Area of Plovdiv, BG – BioRegions project

Biomass is the most used source of renewable energy in Europe, 80% of which comes from wood. Production of bioenergy is therefore another important function of European forests, and a growing economic sector with much potential for boosting economic development and employment in rural areas and the agricultural sector.

Area of Plovdiv, BG – BioRegions project

The city of Plovdiv, with its Energy Agency, has been involved in the “BioRegions” European project. The project supported the creation of “bioenergy regions” in rural areas, i.e. regions getting at least 1/3rd of their heating and electricity needs from regional, sustainable bioenergy sources, with a focus on solid biomass.

The city of Plovdiv, its Energy Agency, surrounding cities, and biomass stakeholders developed a joint strategy, formalised by signing Letters of Intent. First, they defined guidelines to use quality and sustainability criteria that ensure the technological maturity of bioenergy ventures and their positive effects for the region. Then they formulated financing strategies comprising private funding from the region, institutional investment and other public sources.

Finally, a comprehensive inventory of energy use and biomass potential of municipal buildings was carried out by the Energy Agency of Plovdiv for six Bulgarian municipalities (Brezovo, Hisarya, Ihtiman, Karlovo, Panagurishte and Sterlcha) within the Bulgarian bioregion. This enabled the drafting of a Biomass Action Plan for each municipality with a timetable and milestones to satisfy at least 30% of their energy consumption.

A participatory approach was used with the involvement of Plovdiv energy agency, City of Plovdiv, city of Plovdiv and biomass stakeholders.

Key results were:

  • First Bioregion Strategy;
  • New 3,580 KW biomass capacity installed;
  • New production of pellets, wood coal, and wood chips;
  • First laboratory for quality testing and certification of biofuels in Bulgaria;

Success factors were the followings: the Biomass Logistics Center is a key actor in the biomass chain development. Moreover municipalities have an active role to play in promoting and financing biomass projects.