Power utility PPC and power grid operator IPTO, both seeing enormous potential in the further utilization of their thousands of kilometers of distribution and electricity transmission networks covering the entire country, have emerged as contestants in a tender for a broadband network expansion project, one of Greece’s biggest Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to date.
PPC and IPTO know well their existing nationwide infrastructure is a treasure whose potential is far from fully realized. Fiber optics and a large range of telephone and internet services can be added to this infrastructure.
The PPP tender is offering contracts for the development of ultra-fast broadband networks in seven parts of Greece that have not been included in investment plans shaped by telephony providers. The project is budgeted at 870 million euros.
Besides PPC and IPTO, three telecom companies, OTE, Vodafone and Wind, four construction firms, Terna Energy, Mytilineos, Intrakat and AVAX, as well as the Sultanate of Oman’s Oman Fiber Optic SAOC have emerged as first-round contenders for the tender.
Partnerships could be established between some of these ten participants, or with other investors who may be emerge later on.
According to the tender’s initial terms, bidders or bidding teams are entitled to be awarded up to three regions.
The main power utility PPC’s Kardia power station in northern Greece’s Kozani area will continue to operate beyond May, when the facility’s EU-approved 17,500-hour lifespan expansion is due to expire, a union group leader has contended following talks with energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, mindful of upcoming elections.
The government has agreed to strict European Commission withdrawal terms for the Kardia unit.
One of the Kardia power station’s units, Kardia III, has just 13 days of operating time remaining.
In comments to local media, Moschos Moschou, the head of PPC’s Spartakos union group, representing workers employed in electricity production, has assured that a lifespan extension beyond May would be granted to Kardia as part of Greece’s effort to meet energy sufficiency and energy security requirements.
Moschou and the energy minister also discussed the lifeline extension of another PPC unit, Amynteo, given an additional 32,000 hours from the previous 17,500.
PPC has already received four different Amynteo environmental upgrade proposals from the Mytilineos, Copelouzos, Peristeris and Intrakat groups. No agreements have been reached.
Private-sector investors will need to participate in any Amynteo power station upograde, the energy minster told Moschou, according to the union leader.
The main power utility PPC is maneuvering to increase the pressure on the government for action that would ensure the inclusion of the power utility’s lignite-fired Amynteo power station in the country’s energy mix over the coming years, secure its environmental upgrade and attract investors for its sustained utilization.
PPC appears to remain unconvinced of the government’s intentions to keep the Amynteo power station alive despite assurances from energy minister Giorgos Stathakis that the facility’s two units, totaling 600 MW, have been factored into the country’s electricity production calculations until 2030.
PPC is demanding a study as verification of the government’s Amynteo plan.
A 17,500-hour operating time limit imposed on the Amynteo power station by the European Commission for environmental reasons expired just over a month ago but Greek authorities have decided to sustain its operations while working on a revamp plan that would enable the unit to keep operating. Brussels is believed to be gearing up a sanctions procedure but it would typically move along at a slow pace.
The Mytilineos group, Gek Terna, Copelouzos and Intrakat have all expressed interest for involvement in an Amynteo upgrade.
The national energy and climate plan, currently undergoing public consultation, projects an installed capacity reduction of fossil fuel-fired power stations from 4.3 GW to 3.4 GW in 2020. A slight rise to 3.5 GW is foreseen for 2025 before this capacity is slashed to 2.7 GW in 2030.
The European Commission is set to launch a sanctions process against Greece in response to the country’s continued use of main power utility PPC’s lignite-fired Amynteo power station, whose 17,500-hour operating time limit, imposed for environmental reasons, expired approximately three weeks ago, on November 19.
The news of the imminent Brussels action was disclosed by a highly-ranked Directorate-General for Environment official in Athens last Friday, who added the specific department, responsible for EU policy on the environment, has not received any Greek extension request.
European Commission sanction procedures for such issues are typically lengthy and could take anywhere between a year or two to complete from the time Brussels forwards its initial complaint, the two sides exchange ensuing letters, Athens raises an anticipated objection, and Brussels issues a ruling, an official who is well-informed on the process told energypress.
Athens will aim to utilize this period and push ahead with a plan to complete an Amynteo power station upgrade that would enable the revamped unit to keep operating. The development of Ptolemaida V, a modern facility, may also be completed by then.
The Amynteo upgrade is not expected to begin until a bailout-required sale of three power stations at Megalopoli and Meliti has been completed.
The Mytilineos group, Gek Terna, Copelouzos, joined by China’s Shenhua, as well as Intrakat, have all expressed interest for involvement in the Amynteo upgrade.