Asenovgrad Scenario Formulation Workshop held as part of the foresight experience. Credits@Municipality of Asenovgrad.

Asenovgrad Municipality experience and learnings as a Follower City

31 May 2022

After the successful implementation of SmartEnCity integrated energy planning (IEP) process, the Municipality of Asenovgrad directed its efforts towards spreading the knowledge and experience among other Bulgarian municipalities, members of the local SEC Network.

Through SmartEnCity project, Asenovgrad benefited most strongly from:

  • the knowledge and experience sharing with other European small to mid-sized cities that care about sustainability and are conscious about their carbon footprint,
  • the examples of the Lighthouse Cities where specific solutions have been implemented and tested in practice which provide a good starting point for replication in under Asenovgrad conditions,
  • the SmartEnCity Foresight Methodology and
  • the SmartEnCity Integrated Energy Planning (IEP).

With the help of the six steps of the IEP (engage, analyze, diagnose, envision, plan, integrate), Asenovgrad was able to update and enrich previous policy documents. Based on that, Asenovgrad prepared and fulfilled a detailed planning of the foresight experience process. The result has been an Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (IECP) that has been successfully integrated into the Plan for Integrated Development of the Municipality – a master planning document that incorporates all sectors and fields of municipal development. The final version of the document was voted for by the Municipal Council on 27 January 2021.

During the planning process, specific effort has been directed towards stakeholder engagement by organising participatory workshops and discussions about the sustainable development of the municipality. Together, concrete scenarios for the future development have been formulated and priority areas have been identified and included in the Asenovgrad Energy and Climate Roadmap 2020-2027 with concrete investment projects, required investment and timeline for implementation. The Roadmap is linked to the Asenovgrad IECP and forms the basis for meeting its targets and commitments.

The practical experience of the SmartEnCity Lighthouse Cities has thus provided a valuable contribution to the Roadmap, where specific already implemented solutions have been included for future replication, as well as to the sustainable development of Asenovgrad as a whole.