NEK: Belene NPP to Solidify Bulgaria's Role as Electricity Exporter in 2020

Energy | November 25, 2010, Thursday // 16:08|  views

Bulgaria will be producing about 8 billion kWh of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Photo by BGNES

The construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant at Belene will make sense for the country if it gets long-term contracts for exporting electricity, according to a report of the National Electric Company NEK.

If the 2000-MW Belene plant is completed, by 2020 Bulgaria's electricity consumption will be secured, and the country will have free quantities of electricity for exports, says a NEK analysis presented at the Bulgarian Economic Forum in Sofia on Thursday.

One of the scenarios described in the paper says that Bulgaria's energy consumption will not change over the next 10 years because improvements in energy efficiency; another scenario says that it might grow by about 1.4% annually, which means it could reach 42 billion kW/h by 2020.

At the same time, if the Belene NPP is completed by that date, Bulgaria will be producing about 52 billion of kW/h per year, meaning that 10 billion kW/h could be exported.

In that respect, Dimcho Kanev, head of the "Forecasts, Development and Scientific Services" Department of NEK says that Bulgaria needs to seek long-term electricity exports contracts with neighboring states, or otherwise the Belene plant could "fall prey" to other similar projects in the region.

Kanev said that in addition to the Belene plant, there will be other new electricity production capacities launched in Bulgaria before 2020 – such as the notorious Tsankov Kamak hydro power plant and expansions of the AES thermal power plant Galabovo, as well as plants producing power from renewable sources.

Kanev's report pointed out that after the launch of Units 5 and 6 of the existing Kozloduy NPP in the 1980s and early 1990s Bulgaria stopped importing electricity from the then Soviet Union, and became an exporter, exporting about 5-8 billion kW/h of electricity annually. In 2010 so far, Bulgaria has exported about 6 billion kW/h of electricity, he said.

According to NEK's forecasts, by 2020, Bulgaria will be producing about 8 billion kW/h of electricity from renewable energy sources; of those, hydro power plants will still have the largest share despite the development of solar and wind parks in the recent years.

By 2020, Bulgaria will have hydro power plants with a total capacity of 2300 MW, wind parks – 1800 MW, photovoltaic (solar) parks – 300 MW, and biomass plants – 100 MW

NEK has estimated that it has to invest at least BGN 480 M in the country's power grid in order to guarantee that all new renewable energy facilities will included safely in the electricity distribution network, and to safeguard against blackouts. The investments will have to be concentrated in the regions of Dobrich, Burgas, Yambol, and Kardzhali.

NEK has predicted that the production cost of electricity from thermal power plants will rise after 2013 because of the requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from these facilities.

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Tags: Belene NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, AES, NEK, Dimcho Kanev, renewable energy sources


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