Energy in Bulgaria

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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 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. Nuclear power produces 40% of Bulgaria's power. Bulgaria is a major producer and exporter of electricity in the region and plays an important role for the energy balance in 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.

Energy sector holding[edit]

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. The holding company composes 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.[1][2]

Coal mining[edit]

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.

Power production[edit]

Republika TPP near Pernik.

The production of electricity was 38.07 billion kWh in 2006.[3] For comparison, Romania, which has a population nearly three times larger that of Bulgaria, produced 51.7 billion kWh[3] in the same year. In production per capita, the country is in fourth place in Eastern Europe.

Nuclear power[edit]

Bulgaria has the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant with six reactors, out of which only two are online (4 reactors were taken off-line in 2004 and 2007), with a combined capacity of 3,760 MW and covers about 40% of country's energy demand.

Thermal power[edit]

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 Iztok" - 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.

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.[4]


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.

Alternative energy[edit]

Large-scale prospects for wind energy development[5] have spurred the construction of numerous wind farms, making Bulgaria one of the fastest-growing wind energy producers in the world.[6]

EU and Bulgaria Wind Energy Capacity (MW)[7][8][9][10]
No Country 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
- EU-27 105,696 93,957 84,074 74,767 64,712 56,517 48,069 40,511 34,383 28,599 23,159 17,315 12,887 9,678 6,453
16 Bulgaria 684 612 375 177 120 57 36 10 10 0 0 0 0 0 0

Energy transit[edit]

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.[11][12]

Bulgaria is a transit country for Russian natural gas to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia.[13] 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.[14] The Nabucco pipeline would transport Caspian and Middle East gas through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to Central Europe.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bulgaria Consolidates Five Energy Companies into Holding". Sofia News Agency. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  2. ^ "Bulgaria announces birth of energy giant with new holding company". Power Engineering. 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  3. ^ a b, Electricity production as of 2006
  4. ^ "Industrial facilities causing the highest damage costs to health and the environment". European Environment Agency. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bulgaria Renewable Energy Fact Sheet (EU)" (PDF). Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Bulgaria set for massive growth in wind power, European Wind Energy Association, 2010
  7. ^ EWEA Staff (2010). "Cumulative installed capacity per EU Member State 1998 - 2009 (MW)". European Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  8. ^ EWEA Staff (February 2011). "EWEA Annual Statistics 2010". European Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  9. ^ EWEA Staff (February 2012). "EWEA Annual Statistics 2011". European Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  10. ^ Wind in power: 2012 European statistics February 2013
  11. ^ "Burgas-Alexandrupolis Pipeline Project". Transneft. Archived from the original on 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  12. ^ Marina Stojanovska (2007-02-14). "AMBO pipeline clears another hurdle". Southeast European Times. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  13. ^ "Bulgaria wants link to gas pipeline between Azerbaijan and Europe". EU Business. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2008-02-24. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Eni and Gazprom sign the agreement for the South Stream Project". Scandinavian Oil-Gas Magazine. 2007-11-23. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  15. ^ Stefan Nicola (2008-02-05). "Analysis: Europe's pipeline war". United Press International. Retrieved 2008-02-24.