Diana Paunova-Galeva, a chief expert in SOFENA participated in a ManagEnergy Master Class that aimed to equip Energy Agencies and Regional and Local Authorities across Europe with the skills and knowledge to foster, stimulate and develop sustainable energy projects in Europe. Designed to build the capacity, expertise and knowledge of energy agencies’ staff, these Master Classes also presented opportunities for networking with peers.

The course included 3 full days of intense training on the development and use of financial instruments. This Class was delivered in a blended learning format:

  • A first online session was on 27 September morning;
  • The second session was face-to-face in Brussels on 10-11 October (one and a half day);
  • The third and final session was online on 27 October.

The format of the classes included problem-solving exercises, workshops, case studies and guest lectures from agencies and organizations relevant to energy investments. 

The module focused on projects with investment levels in the region of €10-30 M, as these fit very well within current available PDA schemes (LIFE PDA calls as well as ELENA facility).

This Master Class was delivered by experts from the North-West Croatia Regional Energy and Climate Agency (REGEA), supported by guest speakers.

The program provided an overview of financial mechanisms and instruments, with emphasis on types of support which Energy Agencies can provide to enable projects to be progressed from concept through to implementation.  Financing tools and solutions were introduced and case studies provided of successful applications of funding models in regions across Europe.

Special focus was given to:

Modernization of street lighting (Smart-EPC model);

Deep retrofit of public and residential buildings (PPP and various EPC models);

Building integrated and stand PV systems and other renewable energy technologies (PPA model.

SOFENA`s team participated in a Workshop C – Municipal Solutions: Fighting energy poverty within the framework of the international 3-day conference Grafting Cities: Cultivating our common future in Modena, Italy.

Energy poverty is increasingly in the spotlight, not least because of the energy crisis in Europe. What can cities and towns do about it and how can they involve energy-poor citizens?

The workshop aimed to highlight solutions in place and enable municipal staff to make steps towards socially just climate actions and energy transition. Also support local and regional authorities to understand how to implement successful measures to mitigate energy poverty in municipalities.

Diana Galeva – a chief expert in SOFENA, presented the Energy Poverty Measures in Practice – Good Examples from Bulgaria and support the participants in 2 working groups that took place in the roundtable session of the workshop. The topics were as follows:

  • Socially just energy transition through increasing energy efficiency of buildings: renovation measures or newly built buildings with energy poor households;
  • Tackling energy poverty and socially just transition through energy provision – supporting measures of energy communities for energy poor households: models on setting up energy communities with supporting mechanisms for energy poor households.

Together with the partners from Climate Alliance SOFENA presented the project Life-Beckon in the Learn & Share Marketplace that was organized on 20.10.2023 as part of the international conference.

In the period October 17-19, 2023, the last consortium meeting of the Lightness project was held in Spain, which was combined with visits to the two pilot projects in the towns of Alginet, near Valencia, and Manzanares El Real, not far from Madrid.

The Energy Community in Alginet

An energy cooperative was established in Alginet as early as 1931 for the supply of electricity, and the distribution energy network is entirely owned by the members of the cooperative, that is, by the end users themselves. The local DSO supplies 46 million KW of electricity annually through 40 transformer centers with an installed capacity of 18,000 KW to 5,700 feed points equipped with smart meters. In early 2023, the Lightness project formed an energy community in which the residents of Alginet are involved with installed grid-connected photovoltaic systems placed on the roofs of their residential buildings.

Manza Energia

In the municipality of Manzanares El Real, an energy community has been organized at the initiative of the municipality, which includes 5 public buildings, 15 families in a situation of energy poverty and over 30 participants from the neighborhood energy association and others, supported by the local government. A PV installation with a battery has been built on the roof of the municipal sports center and there is also a charging point for EVs. The children in the municipal school are included in the initiative, and an energy saving program with prizes has been prepared for them. A Municipal Energy Office was established, which supports the activities of the community .

For more information on the good practice of the municipality of Manzanares, see the video link

On October 10 and 11, 2023, the international team of the DeRisk project gathered in Sofia for the second meeting of the partners.

The current tasks were successfully completed. According to the work package for which SOFENA is responsible, two reports have been prepared and submitted – PESTLE analysis and comparative analysis of market penetration of flexible services and Analysis of the regulatory impact of local flexible markets and services carried out in more than 10 European countries, including Turkey.

A review was also carried out of the implementation of the pilot projects in Ireland, Spain and Turkey.

The meeting ended with the assignment of tasks and agreement on the next steps in the work of the project.

During the Annual meeting of ABEA on the 6th and 7th of July 2023 in the city of Panagyurishte, Mrs. Nadia Nikolova presented the progress of the LIFE-BECKON project, in which Sofia is a pilot region.

Within the framework of LIFE-BECKON, SOFENA is implementing a demonstration project to open a technical office and an online counter to support energy communities.

A capacity-building program is being prepared through a “Train the Trainer” approach to increase stakeholder knowledge, and integrated services are being developed through a platform to facilitate access to information, tools and guides, to find partners and investors.

Interested municipalities are to be invited to receive consulting assistance and training, as well as to financially support the creation of an energy community.

During the Annual meeting of ABEA in July 2023 DE-RISK project was presented that aims to support the market entry of renewable energy systems by promoting local flexibility markets to enable safe and reliable integration of RES into the grid.

Four pilot projects are being implemented in the partner countries, and the flexible DE-RISK platform will reduce potential technical risks in the process of implementation and realization.

The project develops innovative business models that provide benefits, equity and sustainability for all participants, and financial schemes will be tested to democratize access to sustainable investments.

SOFENA, as work package leader, developed an “Analysis of the regulatory impact of local flexibility markets” in ten EU countries, and by the end of the project will prepare a package of regulatory proposals and roadmaps for the development of local flexibility markets in the 10 analyzed countries.

During the annual meeting of the energy agencies and centers in Bulgaria, held in Panagyurishte on July 6-7, 2023, SOFENA presented the European projects it is currently implementing

SOFENA is the coordinator of this project, which is a climate and energy education initiative designed to contribute to the EU’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 through education, public awareness and cooperation. The target group is students from 12 to 16 years old. They will be trained to gain knowledge about energy consumption, energy conservation, renewable energy sources to develop environmental awareness and become ambassadors of clean energy. The project was presented by SOFENA expert Marc-Antoine Andreu.

The partners from Lisbon NOVA IMS University – UNIVERSIDADE NOVA DE LISBOA – hosted the 1st General Assembly meeting in Lisbon on 26-27.04.2023.

All partners took part and the work package lead partners presented their work and developed documents under the project.

SOFENA, as a lead partner of WP 3 presented the progress of the tasks under this WP.

We are proud to announce that deliverable 3.1. – PESTLE Analysis and benchmarking of best practices implementation of local flexibility markets in participating countries and EU is submitted successfully by the partners from WeGlobal and now EC approval is expecting.  

The desk research on the Regulatory framework of the local flexibility markets under task 3.2 is also completed and as soon as we receive all partners` RIA questionnaires completed we will start our work on the Report for Regulatory Impact Analysis for LFMs in the EU and especially 10 EU countries including Bulgaria, France, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Ireland and Romania.

At the moment the partners from R2M are also collecting information from the consortium under task 3.3 for innovative energy services in the EU and participating countries as they will prepare mapping of the relevant services in LFMs.

The task 3.4 is in a very early stage and the colleagues convey some surveys and negotiations with potential partners for funding the customers journey to participate in LFMs.    

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