Minister’s meeting with Canete crucial for PPC’s free CO2 emission rights bid

A meeting scheduled for Thursday between Greek Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis and the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete is expected to be crucial for main power utility PPC’s chances of being granted free carbon emission rights.

EU member states whose GDP amounts to less than 60 percent of the EU average are entitled to free CO2 emission rights, as a protective measure offered to weaker economies.

According to sources, PPC’s bid for free CO2 emission rights will represent one of two issues on the agenda for the meeting between Skourletis and Canete, the other being an agreement by Greek officials and TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) consortium members on various details concering local interests, paving the way for the project’s progress through Greece.

PPC’s bid for free CO2 emission rights has received the backing of Greek industrialists, keen to see their energy costs reduced.

In 2013, Greece’s GDP measured 62 percent of the EU average but fell to 59.7 percent in 2014. Ten EU states are currently eligible for free CO2 emission rights.

The prospect has developed into an urgent matter for Greece considering the frail state of the Greek economy and elevated energy costs for the industrial sector, relatively higher than in most other EU states, as highlighted by various official studies.

Although funds to be saved as a result of free CO2 emission rights are supposed to be channeled into environmental activities, it is believed that, in Greece’s case, they could help offer more competitive tariffs as well as more affordable electricity bills for households, most of which have been affected by the ongoing deep recession.

According to some officials, PPC’s sustainability would also be greatly supported if the corporation’s bid for free CO2 emission rights is accepted. PPC’s annual outlays for CO2 emission rights, based on an older estimate at seven euros per ton, amounted to 350 million euros per year. Any increase to CO2 emission rights, as is anticipated, would further devaste PPC’s financial standing, already affected by a rising level of unpaid overdue electricity bills owed by consumers, currently at 2.2 billion euros.