All PPC unit sale options being explored for imminent list

Consulting firm McKinsey, assisting the main power utility PPC with the preparation of its bailout-required sale list of ligite-fired facilities, expected to represent 40 percent of the utility’s capacity, is focusing on at least five alternative plans dominated by Megalopoli (511 MW), Meliti I (450 MW), license for Meliti II (450 MW), and, under certain conditions, Amynteo (600 MW), according to sources.

Ptolemaida V, currently under construction, as well as PPC’s five power stations at Agios Dimitrios, which the utility wants to avoid selling at all costs, have not been included in the scenarios worked on by the consulting firm.

The Agios Dimitrios units, PPC’s most modern facilities, are expected to remain in operation until 2040. These facilities were initially considered for inclusion on the sale list but eventually dropped as an idea.

PPC’s alternative proposals need to be ready by the end of this month. Besides requiring the Greek energy minister Giorgos Stathakis’s approval, the proposals also need to be endorsed by the European Commission before any units are offered to investors. Brussels will have the final say in the list’s composition.

If the European Commission does not give the green light to any plan proposed, then the sale list will need to be reworked with the inclusion of Agios Dimitrios units.

The inclusion on the sale list of PPC’s two Amynteo power stations was initially ruled out as a result of last week’s landslide at a regional mine feeding both units. Though both these units have been temporarily shut down, they are now being considered. The two Amynteo are expected to operate until 2019 but their life expectancies could be extended to 2030 if revamped.

Both Amynteo power stations remain in contention for inclusion on the sale list as they can be supplied coal from the Lakkia mine, close to Amynteo. This option, however, would reduce their total capacity from 600 MW, at present, to 400 MW for at least a decade.

PPC began work at the Lakkia mine in 2013. This lignite deposit pssesses approximately 10 million tons of lignite, roughly one third of the amount at Amynteo, estimated at 28 million tons. The estimate for Lakkia includes 4.5 million tons set aside by archaeological authorities.

“We are examining all options and could have a solution within the week,” one official told energypress.

The energy ministry has also hired a consultant, Lazard, for the process. It was initially believed that an attempt would be made to combine lists prepared by Lazard and McKinsey for a final version. However, a PPC source explained that Lazard is focusing its efforts on seeking buyers for the lignite-fired units.