Bulgaria's power utility starts rehabilitation of Chaira, Belmeken HPPs

Lower reservoir Chaira Dam and entrance to PSHPP Chaira / Photo: NEK

SOFIA (Bulgaria), February 4 (SeeNews) - Bulgarian state-owned National Electricity Company, NEK, has started rehabilitating Chaira and Belmeken pumped-storage hydro power plants (HPPs), the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) said.

Works on the Belmeken plant are expected to be completed by the end of August, while the rehabilitation of Chaira is planned to be wrapped up by the end of the year, IBEX said in two separate notices posted on its website on Friday.

During the works, the Belmeken plant - which has 375 MW capacity in generating mode, will be left with 150 MW of unavailable generating capacity. The plant will operate in its full pumping mode of 104 MW throughout the rehabilitation works.

Chaira HPP, which is the biggest pump-storage hydro power plant in Southeast Europe according to NEK, has an installed capacity of 864 MW in generating mode and 792 MW in pumping mode. While the rehabilitation takes place, the plant will be left with 216 MW of unavailable generating capacity and 198 MW of pumping mode capacity.

NEK is currently also rehabilitating Sestrimo HPP, which is part of the same complex as Chaira and Belmeken.

Last year, NEK signed a 19.9 million euro ($22.8 million) contract with a consortium comprising Czech company CKD Blansko, Croatia's Koncar-KET and Slovenia's Rudis, envisaging rehabilitation of the Momina Klisura and Sestrimo HPPs and Belmeken pumped storage HPP. 

The contract is part of a project for the rehabilitation of Belmeken – Sestrimo – Chaira hydro power complex, Vacha-1 HPP 110 kV switchyard and other HPP systems of integrated control. The overall budget of the project is 37 million euro, with 70% to be financed by the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Fund and 30% by NEK, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which administers the fund, said last year.

($ = 0.8716 euro)

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