Lignite-fired power production falls, imports, demand up

Lignite-based electricity production in Greece dropped by a drastic 21.6 percent during the first quarter of 2015, electricity demand increased by 8.4 percent during the same period, and imported electricity stands as the second largest provider to the country’s grid, latest data by IPTO, the power grid operator, showed.

The increase in electricity demand was attributed to increased household consumption as a result of the cold weather in the winter. Part of the sharp 21.6 percent drop in lignite-fired electricity production resulted from a devastating fire that destroyed two power stations in Ptolemaida, northern Greece. The production decline, however, was primarily attributed to more limited usage of lignite sources for electricity production. Hydropower production increased considerably in 2014.

Overall, lignited-fired power production now represents 34 percent of total power provided to the grid, following a level of more than 44 percent not too long ago, while imported electricity increased to cover 24 percent of the grid’s needs. Natural gas-fueled electricity production fell considerably to 11 percent of the total. Renewable energy production (RES) holds a greater share, totaling 17 percent.

Industrialists have strongly reacted to PPC’s declined lignite-fired production by claiming the fall, combined with increased imports, is an intentional tactic being employed by the power utility to justify its costly lignite-produced tariff levels, especially its late-night rates.

PPC’s new leadership, appointed early this month, appears keen to boost lignite production and lower the cost of electricity.