BATAK CASCADE OPERATES WITH SWISS RESOURCES
The cold weather on October 29 did not scare the official guests who came for the opening of the modernized Batak cascade - the Energy Minister Milko Kovachev, Switzerland's Ambassador to Bulgaria H.E. Pierre Luciri, the Executive Director of the National Electricity Company (NEC) Vassil Atanassov, and local politicians from the National Movement Simeon II.Almost BGN40MN has been invested in the implementation of the joint project of the Swiss Government and NEC since 1992. The bulk of it - BGN28MN - was provided by Switzerland, and BGN9MN came from NEC. The total capacity of the three water power plants of the cascade (Batak, Peshtera, and Aleko) has been increased to 245 megawatt, and the annual production of electricity went up to 354 million kwh.The new equipment has been delivered by the Swiss ABB company, by ALSTOM POWER, and by VA-TECH. The Bulgarian Hydro OOD, El-Test and Helpik companies participated as designers and subcontractors of the facilities.After the overall repair, electricity production in the cascade has been entirely automated. The water power plants can now be managed from the Central Controller's Department in Sofia and the generators can be turned on with a remote control. The time needed for turning them on along with the country's electricity network has been reduced to 5 minutes. This will allow for the faster starting of the powers in critical situations.The construction of the cascade started in 1953. Batak water power plant is the first underground power plant in Bulgaria. The first 103 million kwh were produced in 1958. A year later, the other two plants - Peshtera and Aleko, started generating electricity, too.