Public assets used for low carbon energy
The Municipality of Ihtiman has been successful in delivering Renewable Energy projects by attracting foreign investors, including a solar PV park and heat thermal station. The construction of biomass heating plant provided highly efficient technology for heating reaching two main goals: (i) Reduction of energy costs and (ii) Improvement of environment. It had also supported the local companies by using biomass sourced in the region. The energy cost reduction was realised through using waste biomass - wood pellet biomass that is environmental friendly and generates no pollution.
Main end users were all municipal buildings including kindergartens, schools, hospital and households. Industrial buildings in the Municipality were also provided with biomass heating. All together 26 end users were connected to biomass heating. In 2017 however the installation stopped operating due to a lack of enough end users. The initial business model included a number of private end users which was not achieved. The main problem was a lack of effective awareness raising among the citizens for the benefits from the initiative. As a result the Municipality faced serious problems in providing heat energy during the winter season. To overcome the problem the local authorities established last year a company named "Ihtiman Heating" Ltd, which is renting the installation for the heating season 2018-2019 and is currently looking for financial sources and partners to be able to acquire the assets.
- The amount invested in the biomass heating power plant was 4 million Euro, provided mainly by the foreign investor.
- The heating distribution network is financed by the Municipality budget.
- Project management shared between municipal technical staff and external technical expertise
Evidence of success
Energy saving per year is 1,895 MWh/year
- Reduction of carbon emissions – 595 t/year
- Energy costs of the Municipality is reduced more than 200 % due to the exploitation of the biomass heating power plant.
The difficulties encountered are in awareness raising among the citizens, business and municipalities. Ensure more effective public investment in renewable energy and climate protection by dedicated communication campaign
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice can be transferred to other municipalities in Bulgaria since they face the same problems with high energy costs and use of fossil fuels having at the same time waste wood at their disposal. The structure of the social and utility infrastructure is similar and as well as the economic development.
Whilst this model is used in more developed EU states the opportunity is not well known in places like Romania and Bulgaria. The model of using public assets for low carbon schemes should be more widely transferred.