Eng. Nikolay Nikolov: “ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3” is a reliable partner of NEK

Mr. Nikolov, the end of June marked 9 years since the arrival of ContourGlobal in Bulgaria. As the chief engineer of “ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3” TPP, what are your impressions, what has changed during this time?

First of all, I would like to remind you that a large-scale rehabilitation of the power plant was carried out which ensured its prolonged life for more than 15 years to come, better efficiency, full compliance with European environmental legislation. The major directions for development in the recent years have been related to optimizing production and working with staff to achieve better production results – higher availability and efficiency, which guarantees good financial results. During these 9 years, in connection with the increasing requirements of the environmental legislation, ContourGlobal has also been investing funds for additional modernization of the power units, related to the reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions from 500 to 180 mg / m3. We have also modernized the desulphurization installations, and as a result the efficiency was increased from 94% to 96%.

 

ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 TPP is of key importance for the country’s energy system. After the serious investments in the modernization of the power plant, how has its work been optimized over the years? Can we rest assured that it will be able to generate electricity when we need it?

The results of the past years show that “ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3” TPP is a reliable partner of NEK’s, annually providing between 10 and 15% of the electricity needed in the country, actively participating in regulating the balance of the electricity system. The TPP will be extremely necessary in the future to ensure the stable operation of the system.

Were there any alternatives for the power plant at the time, before the inclusion of a strategic international investor in the modernization project? What would its present have been without the strategic investors and their know-how?

Of course, different scenarios could be considered. But judging by the good management practices implemented in our TPP over the years, I would definitely say that attracting strategic international investors with extensive experience in energy was
the best option for us.

 

COVID-19 has been a challenge for the world for several months now. What has been happening behind the walls of the plant since the beginning of the global pandemic and how does it ensure its reliable operation?

I have been working at the power plant for 22 years. We have faced and successfully overcome many challenges over the years. From the very onset of the pandemic, it became clear that we need to take quick and adequate measures to preserve the health and safety of all those who work on the territory of the power plant. It was clear to everyone that we had to protect the team. Therefore, we have prepared a plan for work in the altered conditions, a number of preventive measures have been implemented to ensure the operation of the power plant, while observing all measures to prevent the spread of the infection. Despite the change, I am convinced that we will successfully cope with this challenge as well.