Free consultations for pre-feasibility studies in energy efficiency and renewable energy investments for residential and public buildings announced
The article is republished from facilities.bg >>
The philosophy of programming grant schemes (so-called grants) in Bulgaria still significantly differs from successful global practices. While the modern approach emphasizes supporting pre-project research to structure a high-quality, sustainable, and low-risk project, in Bulgaria, grants typically focus on the actual project execution phase, like financing construction works or purchasing and installing equipment. When the responsibility and costs for conducting pre- feasibility are entirely transferred to the owners, low price and speed remain the leading factors in selecting contractors, rather than developing innovative projects with high added value. Unfortunately, the chances are slim that cheap and hastily prepared surveys will provide quality energy-efficient solutions.
There is also a clear injustice – only a negligible percentage of potential beneficiaries can take advantage. With the same amount of funds, dozens more pre- feasibility studies can be financed, which can “unlock” investment income, including from the private sector, to many more projects.
This necessitates the need to provide technical assistance to potential beneficiaries in the pre- feasibility phase, which is crucial for structuring effective EE and renewable energy investments in the building sector. In an attempt to provide such expert support, the Bulgarian FinEERGo-Dom EE/ESCO Service Center was established, offering free consultations on EE and renewable energy programs within the center’s expertise. All interested parties have access to a unique “one-stop-shop” platform, combining the expertise and opportunities of a group of partners.
Available are contracts for renovation adapted to Bulgarian conditions based on the Latvian model, methodologies for assessing the risk in condominiums, communication strategies for successful work with associations of owners, and other useful tools, thanks to the expertise of Econoler – the Bulgarian partner of the FinEERGo-Dom project. For maximum transparency in the preparation and implementation of EE/renewable energy projects and to achieve a good match, interested parties can freely use the online SUNShINE platform, suitable for apartment owners, ESCO companies, investors, financial institutions, and municipalities.
Potential beneficiaries can also benefit from expert consultations regarding the use of the ESCO mechanism, thanks to the participation of the Bulgarian ESCO Alliance (Alliance for Energy Efficiency). ESCO companies offer public, community, or residential building owners the opportunity to assess the initial costs of investments in pre-feasibility studies and the implementation of energy-saving measures. In addition to providing financial resources, ESCO companies guarantee energy savings, allowing owners to comfortably and securely pay off investments in energy-saving measures. The topic is also timely due to the inclusion of ESCO contracts in the latest version of the guidelines for applying in the upcoming second phase of the national program for renovation of the residential building stock.
Various financing options are another current topic. Here, experts from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund can explain the opportunities for attracting credit financing from the Fund for the implementation of EE or renewable energy measures. This can be complementary to grant and/or ESCO financing, bridging, or fully covering the financial needs of the projects.
Bulgarian FinEERGo-Dom platform partners can also assist in attracting technical assistance in the preparatory phase of EE and renewable energy projects under the current European schemes, e.g. European City Facility (EUCF, www.eucityfacility.eu/home.htm) and ELENA. The attracted grant funds can be used for developing EE/renewable energy projects, information campaigns, preparing investment programs, business plans, aggregating projects to achieve better terms from suppliers, and other activities, which is key to ensuring the successful implementation of projects with maximum financial and environmental results. Under EUCF, technical assistance is up to 60,000 euros and is suitable for municipalities wishing to develop an investment program in EE or renewable energy. On the other hand, ELENA is open to private entities, providing technical assistance of around 1.5 million euros. The instrument implies creating unions of several municipalities or other legal entities with significant needs for EE or renewable energy investments within 20-30 million euros.
FinEERGo-Dom one-stop shop is an innovative initiative of complementary experts in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Bulgaria. The main advantage of the platform is the competent orchestration of the many parties and processes on which the successful implementation of a sustainable project depends. From the earliest stage, potential beneficiaries can receive expert information and free consultations on all related topics, so as to structure a quality, sustainable, and effective project, which will always be of interest to investors, financial institutions, grantors, and building owners. Anyone interested can contact the FinEERGo-Dom partners at the contacts listed on the project’s website – https://fineergodom.eu/bg/contact/ and take advantage of free expert support.
The key mission of Bulgarian FinEERGo-Dom one stop shop is to set an example that stops the negative trends in the market for energy-efficient services. Currently, the activity of commercial participants is determined by the dates of grant program announcements, i.e., we witness a short-term strong impulse followed by long periods of stagnation. In other words, the national market is programmed in total dependence on grants, not in entrepreneurship, initiative, sustainability, which would provide clients with much higher quality and competitive services. As a logical consequence, there are also a series of missed environmental benefits over the past decades. It is not difficult to make such a conclusion, given that a small number of projects are financed, providing the easiest, cheapest, and suboptimal energy-efficient solutions.