Bulgaria will be able to export some 10% of its electricity output after the launch of its planned 2,000-megawatt (MW) Belene nuclear power plant, a senior analyst with state-owned power grid operator NEK said on Wednesday.
"There will be enough electricity to meet domestc demand and no shortages are expected, but before the launch of Belene [nuclear power plant] Bulgaria's electricity export potential will be insignificant," Dimcho Kanev told SeeNews on the sidelines of an energy conference organised by local business daily Dnevnik.
Earlier this year, Bulgaria signed a 3.99 billion euro ($5.9 billion) deal with Russia's Atomstroyexport (ASE) for the construction of the plant in Belene, on the Danube river. The country, which joined the European Union in 2007, hopes that the Belene plant will make up for the generating capacity and power exports it lost after closing down a second pair of Soviet-built reactors of 440 MW each at its sole Kozloduy nuclear power plant at the end of 2006.
Bulgaria's electricity consumption this year is expected to grow by some 3.0% to 39.8 terawatthours (TWh). Electricity exports in 2007 went down by 41.6% to 4.511 billion kWh.
Bulgaria expects to cover just 13% of the electricity deficits in Southeast Europe this year, down from 37% in 2007, because of ongoing repairs and modernisation of the country's coal-fired power plants.
Bulgaria will increase the share of renewable energy to 16% of its annual power consumption by 2020, aiming to meet EU requirements, Kanev said. The share of renewables in Bulgaria's final energy demand was less than one percent in 2005 under EU estimates.
The country will have in place hydro power plants with installed capacity of 2,543 MW by 2020 and some 2,000 MW of wind farms, Kanev added. The hydro power plants will account for 8.5% of Bulgaria's electricity output, while wind parks will generate 7.5% of the total. Nuclear and thermal power plants will generate 41.7% and 42.3%, respectively.
In 2006 hydro power plants generated 10.1% of Bulgaria's total electricity ouput and wind farms produced only 0.4%. Kozloduy nuclear power plant generated 42% of Bulgaria's 2006 electricity output and the remaining 47.2% was produced by coal-fired power plants, NEK data showed.
No figures for 2007 were immediately available.
To support electricity production from renewable sources, NEK is bound by law to buy the electricity they generate at preferential prices for a period of 12 years.
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