Bulgaria to postpone and negotiate new dates for closing its coal-fired power plants

Bulgaria will try to postpone and negotiate new dates to meet Europe decarbonization goals without closing its coal plants located in Maritza Iztok complex. The process is very complex and includes international experts and experts from the Ministry of Environment and Water.

We have made a commitment and we will fulfill everything that the EU accepts in the field of decarbonization. We want our Recovery and Resilience Plan to be fully aligned with European initiatives. We are faced with an almost impossible task and we are mobilizing a huge resource to find a solution.

Rosen Hristov, Bulgarian Minister of Energy 

We are working with five EU countries and we are looking for a solution on how not to close the coal plants. Not only with Greece and Romania, but also with five other EU countries, we are working extremely actively to be able to find a solution that does not include the closure of coal-fired power plants in the country, because this is a matter of energy and national security.

Rosen Hristov, Bulgarian Minister of Energy

Maritsa Iztok Complex is the largest energy complex in South Eastern Europe. It is located in Stara Zagora Province, south-central Bulgaria. It consists of three lignite-fired thermal power stations. The complex is located in a large lignite coal basin, which includes several mines, enrichment plants, a briquette plant and its own railway system.

The complex is the largest source of CO2 emissions in Bulgaria and produces around 40% of country electricity needs. Maritza Iztok directly employs more than 15 000 people and indirectly more than 10 000 people which are involved in mining of coals, power plants and equipment maintenance and energy production.

A massive protest in defense of the coal industry is organized on January 12. It will be held under the title “To protect the energy security of the country” and it is expected that more than 3,000 protesters will participate in it. They will be from coal mining companies and thermal power plants throughout the country. The protest is in connection with the commitment made in the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector by 40% by the end of 2025 compared to their levels in 2019.

The protesters will demand that the National Assembly oblige the Council of Ministers to start negotiations with the EC to cancel this commitment as well as for the Parliament to guarantee the operation of coal plants at least until 2038 in accordance with the decision it already adopted in 2020. 

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