Some investors behind CCGTs stalling, others forging ahead

Energy crisis uncertainty and the singling out of natural gas for its exorbitant price levels are factors troubling investors behind new combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant projects.

Some investors have stalled their CCGT investment plans, waiting to see how developments unfold concerning gas prices and availability, while, on the other hand, more aggressive players are forging ahead.

Elpedison has yet to reach an investment decision on a new 860-MW CCGT at the company’s Thessaloniki refinery facilities. Despite having begun some preliminary work, Elpedison’s partners – HELLENiQ ENERGY, until recently named Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), and Edison – have put their Thessaloniki CCGT project on hold to appraise international and European energy market developments.

If developed, Elpedison’s prospective 860-MW Thessaloniki facility would add to the joint venture’s two existing facilities. The HELLENiQ ENERGY petroleum group is also planning an FSRU at the Thermaic Gulf, which would establish a Thessaloniki hub for the company.

The Copelouzos group has also been troubled by the adverse market conditions. Group member Damco Energy had secured a license for an 840-MW CCGT in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece, but the high cost of natural gas and overall market uncertainty prompted the company to not go it alone and seek partners for the project.

According to sources, power utility PPC and gas company DEPA Commercial have joined Damco Energy for the Alexandroupoli CCGT. Official announcements on the partnership are expected soon.

Elsewhere, the GEK TERNA and Motor Oil groups have begun working on an 877-MW CCGT in Komotini, northeastern Greece. The former, in its publication of first-half results, noted work on the “Thermoilektriki Komotinis” project is continuing, its scheduled launch unchanged for 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

PPC, DEPA Commercial in PPP talks for gas-fueled facility

Power utility PPC and gas company DEPA Commercial, both state-controlled, are involved in advanced talks with private energy groups for a joint investment concerning the development of a gas-fueled power station.

PPC and DEPA Commercial have already agreed to join forces for this project and are now discussing the matter with private investors for the establishment of a public-private partnership (PPP), energypress sources informed.

More talks are necessary before the PPP’s formation can be considered a certainty, it is believed. Reports claiming that PPC and DEPA Commercial are holding talks with private companies that are either already developing or close to completing combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants remain unconfirmed.

Officials at PPC are interested in the CCGT plant as they believe natural gas prices will deescalate over the next few years, while DEPA Commercial has decided to enter the domain of electricity generation as part of a wider company plan to vertically integrate its operations.

 

 

Damco Energy CCGT boost to 840 MW approved by RAE

A plan by Damco Energy, a Copelouzos group subsidiary, to increase the capacity of its prospective natural gas-fired power station in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, from 662 MW to 840 MW has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The energy company now needs to make an investment decision, expected within the summer, before work on the project commences, sources informed. Its licensing procedure has been completed.

According to the sources, ESM, North Macedonia’s state electricity company, set to acquire a 25 percent in the Alexandroupoli natural gas-fired power station, is now at the final of its preparations and is currently performing due diligence.

Damco Energy is one of a number of companies that have not only decided to develop natural gas-fired power stations but also to boost capacities of their respective projects to over 800 MW.

Mytilineos was the first to do so with its plan for an 826-MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT unit) in Agios Nikolaos, Viotia, northwest of Athens, a project already being developed.

Following suit, Elpedison upgraded a licensed natural gas-fired power station plan in Thessaloniki to 826 MW, while, just weeks ago, GEK Terna and Motor Oil also announced an upgrade for their natural gas-fired power station in Komotini, northeastern Greece, a joint venture, to 877 MW.

Power utility PPC has also announced a plan to convert its new lignite-fired power station, Ptolemaida V, to a natural gas unit, planned to ultimately offer a capacity of over 1,000 MW by 2025.

The prospective natural gas-fired power stations, totaling 4.3 GW, are planned to fill the capacity gap that will be left by PPC’s withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations, exiting as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

These new gas-fired units are also expected to export electricity to Balkan countries through grid interconnections with neighboring markets.

IPTO warns PPC against Megalopoli III closure this year

Power utility PPC’s Megalopoli III lignite-fired power station must not be withdrawn within 2021 – let alone about now, as the utility had initially planned – for reasons of grid sufficiency, the power grid operator IPTO has advised in a letter forwarded to PPC and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

IPTO, in its letter, warns against the consequences of two PPC plans, the first, an intention to shut down Megalopoli III by the end of March, and, the second, premature withdrawal of its entire portfolio of lignite-fired power stations by the end of this coming August, or to the extent that is feasible, given grid sufficiency requirements.

Premature withdrawal, this summer, of all the lignite units would result in a capacity shortage measuring approximately 1,000 MW, which would need to be covered by electricity imports, IPTO has warned.

PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis refenced the IPTO letter during yesterday’s Power and Gas Supply Forum, an online event staged by energypress, while commenting on the need to maintain lignite-fired power stations for grid stability, even if these units are now loss-incurring because of elevated CO2 emission right costs.

IPTO does not consent to any lignite unit withdrawals that would be ahead of schedule – based on a PPC plan for 2021 to 2023 – the power utility’s boss stressed during yesterday’s forum.

As a result, Stassis added, PPC will need to be compensated by the European Commission, through a support mechanism proposed by Greek officials, for needing to maintain loss-incurring units.

IPTO, in its letter, reiterated the findings of recent grid sufficiency study, noting that the two-year period from 2021 to 2022, especially the current year, will be crucial. The grid would be particularly exposed to deficiencies if generating capacity is reduced without replacement, the operator warned.

The Mytilineos group plans to launch a new 826-MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant next year. Testing is expected to begin in the fourth quarter this year. Also next year, PPC plans to launch its Ptolemaida V unit, initially as a lignite-fired power station.