ECONOMY

Bulgaria looking for investors in a clean, coal power plant

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria wants investors to build a coal-fired power plant capable of capturing climate-warming gases and burying them underground, Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov said yesterday. Dimitrov said he had talked with potential US and British investors about building a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Bulgaria but did not say whether the government would contribute toward the high cost of building one. Utilties Enel, E.ON, RWE, CEZ, EVN and AES all showed an interest in building a coal-fired unit at Bulgaria’s Maritsa East power station after the government announced plans for a 600-megawatt plant last year. Now Sofia wants it to be fitted with largely unproven CCS technology, as tighter European environmental regulations threaten to make big emitters pay more or clean up. «We do not want to build new capacity that will be dirty and polluting. And if we have to pay for all CO2 emissions from 2012, it may turn out it is also not economically viable,» Dimtrov told a business forum. »We want to have clean energy and this will be the key defining criteria.» The European Commission thinks CCS could cut the amount of manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to a third by trapping and burying emissions from fossil fuel power plants.