United Group has won the award for innovation at PwC’s annual “ESG Awards” in Bulgaria. The award recognises United Group’s long-term approach to sustainability and its shift towards using green energy.

United Group has planned significant investments in Bulgaria’s solar and wind renewable energy sources (RES) sector. This includes a 70-megawatt wind farm with a production capacity of over 230,000 megawatt hours, three additional photovoltaic power plants with a total capacity of over 40 megawatts and an expected production of over 68,000 megawatt hours, and further rooftop PV solar panel installations.

Once operational, the renewable power plants will produce almost the same amount of energy that United Group directly consumes annually. This equates to saving more than 115,000 tons of carbon emissions per year. The renewable energy plants will be phased into operation starting from 2023.

The sites for the plants were carefully selected based on complex technical, geo-spatial, solar radiation and wind studies, and are designed to maximise the energy-generating potential of the different seasons in Bulgaria. The precise combination of both wind and solar will ensure that renewable energy can be sourced and produced all year round, securing maximum consumption coverage on an hourly basis.

United Group’s Energy Management Director, Boyan Karshakov, said: “Many companies in our sector are offsetting their emissions. At United Group, we have gone much further. The renewable energy plants in Bulgaria will produce almost as much energy as we consume directly as an entire Group. We are focusing on world-class, permanent, physical solutions that will benefit the company and society.

I am thankful to PwC, who have recognised our innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions. I am immensely proud of United Group’s long-term commitment to protecting our planet in this way. These investments will supplement and accelerate our ten-year plan designed to reduce United Group’s carbon footprint by 60% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. This innovative approach ensures that we use cleaner energy and reduces the amount of fossil fuels in south-east Europe’s overall energy mix.”

Nikolai Andreev, CEO of Vivacom, a United Group business in Bulgaria said: “Telecommunications businesses, like Vivacom, typically require huge amounts of energy to undertake core functions and support customers. As we move to cleaner forms of energy to power our businesses, Vivacom and United Group are rising to the challenge with technologically advanced solutions. I am proud that United Group, Vivacom’s parent company, takes its responsibility towards climate change seriously. These investments will provide sustainable energy for Bulgaria and our business today, and for the generations to come.