Bulgaria: CEZ to restart talks on TPP Varna joint investment with Bulgarian energy holding

, SEE Energy News

Varna thermal power plant, owned by the Bulgarian branch of Czech energy company CEZ, is about to suspend its operation in the end of 2014 or invest in upgrade with flue gas desulphurization systems (FGDs).Varna TPP has three 210 MW operating units used so far only as cold reserve. CEZ initiated new round of talks with Bulgarian energy holding.

Power utility CEZ and the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) have been going through another round of talks on the future of Varna thermal power station. The plant which is due for a delayed modernisation is facing indefinite closure by end-2014.

One of the options discussed was the creation of a project company which should find financing for the environmental retrofitting of the TPPs units 3, 4 and 5. This joint venture would then rent the power plant and operate it.

Multiple options for the upgrade of Varna TPP have been considered, including retrofitting with FGDs all six units, shifting to burning natural gas and migrating to other types of coal for the newer three units, while the older ones would be substituted by a modern cogeneration.

While CEZ has invested BGN 600 m (EUR 300 m) in Varna TPP since it took over in 2006, the power plant has been operating at a loss since in 2013. The power plant used to cover up to 60 percent of the country’s need for backup generation at the lowest price of all such units. 2013 saw its cold reserve price and operational hours shrink even more which led to the final scrapping of all upgrade plans.