Deadline for 100% remediation grant: Boom in applications, but mass misses possible due to heavy administrative requirements

Energy / Bulgaria
3E news
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Raya Lecheva

Anticipated serious interest in the program for a 100% grant for renovation of multi-family housing, preliminary data show on the last day - May 31 - for submitting project proposals. More than 2,500 projects for the rehabilitation of multi-family housing are the candidates according to preliminary information. The record holder will again be the municipality of Burgas, according to the preliminary data. As of noon alone, over 200 projects for 400 million BGN have been submitted by the Municipality of Burgas, despite the fact that the municipality has a limit of 80 million BGN, the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Burgas Vesna Baltova commented to 3eNews. It is possible that there were mistakes made when filling out the documents and we hope that the Governing Body from the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works will return them for correction and not reject them. According to her, the reason for such omissions is not so much in the municipalities or the candidates, but in the survey companies, which cannot take on so much work and will most likely have made a number of mistakes.

It will not be easy how we will explain to people from May 31 that they will no longer be able to apply for a 100% grant, commented Dragomir Tsanev, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency "EnEfect" during the opening of the national conference "Zero Energy Buildings": the future is now", which started today and will continue until June 2. 3eNews is the media partner of the conference.

The other question is what will happen to all the projects that have been submitted under the current procedure, as the interest definitely exceeds the planned funding of BGN 1.1 billion under the program, the deputy mayor also pointed out.

We are at a crossroads, citizens' interest is quite high, people are no longer worried that someone will take their apartments, citizens have realized that energy efficiency is something they need, she stressed. But it turns out that not everyone will be able to participate in the program. Municipalities have limited thresholds and it will take a lot of work to explain to a large part of the projects why they will not be financed and why they should remain for the second stage of the program with 20% co-financing, said Baltova.

The problem is that the financial instruments to make it easier for people to apply are lacking. And according to the deputy mayor of Burgas, the administrative burden when submitting such a project is quite large and the citizens would not be able to cope with it on their own, given that the municipality has made a centralized order for the selection of auditors for the energy passports and inspections by regions. Baltova's assessment is that companies have massively submitted wrong surveys, which also raises the question of the companies' capacity to handle such a large volume of work.

The business must have a clear perspective, to know that the programs are not campaign, but sustainable and permanent, in order to invest in personnel, said Todor Andonov from the Chamber of Builders in Bulgaria. Engineers and architects retrain as programmers or go abroad. According to him, from the funds that our country receives from emissions or from the various programs, a resource can be allocated annually for energy efficiency projects, so that there is sustainable financing. For example, in Slovakia, the citizens pay for the energy renovation 100%, with 60% being their own financing and the remaining 40% being an interest-free grant guaranteed by the state, he added.

The most meaningful investment is in energy efficiency and RES, stressed Ivaylo Alexiev, executive director of the Agency for Sustainable and Energy Development (ASED). Architects should also take their share of responsibility for projects rather than overseeing them, he said. In addition, it is high time to exclude the lowest price from the conditions for the implementation of the projects, because this predetermines the quality of the implementation, said Alexiev. But he also believes that the start-stop system in the financing of energy efficiency projects should stop and the state should offer a sustainable mechanism to the people. Not only that to encourage their initiative instead of creating a series of administrative requirements.

According to the long-term strategy for the building stock until 2050, all kinds of programs and budget funds are not enough to fulfill the ambitious renewal goals. The shortage exceeds 60% and this resource must be found whether through banks or private funds. According to Alexiev, it is necessary to guarantee constant funding and constant training in the sector. All services must be electronic, because the partial introduction of electronic services is also not effective, and it must cover the entire administration.

On June 1, the national round table for financing energy efficiency investments in Bulgaria will be held. It is expected that Dobromir Vassilev, director of the "Housing Policy" directorate at the Ministry of Regional Development, will also participate, who will share how many applicants there are for the first stage of the program and to join the discussion with questions about how the projects will be evaluated and what will happen to all submitted projects after the limit of funds under the program is exceeded. According to initial information, people will not automatically be able to apply for the second stage, but will have to submit documents again under the new procedure.



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