AES broke ground in June 2006 on their first project in Bulgaria, AES Maritza East I, the largest greenfield investment to date in southeast Europe, AES’s single largest greenfield project investment to date and the single largest foreign investment to date in the country’s wind power sector.
Bulgaria is the kind of country in which AES looks to do business—a country experiencing growth and burgeoning demand, with developing infrastructure, fair market rules and an energy sector that we can help vitalize. The country joined the European Union (EU) in 2007 and has a growth rate nearly double that of the average EU country.
Building on AES’s presence in Bulgaria, in October 2006, AES announced that it had acquired a minority stake in a 120 MW wind development project, one of the largest wind development projects in southeast Europe to date. AES expects to generate almost 800 MW of power in Bulgaria by 2010 once AES Maritza East 1 and the wind power generation project reach commercial operation.
The total investment for the new wind energy facility is estimated at 270 million euro, with an annual energy production will be 340 gigawatt hours.
As of now, all 52 wind turbines have been installed, each one of them with three megawatt capacity. Furthermore, all necessary underground cables have been installed, with a total length of 62km.
"Bulgaria is a good place to invest because legislation is supportive of renewable energy," AES Wind Bulgaria managing director Teodor Bobochikov told a round table on renewable energy, organised by law firm Wolf Theiss in Sofia on June 30. "Clearly, the feed-in tariff is a good one, since there are so many wind operators."
Bulgaria is aiming to develop a potent wind energy infrastructure as the country is trying to comply with the designated EU strategy target that 20 per cent of all energy should come from renewable sources by 2020.
Bulgaria currently has 158 MW and is set to double that capacity when AES Corp. begins commercial operation on its 156 MW wind farm in Bulgarevo, near Kavarna in northeastern Bulgaria, in autumn 2009. Only Poland, with 472MW, has a larger wind energy capacity among the EU’s eastern member states, although eastern European countries are still lagging considerably behind their western counterparts.
Already a major wind generator in the US, AES has the experience and global presence to lead in harnessing this renewable resource in markets around the world.
AES expanded into wind power in 2004, leveraging our more than 25 years experience in originating, financing and developing power projects all over the world. Today AES Wind Generation operates more than 1,200 MW of capacity with a global workforce of more than 300 people dedicated to the wind business.
In the US, AES operate in five states: California, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas. Globally, AES Wind Generation operates, acquires and develops greenfield projects, often with local partners. We have minority stakes in China through Guohua Hulunbeier and in France with InnoVent.
In 2008, AES Wind Generation brought 285 MW online in China and the US (California and Texas), and construction is underway to expand our portfolio by 410 MW through projects in Bulgaria, China, Scotland and the US by 2010.
Expanding into France and Bulgaria, AES more than doubles its wind power footprint in Europe
Entering the fast-growing wind energy markets in France and Bulgaria early, quickly and with established players, AES has more than doubled its wind development pipeline in Europe since July 2006. AES has purchased a minority interest in InnoVent SAS, a French wind farm developer with more than 600 MW of projects in development. AES has also acquired a minority stake in the 120 MW Kavarna wind farm project in Bulgaria, one of the largest wind projects in development in southeast Europe to date.
These acquisitions reflect AES’s twofold strategy for expanding its wind portfolio: leveraging existing presence where possible (in Bulgaria, AES is the largest foreign investor in the power sector); and partnering with established players with a deep pipeline of development projects, like InnoVent in France.
This is the same strategy AES used to enter the wind generation business originally. The purchase of SeaWest in 2004 gave AES an immediate entry into the US wind market, with experienced developers and a pipeline of projects. Today, AES has more than 1,000 MW of wind facilities in operation or under management and more than 6,000 MW of wind projects in active development worldwide.
Installed wind power capacity in Bulgaria and France is expected to increase by more than 5,000 MW over the next five years. With the acquisitions described above, AES is well positioned to play a key role in such growth.
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global power market today and a key component of AES’s expansion into alternative energy. These transactions continue to build on AES’s strategy of becoming a leader in wind generation development and operation worldwide, leveraging our 25 years of experience developing large-scale power projects all over the world.
By the end of 2008 the capacity of the installed wind power generators in Bulgaria is going to reach 170 MW.
The news was announced by the Chair of the Association of Producers of Ecological Energy Velizar Kiryakov during the first national meeting of the producers of wind generators and the investors in wind energy production.
The current wind power generating capacity in Bulgaria stands at 158 MW but Kiryakov predicted that by the end of 2010 it would reach between 400 MW and 500 MW.
The photovoltaic energy generators are expected to have a power-generating capacity of 5-6 MW by that time.
Meanwhile, the National Electric Company NEK announced that new investments of about BGN 300 M would needed to include the wind and solar power producers into the country’s electricity distribution network.