The end of the era of fossil fuels in our country begins in the regions
The European Investment Bank will co-finance Bulgaria's transition to a circular economy
The transition from the era of fossil fuels to the era of renewable energy will actually begin through the implementation of regional plans.
For two programming periods we failed to reduce regional disparities, said Ivan Ivanov, Director of the National Coordination Unit in the Council of Ministers within the hybrid conference "The transition to a green economy and employment in Bulgaria - direction, goals, policies, opportunities and challenges." . It was organized by the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the International Wildlife Fund WWF.
3 pilot regions for the energy transition
The main reform of the Recovery and Sustainability Plan after COVID-19 is to give priority and more responsibilities in the regions. That is why the transition from coal mining to a circular economy will start in several key regions, Ivanov said. Unlike the Structural Funds, the plan is more flexible and we can benefit from funding as early as next year. Together with it, we will be able to bring about economic transformation with the help of the Fair Transition Fund. At the moment, it has been approved for the new investments to take place in three regions - Stara Zagora, Kyustendil, Pernik and 1.2 billion euros will be set aside. Two weeks ago we chose a contractor who will support and consult the work on site, Ivanov commented. We want to include all 11 regions of the country, which depend especially on the coal industry, and we hope that the European Investment Bank will help us. Under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan, in addition to European funding of around € 6 billion, we will have to attract € 4.5 billion in external, loan financing.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will co-finance the transition to a circular economy, said Lilyana Pavlova, vice president of the European Investment Bank, during the hybrid conference. The bank will help the public sector and the private sector. The focus will be on a fair transition, especially in regions dependent on carbon-intensive industries.
Loan financing closer to the regions
The bank is investing in the modernization of cities, in the transition from the use of fossil fuels and industrial production, we will invest in new industries and new jobs. It will support small, medium and large enterprises. So far, the EIB has financed 8,800 Bulgarian small and medium-sized enterprises and helped create 180,000 jobs. One of the examples is KCM Plovdiv from 2019 is the increase of the possibility for processing of zinc and lead from batteries.
We also finance urban development, for the last five years the investments in the circular economy are 2.5 billion euros, of which 45% for projects for urban development, water management and waste, said Pavlova
She also announced that the bank will provide up to 75% of the projects from the Recovery and Sustainability Plan for energy efficiency and renovation of buildings. Projects for sustainable mobility, replacement of the public car fleet with electric ones, investments for electric car charging stations will be financed.
Our support can help the preparation, implementation and financing of projects, we will expand our activities in many more regions in the country, Pavlova stressed.
The contact point for access with the bank will be the EIB Advisory Hub in Bulgaria for all public institutions and companies that would like to apply for financing, said the head of the unit in our country Borislava Gabrovska. The EIB is Europe's climate bank and its task in financing green projects will be particularly important in the coming years.
From 2025, 50% of all funds we allocate will be for environmental projects, said Andreas Beikos, head of the EIB financing team in Bulgaria. In 2019, only 19 billion euros are investments in climate projects, which represents more than 30% of all funded projects. Of these, 40% are for low-carbon transport, followed by energy efficiency and renewable energy.
According to Diana Dimitrova, director of nature protection at WWF. The transition in our country is perceived as having negative economic consequences. And as the poorest country in the EU, we cannot afford a green transition, but on the contrary, that is why we need to do accelerated modernization in order to combat the lack of competitiveness and break away from energy monopolies.
Unfortunately, the preparation of the Plan took place without a real public dialogue, commented Diana Dimitrova. The topics of decarbonization, circular economy, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity are neglected. It is unclear how private capital investment will be stimulated, she added.
Bulgaria with huge potential for sun and wind
In Germany, all reforms are underway and transformation from coal to renewable energy is possible even if we do not have as many natural resources as Bulgaria, said Christoph Eichhorn, Germany's ambassador to Bulgaria. Bulgaria has inexhaustible potential to produce energy from renewable energy sources. sources, sun, wind and sea, which, for example, Germany does not have to such an extent, but it manages.