Bulgarian Transmission system operator intends to spend 1 billion levs (511 million euros) in power grid upgrades and expansion by 2030 under a Bulgarian-Romanian project which has been fast-tracked by the European Commission.
The EC has put the Carmen II project on its list of cross-border projects of common interest, enabling faster roll-out and potential EU funding allocation, ESO said in a press release.
ESO is partnering on the project with Romanian Transelectrica and power and gas distributor Delgaz Grid. Investments will target the expansion and digitalisation of the Bulgarian and Romanian grids, in part to support the addition of new renewable sources. The implementation of new smart grids will also boost capacity and connectivity with Moldova, Hungary and Ukraine.
On the Bulgarian side of the project, ESO will build new fully-digitised 400/110 kV substations, overhaul and upgrade existing substations, and transform them from a low voltage level of 220/110 kV to high-voltage 400/110 kV. Additionally, ESO plans to build 222 km of new 400 kV digitised power lines.
There will be a focus on capacity expansion in northeastern Bulgaria to harness the region’s high potential for renewable energy production estimated at more than 8,000 MW, including in the form of green hydrogen. Most existing or planned onshore wind capacity in Bulgaria is centred in that region. Bulgaria has yet to install offshore wind capacity, but there are plans for floating wind turbines under the Black Sea Floating Offshore Wind project involving Bulgarian and Romanian companies.
More capacity in northeastern Bulgaria is also needed to secure renewable power transmission along the cross-border North-South priority corridor, ESO added.