The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries are notorious for the highest share of residential heat mostly of raw firewood and rarely of biomass-based district heating. They are vulnerable to the threat posed by an expansion in commercial-scale biomass use for heat and power, as a result of coal phase out.
The Energy Agency of Plovdiv (EAP) has been leading a national policy-making process for improved utilisation of biomass for heating and advocating the sustainable energy development of the local communities with high biomass-dependency. EAP has been investigating the national and EU policy documents relating to the biomass utilisation until 2030 and 2050, incl. REDII and Fuel Quality Directive, to propose improved criteria and mechanisms for achieving climate targets on local and national level. These recommendations will include alternatives for pilot local municipalities with firewood dependency and are advocated towards national policy-makers in a series of working meetings and roundtable sessions.
EAP seeks to have an impact on enhancing the implementation of the EU climate and energy framework mainly through the national transposition and implementation of REDII and the implementation of the National Energy and Climate Plans.
To support the local authorities in defining better pathways towards sustainable energy development, EAP has started developing a specialised tool to estimate the alternative energy scenarios if local biomass use is replaced by other energy sustainable sources. Additionally, EAP has continually expanded its R&D facilities for biomass utilisation – the Laboratory for testing and research of biomass, compost, and biodegradable materials, by becoming a testing body of three EU certification schemes – ENPlus, GoodChips®, BIOmasud® which expand its capabilities to investigate the biomass potential and propose evidence-based solutions to the increased biomass utilisation for energy.
Through intensive advocacy, EAP is aiming to orchestrate all policy-makers and biomass stakeholders in a coherent partnership that will agree on improved biomass sustainability criteria and mechanisms in the national and local policy documents. Without concerted support, Bulgaria and other CEE countries will witness a dramatic increase in the ineffective biomass utilisation, with serious implications not only on the energy and climate targets, but also on the environment, forests and vulnerable local communities.
“EAP has continually expanded its R&D facilities for biomass utilisation.”
This best practice is issued from our publication Sustainable Regions in Action 2022. Read it now to discover many more best practices from FEDARENE members as well as an overview of our activities.