The energy crisis affecting Greece and the wider region over the past few days, prompted by the increase in electricity demand amid freezing temperatures, has brought to the fore a number of important issues and prospects that promise to redefine the area’s energy map.
The prospect of the development of an additional nuclear power station in neighboring Bulgaria in the near future, which now appears likelier than ever before, would certainly bring about changes to the wider region’s energy market.
Such a development would permit Bulgaria to meet its domestic energy demands with far greater ease and export even greater electricity quantities.
The regional importance of a new Bulgarian nuclear power station – which would come as an addition to the country’s only other such facility in Kozloduy, northern Bulgaria, currently the biggest in the wider region – was made clear by the energy crisis of the past few days.
Greece was forced to interrupt electricity exports today, while a Bulgarian request for increased electricity imports from Romania on Monday was rejected as officials in Bucharest focused on meeting domestic electricity demand. Record electricity demand levels were struck in both Romania and Bulgaria.
It is no surprise that the European Union has turned its attention to matters concerning transboundary interconnections as part of the effort to integrate the European electricity market and also bolster energy security in the continent.
Assuming a new Greek-Bulgarian interconnection project goes ahead as intended, an additional nuclear power station in Bulgaria would enable greater amounts of low-priced electricity to be imported into Greece from the neighboring country.
Greece’s main power utility PPC, currently seeking to bolster its electricity trading activity in the wider region, an effort that would involve its Bulgarian subsidiary, can look forward to greater business prospects if a second Bulgarian nuclear power is developed.
China’s SGCC, which was recently declared the winning bidder of an international tender offering a 24 percent stake of Greek power grid operator IPTO, a PPC subsidiary, has made clear its intentions to upgrade IPTO’s role in the international interconnections game.
Bulgaria’s political leadership now needs to decide whether the country requires an additional nuclear power station.