The teams of the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works developed urgently updated versions of the Territorial Plans for Just Transition for the districts of Stara Zagora, Pernik and Kyustendil. After conducting a broad discussion with the interested parties on the measures planned in them, the plans will be officially sent to the European Commission in September, so that they will be approved by the end of the year. This is a key condition for the three regions most affected by the energy transition to benefit from 1.15 billion euros to support their transformation, the Ministry of Energy recalls.
With the growing role of the low-carbon economy, electricity generation from fossil fuels is considered to be declining. At the same time, a key condition for the success of the smooth energy transition is the implementation of timely measures for the development of new economic activities to ensure quality and sustainable jobs.
The plans focus on technological development along the entire value-added chain – from the production of green hydrogen to its applications, including for industrial, transport and energy needs. In addition to the stimulation of small and medium-sized enterprises, the documents also consider the key role of large enterprises for economic growth and the creation of sustainable employment. Following this need, the Ministry of Energy published on its website an invitation to interested parties to express interest in the creation and development of certain new clean industries.
The envisaged new governance model, under which local Just Transition Commissions will be constructed, is expected to ensure a bottom-up approach, taking the interests of local communities into account as fully as possible.
The main measures enshrined in the Territorial Just Transition Plans relate to several areas – land reclamation, help to create a hydrogen value chain, support for clean technology industrial parks, support for photovoltaic parks, use of green hydrogen and production and distribution of biomethane and energy from wind turbines.
For the reclamation of the lands from which lignite was mined, the creation of a special company "Conversion of Coal Regions" is foreseen. It should also prepare the infrastructure for new industrial activities.
The scheme to support the creation of a hydrogen value chain aims to attract large investors in the field of the production of electrolysis systems, fuel cells, charging stations and other facilities, thereby providing alternative employment and ensuring the energy transition in the affected regions.
Through the support provided in the territorial plans for industrial parks for clean technologies, a new park can be created in "Maritsa East" on the basis of a consulted Master Plan for the development of the complex, and others can be developed in the vicinity of Stara Zagora.
The proposed scheme to support photovoltaic parks with electrolyser will create employment in the construction and maintenance of such parks. This measure complements land reclamation activities, as it is envisaged that photovoltaic systems will be installed as a priority on reclaimed land.
Among the measures is support for the production of biomethane based on organic residues - as an alternative fuel with low emissions, creating jobs. Such projects can also be implemented in the field of energy production from wind turbines.
Updating the Territorial Plans for a just transition is a key step for the successful implementation of an efficient and smooth transformation of the most affected coal regions.