Electricity

Romania and Bulgaria agree to build two hydropower plants on Danube

Photo: mike wolf from Pixabay

Published

January 23, 2023

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Published:

January 23, 2023

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Romania and Bulgaria have agreed to build two hydroelectric plants on the Danube. They should become operational within the next five to six years. Romanian Hidroelectrica will construct the facilities. One of the projects, with a capacity of 840 MW, already has a feasibility study. The two countries should sign a memorandum of cooperation next month.

Romania and Bulgaria have agreed to build two hydropower projects on the Danube. Romania’s state-owned company Hidroelectrica will be the main contractor on both projects on the Danube. The construction of the two hydropower plants could take an estimated five to six years.

The first power plant will be located between Turnu Măgurele in Romania and Nikopol in Bulgaria. It will have a capacity of 840 MW. Feasibility studies have already been produced for this project.

The second hydropower plant will be near Silistra on the Bulgarian side and Călărași on the Romanian side. The feasibility study for this project is only in the initial stage.

The two plants will be used jointly by the two neighboring countries based on the model of HPPs at the Iron Gate, operated jointly by Romania and Serbia, Balkan Insight reported, citing a document published on Tuesday by the Bulgarian government.

Turnu Măgurele – Nikopol has been on hold for decades

The first studies for the Turnu Măgurele – Nikopol complex were made in the 1960s. Romania and Bulgaria signed the first agreement in 1975, but the HPP project has been on hold for decades, as the Bulgarian side has so far been reluctant to support the construction of the hydroelectric power plant.

The hydropower system consists of two hydropower plants that are identical in equipment and power, one of which belongs to Romania, on the left bank of the Danube, and the other to Bulgaria, on the right bank.

Hydropower complex Turnu Măgurele – Nikopol will provide 4.4 TWh of electricity a year

The hydropower complex Turnu Măgurele – Nikopol should provide 4.4 TWh of electricity annually. The facility will have substations on both river banks, interconnected by a transmission line across the Danube. The project also envisions the construction of two bridges over the dams in this complex, and it will have two locks for river traffic navigation.

Memorandum of cooperation to be signed next month

The energy ministers of the two countries, Virgil Popescu and Rossen Hristov, have already discussed these projects. Representatives of the two countries are expected to sign a memorandum of cooperation on the joint projects next month, according to BalkanInsight.

Bulgaria plans to develop a total of 870 MW of new hydropower projects by 2030

Bulgaria expects the two new hydropower plants to increase its energy independence. The projects are also an integral part of Bulgaria’s 2053 energy strategy.

According to the strategy, Bulgaria plans to develop 870 MW of new hydropower projects by 2030 and 1.27 GW by 2050.

A study recently prepared by the Bucharest-based Energy Policy Group (EPG) cites the construction of a joint artificial energy island in the Black Sea as the potential for cooperation between Romania and Bulgaria, which would allow further development of offshore wind projects. The study notes that developing offshore wind farms is one of the best ways to decarbonize the energy sector in the two countries.

In the past several months, Romanian companies revived a string of abandoned hydropower projects.

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