Financial support for the enterprises for increasing their resource and energy efficiency and implementation of quality management, environmental protection, eco label and energy management schemes and standards
Specific objectives of Operational Programme "Innovation and Competitiveness" 2014-2020 (OPIC) (co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the EU and the state budget) are increasing the share of SMEs with implemented resource efficiency measures and reducing the energy intensity of the economy. Under Priority axis 2 "Energy and resource efficiency" is provided financial support for SMEs from manufacturing industry for pilot and demonstration initiatives for increasing resource efficiency in enterprises and/or groups of companies. Within the pilot and demonstration initiatives are supported measures to improve resource efficiency and sustainable use of raw materials, incl. industrial symbiosis: introduction of high-tech and ICT solutions for optimizing production processes and reduce the use of raw materials; introducing modern technologies to use waste as a raw material in new production and/or alternative applications; implementation of modern waste-free technology, incl. and replacement of obsolete and resource-intensive equipment; introducing of innovative production materials and increasing the use of recyclable materials, incl. and through investments to adapt existing equipment to the characteristics of new products; introducing rotations for water use in production processes. 89 companies received grant support (a total of 42 mln. USD) for resource efficiency so far. Under the same Priority axis 2 "Energy and resource efficiency" of OPIC is provided funding also for increasing the energy efficiency in enterprises, and in particular – for preparing and conducting audits for energy efficiency and subsequent implementation of the recommended measures in the audit reports. The support include investments in tangible and intangible assets, energy management systems, incl. ICT-based systems to manage energy efficiency, reuse of residual heat in industry and support of high micro and small cogeneration, etc. As additional activities, are supported those, related to the use of renewable energy for own consumption (electricity, heat and cooling). The amount of the funding is about 295 million USD of which 251 million of grant and 40 million of guarantee financial instrument. Beneficiaries are existing enterprises from all sectors except agriculture, forestry and fishing, with trade and service sectors being beneficiaries only under the guarantee instrument. 520 companies received grant support (a total of 263 mln. USD) to implement energy efficiency measures so far.
Additionally, OPIC provides support for specialized services to SMEs to develop and strengthen management capacity, focused on management of the factors of production, with an emphasis on building the capacity to adopt and adapt the European and international knowledge and best practices. Support is provided for development, implementation and certification on quality management systems, environmental protection, eco label, energy management systems, information security and other international, European and national standards. Improvement of business environment, e.g. technical and metrological supervision, quality control and notification of authorities to assess compliance, completion and accreditation of laboratories verifying compliance of Bulgarian products with national and EU quality standards. Target beneficiaries are SMEs, business support organizations and institutions. The amount of the financial resources for support for specialized services to SMEs is 40.7 million USD. Expected results from the financial support under Priority axis 2 "Energy and resource efficiency" of OPIC: - increasing the resource efficiency and the awareness of the enterprises on its opportunities by supporting activities to increase waste recovery and waste generation, reduce raw material and material waste through pilot and demonstration initiatives. The expected results are directly related to the improvement of the resource efficiency of the supported enterprises, and hence of the manufacturing sector and the economy as a whole; - improving the energy efficiency of enterprises, leading to lower energy efficiency intensity both at the level of individual manufacturing enterprises and for the economy in general. Increasing the energy and resource efficiency of the supported enterprises will reduce their production costs, will greening them and will increase their competitiveness. In turn, this will have a positive effect not only on the specific supported enterprises, but also on the whole economy, through reduced energy and resource intensity. Raised awareness on the efficient use of resources and energy of the supported SMEs, introduced resource and energy efficient technologies, equipment, materials and products, increased symbiosis between enterprises along the value chain, will gradually result in improved efficiency of production processes, reduced costs of the production, higher competitiveness.