Energy efficiency in Bulgaria
Located at the southeast slopes of Balkans, the western coasts of the Black Sea and the vast lowlands of the Danube River, Bulgaria is famous for its beautiful and diverse landscapes, ancient churches and winter sport opportunities. The country however has the highest energy intensity in EU (four times higher than EU-27 average). Norsk Energi is assisting several Bulgarian Municipalities in implementing their energy efficiency programmes.
The municipal infrastructure in Bulgaria is suffering from severe problems caused by inefficient energy systems and under-investments. Many municipal buildings like schools, hospitals, kindergartens and offices were constructed during a time when energy efficiency was not considered an important issue, and are in need for renovation and implementation of energy efficiency measures.
Norway, in collaboration with Liechtenstein and Island, is committed to assist Bulgarian Municipalities in reducing these disparities. Under the framework of the European Economic Area (EEA) grants, the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and Energy in partnership with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) are assisting a number of local municipalities with implementation of specific measures in municipal buildings and capacity building of their specialists.
Technical expertise is of high importance in these projects. Under the EEA grant scheme, Norsk Energi was requested to be the international partner of four Municipalities: Dobrich, Vratsa, Gulyantsi and Burgas. The purpose is an exchange of good practices, knowhow and expertise in the field.
In April – May 2016, Norsk Energi’s team consisting of Marie Haugen and Sergei Faschevsky, visited three Municipalities, situated at the picturesque slopes of Balkan Mountains, at the bank of Danube and close to the Black Sea.
Different in size, these Municipalities are currently implementing their energy efficiency programmes, which include upgrade and automation of heating sub-centrals, replacement of boilers, installation of a ground source heat pump and solar heating. The buildings subject to the upgrade are kindergartens, social complexes and a hospital. By implementing the projects, the Municipalities hopes not just to optimize energy performance of their public buildings, but also to improve indoor climate and comfort, which is especially important, as many of these building serve kids and disable people.
During the visits to Bulgaria, Norsk Energi performed site inspections and held seminars with focus on energy management, energy planning in municipalities, energy efficiency in buildings and introduction to the relevant technologies. Other topics discussed were Norwegian and Bulgarian practice on procurement and project implementation.
The education and ‘transfer of experience’ continued in Norway, where Norsk Energi arranged for the Bulgarians to visit Norwegian municipalities (Sørum kommune and Bærum kommune) to discuss municipal energy planning and energy management. The seminars in Norway also included visits to sites with relevant technology demonstrated, such as the heat pump of Ullevål skole, the heating central of the Vulkan Complex and the highly advanced GK office building.
The partnership between Norsk Energi and the Bulgarian Municipalities shows how effective a collaboration between the Norwegian and Bulgarian engineers could be, despite differences in language and culture.
Norsk Energi is involved in additional three projects under the framework of the European Economic Area (EEA) grants in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian government, NVE and Innovation Norway, manages the projects. Two projects concern training and education in the field of energy efficiency in municipal buildings, and the last project concerns performance of an energy efficiency analysis of a plastic production plant.