Project number:


Business sector:

Power and energy

Notice type:


Environmental category:


Approval date:

23 Jul 2002



PSD disclosed:

19 Jun 2002

Project Description

Proposed rehabilitation of the 840MW Maritza East III power plant to improve efficiency and extend useful life and meet applicable World Bank and EU environmental standards. The project will rehabilitate and environmentally retrofit the 840 MW lignite-fired Maritza East III power plant. The environmentally sound improvement in efficiency and extension of life of such base load thermal capacity is part of a cost-effective strategy to retire the oldest units at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant.

Transition Impact

The transition impact of the loan derives from the following:
  • The project will be the first private sector financing and first major foreign investment in the power sector in Bulgaria (together with Maritza East I) and will have good demonstration and confidence-building impact on the country and the region.
  • The project introduces technology that will lead to compliance with EU environmental standards and provides a viable alternative to nuclear capacity. The technology, and the improved compliance with international standards that it allows, is potentially replicable in the region, where environmental performance is a problem, and where there has been little investment in generation to date.
  • The project has significant economic benefits for the country and the region as it extends the life and improves the fuel efficiency of a plant using indigenous fuel, and provides low cost, reliable power for the future.
  • The project will be the first in the region (together with MEI), where a long term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) anticipates the expected liberalisation of the power market in accordance with the EU electricity directive, and contains unique provisions which should ensure that the agreement will not pose an obstacle to liberalisation of the power market in the future. This will have good demonstration effects, particularly in EU accession countries.

The Client

Maritza East III Power Company AD, a joint venture company (JVC) between Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania, the state-owned Bulgarian transmission and dispatch company and the single buyer in the system (minority shareholder), and Entergy, a large energy utility in the US (majority shareholder). JVC will be the owner and operator of the existing Maritza East III Power Plant.

EBRD Finance

The EBRD expects to provide up to €132.1 million senior loan alongside the commercial banks that will provide up to €215 million. A further €20 million is expected to be provided by the Black Sea Trade Development Bank.

Project Cost

€648 million.

Environmental Impact

  • The project was initially screened B/1, but later re-classified as A/1 requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Audit. This change of classification was due to the fact that the project involves, potentially, a significant plant life extension. The project was subject to an EIA under national law which included extensive public consultation.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment of this project is available in the Bank and posted on the web site (dated August 2000).
  • The sponsor also prepared a second EIA (in English, with an extended summary in Bulgarian) aimed to comply with the requirements of IFIs. This EIA, which is based on the EU EIA Directive, was in compliance with the Bank’s environmental due diligence requirements and addressed all relevant issues. On the basis of this EIA the sponsor subsequently carried out a second public consultation program in compliance with Bank requirements. Public consultation did not raise any relevant issues.
  • Air emissions (particularly particulate emissions and sulphur dioxide (SO2)) are the two key environmental and public health and safety issues for the plant and the entire Maritza area. This is due to the poor fuel and the absence of adequate control technology in the existing power stations (with the exception of new units at Maritza East II). The project will address these issues for Maritza East IIII, providing state of the art environmental technology and thus enabling much improved subsequent plant performance in relation to emission control (particularly installation of flue gas desulphurization and efficient electrostatic precipitators), discharges and solid waste (ash) management and disposal.
  • The Project is designed to meet all relevant EU and Bulgarian environmental requirements, particularly the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive. Compliance with emission standards is a covenanted requirement and will be monitored by the Bank.
There is an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment available for this project.

Technical Cooperation

(i) Study of the options for sulphur reduction at Maritza East III (funded from German TC funds), and (ii) Legal and Financial Advisors' to NEK and the Government to assist in their negotiations with IPP developers including Entergy (EU Phare Bangkok facility).

Company Contact


Business opportunities

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