Za Zemiata / CEE Bankwatch Network is looking for a consultant to map the existing situation and identify and analyse sustainable heating solutions for the Tsarkva neighbourhood of Pernik in Bulgaria. 

Za Zemiata and CEE Bankwatch Network are working extensively on implementing a just transition away from fossil fuels in a number of countries in the CEE region, including Bulgaria. Decarbonising the heating sector is a key issue, as the district heating systems in the just transition regions are dominated by coal. 

With funding available from the Just Transition Fund, this is a good time to consider what some solutions for decarbonising the heating in Pernik might be, focusing on buildings that are not connected to the district heating system as a pilot project.  

Pernik is a city with around 80,000 inhabitants; the main district heating provider is Toplofikacia Pernik, and Pernik is the town in Bulgaria with the hightest percentage of district heating customers. The district heating system runs on coal with some biomass. The quaity of the district heating service is questionable, which can be seen from the various accidents with the heat supply in the city which often leave consumers without heating in the winter. One of the key issues with decarbonising the district heating in Pernik is the fact that it is privately owned, therefore the local authority has very limited influence over the decarbonisation process. This is why the municipality is exploring alternative solutions, such as alternative district heating or smaller localised district heating units. Coming up with a solution in a timely manner is of key importance as the district heating operating company has not indicated any interest in decarbonising. 

Subject of the proposal 

The objective of the study is to provide a technical analysis of the current heating situation in Pernik with a specific focus on Tsarvka neighbourhood, which is not connected to the existing district heating. Within the study, it would be beneficial to sketch out what opportunities for district heating based on renewables might be suitable for the area. In addition to a technical feasibility study, an economic feasibility study should be covered by the report, in order to serve as a basis for developing a business case in the future. 

The study will be used to form the groundwork for the heating decarbonisation plan for Pernik’s Tsarkva neighbourhood, help inform decisionmakers’ opinions on what approach to take to sustainable distict heating, and start a conversation on potential funding sources and potential pilot project opportunities. 

The study should be approximately 35-40 pages long. It will be written in Bulgarian and translated in English, with the consultant responsible for translating the Executive Summary. The study should include the following:

1. Executive summary (2 pages)

2. Introduction (2 pages)

 – Outline of the heating situation in Pernik with information about the current heating demand

3. Mapping of the current situation (5 pages)

– Mapping of available data specifically relevant to the Tsarkva neighbourhood and Pernik in local authority documents and – where relevant – government and other stakeholder reports, as well as of the technical and economic aspects of various components of the energy transition in Tsarkva and Pernik (desk research)  

Characteristics of Tsarkva’s heating and cooling systems: size, infrastructure, fuel sources, ownership (some element of field research might be necessary)

4. Recommendations of preferred solutions  (25 pages)

Calculating the renewable potential: this may include deep geothermal, heat pumps, waste heat from industry (not the coal power plant ), solar thermal, heat storage, etc. Biomass should only be considered as a last resort and should not include primary forest biomass, only offcuts from sawmills, crop residues etc.  

– What alternatives might be available in the area and guidance on what the preferred approach should be – technical feasibility aspect 

– What is the economically feasible potential and costs identified with the preferred approaches?

5. Conclusions (2 pages)

The final publication outline will be agreed upon with the consultant prior to the beginning of their work. The consultant will be responsible for drafting the study, and is expected to produce two drafts and a final version. Bankwatch staff will provide comments on the drafts, and will be responsible for the proofreading, translation, design and distribution of the publication. The study will be published, and the consultant should be willing to be mentioned publicly as author. Based on the study, Bankwatch will also produce a shorter briefing paper for policymakers and a wider audience. The consultant might be required to make a few appearances at events (including local events and topical events such as webinars) in order to promote the study and its findings. Any such appearances will be organised and costs covered separately. 


Date  Task due  
26 February  Deadline for submitting offers 
29 February  Selecting the consultant; results from the selection process are communicated to applicants 
5 March  Contract signing; initial coordination call with consultant to discuss general outline of the study 
March – September  Data gathering, analysis and writing 
2 September   First draft; Executive summary complete 
13 September  First round comments 
1 October  Second draft 
14 October  Final comments 
25 October  Final version revised 
4 November  Study published 


A maximum of EUR 10 000 including VAT, half of it to be paid upon the delivery of the first draft and the difference upon delivery of the final version of the study.  


Experts in the field of sustainable energy, with a background in engineering or similar. They should have extensive knowledge of the heating sector and of renewable energy sources. Excellent knowledge of English is required. Knowledge of or previous experience specific to Bulgaria is required.   

How to apply 

Applicants should submit their offers by 26 February to and  

The offer should contain: 

  1. CV highlighting the required qualifications and experience.
  2. Application consisting of technical and financial elements. The technical elements comprise a 2-page outline proposal for the study. This should include the consultant’s proposed methodology. The financial elements comprise the financial offer including VAT. The candidate should name at least two references who have agreed to support the application. 
  3. Examples of similar previous work are welcome in support of the application.
  4. Signed statement certifying that the candidate does not fall into any situation that is grounds for exclusion from participation in the procurement (according to Bankwatch’s internal procedures).


The selection criteria will consist of: 

1) Professional capacities: the strength of CV, past reports, reference list of experience in similar or related projects; 

2) Quality of project proposal and alignment with requirements to consider only sustainable energy forms; 

3) Financial offer; 

4) Other added value to the analysis (e.g. knowledge of the local language). 

Applicants will be informed about the selection results by 29 February.  


Candidates will be excluded from participation in a procurement procedure if: 
  • they are bankrupt or being wound up, are having their affairs administered by the courts, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities, are the subject of proceedings concerning these matters, or are in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations; 
  • they have been convicted for an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgement which has the force of res judicata; 
  • they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means justifiable; 
  • they have not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or the payment of taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established or with those of the country where the contract is to be performed; 
  • they have been the subject of a judgement which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation or any other illegal activity detrimental to the Communities’ financial interests; 
  • they are currently subject to an administrative penalty referred to in section 2.3.5 of the Practical Guide to contract procedures for EC external actions: 
Without prejudice to the application of penalties laid down in the contract, candidates or tenderers and contractors who have made false declarations, have made substantial errors or committed irregularities and fraud, or have been found in serious breach of their contractual obligations may be excluded from all contracts and grants financed by the Community budget for a maximum of five years from the date on which the infringement is established, as confirmed following an adversarial procedure with the contractor. That period may be extended to 10 years in the event of a repeated offence within five years of the above-mentioned date. Tenderers or candidates who have made false declarations, have committed substantial errors or irregularities and fraud, may also be subject to financial penalties representing 2% to 10% of the total estimated value of the contract being awarded. Contractors who have been found in serious breach of their contractual obligations may be subject to financial penalties representing 2% to 10% of the total value of the contract in question. That rate may be increased to 4% to 20% in the event of a repeat infringement within five years of the above-mentioned. Where the award procedure proves to have been subject to substantial errors, irregularities or fraud, the Commission shall suspend the procedure and may take whatever measures are necessary, including the cancellation of the procedure. Where, after the award of the contract, the award procedure or the performance of the contract prove to have been subject to substantial errors, irregularities or fraud, the Commission may, depending on the stage reached in the procedure, refrain from concluding the contract or suspend performance of the contract or, where appropriate, terminate the contract. Where such errors, irregularities or fraud are attributable to the contractor, the Commission may in addition refuse to make payments, may recover amounts already paid or may terminate all the contracts concluded with this contractor, in proportion to the seriousness of the errors, irregularities or fraud. The purpose of suspending the contract is to verify whether presumed substantial errors and irregularities or fraud have actually occurred. If they are not confirmed, performance of the contract will resume as soon as possible. A substantial error or irregularity is any infringement of a provision of a contract or regulation resulting from an act or an omission which causes or might cause a loss to the Community budget.