The project brings in technology that will lead to compliance with EU environmental standards. The technology, and the improved compliance with international standards that it allows, provides a positive demonstration effect and is potentially replicable in the region where environmental performance is a problem and where there has been limited investment to control pollutant emissions in thermal generation power plants to date.
The project has significant economic benefits for the country and the region as it provides a relatively low cost alternative to new replacement capacity and supports the indigenous lignite mining industry.
- The project will be the first in the region where a medium term (5-year) Power Purchase Agreement will be used in anticipation of the expected liberalisation of the power market in accordance with the EU electricity directive. It is anticipated that Maritza East 2 will be a significant player in the early days of liberalisation of the power market. This is expected to have a good demonstration effect.
The project was screened B 1, requiring an Environmental Audit of the existing facilities and an Environmental Analysis of the proposed investment.
In addition to existing information in the technical specification of the project, information from a previous project at ME II and from other projects at ME I and ME III, specific studies were commissioned and reviewed. The new studies comprised an Environmental Audit of ME II plus an Environmental Analysis of the planned FGD retrofit; these studies were carried out in 2003.
Key issues are air emissions, water usage and discharges, FGD resources and FGD byproduct management and usage.
Relevant EU Directives include Directive 96/61/EC concerning integrated pollution prevention and control; Directive 2001/80/EC on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants and directives related to waste, plus the relevant Bulgarian regulations.
The main environmental benefits of the Project are such that the Units 5&6 will comply with Bulgarian and EU regulations after retrofit with FGD plants. The reduction of SO2 emissions will be 94% of the present emission values resulting in a reduction of 285'000 tons per year. Dust emissions will be also reduced by about 50% of the present emission values. Guaranteed is 1’200 mg/Nm3 for SO2 and below 50 mg/Nm3 for dust.
ME2 runs a so called “zero-discharge” system and there are actually no plans to change or quit this system due to the FGD Project for Units 5 & 6. Clarified and drainage water from the ash ponds is re-cycled to the wet ash handling system. Cooling tower blow-down is re-used for FGD plants, and FGD plants either are zero-discharge systems too or discharge via dredger pump stations to the ash ponds.
The FGD system uses the wet limestone/gypsum process. Limestone demand for Units 5&6 will be in the order of 300'000 tons per year. The source of limestone is not yet specified but a variety of sources is easily accessible. Delivery to the power station is planned to be by rail, independent of the source. There is no concern that the demand of ME2 could not be met at reasonable conditions. Quarrying 300'000 tons of limestone per year is not exceptional and does not need any specific environmental monitoring or remedial action. And none of the potential limestone quarries are located in protected areas.
As the massive reduction of SO2 emission is the main environmental rationale of the Project, designing for 94% continuous and 96% maximum rate (i.e. 94% without stand-by and 96% when also using the stand-by equipment) is a recommended environmental enhancement opportunity complying with the BATNEEC (Best available technology not entailing excessive costs) principle. This would also offset the limitations of Units 7&8 FGD, which (at that time) had been designed for 90% desulphurisation rate, only. Moreover, (Units 7&8 FGD must run all recirculation pumps even for 90 % rate, and they can hardly be pushed or upgraded without incurring inappropriate cost. The 2001/80/EC requirement for plants where installation has commenced before 1st January 2001 is in fact 92 %.
Dust reduction including identification of the sources that are not yet subject to dust preventing measures ('diffuse' or scattered sources, all kind of mechanical works for construction, maintenance and repairing, surface treatments, unpaved roads, outdated diesel engines, bus and car pool of the plant, etc.). Selection of measures with acceptable cost/benefit-ratio and implementation of these measures. It is recommended to consider at least partial covering of limestone unloading and stocking and to improve surface lining at ash pond.
Asbestos survey. It is suggested to initiate a general investigation on asbestos in the power station, on to develop appropriate containment and disposal measures.
Extension and Improvement of the existing Monitoring Program including additional periodic ambient air quality measurements, monitoring of fine particulate matter (PM10), extension of periodic water quality and ground water quality measurements.
- Continued efforts to increase the use of FGD gypsum. The re-use of ash/gypsum mixture should not be restricted to the actual backfilling at Staroselets site only. The material could also be used as amendment of acidic soil, provide plant nutrients, improve soil physical properties, help alleviate soil compaction. This will require development of market demand.
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