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Innovative solutions for participation in the energy transition

2023-03-14 15:38:00 Views: 471 Comments: 0

The Bulgarian government continues to postpone the transposition of the European Union Directive on energy from renewable sources. Bulgarian consumers are practically prevented from participating in energy communities and in programs for the renovation of the building stock, which blocks key processes for the implementation of the energy transition.

Bulgaria lacks a clear regulatory framework for the inclusion of citizens in the energy system. They are rarely active participants in the energy policy-making process and do not have access to sufficient information to facilitate the formation of energy communities and the decentralization of electricity production in general. The active role of citizens in the production and consumption of energy is at the heart of the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/2001), which has not yet been transposed into national legislation. The European Commission has filed a lawsuit against Bulgaria before the Court of Justice of the European Union for non-compliance with the transposition deadline and will likely impose financial sanctions if the government does not take urgent measures to bring Bulgarian legislation into line with EU law.

The active participation of citizens in the low-carbon energy transition has the potential to make a significant contribution to achieving the goals of the transition. The lack of effective procedures, regional administrative capacity and information about good practices in most municipalities are one of the main obstacles to active energy citizenship in Bulgaria. Regulatory, administrative and financial incentives are needed for Bulgarian consumers to play an active role in the efficient production and consumption of energy.

These are some of the main conclusions of an expert, virtual discussion organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy on February 16, 2023, together with the Association of Danube Municipalities "Danube", with a focus on "Innovative solutions to promote citizen participation in the energy transition ". The event was attended by experts and representatives of national, regional and local institutions from the North-West and North-Central regions, who discussed the opportunities and obstacles to civil participation in the energy sector in Bulgaria.

The speakers united around the thesis that the liberalization of the energy market and the removal of administrative and regulatory obstacles at the national and regional level are the main obstacles to unlocking the potential for investments in small RES plants.

The participants discussed the practical applicability of the results of a European study developed by the Center, which analyzed the barriers to the emergence of energy citizenship. Possible solutions to the problem were discussed, such as the improvement of the legal framework for energy communities, the decentralization of the energy system and the implementation of a coordinated information campaign in which municipalities share good examples and opportunities for their own RES production. The discussion also focused on social groups that are particularly vulnerable to the energy transition, such as ethnic minorities, the elderly, youth and energy-poor households, and the ways in which their participation in the energy transition can be stimulated.

The key messages expressed during the event will be used to create practical tools and analysis to support policy development to promote energy citizenship at both central and local levels.

The mission of the Center for the Study of Democracy is "building bridges between science and politics." The Center is an independent, interdisciplinary, analytical institute that combines a wide range of knowledge, skills and capabilities. His work in a number of socio-economic fields is related to research, analysis and recommendations to improve national and European policies. For more information, visit https://csd.bg/bg/.

For more information:

Yana Kaludova Communications Associate yana.kaludova@csd.bg

Center for the Study of Democracy 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria 5 Aleksander Zhendov St. csd@online.bg

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