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Economy

Core Strategy for Phasing Out Lignite Has Not Changed, PPC CEO says

ATHENS – The Public Power Corporation (PPC) has not changed its core strategy for phasing out of the use of lignite coal in the long term, PPC President and CEO Giorgos Stassis said in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Saturday.

“The PPC will act with realism and flexibility, gauging developments in the international and domestic energy market, as well as the decisions of the European Commission for adjustments to the energy market. One thing is certain: the long-term strategy for phasing out lignite has not changed,” he said.

Stassis made the statement in the wake of an announcement made by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last week regarding an increase in power production using lignite “so as to reduce our reliance on natural gas in the short-term.”

According to the prime minister, “the decision for a gradual reduction in the share of lignite in power production was correct, remains correct and imperative, not just for environmental reasons but also for economic reasons.” He noted that the use of lignite was an emergency solution at this specific conjunction, in order to replace the temporarily more expensive and less plentiful natural gas due to the sanctions on Russia.

The PPC’s proposal, which was accepted, was to ensure adequate lignite in the yards of power units in order to cover demand if there was a problem with natural gas supplies. To this end, PPC coal mines will increase production by 45 pct.

In terms of power production units, the following currently applies:

– From the autumn, the new 660 MW PPC power plant using lignite, Ptolemaida 5, will begin to operate on a pilot basis. Its conversion to natural gas, given recent international developments, now seems likely to take place in 2028, as originally planned, and not be brought forward to 2025. In the second half of the year, the 826 MW Mytilineos power plant using natural gas, at the Agios Nikolaos energy centre in Viotia, will go into commercial operation.

– The planning for phasing out lignite envisaged the retirement of units 1,2,3 and 4 at Agios Dimitrios by the end of the year and the units Agios Dimitrios 5, Meliti and Megalopoli 4 at the end of 2023. The new parameter, according to the prime minister, is that the possible continued operation of some of these will now be examined in light of energy prices and the availability of natural gas. The coal-burning Agios Dimitrios 4 unit will continue to operate after the end of 2022, regardless, in order to ensure the continued supply of the Kozani teleheating system.

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