European Commission rejects bid for Ptolemaida 3 relaunch

A plan by the main power utility PPC to repair and relaunch its Ptolemaida 3 power station in northern Greece, badly damaged by a fire that broke out a year ago and completely destroyed the adjacent Ptolemaida 4 unit, appears to have been abolished.

According to energypress sources, the European Commission has rejected an older power utility bid to have the power station inducted into an EU directive granting older power-generating facilities extensions to operate until 2030.

Prior to last November’s fire, PPC’s Ptolemaida 3 lignite-fired facillity was already operating at a reduced level and was due to be withdrawn from use in 2016.

However, PPC, pressured by the Syriza coalition’s first energy minister, Panos Lafazanis, had submitted an application to the European Commission earlier this year seeking permission to have the old power station’s life extended.

The former energy minister, who ended up quitting Syriza last summer to form his own anti-eurozone party, Popular Unity, had promised Ptolemaida’s community he would keep the power station running.

According to sources, PPC’s board had decided, in August, following Lafazanis’s departure from the Syriza party, to not pursue the relaunch plan for Ptolemaida 3 any further. The government’s bailout agreement reached with lenders in the summer, committing PPC to reduce its market share to below 50 percent by 2020, apparently influenced this decision.

Ptolemaida 3 and 4 contributed a 350 MW capacity to the national grid and employed roughly 350 persons. Ptolemaida 3 was constructed between 1959 and 1965 along with two other power stations, Ptolemaida 1 and Ptolemaida 2, no longer in use. Ptolemaida 4, which was destroyed by last year’s fire, was the most recent of all four Ptolemaida facilties, built in 1973.