The Czech power utility ČEZ is selling its coal-fired power plant in Varna to the Bulgarian company SIGDA OOD. ČEZ was forced to halt operations at the plant in 2015 after it failed to bring it up to EU environmental rules. ČEZ said it had been denied an exemption by the European Commission and the plant could not continue to work without an environmental upgrade. With a generating capacity of 1,260 megawatt, the plant serves as a back-up to the national power grid and the Bulgarian authorities have stressed the importance of keeping it in operation, pointing out it could become a much needed source of energy if Bulgaria were to be hit by a gas crisis.
ČEZ wants to leave the Bulgarian market due to drawn-out problems with the local authorities. It is to decide about the sale of all its Bulgarian assets, which include two renewable energy plants and an electricity trader, by the end of this year.