Allow the coal regions that understand the benefits of just energy transition to access the resources to do it.
– More progressive coal regions should be separated from backwards looking regions, as these risk hindering their green development.
– Pernik and Kyustendil are ready for the just transition, but are losing JT money due to Stara Zagora delays.
– If no final versions of the TJTPs are submitted by the end of June 2023 and approved by EC, Bulgaria risks losing 57% of the Just Transition Funds coming from Next Generation EU.
Bulgaria has three coal regions with some differences and many similarities, but one is lagging behind. Thus, we request the authorities to separate Pernik and Kyustendil from Stara Zagora. The first two are regions with a just transition process already happening, which are open to the opportunities stemming from the Green Deal. Opposed to them is the bigger coal Stara Zagora with both state owned and private entities operating. There indeed, the challenges of their transition are numerous, but also the local authorities, workforce and population are less interested and less informed about the opportunities they can benefit from. Stara Zagora is delaying the energy transition process for the progressive regions to get the funds and technical assistance, know-how to develop in eco-friendly and balanced ways, away from their coal pass and dependencies.
The three Teritorial Just Transition Plans (TJTP) have so far moved at the same pace and are yet not finally submitted to the European Commission (EC), despite the significant delay. Because of that, Bulgaria already lost €100 million, the 2021 Just Transition Fund money.
This sum is actually half of the total money that the regions of Pernik and Kyustendil would have received from the Just Transition Fund. If no final versions of the TJTPs are submitted by the end of June 2023 and approved by EC, Bulgaria risks losing 57% of the Just Transition Funds coming from Next Generation EU.
If Stara Zagora doesn’t catch up fast with its just transition preparatory work it would lose the available funds not only for its “beyond coal” future development, but also the ones for the two other coal regions. Pernik and Kyustendil are regions that are ready to make an energy transition, thus any new lost JT funds would make the process irreversible for them.