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Bulgaria, Country has no commitments to shut down specific coal-based facilities

20.Jan 2022.

In response to a question whether Bulgaria is obliged to close 1,400 MW of installed capacity in coal-fired thermal power plants in the Maritsa basin, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Asen Vassilev said that the country has no commitments to shut down specific coal-based facilities.

However, there is a commitment to reduce coal-based carbon dioxide emissions in Bulgaria, which allows the country to take different approaches to the matter and not to close specific power plants or coalmines.

The condition comes from the European Commission (EC), which in its remarks to the Recovery and Resilience Plan submitted by
Bulgaria, urged the country to confirm its commitment to close the most polluting coal-fired power plants. The EC also expects the state to
stop financially supporting TPP Maritsa East 2, by paying for its greenhouse gas emissions.

In October, the Bulgarian interim Government said that it plans to propose to the European Commission that the country should stop using
coal for electricity generation by 2038 at earliest. The other date to be considered for coal phase-out is 2040, adding that the Government is making efforts to extend the deadline for the closure of its coal-fired power plants until that date.

Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said that the result of the negotiation with the European Commission on the 2040 deadline extension will be known by the end of the week. He added that businesses and local governments in Bulgaria will need support to adapt to the transition to green energy, which has to be smooth, fair and take into account the specifics of Bulgaria’s economy.

There are four operational coal-fired power plants in Bulgaria – state-owned Maritsa East 2, ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3, AES Galabovo and Bobov Dol. These have a combined installed capacity of 3,848 MW and produce about 40 % of Bulgaria’s gross electricity consumption.