The Rhodope plan was prepared in collaboration with a number of local and regional authorities, energy agencies and others and this has made the plan both in line with regional and local priorities and well-accepted by all relevant authorities. In this context, the plan has been endorsed by the three most relevant regional bodies:
- Council on Sustainable Energy at Smolyan District. The council consists of energy experts from the district, municipalities in the district, and other organizations. The plan endorsement took place at the council meeting on 25th May 2016, following the presentation of and discussions regarding the plan.
- The General Assembly of the Association of Rhodope Municipalities. The GA, consisting of the mayors and representatives of the municipal councils of all member municipalities, held its regular meeting on 26th May 2016. At this meeting, the plan was presented, discussed, and endorsed. An ad-hoc working group responsible for the plan’s implementation and monitoring has been established at ARM.
- Council on Energy Efficiency at Kardzhali District. The council consists of energy experts from the district, municipalities in the district, and other organizations. The plan was endorsed at the council meeting on 31st May 2016, which was entirely dedicated to the plan.
On 12th April 2016 the Fourth CGC workshop was held in Plovdiv. The event was organised by the Association of Rhodope Municipalities (ARM) and the Black Sea Energy Research Centre (BSERC).
During the meeting the regional plan was introduced to the participants. Important topics of discussion were the responsibilities of the authorities for the Plan implementation, the replicability of its methodology to the other regions and municipalities, and its dissemination to municipal energy experts outside the Plan’s coverage.
On 26th May 2016, in Smolyan, a meeting of ARM’s General Assembly took place. The Plan was presented, the upcoming actions to guarantee its execution were discussed, and the Plan was officially endorsed. On 25th and 31st May 2016 Councils on energy efficiency under the supervision of the Regional governors of Smolyan and Kardzhali respectively were held. Each council is composed of energy experts from the municipalities in the respective District.
On 21st January 2016, the third CGC workshop was held in the town of Kardzhali. Representatives of municipalities, district administrations, energy utilities, and energy agencies participated in the meeting, organised by the Association of Rhodope Municipalities and the Black Sea Energy Research Centre.
The participants discussed the final regional maps on the Heating energy demand, RES heating potential and their future exploitation. They also debated about the results of the cost-benefit analysis of different options for heating in residential buildings and the funding opportunities for investments in renewable energy projects. The participants were invited to discuss the objectives and measures foreseen for the implementation of the Regional heating plan of the Rhodope region until 2030.
Examples of good practices of RES heating and cooling from Greece, Austria, Italy, Latvia and Spain were presented to the CGC members.
Finally, presentations of Horizon 2020 projects BioRES and Bioenergy4business projects were delivered. The local authorities showed interest and expressed their willingness to take part in the Logistic centres for biomass that would be established within BioRES.
On September 24, 2015, the Association of Rhodope Municipalities and the Black Sea Energy Research Centre organised the second Bulgarian CGC meeting, which took place in the city of Plovdiv. Representatives of municipal and district administrations, energy suppliers, energy agencies as well as other CGC members participated in the event and discussed the work done on the project so far and the opportunities to increase the application of the results achieved.
The Bulgarian partners on the project are currently developing a plan for heating from renewable energy for the Rhodope region. All data has been collected and is nearly done being analysed.
GIS maps have been created, indicating:
- Annual energy consumption for heating in residential buildings and energy consumption forecasts for 2025, 2030 and 2050;
- Annual energy consumption for water heating in the residential sector;
- Biomass energy potential;
- Geothermal energy potential;
- Municipal buildings with larger energy consumption in selected towns.
The use of geo-referenced data allows the inclusion of the results in numerous calculations and their optimization, if further updates are needed. This would support the energy planning of local and regional administrations.
Three cost-benefit analyses have been carried out:
- Heating solutions in the residential sector;
- District heating by geothermal energy – the case of the municipality of Zlatograd;
- The heating of municipal buildings – the case of the municipality of Chepelare.
The results of the aforementioned analyses and the related software tools will help identify the best heating solutions.
In January 2016, the 3rd CGC workshop will be held to discuss the draft regional plan and, specifically, the measures needed to achieve the plan’s targets.
The first CGC workshop was held in the town of Smolyan on 30.01.2015. There were 24 participants representing municipalities and districts within Rhodope region, the Ministry of Energy, the Sustainable Energy Development Agency, energy agencies, utilities, and others. After the presentation of each participant, the RES H/C SPREAD project and the objectives of the meeting were presented. An introductory session on RES H/C topics, including national policy, potential, utilization technologies, and similar projects followed. Finally, the participants discussed potential problems and needs in Rhodope region, expectations for H/C in the region, future developments, data, data sources, and other planning issues.
Some of the main conclusions from the meeting were:
- The plan needs to address the improvement of the current inefficient and polluting biomass utilization in individual (primitive) stoves through introduction of efficient biomass heating (individual, local, district heating) options.
- The biomass and geothermal energy potential needs to be mapped and a cost-benefit analysis of concrete biomass and geothermal energy applications needs to be conducted.
- Planning priorities need to be related to available financing.
- The plan needs to consider the customer opinions and information measures need to be part of the plan.
On 10 April 2014, the first meeting of the ‘RES H/C Spread’ project took place at ISIS, in Rome (Italy). Coordinated by ISIS, the newly launched project aims at defining regional plans for a better use of renewable energies for both heating and cooling, focusing on 6 pilot Regions across Europe: Castilla y Leon (Spain), Emilia Romagna (Italy), Riga Region (Latvia), Rodophe (Bulgaria), Western Macedonia (Greece) and Saltsburg Region (Austria). Selected Regions represent different climate zones of Europe, in view of developing best practices and methodologies as extendible as possible to other European areas.
One of the project’s first tasks will be constituting Country Governance Committees (CGCs) in each region, in order to support the plans’ implementation and to help reach consensus between regional authorities, key stakeholders and citizens representatives. Following a participatory approach, the project wants to enable dialogue of all actors involved. To this end, the project has established country’s leaders, responsible for interacting with their CGCs, managing regional RES H/C plans and disseminating the project at local level. During the kick-off meeting, each country’s leader illustrated the possible composition of its own Country Governance Committee, highlighting potential challenges as well as ways to face them. Moreover, the project has just launched a new website, providing information on the project’s goals, next steps and deliverables.
The project is currently launching a survey, inviting stakeholders in the field of energy to identify good practice examples of effective measures and strategies for the promotion of renewables heating and cooling policies in their country or elsewhere.
The completion of the questionnaire should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes of your time! All the data you provide will be treated with confidentiality and not be circulated to anybody.
Click here to take the survey