Bulgaria plans to develop pilot projects for geothermal energy and to build 6000 MWh of batteries by 2026

The government will seek support in the United States for new nuclear facilities, LNG development and CO2 capture systems. Electricity exports will gradually slow down

Energy / Bulgaria
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Georgi Velev

Bulgaria plans to build energy storage capacity for 6000 Mwh and this will be a fact by mid-2026. It is planned to build a new battery plant near Stara Zagora, which will be used for these energy storage systems. This became clear during the initial presentation of the new ideas included as projects in the Recovery Plan of our country. The estimates were presented by the Minister of Energy Alexander Nikolov, and the trade unions, the state ESO, representatives of the American thermal power plants and the photovoltaic sector in our country took part in the meeting.

This is practically a new SHPP, explained Asen Vassilev on the idea of ​​creating new storage systems. The idea is to purchase national energy storage infrastructure. The project also includes the implementation of smart grids, which will reduce technological losses in the network, transparency, accuracy and rapid response to accidents. Our intention is to start building this plant this year, explained the Minister of Finance.

The idea of ​​building a new gas power plant in the Maritsa East complex has been dropped from the revised Recovery Plan. The government intends to keep private investment in the complex after the expiration of long-term contracts. The contracts themselves expire in 2024 at TPP ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 and in 2026 at TPP AES Galabovo. The idea is that in this period the gas connection Komotini - Stara Zagora will work and in case of investor interest to give the opportunity to build a gas plant on a purely market basis.

The state plans to stop the huge export of electricity and with the help of batteries to use this electricity from the Bulgarian business. Significant funds will also be invested in research and pilot projects of geothermal energy. Six zones have been selected in which tests will be performed at a depth of 2000-3000 meters. The projects are in the area of ​​Sapareva Banya, Velingrad, between Pazardzhik and Plovdiv, along the Erma River. The other two drilling projects are between Vratsa and Lovech and near Varna. Negotiations have already been held with companies, using Turkey's experience in this direction, Energy Minister Nikolov explained. According to him, the capacity of the future geothermal power plant will increase from 5MW to 24MW.

At the same time, the government has categorically stated that it will not close coal facilities. This can only happen after there are enough energy storage systems in place and they are a kind of replacement capacity. At the same time, Bulgaria will abide by its commitment to reduce harmful CO2 emissions, which has been made until 2030, explained Finance Minister Asen Vassilev.

It is estimated that one geothermal well will cost about 3m euros per MW. Operating costs are estimated at BGN 15 and 40 / MWh. as this is the cost of energy, the rest is the payback of the investment, it became clear during the discussion. Compared to Turkey, here we are talking about electricity production at prices between 120 and 200 BGN / MWh.

Separately, the state plans to negotiate with the United States on technology for new nuclear power at Kozloduy, it became clear during the discussion. Negotiations will be not only on new nuclear facilities, but also on LNG projects and CO2 storage systems.

These are the initial plans of the government for changes in the Recovery Plan. The funds for modernization of the energy system in our country and construction of smart grids are preserved. More details on the modernization of the power system will be available at the end of March.

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