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Energy in Bulgaria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Studen Kladenets Dam and HPP.
Studen Kladenets Dam and HPP.

Energy in Bulgaria describes energy and electricity production, consumption and trade in Bulgaria.

Although Bulgaria is not very rich in fossil 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. Nuclear power produces 36% of Bulgaria's power. Bulgaria is a major producer and exporter of electricity in the region and plays an important role in the energy balance on the Balkans. The country's strategic geographical location makes it a major hub for transit and distribution of oil and gas from Russia to Western Europe and other Balkan states. Bulgaria is completely self-sufficient in energy, and exports massive amounts of natural gas. It produces almost no oil, however, and is heavily dependent on imports for crude oil. Most of Bulgaria's energy is produced from fossil fuels, almost twice the amount of hydropower or nuclear energy.[1]

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 Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD, a successor of the state-owned 'Neft i Gas' (Oil and Gas) established in 1973. The holding company's business composes of subsidiaries operating in different energy sectors: electricity: Kozloduy nuclear power plant, Maritsa East 2 thermal power plant, NEK EAD and Elektroenergien sistemen operator (ESO); natural gas: Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz; coal mining: Mini Maritsa Iztok (Maritsa East mines). The state holds a 100% stake in the holding company.[2][3]

Coal mining

Mining transport in Devnya, Bulgaria.
Mining transport in Devnya, Bulgaria.

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 cannot be exploited. There are several minor oil and gas deposits in Northern Bulgaria.

Oil and natural gas

Bulgaria is believed to have extensive natural gas resources but due to a successful campaign against hydraulic fracturing does not, as of 2014, permit exploration or exploitation of this possibility.[4][5]

Power production

Republika TPP near Pernik
Republika TPP near Pernik

The production of electricity was 38.07 billion kWh in 2006.[6] For comparison, Romania, which has a population nearly three times larger than that of Bulgaria, produced 51.7 billion kWh[6] in the same year. In production per capita, the country is in fourth place in Eastern Europe.

Energy in Bulgaria in 2017.png

Nuclear power

Bulgaria has the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant with six reactors, out of which only two are online (four reactors were taken off-line in 2004 and 2007), with a combined capacity of 3,760 MW and covering 36% of country's energy demand.

Thermal power

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

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

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

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

In November 2014 the Maritsa Iztok 2 lignite-fired power station was ranked as the industrial facility that is causing the highest damage costs to health and the environment in Bulgaria and the entire European Union by the European Environment Agency.[7]


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" – 93 MW, €60 million; "Tsankov Kamak" – 90 MW, €220 million.

Wind power

Large-scale prospects for wind energy development[8] have spurred the construction of numerous wind farms, making Bulgaria one of the fastest-growing wind energy producers in the world.[9] However, the country has added very little new wind energy capacity since 2012, as evidenced by the EWEA statistical data below.

EU and Bulgaria wind energy capacity (MW)[10][11][12][13][14][15][16]
Rank Country 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
- EU-28 6,453 9,678 12,887 17,315 23,159 28,599 34,383 40,511 48,069 56,517 64,712 74,767 84,074 93,957 106,454 117,384 129,060 141,579
17th Bulgaria 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 10 36 57 120 177 375 612 674 681 691 691

Energy transit

Bulgarian gas infrastructure map.
Bulgarian gas infrastructure map.

Several major energy transportation routes are 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.[17][18] However, these two projects were abandoned due to their unclear economic rationale and public opposition in communities across the sea coast due to a threat to the tourism industry.

Bulgaria is a transit country for Russian natural gas to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia.[19] Natural gas transit projects through Bulgaria are the South Stream pipeline and the Nabucco pipeline. The South Stream pipeline, cancelled as of 2014, would have transported Russian natural across the Black Sea from the Russian coast of Beregoyava to Burgas from where it would have continued to the north-west to Central Europe and to the south-west to Greece and Italy.[20] The Nabucco pipeline would transport Caspian and Middle East gas through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to Central Europe.[21]

The construction of Balkan Stream, the continuation of Turk Stream through Bulgaria, began in September 2019. The new pipeline will allow the transit of up to 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from the Turkish border to Serbia.[22]

See also


  1. ^ Retrieved 20 January 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Bulgaria Consolidates Five Energy Companies into Holding". Sofia News Agency. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  3. ^ "Bulgaria announces birth of energy giant with new holding company". Power Engineering. 2008-02-14. Archived from the original on 2008-10-18. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  4. ^ Aviezer Tucker (December 19, 2012). "The New Power Map: World Politics After the Boom in Unconventional Energy". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved December 31, 2014. The mark of outside influence is clear: In Bulgaria, there are rarely demonstrations of any kind
  5. ^ By Jim Yardley and Jo Becker (December 30, 2014). "How Putin Forged a Pipeline Deal That Derailed". The New York Times. The Times Company. Retrieved December 31, 2014. Almost immediately, a well-organized campaign emerged to kill shale exploration before it began, fueled in part by loyalists for Ataka, one of the several far-right parties that Putin has cultivated in Europe.
  6. ^ a b, Electricity production as of 2006
  7. ^ "Industrial facilities causing the highest damage costs to health and the environment". European Environment Agency. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Bulgaria Renewable Energy Fact Sheet (EU)" (PDF). Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  9. ^ Bulgaria set for massive growth in wind power, European Wind Energy Association, 2010
  10. ^ EWEA Staff (2010). "Cumulative installed capacity per EU Member State 1998 - 2009 (MW)". European Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  11. ^ EWEA Staff (February 2011). "EWEA Annual Statistics 2010" (PDF). European Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
  12. ^ EWEA Staff (February 2012). "EWEA Annual Statistics 2011" (PDF). European Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2011-02-18.
  13. ^ Wind in power: 2012 European statistics February 2013
  14. ^ EWEA Annual Statistics 2013
  15. ^ EWEA Annual Statistics 2014
  16. ^ EWEA Annual Statistics 2015
  17. ^ "Burgas-Alexandrupolis Pipeline Project". Transneft. Archived from the original on 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  18. ^ Marina Stojanovska (2007-02-14). "AMBO pipeline clears another hurdle". Southeast European Times. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  19. ^ "Bulgaria wants link to gas pipeline between Azerbaijan and Europe". EU Business. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2008-02-24.[dead link]
  20. ^ "Eni and Gazprom sign the agreement for the South Stream Project". Scandinavian Oil-Gas Magazine. 2007-11-23. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  21. ^ Stefan Nicola (2008-02-05). "Analysis: Europe's pipeline war". United Press International. Archived from the original on 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  22. ^ BGNES (2020-11-09). "TASS: Balkan Stream gas pipeline has been completed". Bulgarian National Radio. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
This page was last edited on 21 November 2020, at 19:42
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