Inspiration for Energy Management Solutions at the European Level: Focus on Bulgaria, Romania and Germany
By 2050, European cities should be carbon-neutral, sustainable and ensure a high quality of life. EUKI project Menergers works towards this goal. In order to achieve it, society as a whole must become more responsible and mutual accountability must be shared among all actors. Ambitious goals and political commitments must therefore be linked to the pledge of civil society to decision-making and their implementation. This interdependence reveals the challenge behind Municipal Energy Management.
Energy management relieves municipalities of up to 20% of energy and water costs in supplying their properties. The legal framework for implementing municipal energy management in the European Union is provided by various laws and directives at European and state levels, e.g., the EU Climate and Energy Framework 2030, the European Green Deal, several EU Directives and the Climate Protection Laws of individual countries.
In Germany, energy managers are entrusted with all energy-related topics. They analyse properties, prepare data and determine suitable measures (non- / low-investment and investment), including possible subsidies. In addition, energy managers take care of the efficient operation of the buildings (use, installations, sensitization). In order to initiate implementation measures, they involve the specialist departments, in particular the building and property management.
When implementing municipal energy management, it is important to define goals, clarify responsibilities and processes, and weigh existing and necessary resources. In addition, continuous energy efficiency success monitoring and process optimization play a decisive role. With a lot of knowledge exchange and good practice examples, German municipalities can inspire and provide assistance to partners from Eastern Europe.
In Romania, the Energy Manager is a key figure carrying out important measures related to energy efficiency. Municipalities with a population of more than 5.000 inhabitants need to have an Energy Efficiency Improvement Programme and those with a population of more than 20.000 inhabitants need to have both an Energy Efficiency Improvement Programme and an appointed certified Municipal Energy Manager, or to contract a legal entity/ authorized legal person certified according to the law. Energy management services can be provided in two ways: a certified energy manager part of the municipal administration or a certified energy manager or company providing energy services acting as an external consultant.
Even if Bulgaria is not yet implementing the Energy Manager concept, there are a lot of steps forward in improving energy management. Local authorities have a multifaceted role – in their own operations they are energy consumers, service providers and purchasers of various energy-related products and services. They also influence other operators in their geographical areas to improve their energy efficiency. Municipalities act in multiple roles as planners, developers, regulators, advisors, motivators, producers and suppliers of energy. Fulfilling EU requirements for the public sector requires a sustained effort by local authorities to meet the challenges they face. Among the key prerequisites for this is the ability to form a long-term vision, specific goals and priorities; build sustainable financial models; system communication capabilities and much more.
Supporting these efforts, MENERGERS – Energy Managers’ Services in Municipalities, a EUKI – funded initiative supporting local administrations to efficiently coordinate the energy transition toward low-emissions cities, wants to enable and empower municipalities in Bulgaria and Romania to ensure the most useful and efficient context for the role of Municipal Energy Managers and thus contribute to the national and EU Energy and Climate targets.
The project includes research of good practices, exchange of experience, public legislation and regulations examined. Results will be shared, while examples of deep energy retrofitting in public buildings and energy transition processes will be discussed. In practice, 2 study visits for Bulgaria and Romania participants to Germany will follow.