Power utility PPC’s four Agios Dimitrios power station units in Kozani, northern Greece will be phased out as of July 1 and should cease operating, completely, well before 2022, when the facilities are officially scheduled to shut down as part of Greece’s decarbonization effort.
At this stage, it appears that Agios Dimitrios I, II, III and IV will only be available in winter to cover telethermal needs. These units will not be used for electricity generation, according to PPC’s new business plan, meaning they will be withdrawn sooner than had been expected.
Contrary to the four Agios Dimitrios units, an emission-limiting desulphurization investment now being completed at Agios Dimitrios V is expected to prolong the life of this unit as the effort’s results should meet EU emission limits.
PPC, responding to an EU directive from 2010 asking producers to inform, by 2013, on how they intended to transform high-polluting facilities, had performed a dry desulphurization process on Agios Dimitrios I, II, III and IV ahead of a June 30, 2020 deadline, but this technique failed to produce the desired results.
Genop, the power utility PPC’s main union, has unleashed a wide-ranged attack on the utility’s administration by condemning upgrade projects of two pivotal power stations as well as the eventual cost of consulting services provided by McKinsey.
The union group also criticized the leadership’s handling of a bailout-required disinvestment of PPC lignite units and reiterated threats to intensify its protest activity with the aim of preventing the sales of lignite-fired power stations and mines, representing 40 percent of the power utility’s overall lignite capacity.
Genop alleged that serious problems hang over upgrades conducted at the Agios Dimitrios III and Agios Dimitrios IV power stations, planned to play crucial production roles at PPC following the disinvestments, while adding that high-cost desulphurization work at the facilities in not making good progress.
If these allegations are true, then PPC could have trouble operating the power stations as of 2020, following the end of an exemption to an EU law concerning power station emission limits for high-polluting units.
Also, work at Ptolemaida V, a new unit, is well behind schedule, Genop contended. This investment may not be sustainable if CAT payments for production are not secured, the union warned.
In its criticism of the amount paid by PPC to the consulting firm McKinsey for a business plan, the Genop union group alleged an initial 1.2 million-euro cost for the consulting services ended up reaching 1.8 million euros.
McKinsey was paid an additional 600,000 euros for a six-month extension to its contract with PPC as its initial report, presented in February, did not include crucial issues such as the power utility’s debt restructuring plan, completed later, the union alleged.