Maritsa Itzok-2 power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Maritsa Itzok-2 power station is an operating power station of at least 1602-megawatts (MW) in Kovachevo, Galabovo, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Maritsa Itzok-2 power station Kovachevo, Galabovo, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 42.254053, 26.134007 (exact)[1]

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4, Unit 5, Unit 6, Unit 7, Unit 8: 42.254053, 26.134007
  • Unit 10, Unit 9: 42.255, 26.135
  • Unit 1: 42.25405, 26.13401

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology CHP Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - lignite 177 subcritical 1966
Unit 1 shelved[2][3] gas, hydrogen[4][5] 1000[4][5] not found not found
Unit 1 shelved [4][5] 1000[4][5] unknown
Unit 10 cancelled coal - lignite 280 unknown
Unit 2 operating coal - lignite 165 subcritical 1967
Unit 3 operating coal - lignite 177 subcritical 1967
Unit 4 operating coal - lignite 177 subcritical 1968
Unit 5 operating coal - lignite 210 subcritical 1985
Unit 6 operating coal - lignite 232 subcritical 1985
Unit 7 operating coal - lignite 232 subcritical 1990
Unit 8 operating coal - lignite 232 subcritical 1995
Unit 9 cancelled coal - lignite 280 unknown

CHP is an abbreviation for Combined Heat and Power. It is a technology that produces electricity and thermal energy at high efficiencies. Coal units track this information in the Captive Use section when known.

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner Parent
Unit 1 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 1 TPP Maritsa-2 EAD[4] Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD [100.0%]
Unit 1 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD
Unit 10 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 2 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 3 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 4 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 5 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 6 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 7 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 8 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]
Unit 9 TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Maritsa Iztok coal basin


  • Source of financing: JBIC


Maritsa Iztok-2 is the largest thermal power plant in the Balkans.[6] 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 is wholly state-owned. It is a subsidiary of Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH).[7][8][9]

It consists of eight generating units, two of which are equipped with flue gas desulphurization plants. It is a key element in the Bulgarian electric power system by providing the base load for consumption and frequency regulation in the system. Coal is supplied by the Maritsa Coal Mines.


In March 2023, The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Bulgaria broke the law by allowing the Maritsa Istok-2 plant to pollute the air with sulphur dioxide (SO2) beyond EU legal limits.[10][11] At the end of 2018, the Bulgarian government granted the plant a derogation so that the plant could burn more coal. The derogation gave the coal plant’s operators indefinite permission to emit almost double the amount of sulphur dioxide (SO2) allowed by EU law, to the detriment of the lives and wellbeing of people in the surrounding area.[11]

In August 2023, it was reported that the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court had referred a court challenge against the derogation back to a lower court, effectively allowing the plant to continue polluting beyond legal limits.[12]

Capacity and Production

The company's financial report for 2022 stated capacity of 1,610MW.[13] However the sum of unit capacities available suggest capacity of 1,602 MW.

The plant sold 8,406,338 MWh of electricity in 2022, 64% higher than in 2021.[14]

Maritsa Iztok-2 Units 1-6 rehabilitation project

In 2004, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) provided 85% of the funding for a €306.5 million project to rehabilitate Units 1-4. The remainder was financed by Bulbank. The project included replacing old turbines and generators with new ones and adding fluidized gas desulfurization (FGD) systems. In addition, funds were provided to refurbish the turbines for Units 5 and 6. The lead contractor was Japan’s Mitsui Power Projects, which won a €226mn contract for the work in April 2003. The lead subcontractors were Japan’s Toshiba and IHI.[15]

The overhauls for Units 1 and 2 were completed in 2007.[15]

Another project involved adding FGD systems for Units 5&6. This was expected to cost €80.3 million, with 46% provided by an EU Structural Policies for Pre-accession (ISPA) grant, 42% from a syndicated loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) agreed in November 2004, and the rest from equity.[15]

The Unit-3 overhaul and the FGD retrofit were completed in October 2008.[15]

According to an auditor's report, Unit 1 went into operation after rehabilitation in September 2007 at 177 MW; Unit 2 went into operation after rehabilitation in May 2007 at 165 MW; Unit 3 went into operation at 177 MW in November 2008; and Unit 4 went into operation at 177 MW at the beginning of 2009. In 2010, Unit 6 went into operation after rehabilitation at 232 MW; at the beginning of 2011, Unit 8 did the same.[16][17]

In December 2014 the project for rehabilitation of unit 5 and 7 turbines was completed, due to which the installed capacity of the plant reached 1610 MW.[18]

Maritsa Iztok-2 Units 9 and 10

In November 2012, Bulgarian Energy Holding announced that it was making plans to build two new units at the Maritsa Iztok-2 station, and seeking a strategic investor, with whom costs and revenues would be split on a percentage ownership basis. Each new unit would be 280 MW.[19]

In February 2015 it was reported that the state-owned Electricity System Operator believed Maritsa-Iztok 2 would not need an expansion by units 9 and 10 over the next 10 years. The forecast was part of a draft plan for the development of the country's electricity network in the period 2015-2024.[20]

As of May 2017 there was no longer any official mention of plans for the units, which appear cancelled.

Coal Phase-out

In 2021, Bulgaria indicated that it may close all coal-fired power plants by 2025. As part of this coal phase-out, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan highlighted that for Maritsa Iztok 2 power station, 1.4 GW of coal capacity will be replaced with a minimum of 1 GW of gas.[21] However, the plans were cancelled in early 2022, citing energy security concerns and a growing awareness of the lock-in effects of investing in more fossil-fuel fired infrastructure.[22]

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) approved in April 2022 referred to 2038 as the (non-binding) coal phase-out date. The NRPP included also targets for CO2 reduction until 2025, with 8% reduction by the end of 2022, 18% reduction by the end of 2023, 28% reduction by the end of 2024, and 40% by the end of 2025, versus 2019 levels. 2022 target was not achieved as coal-fired generation increased on the back of the war in Ukraine and the cut-off from Russian gas.[23][24]

In January 2023, Bulgarian Ministry of Energy published its Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development of the Energy Sector up to 2053. The document acknowledged that the drastic reduction of CO2 emissions from coal plants by 2025 stipulated in the 2022 NRRP was unrealistic, threatens national energy system stability and will be difficult to achieve in view of current high market prices. As a result, the strategy recommends the use of domestic coal resources by 2030 and their gradual reduction until decommissioning by 2038.[25]

As of June 2023, it is understood that an updated NRPP and a coal phase-out schedule may be renegotiated with the European Commission later in 2023.

Articles and Resources


  1.!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x0:0xad27cef590f12530!2zNDLCsDE1JzE0LjYiTiAyNsKwMDgnMDIuNCJF!3b1!8m2!3d42.25405!4d26.13401!3m4!1s0x40a7dd680c808f65:0xedf40063b3d407e1!8m2!3d42.2541227!4d26.1328393. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. "Maritsa Iztok 2 financing secured". The Sofia Echo. 2004-07-15. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  7. "Bulgaria Consolidates Five Energy Companies into Holding". Sofia News Agency. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  8. "Bulgaria announces birth of energy giant with new holding company". Power Engineering. PennWell Corporation. 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  9. "BEH Group Corporate presentation" (PDF). June 2022. {{cite web}}: line feed character in |title= at position 10 (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Bulgaria should not have granted TPP derogation from air pollution norms - EU court," SeeNews, March 9, 2023
  11. 11.0 11.1 "EU court rules Bulgaria unlawfully allowed coal-fired Maritsa East 2 plant to pollute the air". March 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "Bulgarian supreme court allows coal super-polluter to operate despite recognition it breaches EU law," ClientEarth, August 1, 2023
  13. "Financial Statements 2022 (page 4, 10)" (PDF). 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "Financial Statements 2022 (page 4, 10)" (PDF). 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "UDI Electric Power SourceBook, Eighth Edition, Bulgaria Country Profile," Platts, 2014
  16. "Annual Consolidated Activity Report, TPP Maritza East EAD," GrantThorton, 31 December 2013
  17. "REHABILITATION OF UNITS FROM 1 TO 6 AT MARITSA EAST 2 TPP," Risk Engineering, accessed April 2015
  18. "Interim Consolidated Management Report 1H 2022" (PDF). 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. "Bulgaria's Maritsa Iztok 2 Thermal Power Plant to Get 2 New Units," Sofia News Agency November 16, 2012
  20. "Bulgaria Will Not Launch New N-Plant Units until 2024," Novinite, February 6, 2015
  21. "Bulgaria hints at possible closure of all coal-fired power plants by mid-2025". Balkan Green Energy News. 2021-08-02. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  22. Forster, Rory (Jan 21st, 2022). "In Bulgaria: A Cautionary Tale for the Energy Transition as Country Abandons Coal to Gas Switch". Bankwatch. Retrieved Jun 2nd, 2022. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= and |date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. "Bulgaria rolls back plans to phase out coal amid fears over energy and job security". January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. "Bulgaria's 2053 energy strategy: coal until 2030, new nuclear capacities". January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. "Bulgaria 2053 energy outlook: renewables, nuclear and storage". January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Additional data

To access additional data, including interactive maps of the power stations, downloadable datases, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker and the Global Oil and Gas Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.