Qatar team in Crete to survey units for sufficiency proposal

A team of Qatar state-run energy company officials has arrived in Crete to survey the main power utility PPC’s diesel-fueled power station in the Atherinolakos region as part of the firm’s interest to offer a solution for Crete’s looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020, when PPC will need to have withdrawn its diesel-fired power stations operating on the island.

The survey to be conducted by Qatari energy company technical officials will also include the Atherinolakos port facilities, intended to be utilized as a key part of the plan. The firm’s proposal entails the usage of a floating power station and electricity supply unit to be anchored at the Atherinolakos port for additional electricity generation on Crete. The vessel will include an LNG storage facility as well as a gasification unit, according to the Qatar firm’s plan.

At this crucial stage, given the little time remaining before the withdrawal of PPC’s old diesel-fired power stations on Crete, it still remains unclear how the government and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will go about resolving the island’s energy sufficiency threat from 2020 onward.

As his most preferred choice, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis hopes the European Commission will offer a further operating extension for Crete’s existing power stations. If Brussels does not, then the old units will need to stop operating by December 31, 2019.

GEK Terna, Socar and Spain’s Enagas have also made proposals along the lines of the plan proposed by Qatar’s energy firm.

PPC currently operates three diesel-fueled power stations on Crete with a total capacity of 728 MW. Total electricity demand on the island is estimated at 630 MW.

A planned submarine cable link from Crete to the Peloponnese will provide a further 150 to 180 MW to the island, while a major-scale grid interconnection, to link Crete with Athens, will offer around 700 MW.

These interconnection projects have been delayed as a result of an ongoing dispute between Greek power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli PCI-status interconnection project – for control of the Crete-Athens segment.