The last physical meeting of the European project SDHp2m had taken place in October 9 and 10 in Varna, Bulgaria. This Bulgarian region is one of the six ‘follower’ regional governments linked to the SDHp2m project on a voluntary basis. The aim of the meeting was to update the partners on the latest developments of the project and to finalize the organization of the work load until the end of 2018, when the project will come to an end. The SDHp2m project (Solar District Heating from policy to market) began in early 2016 and its overall objective is to change the framework conditions and barriers of Solar District Heating from a regional perspective.
In this regard, the region of Varna, Bulgaria, has been working for the last three years side by side with the consortium members of the European SDHp2m project to create favourable market conditions for the implementation of the SDH technology. The region of Varna has 495.000 inhabitants distributed around 12 different provinces and 49 municipalities. The city of Varna is strategically located in the coast of the Black Sea and is the third largest city in Bulgaria (395.000 inhabitants).
District Heating in the region of Varna
Regarding the District Heating (DH) status in the region, this technology delivers efficient and sustainable heat to four different districts in the city of Varna. The DH networks are owned by Veolia Energy International and they supply heating services and domestic hot water to nearly 10.000 households and 40 municipal and corporate consumers. The network’s total length is 33km, out of which 2km are pre-insulated pipes. The heat source of these networks, following the general trend of Bulgarian DH, comes from a Cogeneration Heat and Power Plant (CHP) where the surplus heat is recycled. This plant concretely runs on natural gas.
The main objectives of this region during the duration of the project are:
To identify suitable city districts where no District Heating Network is available and where SDH could be developed into the urban environment.
To raise awareness on the potential of SDH as a suitable and ready for market uptake technology among key stakeholders.
Barriers and opportunities for the region
During the duration of the project, some of the barriers identified in this region are: the lack of experience among actors in the field and the lack of awareness on the technical features and opportunities of the technology among energy planners and municipal authorities.
Regarding the opportunities for SDH, it can be underlined the interest of the local DH company in the implementation of SDH, the open and receptive attitude from the municipality of Varna, the active collaboration of NGO’s, agencies and professional associations during the development of the project and the support of the local technical university that provides educational programs in the field.
Apart from offering training to key stakeholders, the region of Varna developed a case study on the implementation of the SDH technology in the district Kaisieva Gradina. The case study explores the potential of the available urban spaces where solar panels can be installed. Among other results (available on the SDHp2m website), the domestic hot water (DHW) consumption, corresponding to 50% of the total heat demand, could be entirely covered by solar heat.
The preliminary results show that the SDH technology has a bright future in the city of Varna as key stakeholders (more significantly the local DH company and the municipality) are very receptive and supportive of the technology.
This positive results suit the overall objective of the SDHp2m project that is to trigger the planning and installation of new RES DHC and SDH systems, corresponding to a total investment of EUR 350 million. This aim expects to lead to the production of an estimated 1.420 GWh of energy from RES per year in DHC systems.
For more information about the development of SDH in this Bulgarian region, please visit our SDH database.