Lignite-fired plants to go ahead by 2008

Two new units at Bulgaria’s Maritsa Iztok 1 thermal power plant are to be launched by mid-July by American power developers AES at a cost of lev 2.0 billion (€ 1.0 billion). Commercial operations of the two 670 MW units are expected to commence by the end of 2008. The government has reportedly guaranteed to issue all permits and licences needed for the successful completion of the AES project. AES is to secure 70% of the funding needed for the project via loans from CALYON, ING Bank, BNP Paribas and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the remaining 30% from own funds. Local lignite mining company Mini Maritsa Iztok has won an annual lev 80 million (€ 41 million) contract to supply fuel to the plant.