Energy efficiency of the building stock: basis of the sustainable energy transition
National roundtable on financing energy renovation in Bulgaria.
There is hope for a successful implementation of building renovation policies in Bulgaria as shown during the recent national roundtable on financing renovation in Sofia. The creation of the National Decarbonisation Fund, through changes to the Energy Efficiency Act, could provide the necessary long-term support for the renovation of residential buildings in Bulgaria.
On January 30, in Sofia, the XII national roundtable for financing projects for sustainable energy was held on the topic “Energy Efficiency of the building stock: basis of the sustainable energy transition”. The event was organised by the Ministry of Energy and the Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect with the support of the Renovate Bulgaria initiative.
Special guests at the roundtable were the Minister of Environment and Water – Julian Popov, the Deputy Ministers of Energy – Iva Petrova and of Regional Development and Public Works – Angelina Boneva. MP Radoslav Rybarski, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, and others spoke at the event.
The forum was opened by Dragomir Tzanev, Executive Director of the EnEffect Center for Energy Efficiency, and at the very beginning of the talks, emphasis was placed on the role of the National Decarbonisation Fund in the implementation of building renovation policies.
“We have two immediate goals – to do everything possible to make the second stage of the 20% co-payment renovation program a success and to launch a permanent program as quickly as possible to enable businesses and citizens to get involved in the process without waiting for another gift from the authorities for years,” said Dragomir Tzanev. He emphasised the need for financial mechanisms to support citizens: “Without attractive credits to be paid from energy savings, we cannot expect people to accept the changes,” he summarised.
The roundtable provided an opportunity for an open dialogue and exchange of ideas among the authorities, businesses and society, providing a platform for the constructive formulation of the country’s future energy policy.
“The Ministry of Environment and Water is the institution that undertakes the coordination of decarbonisation policies. Investments for the renovation of buildings have a crucial place in them, and the lack thereof leads not only to failure to fulfill the goals, but also to social and demographic problems, which will become more and more aggravated,” added Minister Julian Popov. “The solution, apart from finding ways to attract private investment in a huge market of tens of billions of euros, is to invest more in knowledge generation and innovation projects.”
“The National Decarbonisation Fund is embedded in the Long-Term Renovation Strategy and is a reform of the Recovery and Resilience Plan that must be implemented,” commented Deputy Minister of Energy, Iva Petrova. “Investment needs in the housing sector alone are estimated at between 3.3 and 4.5 billion euros per year, and this fund should help mobilise them through a combination of financial instruments, grants and technical assistance,” she added.
During the event, the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Angelina Boneva, emphasised the need to prioritise building renovations in the activities of the Decarbonisation Fund, stressing the importance of making political decisions based on the investment needs of various sectors.
“There is no way to achieve real results with 100 percent grant funding, the transition to co-financing schemes is inevitable,” commented Deputy Minister Boneva. “We need to find balanced solutions between a grant and a financial instrument and find options that combine renovation measures with renewable energy policies, smart buildings and energy communities,” she added.
The participation of the financial sector in the event was also extremely active – representatives of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria, the Fund of Funds and the FLAG Fund all expressed their willingness to participate in future renovation programs. It was stated that ensuring consistency and continuity of policies and attractive conditions for all involved participants is essential to attract private investment. In order to guarantee the participation of the banking sector, it is also necessary to ensure the quality of the projects and demonstrate real results.
In his presentation, Peter Sweatman from Climate Strategy & Partners explained how banks and other financial institutions can deliver the private capital required to renovate the EU’s buildings.
In direct relation to this, a clear need was identified, requiring investment in knowledge and skills in the construction sector which must be ready to ensure the quality of each single project in current and future programs. This will allow to meet the expectations of citizens and the tasks of the decarbonisation process in Europe.
About the author:
Renovate Bulgaria, national supporting Partners of Renovate Europe Campaign (REC) – brings together organisations interested in the sustainable development of energy efficient renovation of the building stock in the Republic of Bulgaria to achieve the goals set in Directive EN 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive EN 2012/ 27/ EU on energy efficiency, as well as in the Long-term national strategy to support the renovation of the national building stock of residential and non-residential buildings by 2050. The main goals are for:
- Achieving a highly energy efficient and decarbonised building stock up to 2050;
- Creating a stable environment for investment decisions;
- Opportunity for consumers and businesses to make more informed choices for saving energy and money through EE renovation of the building stock.