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Excellence Hub Bulgaria

About the Region

Southeastern Bulgaria (BG34)

The South-eastern is one of the six NUTS 2 regions in Bulgaria. It covers the south-eastern parts of the country and covers an area of 19 800 sq. km (17,8% of the national territory). The population is 959176 (14,7% of the Bulgarian population). The geographical situation can be defined as favourable, which is a prerequisite for economic development, foreign economic relations and foreign investment. Two pan-European transport corridors pass through its territory, connecting the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas. They intersect at Stara Zagora, indicating good transport accessibility in this part of the region. The transport infrastructure is represented by the Trakya motorway, the main railway lines, the Burgas harbour and the airport at Sarafovo.
The region contains the biggest thermal power plant on the Balkans (state-owned Maritsa East 2,
1 620 MW) and the privately owned CONTOURGLOBAL Maritsa Iztok East 3 TPP (908 MW), AES Galabovo TPP (670 MW) and BRIKELL TPP (200 MW) and the 120 MW Maritsa 3 TPP in Dimitrovgrad.

The Region of Stara Zagora is one of the three regions in the country having a Territorial Just Transition Plan, part of the EU Just Transition Fund.

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Energy poverty and energy transformation - JUSTEM Project

December 03, 2023

The 4th consecutive edition of the "New Energy Mix" - Social dialogue on public policies and the implementation of the Territorial Plans for a just transition forum was held on the 29th November 2023 in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.
Question and Answer Time: What's the Future of the Coal Region? What is the future of the environment, people and regions in transition? These and many more questions were discussed in detail during the meeting. Ministries were invited.

 

  • Working Panel #1: Territorial plans for a just transition are only one of the many options available to finance projects for the transformation of the regional economy to a cleaner and more competitive one. They can and should be supplemented both by EU Programs in Bulgaria and by the national budget and EU Programs at the international level. But for all this, several more factors are needed: a vision at the national level, in accordance with local interests and conditions, cooperation between local and national authorities, cooperation between the responsible institutions, changes in the legislative framework. These were the topics in the first working panel of the Social Dialogue for Public Policies: New Energy Mix 2023. 

  • Working Panel #2: SITRANS partners shared experience and ambitions in the transformation management mechanism: The transformation of the regional economy and the search for ways to sustainability is not a solitary pursuit. For years, the SZ REDA team has been partnering with institutions and organizations from regions in transition in the EU in this direction. In this panel, we brought together our partners from SITRANS, a project that brings together transition regions from Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Poland, to share what governance mechanisms for the transition to a carbon-neutral economy are being implemented more or less successfully. In all these regions Territorial Just Transition Plans have already been approved. And in some of these regions Territorial plans for a just transition are already in the implementation stage.
    The moderator - Prof. Yanis Bakuros has an enviable long-term experience and was able to extract the most important from the panelists.

  • Working Panel #3:  Social dialogue: What is the future of the coal region?
    In this panel trade unions, the Economic and Social Council and the Youth, discussed what the future holds for the coal region. We heard the different points of view and "put together" a good plan that can carry us through the transition together. The moderator - Yasen Georgiev has very recent experience of working with young people from municipalities in transition, and in addition to moderating, he also participated as a panelist.

  • Working Panel #4: Experience of EU regions in the implementation of Territorial Just Transition Plans (JTSPs) We continued the theme from Panel 2 with more practices and lessons learned from more transition regions in the EU, which are often given to us as examples: Poland, where the implementation of an innovative technology for the production of energy from waste is starting as a pilot. The resources that can be used again are extracted from them. The rest is used for energy using the CHP equipment. Slovenia, where one of the regions is already implementing the first part of its project for efficient and carbon-neutral heating, worth 20 million euros. In this regard, we also opened the door to JUSTEM - a project implemented by partner organizations, from which we also heard about energy poverty as a phenomenon that we have to deal with here as well. Belgium - 30 years of successful transition to a sustainable regional economy. Moderator - Kaloyan Staykov has the training and experience to lead the panelists, focusing on the most important in these projects.
     

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Energy poverty and energy transformation - JUSTEM Project

December 03, 2023

The 4th consecutive edition of the "New Energy Mix" - Social dialogue on public policies and the implementation of the Territorial Plans for a just transition forum was held on the 29th November 2023 in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.
Question and Answer Time: What's the Future of the Coal Region? What is the future of the environment, people and regions in transition? These and many more questions were discussed in detail during the meeting. Ministries were invited.

 

  • Working Panel #1: Territorial plans for a just transition are only one of the many options available to finance projects for the transformation of the regional economy to a cleaner and more competitive one. They can and should be supplemented both by EU Programs in Bulgaria and by the national budget and EU Programs at the international level. But for all this, several more factors are needed: a vision at the national level, in accordance with local interests and conditions, cooperation between local and national authorities, cooperation between the responsible institutions, changes in the legislative framework. These were the topics in the first working panel of the Social Dialogue for Public Policies: New Energy Mix 2023. 

  • Working Panel #2: SITRANS partners shared experience and ambitions in the transformation management mechanism: The transformation of the regional economy and the search for ways to sustainability is not a solitary pursuit. For years, the SZ REDA team has been partnering with institutions and organizations from regions in transition in the EU in this direction. In this panel, we brought together our partners from SITRANS, a project that brings together transition regions from Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Poland, to share what governance mechanisms for the transition to a carbon-neutral economy are being implemented more or less successfully. In all these regions Territorial Just Transition Plans have already been approved. And in some of these regions Territorial plans for a just transition are already in the implementation stage.
    The moderator - Prof. Yanis Bakuros has an enviable long-term experience and was able to extract the most important from the panelists.

  • Working Panel #3:  Social dialogue: What is the future of the coal region?
    In this panel trade unions, the Economic and Social Council and the Youth, discussed what the future holds for the coal region. We heard the different points of view and "put together" a good plan that can carry us through the transition together. The moderator - Yasen Georgiev has very recent experience of working with young people from municipalities in transition, and in addition to moderating, he also participated as a panelist.

  • Working Panel #4: Experience of EU regions in the implementation of Territorial Just Transition Plans (JTSPs) We continued the theme from Panel 2 with more practices and lessons learned from more transition regions in the EU, which are often given to us as examples: Poland, where the implementation of an innovative technology for the production of energy from waste is starting as a pilot. The resources that can be used again are extracted from them. The rest is used for energy using the CHP equipment. Slovenia, where one of the regions is already implementing the first part of its project for efficient and carbon-neutral heating, worth 20 million euros. In this regard, we also opened the door to JUSTEM - a project implemented by partner organizations, from which we also heard about energy poverty as a phenomenon that we have to deal with here as well. Belgium - 30 years of successful transition to a sustainable regional economy. Moderator - Kaloyan Staykov has the training and experience to lead the panelists, focusing on the most important in these projects.
     

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A seminar, focused on Innovation and Sustainability was held in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.

November 18, 2023
 

Dutch companies, Bulgarian entrepreneurs and business organisations attended a seminar, focused on Innovation and Sustainability in Stara Zagora.

The event took place on 16 November 2023, from 10:00 to 14:00 hrs. at Stara Zagora Park Hotel and was aimed at exchanging knowledge and expertise in developing new technologies and co-creating innovative solutions for sustainable economic growth.

The forum was organized by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Bulgaria, in cooperation with the Dutch-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce. Partners of the event were the Municipality of Stara Zagora, Zagore Industrial Zone, Trakya University and the Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency (SZ REDA).
 

Photo: Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Energy poverty and energy transformation - JUSTEM Project

November 11, 2023

Working meeting No. 1 was held with citizens in the Stara Zagora region on November 9, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. in  Vereya hotel, where it was discussed how the processes of energy transformation will affect the state of energy poverty in the Stara Zagora region, what are the ideas for the future, what are the most important problems, opportunities for development and our role as citizens in the process! The event was organized by the Black Sea Energy Research Center and the Bulgarian Union of Homeowners Association and with the participation of Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency.

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BOLSTER Local Just Transition Alliances in 7 regions

September 13, 2023

BOLSTER is far away from being a desk-research type of action. The project team works hard to involve and establish very strong links with at least seven so-called “target regions” that are strongly affected by the European Green Deal-related policies. They are Hainaut in Belgium, Halle in Germany, Istria in Croatia, Leon in Spain, Prahova in Romania, Stara Zagora in Bulgaria and Upper Silesia in Poland. Thus, researchers must stay in touch with key stakeholders of the transition and dive deep into the activities of communities in the selected regions.

In all target regions, BOLSTER has the Local Just Transition Alliances (LJTAs) – groups of experts who support BOLSTER partners navigating through regional policy and practice concerning the just transition. The alliances shape activities undertaken by the project to make its intervention the most relevant for the area. They also safeguard gathering empirical evidence for research.

All LJTAs were formed in May-June 2023. The meetings aimed at presenting the conceptual framework of BOLSTER and the results of just transition stakeholders’ mapping. The members were invited to reflect upon the findings to know and refer to the most relevant ways of approaching the (potentially) marginalised communities. All meetings were facilitated by BOLSTER researchers from the respective region.

More info HERE.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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HUB SERVICES 

The Excellence Hub in Bulgaria is providing the following key services for the sustainable energy ecosystem:

A network of partners and stakeholders from all sectors

An online hub for sharing knowledge, resources, and best practices

Campaigns and advocacy initiatives to promote sustainable development

Training and capacity-building programs for organizations and individuals

HUB  Partners

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FOCUS CASES IN THE REGION

Here you can find the most promising innovation cases supported by the Excellence Hub, who are either seeking for investment, policy or market uptake support both in the region or in other countries.

EXCELLENCE HUB BULGARIA

Operational page

Check our latest activities, events and details about offered services on the Excellence Hub Bulgaria operational landing page (in Bulgarian only).
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