The winning team with their certificates. From left to right: Vasil Todorov, Jordan Andreev, Emilia Sergieva, Moni Donev, Alex Kolev

A team of five students outlined how an energy cooperative from 50 households would work, producing the sun themselves, using it and selling the surplus.

The young innovators worked for two hours on a case study related to the development of the energy system for the benefit of communities. They worked together with close 40 children from Bobov Dol Vocational High School, a former mining school and John Atanasov Sofia Vocational High School of Electronics.


Emily of 12 Class, Alex of 8 Class of Bobov Dol and Moni, Jordan, and Vassil of 10 Class of Sofia all came together to improve the quality of life while reducing environmental pollution. The goal is to make households less dependent on large monthly bills and enable them to earn from their energy.


"Coal has a large share of the country's energy mix, but at some point they will run out and then we have to look for another source of energy. It is good that this should happen now, and not wait for the last moment, ”explained Moni Donev. His classmate Yordan Andreev added that “coal is also polluting nature and more solar systems are needed to provide both electricity and hot water. Once the initial investment has been paid, they are almost free! "


The winners were of the opinion that if people themselves produced the energy they needed, they would be less dependent and the system more stable.
Maria Hristova, who is the head teacher at the Vocational High School and part of the jury, explained that "the project for a settlement in the region of Dobrudzha, to which a solar park will be built, was won because of the proposed low cost of paying the investment per month (160 BGN). and the short time frame that would happen (8 years), and because of their good publicity skills. "


The event brought the 8 team together to the point, with the students' proposed solutions incorporating combined power generation and water heating systems. The key was that most ideas envisaged households not only producing but also selling energy. The students had planned to earn the money to cover the initial investment. Investing in developing systems with more panels and batteries, for example energy storage or just profit.


Mentors were Antonia Shalamanova from Green Sofia, specializing in communication and sustainable development; Apostle Djankov from Junior Achievement Bulgaria, also focused on sustainable development and green business; Radoslav Kolev - a TOM Bulgaria programmer with an interest in RES systems and Nikolay Berov who has many years of experience in the design and construction of photovoltaic systems. They supported the participants by helping them sort out their ideas and come up with the best possible solution for the limited time of the event. The jury consisted of teachers from both high schools and representatives of both organizations.


"The potential of Bulgaria to develop energy, not only solar, but also other than coal, is in these children. Because those who run the energy industry have been accustomed to doing the same thing for 50 years. And although there are new ideas, they do not support them. So only there! Teachers are also keen on this wave - that these young people will like the profession, study it and stay in Bulgaria. "- commented Berov and wished the participants to be even more confident in the future.


All participants received certificates. And the first three teams were awarded and solar panels that can charge mobile phones or other small appliances as well as learn how they work. Lyuboslav Anachkov of the John Atanasov PSPE, whose team is ranked second, received a special award. Additional personal guidance from Radoslav Kolev because he presented his improved bicycle with his own electric motor.


The innovation camp is organized by Greenpeace - Bulgaria and Junior Achievement Bulgaria, modeled on Junior Achievement Europe, with the support of the two participating high schools. The aim is to encourage young people's thinking, support the development of the coal regions and the fair energy transition to renewable energy in the country.


The event is part of Greenpeace Bulgaria's long-term work and the organization's Global Energy Transformation Plan, which focuses on promoting renewable energy - an alternative to polluting fossil fuels such as coal, and people's participation in this process.


Bobov Dol is a former center of the coal industry and its economy is closely linked to the dying industry. The power plant of the same name is located meters from the houses of Golemo selo. Its residents, and those of the surrounding villages, often complain of heavy pollution, enough to cover their gardens, houses and cars with a visible layer of ash. The plant is regularly sanctioned by the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water - Pernik for non-compliance with environmental standards. It is one of the leaders in Europe for harming and damaging human health.

# small steps

# newsletter

The winning team presents their idea

Luboslav Anachkov presents his improved bicycle

Mines in the area are gradually being discontinued due to economic unprofitability. Last year, the last Babino underground mine, the largest in the Balkans, was closed and about 400 miners were cut.
In order to continue operating Bobov Dol TPP, the plant is planned to start incineration of waste and biomass, which poses even greater risks to human health.


The negative effects on health and the environment, on the burning of coal and waste, on the one hand, and on the other, on the economy from the inevitable collapse of the industry, can be avoided.


Responsible institutions need to develop plans for the rehabilitation of mines and other unusable infrastructure, for the retraining of workers, before their sudden redundancies and concepts for the use of clean energy produced by people and communities. In other words, institutions need to come up with a specific program for a just energy transition from a centralized coal-based energy system to a decentralized system where people themselves produce clean energy from renewable sources.

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