Bulgaria backed by EIB for 1.6 GW of pumped storage 

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will conduct economic and technological feasibility studies on two Bulgarian pumped storage hydropower plants due to be operational by 2032. The projects will each add generation capacity of around 800 MW and will both come with a price tag of around €900 ($964) million. 
People with signed documents for pumped hydro projects
Bulgaria to get energy boost with two new pumped hydro projects. | Image: EIB

The EIB will advise and support Bulgaria’s national electricity company Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania EAD (NEK) as it embarks on the construction of two large pumped storage hydropower plants in the southwestern part of the country. The projects are named after the towns in which they will be located – Batak and Dospat.  

It is expected they will be operational by 2032. When they are completed, the Batak and Dospat plants will each add generation capacity of approximately 800 MW, strengthening Bulgaria’s electricity supply and expanding its storage capacity.  

They will boost grid flexibility, providing NEK with flexible 24-hour and weekly management, rapid capacity replacement during emergencies, and additional balancing services.  

Each plant will cost around €900 million. The EIB will advise the NEK on technical feasibility and economic viability so the organization can make strategic decisions about the development of the two plants. 

The plants are part of the Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) 2024 of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). 

“The partnership between the EIB and the Ministry of Energy is key to delivering projects that will contribute to achieving the energy transition,” commented Bulgaria’s interim Energy Minister Vladimir Malinov. 

“Among them is the development of pumped-storage hydropower plants, which could become the largest energy storage batteries in the region,” he added. “The implementation of such projects will enhance our energy security, improve Bulgaria’s energy infrastructure and achieve our decarbonization goals. We are grateful for the EIB’s expertise and support for this very important project.” 

EIB vice-president Kyriacos Kakouris said the Bank was pleased to provide its expertise to NEK, while NEK’s CEO Martin Georgiev highlighted hydropower’s role in Bulgaria’s green energy transition.  

NEK operates 31 hydropower and pumped-storage hydropower plants across the country, with a total installed generating capacity of 2,739 MW and a pumping capacity of 932 MW. 

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