Negotiations aiming to accelerate Greece’s transition towards a post-lignite era, through the closure of old power stations, appear to have begun between the energy ministry’s leadership and the European Commission.
Measures requiring the withdrawal of old power stations as a solution for breaking power utility PPC’s dominant market position are also expected to be discussed and implemented.
A plan by the previous Greek government to sell PPC’s Meliti and Megalopoli power stations proved futile, prompting the new administration’s energy minister Costis Hatzidakis to talk of costly units negatively impacting the utility’s financial results.
European Commission officials, due to visit Athens for talks on September 16, have included on their agenda the need to discuss PPC’s disinvestment schedule.
The withdrawal of older PPC units could represent the last chance to keep alive the utility’s plan to develop Ptolemaida V, a prospective lignited-fired power station budgeted at 1.4 billion euros, sources noted.
Rising CO2 emission right costs will soon make many PPC units unsustainable, sources told energypress.
Besides Amynteo and Kardia, the withdrawal plan is expected to also include other units. Details will be discussed at the upcoming talks between Athens and Brussels officials.
In moving to withdraw lignite-fired units, the energy ministry will also aim for the cancellation of legal action taken against Greece at the European Court for PPC’s lignite monopoly. The lignite unit closures would restrict the utility’s dominance in production and, by extension, supply of this energy source.
Greek officials will also be looking to offset the inevitable negative impact of lignite unit withdrawals on local economies, including the west Macedonia region in Greece’s north, where livelihoods depend on lignite.
Energy ministry officials will also present the plan for closures as a measure seeking to limit PPC’s financial losses.