A fire in Maritza-Iztok Power plant, 24 June 2019, Source: Zelenkroki on Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Bulgaria’s largest coal plant cannot be closed at this time

Bulgaria’s largest coal plant cannot be closed at this time

Prime Minister Stefan Yanev announced that the plant will be operating at minimum capacity

On Saturday, 26 June, the Prime Minister of the Bulgarian interim government Stefan Yanev announced that the country cannot afford to shut down its largest coal-fired power plant. Maritza-Iztok 2 is located in one of the most fertile regions in the country – the Upper Thracian Plain, but it is an indispensable part of the country’s power grid. Instead, it will operate at minimum capacity.

The Centrepoint of the Energy grid

The Maritza-Iztok 2 plant has been operating at a huge loss for the past five years, as the government is forced to buy significant carbon allowances.

At the same time, the plant is a key part of Bulgaria’s energy grid at the moment. It balances its operation since it can provide extra power if there is a problem in any other sector.  

Bulgaria is not ready to leave coal behind

Bulgaria cannot provide an alternative for the nearly 100,000 people who are directly and indirectly affected by the country’s energy transition.

According to the prime minister a solution to the problem can not be reached in the next two weeks or two months, however, when designed such a solution has to be equally compatible with the interests of consumers and industries.

“We need to see how to improve the condition of the coal plant and if it is necessary to close it. This must happen with a step by step plan. The workers must be trained for other activities so that there is no tension,” stated the Prime minister.

He added that the country has a healthy budget increase at the moment and when the new government is eventually elected, they would have a certain degree of flexibility while dealing with the issue.  

Hopefully, the post-COVID financial injection coming to the country would help in the transition to more environmentally friendly sources of electricity.

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