Ministry presents plan to tackle Crete’s looming energy threat

The government intends to implement a gradual power station withdrawal program on Crete, beginning with older units and continuing with the remainder of units subject to EU environmental terms, as a means of countering a looming power sufficiency threat on island, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has told parliament in response to questions forwarded by opposition party MPs.

An exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, is set to expire in December, 2019, meaning the island could face energy sufficiency issues as of 2020. A major-scale interconnection project planned to link Athens and Crete, which would compensate for the Cretan power station withdrawals, has fallen behind schedule, raising concerns.

According to the government’s interpretation of the EU directive, 300-MW gas turbine units in, Linoperamata, Chania will be able to operate, energypress sources informed. Athens also plans to request an EU law exemption that would enable steam turbine units with a capacity of 100 MW to operate in the Lasithi prefecture’s Atherinolakko area.

In addition, Crete’s small-scale interconnection to link the island with the Peloponnese is expected to completed by 2020, providing a further 150 MW to the island’s grid.

Renewable energy units already installed, especially large wind energy parks in the Sitia area, eastern Crete, will be fully utilized as part of the effort and should cover as much as 25 percent of the island’s energy needs, according to estimates.