Environmental upgrades will need to follow PPC unit sales

Besides facing a bailout-required sale of production units, now being prepared to offer investors 40 percent of its lignite capacity, the main power utility PPC will also need to follow up with environmental upgrades of certain units that will remain under its control, as a result of tougher greenhouse emission limits announced just days ago by the European Commission.

Certain lignite-fired PPC units originally intended for inclusion on the PPC sale list will probably need to be withdrawn as a result of the tougher environmental standards, targeting emissions such as NOx and SO2. PPC’s Amynteo facility is a noteable example.

Other PPC lignite-fired power stations will also be impacted by the EU’s tougher emission standards, including Kardia, which, along with Amynteo, face operating limits of 17,500 hours. Greece’s energy ministry, PPC and local authorities are seeking extensions to 32,000 hours, basing their claim on a capacity sustainability study prepared by IPTO, the power grid operator, covering 2017 to 2027.

Greek officials were well aware of the European Commission’s new emission standards for major-scale production units long before the recent announcement in Brussels. The new limits were endorsed last April and were supported by Greek officials.

PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis, in recent comments to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, noted that a PPC unit upgrade plan could be developed through partnerships. Panagiotakis, through the Xinhua interview, sought to highlight PPC’s strategic decision to turn to Chinese investors for partnerships, despite certain EU-related obstacles. Chinese giants such as Shenhua have already expressed interest.