The thermal power plants have a key role for Bulgaria’s energy supply security especially in the winter season. As a case in point in the beginning of 2017 the Bulgarian energy system avoided a serious power shortage crisis due to the operation of the thermal power plants in the Maritsa East complex. This was reminded by the President of AES Bulgaria Olivier Marquette during the 7th Regional Energy Conference, organized by the Bulgarian Energy and Mining Forum. Mr. Marquette made a presentation on the “Importance of the coal industry for the energy security of Bulgaria”.
In January 2017 TPP AES Galabovo, which is the newest and most modern power plant in the country, operated at its two units’ maximum capacity. In this period the power plant produced some 10% of the total electricity in the country and reported over 99% production reliability.
“The TPPs had a key role for the energy security in January and February 2017. The extremely low temperatures hiked the consumption. The energy system load reached the record 7680 MW. The export of electricity was banned for 27 days. These coincided with the impossibility to import power from neighboring countries. The connection of some power plants’ cold reserve capacities turned up problematic. In this critical month the lignite coal-fired TPPs from the Maritsa basin were the spine of the system. Despite the heavy meteorological conditions they secured over 3000 MW installed capacity at a maximum load. TPP AES Galabovo had a vital contribution by producing 465 582 MWh electricity or over 10% of the necessary power for the country,” said Olivier Marquette.
He added that despite the fact that Bulgaria already has a significant amount of renewable energy sources, they still cannot substitute the thermal power plants in the cold winter months.
TPP AES Galabovo is fully prepared for work in winter conditions. That was confirmed by the inspection of the Energy Ministry in the beginning of November 2017. The power plant exceeded the requirements for fuel reserves of the coal plants by 50%. Currently TPP AES Galabovo has over 450 thousand tonnes of coal, while the set requirement is for 250 thousand tonnes.