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The Maritsa Iztok Complex is the largest energy complex in South Eastern Europe. It is located in Stara Zagora Provincemarker, south-central Bulgariamarker. It consists of three lignite-fired thermal power stations. The complex is located in a large lignite coal basin, which includes several mines, enrichment plants, a briquette plant and its own railway system. The development of the thermal power and mining complex at Maritsa Iztok began in 1952, but the lignite deposits used to be known well in the mid 19 century. The Maritsa Iztok mines and power plants are interdependent as the only market for coal is the power plants, while the power plants have no other supplier of coal but the mines.

Maritsa Iztok-1 (TPS AES Galabovo)

Maritsa Iztok-1 is located near Galabovomarker ( ). In October 1998, the old power plant with a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) was privatized and sold to Consolidated Continental Commerce (3C), later purchased by AES Corporation. On 15 February 2000, AES and the Bulgarian grid operator Natzionalna Elektricheska Kompania EAD signed a 15-year tolling agreement, according to which AES has an obligation to replace the old power station with a new facility. In June 2006, AES started construction of the new 670 MW power station, which costs €1.2-1.4 billion. It will be the first large-scale power plant to be built in Bulgaria in the last 20 years, and the single largest foreign investment in Bulgaria and one of the largest green field investments in South East Europe. The new power station will consist of two pulverised coal boilers of 335 MW each, two steam turbines, two generators and desulphurisation facilities. The first unit should be ready in mid-2009, and the second unit should be ready six months later. The plant will be constructed by Alstom.

Maritsa Iztok-2

Maritsa Iztok-2 is the largest thermal power plant in the Balkans. It is located 60 km from Stara Zagora in the vicinity of the village of Radetski and the dam lake Ovcharitsa ( ). The construction of Maritsa Iztok-2 started on 7 May 1962; it was inaugurated on 10 November 1966. Between 1979 and 1995 the power station was expanded by four additional units. Maritsa Iztok-2 has a total installed capacity of 1,465 MW and generates 30 % of Bulgaria's electricity. It consists of eight generating units, two of which are equipped with flue gas desulphurization plants. The rehabilitation of the older power units, including construction of FGD plants for units 1 to 6, are in progress.

Maritsa Iztok-2 is wholly state-owned. It is a subsidiary of Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD.

Maritsa Iztok-3

Maritsa Iztok-3 is Bulgaria’s third-largest power plant. It is located from Stara Zagoramarker ( ). The power plant has an installed capacity of 900 MW, which is produced by four units of each 225 MW. It has a tall chimney.

In 1998, the United States power utility Entergy Corporation purchased 73% of Maritsa Iztok-3 shares for US$375 million from the Bulgarian state. Entergy also has the obligation to modernize the power station. In 2002, the Italian power company Enel joined the project; in 2006 Enel acquired Entergy's stake. At present, Maritsa Iztok-3 is owned and operated by Energiina Kompaniya Maritsa Iztok 3 AD, a joint venture of Enel (73 %) and NEK (27 %).

Enel is planning to invest in a new 700-800 MW coal-fired power plant next to the existing Maritsa Iztok-3 plant. The new power plant is expected to cost €900 million.

New power station

The Bulgarian power regulator is expected to open a competitive procedure for the construction of a new 700 MW plant in the Maritsa Iztok basin. In addition to Enel's new power station project, the construction of a new power station is proposed by the German utility RWE. RWE and the Martisa Iztok mining complex have signed an agreement on setting up a joint company that will apply for construction of the power station. RWE expects the investment to be €900 million to €1 billion, and the power station to be ready by 2013.

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