West Macedonia region maintaining role as energy hub in Greece

The country’s west Macedonia region in the north, traditionally a lignite-based energy hub in Greece, will maintain this role for years to come, while, at the same time, perform a challenging balancing act as it transitions towards the post-lignite era through the development of eco-friendly projects.

Power utility PPC is, on the one hand, ensuring the grounds at its lignite-fired power stations in the west Macedonia region are fully stocked with lignite to cover high-demand situations, should they arise, until 2025, while, on the other hand, projects such as a green-energy data center, and a hydrogen innovation hub are being developed nearby.

PPC is also set to launch its new Ptolemaida V power station, a 616-MW facility that will initially operate as a lignite-fired facility before converting to natural gas.

Post-lignite era projects planned for completion in this region by 2030 are valued at 4 billion euros. They include natural gas-related projects for the transition towards a green economy and solar farms.

A flagship project of this effort, a 550-MW capacity PPC Renewables solar farm, one of Europe’s biggest, is being developed by TERNA at the former Ptolemaida lignite mine. PPC Renewables is also developing a 251-MW solar farm in Ptolemaida, a 299-MW solar farm at Amynteo, and an 88-MW solar farm in Florina.

Other projects leading the west Macedonia region to a new era include a nearly-completed 147 million-euro gas pipeline being developed by gas grid operator DESFA. This project, to expand the gas network’s reach to Edessa, Skydra, Naousa, Veria, Florina, Amynteo, Ptolemaida, Kozani and, at a latter stage, Kastoria, is scheduled to operate by August, 2023, according to DESFA.

In addition, telethermal projects worth 170 million euros are planned for development in west Macedonia to maintain heating costs at reasonable levels for households and shops.