Bulgaria: Financial support for transmission network modernization

, SEE Energy News

In order to proceed with modernization of electricity transmission network plans, Bulgarian electricity transmission system operator ESO will receive 238 million euros from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. The total investment in the modernization project should reach around 260 million euros, of which 238 million euros will be received from EU funds, while the remaining sum represents ESO’s investment. The plan is currently being finalized and has not yet been submitted to the European Commission for approval. But experts say it is unlikely that this project will be rejected, because Brussels has already confirmed that its financing will not represent state aid.

However, it is evident that ESO is planning to hire local company EMU, which has been literally subscribed to the realization of ESO projects in recent year, as the main contractor. According to documents from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the implementation of modernization activities will begin immediately after Brussels approves the company’s project. It is also stated that the project will be realized by awarding contracts for procurement and implementation in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement. But in the next sentence, it is added that there will be no new tenders, because ESO has already signed framework agreements that enable the start of project activities immediately after approval.

Namely, ESO has signed a contract with EMU and related Impulse Co. for the delivery of equipment and construction and installation works, which will be used to launch the first project – automated substation management system, with the budget of over 190 million euros.

The automated management system will enable the connection of new renewable energy capacities to the network. ESO expects that new 4,000 MW of installed capacity in renewable energy sources will be connected to the network by 2026.