Electricity

US-based KKR set to take over ContourGlobal

Maritsa-East-3-KKR-bulgaria

Photo: ContourGlobal

Published

May 20, 2022

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Published:

May 20, 2022

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US investment firm KKR is set to become a majority owner of Bulgarian thermal power plant Maritsa East 3, as well as wind and solar capacities in Austria, Italy, Slovakia, and Spain, after signing a deal to acquire the UK-registered electricity producer ContourGlobal. The 908 MW lignite-fired Maritsa East 3, which is 73% owned by ContourGlobal, accounts for 13% of electricity generated in Bulgaria.

KKR, which will pay about EUR 2.1 billion for ContourGlobal, said the acquisition could help the London-listed company to boost investment and achieve its goal to cut CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. ContourGlobal operates 138 thermal and renewable energy power plants in 20 countries around the world, whose overall generating portfolio is about 6.3 GW, according to the company’s website.

Its European assets include a 250 MW solar park in Spain, a 155 MW wind farm in Austria, a 65 MW solar park in Italy, and a 35 MW solar park in Slovakia. Other renewable assets include wind and hydropower plants in South America.

ContourGlobal operates wind and solar power plants in Italy, Austria, Slovakia and Spain

Maritsa East 3, located near the town of Galabovo, produced enough electricity in January-March to cover the needs of 1.4 million Bulgarian households, or half of the country’s homes, according to local media. It supplies power into the Bulgarian grid to be used for domestic consumption, but also for export to neighboring countries such as Greece, Turkey, North Macedonia and Serbia, according to ContourGlobal’s website.

The power plant’s electricity is exported to Greece, Turkey, North Macedonia, and Serbia

The remaining 27% stake in Maritsa East 3 is in the hands of Bulgaria’s National Electric Co. (NEK). The plant, according to Bulgarian media, operates in line with European environmental standards and uses local coal for electricity generation.

In 2020, ContourGlobal dropped plans to build a 450 MW coal-fired power plant in Kosovo*

In early 2020, ContourGlobal said it had scrapped plans to build a lignite-fired thermal power unit in Kosovo*, a project called Kosova e Re, with a projected capacity of at least 450 MW.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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