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Bulgaria: Third Phase of Residential Energy Efficiency Credit Line Launched

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 20, 2016
Bulgaria multi-family blocksAlthough Bulgaria is a country with many green or mountainous areas, it has had to grapple with severe air pollution caused not only by old cars, but also by wood-fuelled heating systems, which are popular across the country. The European Environment Agency has recently rated the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, as the most polluted one in Europe. Last year, the conservative government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stepped up to the plate and announced the National Programme for Energy Efficiency of Multi-Family Residential Buildings (NPEE). Its aim is to provide billions of euros for making several thousand residential buildings energy efficient until the end of 2018 – with no charges to flat owners. The photo shows three blocks of flats awaiting modernisation. 
Photo: Frank Stier
 

Slovakia: Industry Waits on Incentive Programme Start

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 20, 2015
ThermosolarSince Slovakia and its 5.45 million citizens joined the European Union in 2004, the country has made considerable progress in increasing its energy efficiency and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Solar thermal technology, however, is still a niche market with stagnating annual volumes over the last three years. The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation estimates that 5,500 m² were newly installed in 2014, whereas EurObserv´Er published a figure of 7,000 m² for the same year. With 19 kW of solar thermal capacity in operation per 1,000 inhabitants at the end of 2013, there is still a lot of untapped potential given the fact that in the neighbouring Czech Republic, the parameter is significantly higher with 31 kW per 1,000 inhabitants (Source: Solar Heat Worldwide). Clients are now waiting on an already announced new subsidy scheme which should have started at the beginning of August. The photo shows a roof integration system delivered by Thermosolar, a collector manufacturer based in Slovakia.
Photo: Thermosolar
 

Kosovo: Loan and Grant Funding of Sustainable Energy Projects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 25, 2014
KosovoBy declaring independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo became Europe´s youngest nation. The good news from the small country in the central Balkans with its 1.8 million inhabitants is that there have not been any major clashes between Kosovar Albanians and Serbians lately. Still, Kosovo faces plenty of severe challenges, such as a skyrocketing unemployment rate and an environment seriously harmed by fifty-year old coal power plant Kosovo A, which is said to be Europe’s number one coal polluter. Given the fact that Kosovo has the fifth-largest lignite resources in the world, the government plans to replace Kosovo A by a modern 600 MW coal power plant. But this approach has encountered fierce resistance from environmentalists organised in the umbrella organisation Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development. They demand a shift in the state’s energy strategy, away from carbon-rich lignite to clean renewable energy resources. Recently, they have launched their No New Coal – Safer Future campaign and declared Kosovo “a nation at the forefront of the global debate over energy access and the role of fossil fuels versus cleaner energy.”
Map: Wikipedia
 

Romania: EBRD Finance Facilities Support Romania‘s Near-Forgotten Solar Thermal Tradition

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 21, 2014
Logos RomaniaWhen it comes to solar thermal energy, there are interesting parallels between Romania and its southern neighbour Bulgaria. Both countries had already used solar thermal energy under communist rule decades ago. But the ecological tradition seemed lost when both countries made their difficult transition to a democratic and capitalist society. According to a report by the European ENTRANZE passive house project, Romania ranked fifth in the number of globally installed flat plate collectors in 1989, but “the lack of technicians and of policies to develop maintenance services, as well as bad national resource efficiency policies (e.g., which led to copper being replaced by iron pipes in solar collectors) led to notable failures among installed systems.” The ENTRANZE authors note that these technical problems gave solar water heaters quite a negative image in Romania. It was only since the beginning of this millennium that they have been able to get rid of this image and “gain a certain popularity on the market”.
 

Ukraine: First Demonstration Projects Pave the Way for Solar District Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 30, 2014
Ukraine District HeatingTheoretically, the district heating networks from Soviet times could very well be supplemented by solar thermal heat. Except Poland, however, no eastern European state has had much experience with solar thermal district heating. Bulgaria and Romania have not yet had any plans or projects to combine district heating with solar thermal, but Ukraine has already taken the first step: Between 2008 and 2012, municipal utility Mariupolteploset, one of the biggest heat suppliers in Ukraine, set up three solar fields across Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, with all of them feeding into district heating networks. Other municipalities have also announced the construction of their first solar district heating demonstration systems when modernising local power stations and energy distribution networks.
Photo: Mariupolteploset
 

Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Fund Supports Biomass instead of Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 27, 2013

Since Croatia joined the European Union (EU) in July 2013, the number of non-EU members in Southeast Europe has shrunk yet again. What’s more: The remaining countries are on their way to becoming part of the EU as well, which has them vowing to renew their energy systems and make them more efficient. The photo shows an installation in Croatia, at which a PV module supplies the electricity needed for the pump of the solar system.
Photo: Sunce i partneri

Bulgaria: Renewable Energy Act Removes Bureaucratic Hurdles on Solar Installations

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 31, 2012

 Solar Thermal Installation in the Village of Lozen, Bulgaria In May 2011, the Bulgarian government published its new Renewable Energy Act, with considerably less favourable conditions for investors in wind farm and photovoltaic projects. However, it removed some hurdles for installing solar collector systems on residential housing by eliminating construction permits for solar water heater installations. Solarthermalworld.org has asked some solar thermal system providers if this new requirement supported market development. The photo shows a solar thermal installation in the village of Lozen in the south-west of Bulgaria.
Photo: Frank Stier

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