World Bank to Help Bulgaria Boost Geothermal Energy Use

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The World Bank said on Thursday it signed an agreement with Bulgaria's Energy Ministry to provide it with analytical and advisory services over the next 24 months so as to support the management of the country's geothermal energy resources.

The global lender will provide analysis, technical advice, and recommendations that will help establish and operate geothermal laboratories and geothermal centers of excellence in Bulgaria, it said in a press release. Apart from assessing existing geothermal resources, the World Bank will also advise the ministry on good practices for carrying out environmental and social assessments.

As part of the partnership, the World Bank will support the Energy Ministry in the identification of sites with good prospects for the utilization of geothermal energy, including for heating and cooling and potential electricity generation.

The contract is the first one under the new framework agreement for reimbursable advisory services, which the World Bank signed with Bulgaria last year and which aims to provide know-how for projects under the EU's 2021–2027 programming period.

The funding will come from Bulgaria's EU-approved Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP). Bulgaria has earmarked BGN 343 million (USD 193.2 million) from its RRP funding between 2022 and 2026 to advance the development of geothermal energy, as part of a goal to increase to at least 27% the share of energy produced from renewables by 2030.

Bulgaria has strong geothermal energy potential, with at least 840 geothermal sites with temperatures of up to 103 Celsius as well as another 136 mineral springs, but more data is needed to assess the country's geothermal potential, the World Bank noted. 

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