Electric buses coming to Sofia

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca

Electric buses coming to Sofia

  • EBRD and Green Energy Special Fund in joint loan to Sofia Electrical Transport Company
  • €7.35 million for acquisition of up to 15 electric buses and six charging stations
  • Sofia partners with EBRD in Green Cities Action Plan

Citizens of the Bulgarian capital city Sofia will benefit from cleaner and more comfortable urban transport thanks to the introduction of new electric buses financed by a loan provided by the EBRD and the Green Energy Special Fund (GESF).

The lenders are extending €7.35 million to Sofia Electrical Transport Company EAD (SETC) for the first phase of the modernisation of Sofia’s bus fleet through the acquisition of up to 15 low-floor electric buses with fast-charging technology and six charging stations.

The buses will be deployed in 2019. They will replace diesel buses and reduce overall emissions. Once in operation, the new buses will also reduce costs for the transport company.

If the first phase is deemed successful, the Bank and GESF will provide an additional €7.35 million in 2019 to finance another batch of the electric buses and charging stations.

The city of Sofia is currently developing a Green Cities Action Plan with the EBRD and supported by donor funds. This plan will set a vision and benchmarks for the sustainable development of the city and help the authorities address challenges such as urban transport, air pollution, water management and other environmental issues. The action plan is due in 2019.

In order to meet the challenges ahead, Sofia – a city of 1.5 million inhabitants – is already investing in improvements of the transport infrastructure and services with the goal to make public transport sustainable, safer and more environmentally friendly.

SETC is an integral part of the programme. It is a joint-stock company, incorporated in 1997 and fully owned by the city. It is Sofia’s sole tram and trolleybus operator and, as of next year, it will also operate electric buses. In addition, the company is also responsible for routine maintenance and repair of the trolleybus and tram fleet, tram tracks and electric energy supply infrastructure.

GESF is a fund established by TaiwanICDF at the EBRD to support beneficiary countries in the Bank’s regions as they make the transition to low-carbon energy solutions, promote energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy.

To date, the EBRD has invested nearly €3.9 billion into various sectors of Bulgaria’s economy in about 250 projects. Energy sector investment accounts for about one-third of the Bank’s portfolio in the country.