Bulgaria Hopes for Deal with Austria over Troubled Hydropower Project

Bulgaria Hopes for Deal with Austria over Troubled Hydropower Project

An agreement over the construction of Gorna Arda hydropower project in southern Bulgaria, between Austria's energy firm EVN and Bulgaria's dominant state power utility NEK will be on the agenda during the visit of the prime minister in Vienna.

Austria's Alpine Bau withdrew from the construction of Gorna Arda hydropower project in the middle of May, leaving energy firm EVN the sole partner of the majority owner, dominant state power utility NEK.

Austria's EVN, which holds a 67% stake in one of Bulgaria's three power distributors and serves clients in Southwestern Bulgaria, has assured that the shareholders overhaul will not delay the project and promised that it will press for speeding it up in a bid to secure green energy for its clients in the region.

At the beginning of September 2009, Bulgaria's new government sealed a letter of approval for the construction of the hydro power project on the Arda river, known as Gorna Arda ("Upper Arda").

This was a requirement for wrapping up of the sale of a 30.1% stake, owned by Turkey's CCG, part of the Ceylan conglomerate, to an Austrian consortium of EVN and Alpine Bau.

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