On October 5th, 2021, the Executive Director of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund /EERSF/ – Ms. Galya Vassileva took part in the forum “Investments in Sustainable Energy”, “National Round Table on Financing Investments in Energy Efficiency in Bulgaria”, organized by the Center for Energy Efficiency – EnEffect, under the BeSMART project in Bulgaria.
The National Round Table provided an opportunity for discussion and promotion ideas for developing and implementing of policies in the field of energy efficiency in Bulgaria, identifying investment priorities and goals, as well as the need for a smooth transition from grant mechanisms to more sustainable financial instruments, requiring the self-participation of project owners and final beneficiaries.
During the forum, Ms. Vassileva presented the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund as one of the key financial institutions in this area. Rising prices of electricity and natural gas , as well as the forthcoming full liberalization of the electricity market, will have a serious impact on the energy costs of households and on the end users. This requires taking of constructive and rapid decisions to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Ms. Vassileva shared that EERSF has a free resource, good expertise – free technical assistance, as well as experience in the combined financing of measures for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Historically, the Fund has successfully applied its financial instrument by structuring the investment with direct lending to the project initiator together with part of the grant – under the Program “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy” of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area; funds from the The National Trust EcoFund (NTEF) and the „Beautiful Bulgaria“ Project. Over the years, EERSF has provided up to 75% of the investment. At the moment, this percentage has been increased – up to 90%, is allowed also up to 100% when combined with a grant, i.e. without a requirement for self-participation in co-financing from another source or under European programs. In case of bridge financing under EU programs, a fee for early repayment of the loan is not required.
Ms. Vassileva also said that the Fund has developed tools for financing projects, depending on the individual needs of the clients. EERSF also supports many ESCO projects, there is also the opportunity for partnership in programs for renovation of the building stock with a specific financial product – portfolio guarantees for renovation of multifamily residential buildings.
One of the main ideas shared by the participants in the forum “Investing in Sustainable Energy” is the understanding that in the long term sustainable development projects in the field of energy efficiency could be implemented as a priority with credit resources, who will ensure larger scale in their implementation, aside of the funds set under the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability. In this regard, the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund remains a key partner in financing EE measures in public, corporate and residential buildings, outdoor artificial lighting, and combined with investments in renewables for own consumption.