We are the country with the highest energy poverty in the European Union, said Teodora Peneva, chief assistant at the Institute for Economic Research at the BAS at the “Green Week 2023” forum, dedicated to the green transition in the countries of the Central and Eastern Europe. The forum is organized by Dir.bg and 3E news, and BTA is a media partner.
The data show that nearly 40 percent of the population in 2021 in our country is in energy poverty, with an income below BGN 722, which is the official poverty line. That’s 2,830,000 people. These people do not have the investment opportunity for long-term measures, this is the group that the state should support with 100% grant funding, and for the other groups of people, different approaches for co-financing should be introduced, Peneva said.
According to the expert, more than 50 percent of Bulgarians are heated with wood. In this regard, she pointed out that the state should work for a transition in technologies and take measures for decarbonization. According to her, funding for the renovation of buildings in our country is low. Peneva added that only 3-4 percent of buildings in Bulgaria have been renovated to achieve energy efficiency, compared to an average of 25 percent for the European Union.
“Here, not only the state, but also the companies lack the experience to work specifically with the most vulnerable customers,” she added. According to her, the government should determine the definition of energy poverty as soon as possible. The sooner measures are taken to achieve energy efficiency and decarbonization of heating, the easier it will be to overcome the expected negative financial consequences that the green transition could lead to, it became clear from Peneva’s words.