Lower-cost industrial electricity a ‘key factor’ in Amynteo plan

Officials at the energy ministry see an environmental upgrade of the main power utility PPC’s ageing Amyneo lignite-fired power plant as an opportunity that would offer energy-intensive industry lower-cost electricity in the long run.

The Mytilineos group and GEK-TERNA have both proposed to upgrade the Amynteo facility in exchange for favorable electricity tariffs over an extended period, while the Copelouzos group and China’s Shenhua have joined forces to propose upgrading the lignite-fired facility in exchange for a stake of the facility.

Energy ministry officials are already making clear that the main criterion to be applied in the appraisal of these proposals will be the extent to which they assure lower-cost electricity for industries as a means of boosting their level of competitveness and complying with EU and Greek competition terms. At present, industrial enterprises are offered special tariffs by PPC on an individual basis.

Similar deals entailing upgrades for lower-cost energy have been reached in France.

PPC is currently preparing to move ahead with a bailout-required sale package of lignite units. Amynteo was excluded from the sale list by European authorities but the upgrade proposals offer potential to extend the old facility’s lifespan, currently running out of time.

The future course of the Amynteo lignite-fired power plant will depend on government decisions concerning the country’s energy strategy, PPC officials told energypress earlier this week. Lignite’s share of the country’s energy mix would need to remain considerable for the Amynteo upgrade to make sense, officials explained. It is believed that a lignite presence in the energy mix of close to the 19 TWh reached last year would justify an Amynteo upgrade. Lower levels of around 16 TWh would make Amynteo redundant, the sources added.

Just days ago, the Mytilineos corporate group’s chief executive Evangelos Mytilineos made a 110 million-euro offer to upgrade PPC’s ageing Amynteo plant and extend its lifespan to 2030 in exchange for a favorable long-term electricity supply agreement concerning the group’s Aluminium of Greece industrial enterprise. The proposal called for electricity absorption of between 300 and 400 MW per year, from the unit’s total capacity of 600 MW. Mytilineos left open the possibility of other industrial enterprises also taking part in the agreement. The Viohalco industrial group is believed to be interested in such a project, but the prospect remains unconfirmed.

GEK-TERNA had forwarded its environmental upgrade proposal to the energy ministry in October in exchange for favorable electricity tariffs.