Russia seeks alternative for blocked hydropower project

Though definitely not at the top of their agenda, Russian officials did mention a blocked plan for the construction of hydropower stations at Acheloos river, western Greece, a project that had been allotted to a Russian consortium, during talks earlier this week with Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis.

The minister made an official visit to Moscow as part of an effort to forge closer ties with Russia, the energy sector being a key part.

A Russian consortium had secured a contract to construct two hydropower facilities in the areas of Sykia (2 x 60 MW) and Pefkofyto (2 x 80 MW), which was attached to an agreement for Russian gas supply to Greece. However, the hydropower projects did not proceed as they were blocked by the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court.

During their talks this week with Lafazanis, Russian officials requested that Greece propose an alternative project of equal monetary worth to be constructed by Russian companies.

Lafazanis and his delegation did not offer any proposals, but both sides expressed confidence that a solution will be found amid the climate of closer bilateral ties being developed.

According to Greek officials, Russia’s Gazprom has already indicated it will reduce to one third a penalty activated by a pay-or-take clause included in a gas supply agreement with DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation. Greece overestimated its gas order for 2014 as a result of lower domestic gas consumption amid the recession, which subsequently activated the take-or-pay clause, whose total cost exceeds 100 million euros. Based on the latest developments, DEPA will reportedly pay about one third of this amount.