Bulgaria revives plans for Danube hydro totaling 1,410 MW

Bulgaria’s Cabinet decided September 25 to revive communist-era plans to develop, with neighboring Romania, four hydroelectric projects on the Danube River totaling 1,410 MW.

The Cabinet directed Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov to coordinate and head a working group to carry out a feasibility study of the Nikopol-Turnu Magurele and Silistra-Calarasi hydropower complexes, first announced more than 30 years ago. The group also is to explore public-private partnerships to fund their construction, the Cabinet said.

The projects include construction of two 440-MW hydropower plants at the towns of Nikopol in Bulgaria and Turnu Magurele in Romania and two 265-MW plants at Silistra in Bulgaria and Calarasi in Romania. (HNN 6/9/08) In addition to generating electricity, the statement said, the projects would improve conditions for navigation along the Danube, which is a major transport artery.

The Balkan country has said it will expand hydroelectric production to help it meet European Union targets to raise renewable energy’s share to 20 percent of all power by 2020. Hydropower now accounts for 10 percent of Bulgaria’s electricity.

Dimitrov announced in August that Bulgaria would attempt to revive the long-delayed 170-MW Gorna Arda hydropower complex on the Gorna Arda River after CCG, part of Turkey’s Ceylan conglomerate, agreed to sell its stake in the project and end a dispute over its development. (HNN 8/28/08)

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