Bulgarian Varna thermal power plant (TPP) announced to build two new steam-gas combined cycle units of 275 megawatts (MW) each to replace decommissioned units. The total cost of the project amounts to 450 million euros.
Varna TPP signed a contract for the development of a technical-economic model for the project with three Russian companies – industrial valve products manufacturer Rakityanski Armaturny Zavod, steel pipe manufacturer Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya Kompaniya and power engineering company Atomenergomash.
The new steam-gas units will be equipped with a Siemens SGT5-2000E gas turbine, combined with a steam turbine, with an ISO capacity of 54.3 per cent and the ability to include hydrogen with a share of up to 30 per cent, according to the statement released on 2 June.
The power utility is owned by logistics company Sigda which acquired it from Czech energy group ČEZ in 2018. According to the press release, the new gas units would raise the plant’s operational capacity from the current 630 MW to 1.2 gigawatts (GW). The investment is also expected to reduce harmful emissions, increase reliability and reduce operating costs.
The project is expected to be completed and put into operation in early 2025.
On May 20, another Bulgarian energy firm, Grand Energy announced plans to convert the 600 MW Bobov Dol coal-fired power plant to run on gas and hydrogen from 2025. These transformations can speed up the coal phase-out in Bulgaria, a heavily coal-dependent country.
Bulgaria relies on large coal and lignite plants, which account for 45 per cent of its total electricity generation today. According to the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), by 2030 about 30 per cent of electricity generation should come from coal. In its assessment, the European Commission asked Bulgaria to consider climate and energy-related investment and measures including support for a coal phaseout strategy with a clear timeframe commitment as well as to ensure a just transition of coal and lignite-reliant areas.