Coal’s role in country’s energy mix down to 20%-25% by 2030

The contraction of coal in the country’s energy mix to a level of between 20 and 25 percent by 2030 is considered an inevitable development, as was strongly suggested by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis just days ago on a visit to the counry’s north in a bid to appease local fears prompted by the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required prospective sale of coal-fired units.

Citing the EU’s policy aiming for a break away from a reliance on solid fuels, Greece’s energy minister reiterated that the government’s intention is to preserve the state-controlled PPC’s strategic role in the country’s energy market. Details were not offered.

“Coal will not represent [as little as] 10 percent [of the energy mix] by 2030, nor will it stand at 35 percent, but, instead, will continue to represent a strong part of the mix – it doesn’t really matter if this will be 20, 25 or 30 percent – and serve as the basis of our energy system. Renewable energy contributions will have risen,” the energy minister told local officials in Greece’s north, prompting new concerns.

The bulk of PPC’s coal-fired power stations are located in northern Greece.

The energy minister did not offer any comments on the thousands of prospective job losses – direct and indirect – at PPC’s coal-fired power stations and mines in the wider region.

However, Stathakis did note that various changes – implying structural changes – would be needed at PPC if the utility is to maintain its strategic role in the years to come.

According to sources, PPC may include Ptolemaida 5 in its bailout-required sale package proposals. Not expected to be launched until 2020, this prospective unit has, until now, been viewed as a key part of the utility’s future plans.

PPC has so far invested roughly 500 million euros in this project. It is believed that the utility could be willing to sell the unit if this amount, plus a premium factoring in its value and operating potential, is offered by investors.