Energy in Bulgaria

Energy in Bulgaria

Although Bulgaria is not very rich in natural fuels such as coal, oil and gas, it has very well developed energy sector which is of crucial importance for the Balkans and the whole South Eastern Europe.

Energy sector holding

To improve the corporate management and supervision of the energy sector, on 13 February 2008 the Government of Bulgaria decided to set up a state-owned energy holding company. The holding company will be composed of gas company Bulgargaz, power company NEK EAD, Kozloduy nuclear power plant, Maritza-Iztok II thermal power plant, and the Mini Maritza Iztok (Maritza Iztok mines). The state will hold a 100% stake in the holding company.cite news
url =
title = Bulgaria Consolidates Five Energy Companies into Holding
publisher = Sofia News Agency
date = 2008-02-13
accessdate = 2008-02-24
] cite news
url =
title = Bulgaria announces birth of energy giant with new holding company
publisher = Power Engineering
date = 2008-02-14
accessdate = 2008-02-24

Coal mining

The country has extensive deposits of coal but these are mostly lignite. The reserves of lignite coal are estimated to 4.5 billion tons and they are located in the Maritsa Iztok Coal Basin (around 70%), Sofia Coal Basin and Lom coalfield. The reserves of brown coal are 800 million tons with major deposits near Pernik, Bobov Dol and Cherno More mines. The reserves of anthracite are slightly more than 1.2 billion tons but more than 95% of these are located in the Dobruja Coal Basin at depth of some 1.5 km and at this stage can not be exploited. There are several minor oil and gas deposits in Northern Bulgaria.

Power production

The production of electricity is 38.07 billion kW·h (as of 2006), [ Electricity production as of 2006] ] (for example, Romania, which has a population nearly three times larger than Bulgaria, produced 51.7 billion kW·h in the same year). In production per capita, the country is in fourth place in Eastern Europe.

Nuclear power

Bulgaria has a nuclear power plant at Kozloduy with six reactors, out of which only two are online (4 reactors were taken off-line in 2003 and in 2006 respectively), with a combined capacity of 3,760 MW and covers about 40% of country's energy demand. A second power plant is currently under construction at Belene with €1 billion already invested there. It will consist of two reactors of 1,000 MW each and will cost the government another €2-4 billion.

Thermal power

Thermal power plants are also of high importance with most of the capacity concentrated in the Maritsa Iztok Complex. The largest TPPs are:

::"Maritsa Iztok 2" - 1,450 MW::"Varna" - 1,260 MW::"Maritsa Iztok 3" - 870 MW::"Bobov Dol" - 630 MW::"Ruse Zapad" - 600 MW::"Maritsa Iztok 1" - 500 MW

There is a €1.4 billion project for additional 670 MW for the latter and €900 million for additional 600 MW for "Maritsa Iztok 3".

Other minor TPPs are: "Republika"-180 MW, "Sofia"-130 MW, "Sofia Iztok"-120 MW, "Plovdiv"-60 MW, "Pleven"-40 MW, "Pernik"-30 MW, "Sliven"-30MW and others.


Due to the limited hydro-potential of the country (excluding the Danube), the importance of hydro power is not so big. There are currently 87 hydro power plants with a combined capacity of 1,980 MW, most of them being located in the southern and south-western mountainous parts of Bulgaria. The largest Hydro Cascades are: "Belmeken-Sestrimo"-700 MW, "Dospat-Vacha"-670 MW, "Batashki Vodnosilov Pat"-220 MW. Important HPPs on the Arda river are: "Kardzhali"-106 MW; "Ivailovgrad" - 104 MW and "Studen Kladenets" - 60 MW. There is €65 million project for their modernization.

Three major Hydroelectric power plants are under construction: "Gorna Arda" - 160 MW; "Sreden Iskar" - 93MW, €60 million; "Tsankov Kamak"-90MW, €220 million.

Energy transit

Several major energy transportation routes to be passed through Bulgaria. The Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline and the Burgas-Vlore pipeline are oil transportation projects through Bulgaria to bypass Turkish straits in transportation of Russian and Caspian oil from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.cite news
title=Burgas-Alexandrupolis Pipeline Project
] cite news
title=AMBO pipeline clears another hurdle
publisher=Southeast European Times
author=Marina Stojanovska

Bulgaria is a transit country for Russian natural gas to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia.cite news
title=Bulgaria wants link to gas pipeline between Azerbaijan and Europe
publisher=EU Business
] New natural gas transit projects through Bulgaria are the South Stream pipeline and the Nabucco pipeline. The South Stream pipeline would transport Russian natural across the Black Sea from the Russian coast of Beregoyava to Burgas from where it would continue to the north-west to Central Europe and to the south-west to Greece and Italy.cite news |url = | title= Eni and Gazprom sign the agreement for the South Stream Project | publisher=Scandinavian Oil-Gas Magazine |date=2007-11-23 |accessdate=2008-02-24] The Nabucco pipeline would transport Caspian and Middle East gas through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to Central Europe.cite news
url =
title = Analysis: Europe's pipeline war
author= Stefan Nicola
publisher = United Press International
date = 2008-02-05
accessdate = 2008-02-24


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