AES Geo Energy is a private partnership company between the German Geo Power and AES, holding the majority stake. In 2009, AES Geo Energy built the 156 MW Saint Nikola Wind Farm near the town of Kavarna. With its 52 Vestas wind turbines erected, the Kavarna project is the largest wind farm in the country. Saint Nikola Wind Farm significantly increases Bulgaria’s capacity in the production of renewable energy and helps the country reaching the requirements of the 20/20/20 European Union Programme.
The total project investment was EUR 270 million, of which EUR 198 million were secured by a bank consortium, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Financial Corporation and UniCredit Market & Investment Banking.
The idea of constructing Saint Nikola Wind Farm was borne in 2003 and the construction itself started in January 2009. Тhe last wind generator was erected in July 2009. In December 2009 Saint Nikola’s 33/110 kV step up substation was energized and put in operation. The commercial operation of the wind farm started in March 2010. Since 2009 AES Geo Energy has opened more than 500 workplaces for the construction period and 20 during the period of operation.
St. Nikola Wind Farm is the backbone of the Integrated Early Warning System for Bird Protection, which complies with the European requirements for the preservation of wild birds. The integrated system minimizes the risk of bird collisions with the rotating parts of the wind turbines by stopping single turbines or the entire wind farm and implements a monitoring program during the risk periods for species of protection significance. The system integrates information from several radar systems, as well as direct on-site monitoring by ornithologists, who regularly monitor birds in the area, assess potential hazards, and, where necessary, issue turbine shutdown orders. Despite its impressive size – 105 meters and the diameter of the rotor 90 meters, each of the generators can stop if there are flying birds and to let them pass.