Toshiba Inches towards Massive Bulgarian Investment with Carbon Capture Study

Energy | July 5, 2011, Tuesday // 19:02|  views

Bulgarian Economy Minister Traicho Traikov (left) and Japanese Ambassador to Bulgaria Makoto Ito (right) opened the rehabilitated unit 8 of the Maritsa East 2 TPP repaired by Toshiba 32 days ahead of schedule. Photo by BGNES

Toshiba is going to perform a feasibility study for the construction of a coal-fired thermal power plant in Bulgaria that will feature carbon capture and storage facilities (CCS), the Japanese company has announced, apparently moving closer to a potential massive energy investment.

Toshiba Corp will inspect if a TPP with a carbon capture and storage facility could be built in the Maritsa East complex in southeast Bulgaria, which features a large-scale lignite coal mining complex and three major thermal power plants, Toshiba announced on Tuesday, as cited by Dow Jones.

Back in May 2011, when Toshiba completed the modernization the state-owned Maritsa East 2 TPP, Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traicho Traikov announced that Japanese corporation Toshiba had declared interest in building two new thermal power facilities in Bulgaria's Maritsa East TPP complex.

The Economy Minister said a potential Japanese investment in a new TPP in Maritsa East would amount to EUR 350 M. In comparison, US energy giant AES has invested EUR 1.3 B in two new units of the AES-Galabovo TPP in Maritsa East, while Italy's Enel invested EUR 700 M in the rehabilitation of the Maritsa East 3 TPP that it sold to Contour Global at the end of June 2011.

If realized, this would be Toshiba's second investment in Bulgaria's energy sector after at the end of January the Japanese corporation announced a project to invest EUR 37.6 M in a 10-MW solar park near Yambol during the visit of a Bulgarian state delegation in Japan.

Toshiba's CCS feasibility study in Bulgaria will be carried out together with Schlumberger Carbon Services, Sofia University and Taisei Corporation; itwill run from July 2011 to the end of March 2012, Toshiba has announced. It has been selected to carry out the feasibility study by the Bulgarian government.

In June 2011, the American AES Corp launched its TPP AES Galabovo, at Maritsa East 1, a 600-MW entity. At the very end of June, Italy's Enel completed the sale of 908-MW Maritsa East 3 to US investment fund Contour Global. The Bulgarian government owns the 1 580-MW Maritsa East 2 TPP. The entire Maritsa East complex with its 3 TPPs produces 30% of Bulgaria's energy.

There are several possibilities for investments in new coal-fired units in Bulgaria's Maritsa East TPP complex. According to Traikov, if the Toshiba investment is in the Maritsa East 2 TPP, it will be providing electricity at the lowest possible TPP price in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria's government has recently moved to cooperate very closely with Toshiba, mulling different options. Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traicho Traikov met with Norio Sasaki, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation in Tokyo in January 2011, with Toshiba offering Bulgaria a large-scale project in the field of renewable energy, "smart electricity grids" and electric cars.

This was followed up in February with an announcement that the Japanese corporation will open a regional representation in Bulgaria that will handle its operations in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Thus, Bulgaria will become the second European country after the UK with an EMEA operations office of Toshiba, according to the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Tourism.

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Tags: Maritsa East, Maritsa East 2, Maritsa Iztok, Maritsa Iztok 2, Traicho Traikov, Economy Minister, TPP, thermal power plant, Toshiba, Japan, Japanese Ambassador, carbon capture and storage, CCS, AES, AES Galabovo, Enel, Contour Global, Maritsa East 3, Maritsa East 1


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