Facing pressure from Brussels for the sale of some of Public Power Corporation’s most precious electricity plants, the Greek government is hoping that a market test later this fall will be successful enough to avert the concession of hydroelectric units.
The European Commission has definitively rejected Greece’s proposal to implement the bailout commitment to let go of 40 percent of PPC’s lignite-powered capacity. This proposal included the two units at Amyntaio and the two at Meliti. The rejection has triggered a clash between Athens and Brussels on which units should be put up for sale, with a top European official branding the Greek proposal “trash.”
If Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis insists on a list of units that would minimize the negative effects on PPC, then it would run the risk of failing the market test to sound out investors interested in buying coal-fired plants and mines owned by PPC.
If it fails the market test, then that would inevitably lead to the irreversible sale of hydroelectric plants too. In an interview with state TV, Stathakis admitted “there obviously are pressures for the involvement of the hydroelectrics in the process.”
Therefore the government’s priority now lies in the success of the attempt to sell off lignite units; it will need to make concessions regarding the lignite plants the Commission will propose for sale, but try and keep off the list the plants of Aghios Dimitrios and of Megalopoli.