Six cities and towns including capital Sofia were selected for EEA grants totaling almost EUR 1.7 million for the use of geothermal energy in heating and cooling kindergartens and schools.
Almost a year after the public call, six municipalities in Bulgaria are getting funds under the Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Security program for building geothermal heating and cooling systems. Velingrad, Yambol, Pomorie, Burgas, Strelcha and the capital city Sofia were the only ones that applied for the grants scheme of EUR 3.4 million, in which the government participates with 15%.
The total approved sum came in at almost EUR 1.7 million, EEA Grants and Norway Grants said. The program is being implemented under the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism 2014-2020 and funded under the Norwegian program within EEA Grants.
Only energy-efficient buildings are eligible
Under the terms of the call, issued by the Ministry of Energy, municipalities and government institutions could apply for EUR 200,000 to EUR 400,000 to cover up to 100% of the projects. They are envisaged for state or municipal buildings where at least basic energy efficiency measures have been introduced. Both mineral water and groundwater with a constant temperature can be used.
The local administration in Yambol, a city in southeastern Bulgaria, got the biggest grant – EUR 375,000. All recipients have submitted applications for projects for heating and cooling kindergartens and schools. Some of the funds will be used for renewing heating installations.
Program’s overall target was 5 MW but only half of all funds have been approved
The duration of each project can’t exceed 18 months and they all must end by April 30, 2024. Only a few municipalities in the southwest of Bulgaria have entered such endeavors so far.
The geothermal energy grants scheme is implemented in partnership with the Norwegian Water and Energy Directorate (NVE) and the National Energy Authority of Iceland (OS).
The entire budget was envisaged for the installation of geothermal energy units with a combined capacity of 5 MW, a carbon dioxide savings target of 54.280 tons and an expected output of 412 GWh per year.
Twenty local authorities in the country were selected last year for grants under the same program, for the overhaul of street lighting systems. The project is worth almost EUR 9.2 million in total. The funds for EEA Grants are provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, while Norway also has a separate program, called Norway Grants.