Lignite boost target dependent on futures of sidelined mines

Power utility PPC’s target of boosting its monthly lignite extraction from one million tons to 1.5 million tons, an increase that would enable lignite-fired power station grounds to be fully stocked with lignite reserves ahead of winter, can only be achieved if the futures of two lignite mines, Ahlada and Vevi, both in northern Greece’s Florina region, are cleared up.

Lignitoryhia Ahladas SA, the company to which two lignite mines, Ahlada 1 and Ahlada 2, were leased by the Greek State, was declared defunct by the energy ministry in July as a result of its failure to meet agreement terms, primarily lease payments.

This company, alone, could have provided PPC’s Meliti lignite-fired power station with up to 2.5 million tons of lignite, annually, meaning 1.5 TWh in electricity generation, nearly double this unit’s current limit of 0.8 TWh.

PPC is believed to be close to reaching a new mining agreement with a major private-sector energy firm for the Ahlada lignite deposits.

Greece needs to bolster its lignite reserves as an energy security measure should Russia, in a worst-case scenario, disrupt gas supplies to Europe. Approximately 40 percent of Greece’s electricity generation is gas-fueled.

PPC’s Meliti power station is currently fed by two other lignite sources, one privately owned by METE and, the other, a PPC mine at Mavropigi, in northern Greece’s Kozani region.

There have been no developments concerning Vevi, the Florina region’s other lignite mine, which is owned by the Greek State and has been sidelined since 2001. Reopening the mine after so many years of inactivity would inevitably develop into a lengthy procedure, sector experts have warned.