Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister Roumen Ovarov has overseen the start of rehabilitation work at the Dolna Arda cascade of hydro power plants.

The Minister broke ground for a new 16MW hydraulic turbo alternator at the Studen Kladenets hydro station, which makes up the cascade along with the Krumovgrad and Ivailovgrad plants.

The US$81.6M Dolna Arda cascade upgrade project intends to boost the system’s capacity to 331MW from the current 270MW. The project is part of an agreement with Austria for cutting down noxious gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol.

VA Tech Hydro is in charge of rehabilitation work at all three plants, and the project should be finished in 2009.