US energy giant AES is going to launch its Bulgarian thermal power plant AES Galabovo by the end of April, after a delay of several months, but only with a part of its total capacity.
AES Galabovo, formerly Bulgaria's state-owned Maritsa East 1 TPP, is a 670-MW thermal plant in which AES has invested some EUR 1.3 B. AES Galabovo is of strategic importance for the Bulgarian economy; it is the first major power plant to be built in Bulgaria in the past 20 years.
Only 420 MW of the total capacity of AES Galabovo will be launched in April 2011, Roy Reed, CEO of AES Galabovo told journalists Thursday. The units of the plant will reach their full production capacity by the end of 2011.
Unit 1 of AES Galabovo was supposed to be launched in October 2010, and unit 2 – a month later. However, problems with a turbine delivered by French company Alstom Power delayed the launch, and led AES to terminate it contact with Alstom with their dispute now being tackled in an arbitration court in London.
Meanwhile, the expenditures for including the additional production capacities of the new TPP were calculated in the electricity prices in Bulgaria by the National Electric Company NEK, which increased them by 3% for the end consumer in the last nine months; on the other hand, the delay caused AES to pay compensations to NEK. The State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation has promised that this additional income of NEK will taken into account when determining the new electricity prices as of July 1, 2011, in order to compensate the end consumers.
CEO of AES Bulgaria Peter Lighgow pointed out Thursday that AES is proud of what it has achieved in Bulgaria. He said that as of Monday the plant will start receiving supplies of lignite coal from the state owned Maritsa East Mines.