Maritsa Itzok-3 power station

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Maritsa Itzok-3 power station is an operating power station of at least 908-megawatts (MW) in Mednikarovo, Galabovo, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating. It is also known as Maritza East-3 power station.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Maritsa Itzok-3 power station Mednikarovo, Galabovo, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 42.14502, 26.003009 (exact)

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

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4: 42.14502, 26.003009
  • Unit 5: 42.1444, 26.0033

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - lignite 227 subcritical 1978
Unit 2 operating coal - lignite 227 subcritical 1979
Unit 3 operating coal - lignite 227 subcritical 1980
Unit 4 operating coal - lignite 227 subcritical 1981
Unit 5 cancelled coal - lignite 700 supercritical 2011

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 Contour Global Maritsa Iztok 3 AD [100.0%]
Unit 2 Contour Global Maritsa Iztok 3 AD [100.0%]
Unit 3 Contour Global Maritsa Iztok 3 AD [100.0%]
Unit 4 Contour Global Maritsa Iztok 3 AD [100.0%]
Unit 5 Enel SpA, Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania EAD (NEK)

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Maritsa Iztok coal basin


Maritsa Iztok-3 is Bulgaria’s second-largest coal-fired power plant. It is located 40 km from from Stara Zagora. The power plant has an installed capacity of 908MW, which is produced by four units of each 227MW. It has a 325m tall chimney.[1] Lignite coal is supplied from Maritsa Coal Mines.

In 1998, the United States power utility Entergy purchased 73% of Maritsa Iztok-3 shares for US$375 million from the Bulgarian state. Entergy also had the obligation to modernize the power station.[2] In 2002, the Italian power company Enel joined the project; in 2006 Enel acquired Entergy's stake.[3] Until 2011, Maritsa Iztok-3 was owned and operated by Energiina Kompaniya Maritsa Iztok 3 AD, a joint venture of Enel (73%) and NEK (27%).[4]

In 2011, Enel sold its majority share to Contour Global, a U.S. investment fund.[5] Enel said the power station was not in line with the development strategy of the group, suspending its proposed new unit.[6] The plant was renamed ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3.[7]

As of April 2022, the plant accounted for more than 13% of Bulgaria's total electricity production[8] and 10% as of April 2023.[9]

Thanks to the rehabilitation of the main facilities, Maritsa Iztok 3 power station is said to be one of the most modern coal plants in Southeast Europe. Significant investments have been made to meet all the highest environmental standards. As of 2023, ContourGlobal predicted that the plant will be able to continue operating beyond 2030.[10][11]

Coal Phase-out

In 2021, Bulgaria indicated that it may close all coal-fired power plants by 2025.[12]

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.[13][14]

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.[15]

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.

Unit 5 Proposal

Enel planned invest in a new 700 MW coal-fired power plant next to the existing Maritsa Iztok-3 plant, expected to cost €900 million.[16]

Articles and Resources


  1. Jansson, Eric (2003-04-28). "Infrastructure: Veteran creditors seek partnerships". Financial Times. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  2. "Entergy is buying two-thirds stkae in Bulgarian utility". The New York Times. 1998-10-15. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  3. "Maritsa Iztok 3 launched". The Sofia Echo. 2003-04-17. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  4. "New Power Plant Proposed in Bulgaria". The Sofia Echo. 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  5. "Enel Wraps Up Sale of Bulgaria Plant Stake,", June 28, 2011
  6. "Enel Maritsa East 3 to be renamed ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3," The Sofia Echo, Sep 14, 2011.
  7. "MARITSA EAST 3". Retrieved June 2023. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 plant generates 13% of Bulgaria's Q1 power output," See News, April 18, 2022
  9. "ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 TPP produces 10% of Bulgaria's Q1 power output". April 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "БЪДЕЩЕТО Е ВЪЗМОЖНО". 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "ТЕЦ "КонтурГлобал Марица Изток 3" осигури близо 10% от произведената в страната електроенергия". April 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "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.
  13. "Bulgaria's 2053 energy strategy: coal until 2030, new nuclear capacities". January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. Center for the Study of Democracy (March 2023). "The Contours of Bulgaria's Climate Neutrality Roadmap" (PDF). {{cite web}}: line feed character in |title= at position 35 (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "Bulgaria 2053 energy outlook: renewables, nuclear and storage". January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. "Italy's Enel Ready to Quickly Build New Power Plant in Bulgaria". Sofia News Agency. 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2008-03-16.

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.