PPC plan includes withdrawal of all existing lignite units by 2023

Power utility PPC will cease operating all of its existing lignite-fired power stations by 2023, according to the corporation’s new business plan, expected to be approved by the board today.

Just days ago, at a Greece-focused Capital Link Forum event in New York, PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis said the utility does not intend to keep burning lignite until 2028, when Greece plans to have fully decarbonized, according to an objective announced recently by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The aggressive lignite-unit withdrawal program is made possible by the technology available today, Stassis pointed out. Greece, currently Europe’s biggest emitter of CO2, will develop into one of the lowest polluters on the continent, the PPC boss added.

Five units at the Agios Dimitrios lignite-fired power station totaling 1,456 MW, two units at Amynteo (546 MW), Meliti (289 MW), all four Kardia units (1,110 MW), and the two Megalopoli units (511 MW) make up the list of PPC’s existing lignite units planned for withdrawal by 2023.

Stassis has not offered any details on the future of PPC’s Ptolemaida V power station, currently under construction and initially planned to operate as a lignite-fired power plant. It will most likely be used until 2028.

Besides the environmental concerns, PPC’s lignite unit withdrawal plan is also needed as a result of a sharp rise in lignite costs, generating major losses at the utility, estimated at 200 million euros for 2018, according to the chief executive. These losses are seen rising to 300 million euros for 2019.