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Bulgaria: Pernik District Heating
(Prototype Carbon Fund)

1 Project Documents

Project Photo 1
The project focuses on rehabilitation of the district heating (DH) system in the city of Pernik, 30 km to the southwest of Sofia.  In Pernik, about 20,000 households receive heat from DH, accounting for about 60,000 people out of Pernik’s total population of 86,000.

The goal of the project is to reduce heat losses and improve efficiency of the network so energy consumption and hence CO2 emissions are correspondingly reduced up to around 11% annually. 

The Project
The project started in 2003, with the support of loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a grant from the Kozlodui International Decommissioning Support Fund from the European Union and the PHARE Program, also funded by the European Union, and using its own resources. Its implementation finished in 2004 before start of heating season of 2004-2005.
The measures that have been implemented as a result of the project include:

  1. Replacement of piping—network rehabilitation involving the replacement of approximately 10 km of transmission pipelines (the total length of the DH system is 60 km) and over-ground thermal insulation. All pipelines being replaced are old foam-concrete types that have become increasingly difficult to maintain.
  2. Replacement of substations - all 700 substations are replaced. All of the replaced substations are modern, indirect substations using plate-in-tube heat exchangers and variable-speed pumps to control the flow of hot water to the flats served by the substation.
  3. Variable-speed pumping - the previous strategy of using constant-flow pumps to disperse hot water through the primary distribution network is improved by adding variable flow pumping. Significant savings are achieved due to being able to more closely match the required heat output to actual, real-time consumer demand.

The project will decrease greenhouse gases emissions through the (i) reductions in heat and water losses in the pipeline distribution system, (ii) improved heat exchangers and better control systems at substations and (iii) lower electricity consumption by Pernik DH system due to the installation of variable-frequency pump drive system at the main transmission lines. All these efficiency gains lead to lower consumption of fossil fuels and thus lower CO2 emissions. The ERPA signed March 25, 2005 by the IBRD and Toplofikacia Pernik provides for 157,000 tCO2e to be purchased by the PCF over 9 years (2004-2012).

The project was validated by TÜV Süd, a firm with Designated Operational Entity/Accredited Independent Entity status under UNFCCC, and approved by the Minister of Environment and Water on July 14, 2004. The project is registered as Joint Implementation project under Track 1 in May 2010.

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