CMEC boss set to return for new round of Melitis II talks

CMEC China Machinery Engineering Corporation) appears to be viewing its possible development of Melitis II, a second  lignite-fired power station in Greece’s north for the main power utility PPC,  as an investment of strategic importance.

According to sources, the Chinese corporation’s head official Zhang Chun is preparing to make a return visit to Greece to discuss the project’s development with PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis. The Chinese official last visited in October. An MoU had been signed by the two sides on that occasion.

A team of CMEC technical officials, recently in Greece for a close-up assessment of the existing facility, including the region’s mines, have delivered a report to the Chinese corporation’s leadership. Besides the facility’s construction, CMEC also appears interested in acquiring a stake in the venture.

Indicative of CMEC’s growing interest in the Melitis II project, China’s ambassador to Greece, Zou Xiaoli, also visited the existing Melitis unit last week, where he met with the PPC boss.

Officials at the Chinese corporation are already seeking answers to certain questions before a final decision can be made. Concerns include the number of hours the prospective Melitis II plant would operate on an annual basis and the tariff levels to be offered for its production.

Completion of the project, should it go ahead, is not expected to be completed before 2021 or 2022, meaning the aforementioned matters would be shaped by new regulations included in the electricity market’s target model, to be implemented in 2018.

CMEC officials also want to know if direct agreements with major consumers will be permitted and whether an existing 300 euro per MWh price ceiling, applied to offer protection against price fluctuations, will remain valid.

On his next visit, the CMEC boss may also meet with officials at Aktora and Terna, which control a coal mine in Vevi. Its supply would be essential for the new power station. Three more mines are also being considered for coal supply to the prospective power station – Ahlada (owned by the Pavlidis firm) as well as Amyntaio and Klidi (both are owned by PPC).

Melitis II is planned to be developed as a 450-MW capacity facility. The project is budgeted to cost 750 million euros.