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Sofia plans for green future with new 600-million-euro action plan

Sofia plans for green future with new 600-million-euro action plan

The plan focuses on climate adaptation, by adopting some of the best practices from Vienna

Yesterday, local authorities in Sofia adopted a new plan to tackle the climate crisis in the next decade. The new policy is called ‘Action Plan for Sustainable Energy and Climate of Sofia Municipality 2021-2030’ and it will cost about 600 million euros. The plan targets climate adaptation and a reduction of greenhouse gases while expanding the 2019 plan and promoting long-term energy efficiency.

The new benchmarks

The main focus of the plan is the reduction of greenhouse gases by 40% per capita, compared to 2007 levels, by the end of the period. According to Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Desislava Bileva, the goals are quite realistic, partially because the municipality will make a focused effort for reduction.

She pointed out that Sofia managed to reduce emissions per capita by 18% until 2018, compared with 2007 levels. The Deputy Mayor explained that this helped the city nab the second prize in the European Green Capital awards.

Part of the new plan is inspired by Vienna’s approach to the matter, especially when it comes to photovoltaic installations, climate architecture and urban greenery, like green facades and roofs. Local authorities are also planning to reduce overall electricity consumption by 646 GWh compared with 2018 levels and expand renewable energy production by 410 GWh until the end of the period.

Much of the funds will be sourced through public-private partnerships or grants and programmes on the national and European level, rather than from the capital’s budget. Deputy Mayor Bileva gave an example with the plan for installing solar panels on public buildings as something that the municipality aims to accomplish through public-private partnerships.

Targeted change

Some of the more exciting propositions in the plan are in the climate adaptation portion, as they focus on building sustained development and climate resilience. One example is making climate literacy part of the educational programme. Another one focuses on building blue and green corridors across the city, as well as the creation of ‘green acupuncture’. Green acupuncture means a targeted approach to tackling heat islands in the city.

Yet another portion of the plan is titled ‘Softening climate change’ and it aims to tackle the more immediate material deficits of the city. This includes plans for energy efficiency for buildings, both public and private, as well as an exploration plan to provide energy-efficient heating systems for homes currently using coal and wood as a primary heating source. Wood and coal-fuelled homes are currently one of the biggest polluters in the city.  

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