Power exports fall

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s dominant power utility NETC plans to export around 3.6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity this year, less than half the 7.7 billion in 2006 but much more than expected. The fall in exports, mainly to neighboring Balkan countries, follows the closure at the end of 2006 of two 440-megawatt nuclear units after pressure from Brussels over safety concerns. NETC had expected 2007 exports to be close to zero. Chief Executive Director Luybomir Velkov said yesterday the state utility exported some 3 billion kWh of electricity in the first three quarters of the year. Exports in the fourth quarter will depend on domestic demand and weather conditions. NETC is building a new 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant, expected to come on line around 2015-2015, to compensate for the closed units and restore Bulgaria’s position as a leading power exporter in Southeastern Europe.