Power utility PPC has boosted its lignite mining output by an additional 5,000 to 6,000 tons a day for its Meliti and Agios Dimitrios power stations in northern Greece and by an extra 7,000 to 8,000 tons a day for its Megalopoli power station in the Peloponnese, in response to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ call, early in April, for increased lignite reserves should Russia disrupt its natural gas supply to Europe.
The objective is to increase lignite extraction by 45 to 50 percent over a two-year period for reserves amounting to more than 15 million tons, up from the present quantity of 10.5 million tons, which would enable lignite-fired production to reach 6.5 TWh annually, up from 4.5 TWh projected in the current energy plan.
The majority of PPC’s seven lignite-fired power stations will need to be temporarily withdrawn if increased lignite quantities are to be accumulated at the yards of these power stations.
Of the country’s seven lignite-fired power stations, just one, Agios Dimitrios IV, is scheduled to operate today.
The additional 2 TWh of electricity generation that could be produced annually as a result of this initiative would still not suffice if Russia were to stop supplying natural gas to Europe.
Greece’s annual electricity consumption is estimated at 55 TWh. Last year, natural gas-fueled electricity generation covered 20 TWh of the country’s overall electricity demand, with 40 percent of the natural gas used supplied by Russia.
This means Russia’s natural gas was responsible for 8 TWh of Greece’s electricity generation last year. The Greek plan for an additional 2 TWh in generation through greater lignite production would only cover 25 percent of electricity currently produced using Russian natural gas.
Additional LNG shipments, accelerated development of RES projects, and an energy-saving policy for households, businesses and industry will also be needed to cover the gap.