Kardzhali (2)Climate and geography: situated in South East Bulgaria, along Arda River valley at about 700-800 m above the sea level,

Surrounding low mountain hilly relief, climate conditions are mild due to the Mediterranean influence and feature average yearly temperature of 11-13 °C. The winter is mild and the summer is hot with temperatures reaching 40 °C. The climate is characterized with very high level of solar radiation even during winters suitable for solar thermal and PV utilization. Annual precipitation is about 600 litres per square meter and is relatively high. 52 % of the municipal territory is arable land which is a prerequisite for agriculture development and agricultural biomass wastes potential.

Population: 117 settlements with 70 196 inhabitants in total.

Infrastructure: The road network is well developed; there are 261 100 km roads on the municipal territory. All settlements are centrally water and electricity supplied; all settlements have street lighting networks. There is a small district heating network covering separate buildings in the central parts of the town supplied with heat by the technological heat station of the main industrial unit Gorubso (lead and zinc production).There is no gas supply network developed on the municipal territory and this the development of natural gas supply infrastructure is considered as a priority for the municipal authorities. There is a technical project for natural gas supply network development in the towns of Kardzhali and Momchilgrad.

Economy: Industry is a significant economic sector featuring non-ferrous metal production (lead and zinc production), machine building, textile and knitwear, food and beverage, and electronics. 14 % of the economic units are municipal property. There are significant reserves of natural zeolite, bentonite and perlite – precious industrial minerals with commercial value. There are also reserves of raw materials for cement production and quality marble and limestone (the latter still not exploited). In agriculture the tobacco production and vegetables production is well developed as well as animal breeding – cattle, cow, sheep. There are also forests covering about 36 % of municipal territory that substantiates wood logging and wood processing industries.

RES potential: due to suitable geographic condition the potential for solar thermal and PV and waste wood and agricultural biomass utilization in Kardzhali Municipality is high. There is also potential for hydro power on the Arda River. There is an existing HPP Kardzhali of 106 MW installed capacity and the construction of Hydro Power Cascade Gorna Arda is underway consisting of three HP plants with total installed capacity of 170 MW.

Within Green Twinning activities Kardzhali Municipality is a twinning partner to Rubi Municipality (Spain) and successful twinning activities have been launched. As a result the municipality with the active assistance of Green Twinning partners is in the procedure of SEAP development and SEAP projects identification as well as the municipality is considering signing CoM.