A request forwarded by Greek authorities to the European Commission for an extension to the remaining operational hours of the main power utility PPC’s 600-MW Amynteo power plant, from 17,500 hours to 32,000 hours, is believed to stand a good chance of being approved.
According to sources, the Amynteo facility, an aging unit excluded from the utility’s bailout-required sale package of lignite units, may be permitted to continue operating well beyond 2019.
In its request, the Greek energy ministry contends that a withdrawal of the Amynteo facility in 2019, as is currently scheduled, would prompt serious telethermal issues at the Amynteo power plant and the Ptolemaida facility, whose prospective addition, Ptolemaida V, is not expected to be launched any time before 2021.
On the other hand, any lifespan extension for the Amynteo facility means prospective buyers of PPC’s lignite units placed for sale (Meliti, Megalopoli) would face an additional lignite-fired electricity producing rival. This prospect was pointed out by potential buyers during the market test staged for PPC’s bailout-required sale package.
Either way, prospective buyers are awaiting the final decision from Brussels.
Three investors have already expressed an interest to become involved in Amynteo’s environmental upgrade, should this be permitted by Brussels. The Copelouzos group and China’s Shenhua appear willing to join forces for such a project. This could secure the pair a minority stake in the Amynteo facility.
A second major energy player in the Greek market is also believed to have presented state-controlled PPC and the energy ministry with a utilization plan for Amynteo, even though the content of the utility’s sale package has yet to be finalized.
In addition, an energy-intensive industrial firm is also believed to be interested in the Amynteo upgrade, either alone or as a partnership with a fellow industrial player, in exchange for favorably priced electricity.