TPP Maritsa East 2 has concluded dubious limestone contracts for millions
Author Antonia Kotseva
“TPP Maritsa Iztok 2” EAD has concluded limestone supply contracts worth tens of millions of levs through the stock exchange for its desulphurization installations for four years under unfavorable conditions. This warning is stated in a report by Vasil Kadrinov from the Bulgarian Center for Green Economy.
The contractor is “Persenk Invest ” OOD and several related companies. The strange thing about this case is that the deliveries of huge quantities of limestone are being made almost entirely by vehicle transport and are taken from the Kurtovo Konare deposit in the Plovdiv region. It is 137 km from the TPP, while the power plant can be supplied with limestone from two or three times closer deposits, and at lower prices.
It is obvious that the controversial choice of limestone supplier by the management of “TPP Maritza East 2” is related to unnecessary emissions of exhaust gases from the trucks and serious dust emissions. The population of the fertile village of Kurtovo Konare, numbering over 2600 inhabitants, suffers adverse effects from the quarrying. At the same time, in order to benefit the selected company – “Persenk Invest” and its related companies – citizens and businesses are being robbed. They pay a higher price for electricity, and we as taxpayers pay the losses of the inefficient state-owned company.
An inspection showed that within a radius of 63 km from “TPP Maritsa Iztok 2” there are 14 limestone deposits. However, as a supplier for a period of more than four years was selected a company that is concessionaire of a deposit 137 km away. While it could be argued that this concession “is being exploited way over the permitted quantities, to the detriment of the natural heritage in the protected area and the quality of life of the local population.”
Kadrinov also found incompleteness in the documentation of the public procurement for the limestone supply – additional documents were required, but it is not clear whether they were submitted. Over the years, there has been a splitting of the public procurements for this site, for which the selected contractors are closely related companies. At the same time, it is not clear why there is no competitive procedure for raw material supply, which is widely available. This leads to reasonable doubts that the choice of contractor is to the detriment of the end users of electricity. They are forced to pay higher prices due to the accumulating losses of the state-owned power plant.
According to the results of the inspection, the former government abused with the status of “sectoral supplier” or “site of national importance” for public and private enterprises.
The bodies responsible for the transaction did not take into account at all that the transportation of limestone from the Kurtovo Konare deposit to “TPP Maritsa Iztok 2” EAD is carried out almost exclusively by vehicle transport. It is paradoxical that the deposit’s quarry is located next to the railway line Stamboliyski-Peshtera and there is a freight track and ramp built by Bulgarian State Railways. In 2017-2019, several tens of thousands (at least 40,000) of heavy gondola trucks journeys were carried out from the quarry to “TPP Maritsa East 2” and vice versa.
“The practice of transporting limestone from the quarry to the TPP by gondola trucks continues in 2019 and 2020, despite numerous protests, complaints and petitions of people from the village of Kurtovo Konare,” is claimed in the analysis of the Bulgarian Center for Green Economy.
At the same time, a study conducted by a research team of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, signals that the Maritza East complex, Bulgaria’s largest coal producer, could suffer serious water scarcity if it follows the plan for the late phasing out of the coal industry. This is planned in the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate of the country.
The results show that the amount of fresh water for the needs of local power plants is significant and leads to increased pressure on water resources. Increasing water scarcity threatens the availability of fresh water for both ecosystems and human activities.
“If Bulgaria continues to delay the start of the gradual coal phase out, it will significantly contribute to reducing water runoff, droughts and water shortages. In the worst case scenario, water scarcity will affect not only energy production, but also cities, agriculture and industry,” is stated in the report.
It also claims that the Maritsa basin will be among the most affected by climate change in Europe.