The energy crisis, changing narratives and the myth of financial decentralization

View of Bulgarian cities



Kristina Dely

Publication date

July 13, 2022

The energy crisis hits hard Bulgarian municipalities. The country has no effective government in place; which aggravates the energy crisis at the local level, as municipalities – hit by high inflation, worsening energy poverty etc. – are unable to access major EU funds for their local energy efficiency projects under the Resilience and Recovery Package. Ownership is another major issue; in the government there is no ministry dedicated to energy, while on the local level energy managers are still missing.

Covenant signatories, disposing of a SECAP are in better situation as they have started their energy management alongside with creating the appropriate (human) infrastructure. Some pioneering cities as Gabrovo and Sofia are even going further; as part of the 100 Mission Cities they undertook the most ambitious objective: to go climate neutral by 2050.

The energy crisis creates also a momentum for the local energy transition: hiking gas and oil prices favours investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy – driven primarily by the narratives of energy independence and energy security.  

As hosting Gabrovo’s mayor, Tanya Hristova noted: ‘Old habits are indeed dying hard; this is why municipalities must be even more innovative in times of crisis; develop further local competences and create a supportive environment for best available technologies. We have the power to do so and we need to join forces’ The event on 7th July 2022 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria and on Zoom assembled a great number of Bulgarian mayors and deputy mayors and co-organised by EcoEnergy, EnEffect and Energy Cities in the framework of the Energy Efficiency Watch project.