Local authorities in Bulgaria are renewing street lighting systems in projects worth almost EUR 9.2 million in total, of which just one tenth is own contribution while 8.3 million was secured through EEA Grants.
Under a program called Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Security, funded by the EEA Grants segment of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2014-2020, twenty best-ranked Bulgarian municipalities will receive between EUR 200,000 and EUR 600,000 each to replace street lighting with smart and energy efficient systems.
Sofia, also known as Stolichna Municipality, won the most points. The capital city will raise EUR 387,000. It is followed by Burgas, the country’s fourth-largest city, which was granted EUR 599 million, more than any other local authority.
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway donate funds
The projects are worth an overall EUR 9.2 million, of which EEA Grants approved EUR 8.3 million. The sum includes national cofinancing. The municipalities are providing the remainder. EEA Grants cofinances the projects with up to 100%.
Burgas will receive EUR 599 million, more than any other local authority
The purpose of the program is to boost energy efficiency, reduce lighting costs and improve living conditions. The funds for EEA Grants are provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which approve them in cooperation with the European Union. The selected municipalities cooperate with organizations and firms from the donor countries.
Norway has another program in the financial mechanism. It is called Norway Grants. The EEA Financial Mechanism is for countries with a gross national income (GNI) per capita that is below 90% of the EU average.
Remaining municipalities can apply via national recovery plan
There are 78 municipalities below the line, remaining in reserve, while six applications were rejected. EEA Grants said 107 applied for funding, of which 104 passed to the second stage.
Malko Tarnovo, Varna, Targovishte, Pomorie, Lovech, Plovdiv, Vratsa, Kotel, Sredets, Velingrad, Sandanski, Tryavna, Haskovo, Apriltsi, Veliko Tarnovo, Smolyan, Knezha and Pazardzhik are also on the final list.
Due to such a high interest, the municipalities that met the requirements will get priority for the rehabilitation and modernization of street lighting under the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Bulgaria. Its Green Bulgaria pillar will include EUR 180 million for the purpose. EEA Grants said the funds are expected to cover 200 more municipal projects.