Towards a climate neutral EU:
efficient allocation of EU funds

A Project to Monitor: Energy Efficient Municipal Outdoor Artificial Lighting Systems

Organisation: Economic Policy Institute Website: Added: September 23, 2022
Project start date: July 01, 2022
Project end date: June 30, 2025



Project 11 under Bulgaria’s Recovery and Resilience Plan targets the municipal outdoor artificial lighting systems with the goal to ensure increased levels of energy efficiency of the latter. The aim of the project is to achieve energy savings in the final energy consumption in order to contribute to and accelerate the achievement of the national energy efficiency target and Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU. The project foresees the provision of a grant for the reconstruction and modernisation of municipal outdoor artificial lighting systems, which will increase energy efficiency, reduce energy costs and improve the living conditions of the population in the country. The main activities under the project can be summarised as follows: Removal of existing lighting fixtures, wires and cables; Supply and installation of new luminaires, wires and cables; Supply and installation of renewable electricity generation and storage facility(s) for self-consumption in the WEC system; Construction and installation works directly related to the reconstruction of the outdoor artificial lighting system(s); Dismantling of existing controls, supply and installation of new controls, metering and monitoring, with the possibility of upgrading and extending, including introduction or connection to an existing automation and control system for the outdoor artificial lighting system; Preparation of a technical/workshop design; Construction supervision; Project management and publicity.

Good practices and innovations

The project contributes to the achievement of strategic autonomy as it foresees investment in infrastructure that will reduce energy demand and increase the share of renewable energy used. Energy efficiency is important to reduce the dependency associated with energy shortages, and renewable energy provides even greater autonomy for energy users and system security. The project provides equal opportunities for all, as the infrastructure targeted for intervention is public and benefits all groups in society equally. Moreover, the improvement of lighting in public places creates a more accessible environment for the disadvantaged, and mothers with children, while it also creates greater security for women in the dark part of the day and reduces the risk of accidents. The project is reported to be in a full compliance with the "Do no significant harm" principle, as its main objective is to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions. Contractors for the project will be selected through a public procurement procedure and should comply with all EUprocurement requirements, including environmental requirements. The project also includes specific result indicators, including an indicator for a total number of concluded contracts (namely 160 by 31.12.2023), and total energy savings in respect of energy consumption (namely 127 884,88 MWh/y by 31.12.2025). Additional indicators: Annual CO2 emission reductions - 150 904,16 t./y. Annual savings - 12 788 488 €/year. The number of people benefiting from improved energy efficiency - population and visitors to Bulgarian municipalities - 7 million.

Project implementation timeline

The whole implementation period for the project is 18 months. The project timeline can be summarised as follows: 1. Conclusion of contracts for 82 projects - Q3 of 2022. 2. Organisation and preparation for the call for new project proposals: Q3 and Q4 of 2022. 3. Application, selection of project proposals and conclusion of contracts: by Q4 2023. 4. Implementation of projects: by Q2 2025.

Financial data

Maximum total investment for the period - BGN 179 852 221,28 (76 324 293.86 EUR). Amount of financing from the fund under the Recovery and Resilience Plan - BGN 149 277 343,66. Therefore the EU funding for this project is around 85%. Amount of national funding (VAT costs) - BGN 30 574 877,62, therefore the national funding of this project is around 15%. The maximum size of the individual project proposals will be determined on the basis of the categorization of the municipalities, in accordance with the Order of the Minister of Bulgaria (In Bulgaria there are 5 categories of municipalities, and therefore 5 different values will be set for the maximum amount of the grant applicable to each category). Indicative allocation of the financial resource according to the type of expenditure: - Infrastructure construction/rehabilitation - 80% - Human capital (skills upgrading, retraining...) - 5% - Labour (wage costs, consultancy services ...) - 10% - Technology (cost of acquisition of intangible fixed assets-patents, software...) - 5%


As indicated above, the project will rely on BGN 149 277 343,66 under the Recovery and Resilience Plan. However, Bulgaria is currently behind schedule when it comes to fulfilling the necessary milestones and targets for receiving the first and following installments under the RRP. Therefore, there is a risk that the implementation of the project is delayed, and thus not implemented on time and/or in the expected scale. Insufficient administrative capacity might also affect the timely implementation and the quality of the latter, and that is why we would recommend that appropriate monitoring is applied to the activities of the authorities involved.

Information sources

Other info

European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.