PPC head stresses utility’s persistence with China partnerships plan

The main power utility PPC’s top official has once again highlighted his determination to stick to a plan envisioning business partnerships with Chinese enterprises as a way out of the utility’s problems along many fronts.

Manolis Panagiotakis, PPC’s chief executive, is counting on Chinese capital and knowhow as support for the utility’s new investment plans, intended to offset bailout-required market share losses in electricity production and retail, the official made clear in an interview for Chinese news agency Xinhua, which took place in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region, a key local energy producing region.

PPC’s administration is striving to lead the utility into a new era where business interests will stretch beyond electricity production and sales, Panagiotakis noted in the interview, adding that Chinese firms are pivotal to these aspirations.

Panagiotakis noted that agreements already reached between PPC and major Chinese firms point to a bright future for Greek-Chinese collaborations in the energy sector. Chinese enterprises can play a fundamental role in the Greek energy sector’s new strategic planning, the PPC chief remarked.

The PPC head cited the utility’s plan for the co-development, with CMEC, of a lignite-fired power station in Meliti, northern Greece. He described this as a feasible project regardless of the outcome of a bailout-required sale faced by PPC concerning 40 percent of its lignite capacity.

He also made note of another plan involving CMEC for the development of a smart meters production facility. A preliminary agreement has already been signed for this project.

Panagiotakis described SGCC’s (State Grid Corporation of China) recent acquisition of a 24 percent stake in IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, as a positive development. He stressed that PPC is keen to expand this SGCC strategic partnership, citing the electric car market and a submarine power cable interconnection project to link the Greek mainland with Crete.

The PPC chief also noted that the Greek power utility is interested in working with Shenhua on various projects concerning innovation in the environmental sector, an area in which Shenhua has made major progress, he added.

Panagiotakis has held meetings with 21 major Chinese enterprises on two official visits to China since taking over the helm at PPC about two years ago.