities. The jurist Mr Pavlin Stoyanov pointed out the main changes that have to be taken in the Bulgarian legislation on energy community development. An interesting discussion took place on these issues conducted by Dr Maria Trifonova, lecturer at the Faculty of Economics of Sofia University. A series of questions on energy communities’ foundation, functioning, net metering and other issues were raised by the participants and the presenters answered to them. The event was officially closed at 13.00 but the participants continued the discussions in informal manner.
The seminar was moderated by Dr Zdravko Georgiev, the Executive Director of SEA SOFENA who presented the panellists. Mr. Georgi Stefanov, climate and energy expert described the engagement of Bulgaria concerning the Energy transition in Europe and the Green Energy Package.
Dr Nadya Nikolova acquainted the audience with the tasks of the LIGHTNESS project and the results of the provided by SEA SOFENA Regulatory Impact Analysis for Citizen Energy Communities and Flexibility Services. An overview was presented of the practices in the project partner countries and the definitions of the energy communities – of CEC and REC were discussed. Mr. Marc-Antoine Andrieux, a trainee from France at SOFENA, presented the experience of France in energy communities. The Bulgarian experience was demonstrated by Dr. Dragomir Tsanev from EnEffect. He presented the Bulgarian experience in energy communities in the municipalities of Sofia, Burgas and Dobrich.