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Stara Zagora

In south-central Bulgaria, the province of Stara Zagora hosts the largest source of CO2 emissions in Bulgaria, the Maritsa Iztok Complex. 

The mountainous, agricultural and resource-rich region of Stara Zagora is strongly focused on lignite extraction and lignite-fired electricity generation which have brought economic prosperity over the past 15 years.  

However, the transition towards climate neutrality and a decarbonized future will be a great challenge for lignite-related activities. This is especially the case regarding the vast magnitude of the Maritsa Iztok Complex, which is also the region’s largest employer.   

If not properly managed, the energy transition puts the socio-economic stability of the region at risk, the stability of which has contributed to enriching the region’s land and cityscapes as well as art. Similarly, youth, elderly pensioners, Roma communities and coal miners have been identified as groups most vulnerable to these changes. 

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