Meaningful citizen participation in the low-carbon energy transition has the potential to significantly contribute to achieving the transition goals. The absence in most Bulgarian municipalities of effective procedures, administrative capacity and information about good practices are among the principle obstacles to energy citizenship. There is a pressing need for regulatory, administrative and financial incentives to encourage Bulgarian consumers to become actively engaged in effective energy production and energy use. The liberalisation of the energy market and the removal of administrative and regulatory barriers at the national and regional levels are essential in order to unlock the country’s potential for investments in small-scale RES systems.
These are some of the conclusions of an expert online workshop organised on 16 February 2023 by the Center for the Study of Democracy, in collaboration with the Association of Danube River Municipalities ‘Danube‘, with a focus on ‘Innovative solutions for encouraging citizen participation in the energy transition’. The event engaged representatives of national institutions, regional and local authorities from the Northwestern and Northern Central regions, civil society and the business sector in a conversation about opportunities for and barriers to citizen participation in the energy system and the energy transition. The objective of the discussion was to harness the results of the recent Bulgarian Citizen Action Lab and to develop possible innovative solutions and policy recommendations for fostering different forms of energy citizenship.