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EIB to advise Bulgaria on two new pumped-storage hydro plants

Jun 12, 2024, 3:25:12 PMArticle by Mihaela Miteva
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June 12 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed on Wednesday an agreement with Bulgaria's state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK) to provide advisory support for the construction of two large pumped-storage hydropower plants it said.

EIB to advise Bulgaria on two new pumped-storage hydro plants
Image source: EIB, NEK

The two new renewable energy projects in southwestern Bulgaria, Batak and Dospat, each with a generation capacity of some 800 MW and an estimated cost of 900 million euro ($965.7 million), will expand storage capacity and strengthen electricity supply in Bulgaria and the EU, the EIB said in a press release.

The plants are expected to become operational by 2032.

As part of the agreement, EIB Advisory, a partner of the European Commission's InvestEU Advisory Hub, will assess the projects' technical feasibility and economic viability, along with their benefits and risks.

Located at hydropower cascade dams and reservoirs near the towns of Batak and Dospat, the hydropower plants will function as large rechargeable batteries, storing green energy. They will provide NEK with flexible management, fast capacity replacement during emergencies and additional balancing services.

"The partnership between the European Investment Bank and the ministry of energy is key to delivering projects that will contribute to achieving the energy transition. Among them is the development of pumped-storage hydropower plants, which could become the largest energy storage batteries in the region. The implementation of such projects will enhance our energy security, improve Bulgaria’s energy infrastructure and achieve our decarbonisation goals," caretaker energy minister Vladimir Malinov said.

Pumped-storage hydropower plants (PSHPPs) not only generate electricity but can also store and release it into the grid when needed, serving as giant batteries.

The two projects are part of the Ten-Year Network Development Plan 2024 of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.

The EIB Group consists of the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. In 2023, the group provided financial support of 1.11 billion euro for projects in Bulgaria, compared to 494 million in 2022.

($ = 0.932 euro)

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