Miners strike in Bulgaria continues
Photo: Georgi Kozhouharov
Mini Maritsa Iztok is the main source of coal for three thermal power plants in central Bulgaria, which are among the largest in the country: state-owned Maritsa Iztok 2 with 1556MW installed power, 840MW Maritsa Iztok 3 (which New York-based Contour Global recently acquired from Italy’s Enel), and 670MW AES Gulubovo, owned by US firm AES.
Each of those power plants has enough coal reserves to operate at full capacity between two and three weeks, the head of Bulgaria’s State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, Angel Semerdjiev, said.
Should the strike go on for more than a week, it would result in an increase in electricity prices, he said. A month-long stoppage could result in a price hike of at least 10 per cent starting July.
If the three power plants in central Bulgaria are forced to shut down, Bulgaria can fire up mothballed coal-powered plants in Bobov Dol and Varna to make up for the shortfall, but these power plants produce electricity at a higher cost than the Maritsa Iztok plants, thus the increase in electricity prices, Semerdjiev said.