The heart of Greek power production is gradually shifting after many decades from Western Macedonia to Central Greece, closer to the country’s main consumption center (Attica), with lignite giving way to natural gas – the transition fuel as the country approaches its goal of being powered exclusively by renewable energy sources – and Athens-listed Mytilineos in the lead.
By the end of the year the Mytilineos Group’s generating plant at Agios Nikolaos in Viotia will have added a state-of-the-art gas-powered unit. When it launches in 2021 it will add 826 megawatts to the grid, or about 50% of the energy output of Public Power Corporation’s lignite-fired units last year.
The new unit was designed before the decarbonization effort started and surprised even the energy market itself when it was announced in March 2018. It is now being completed at a key moment for the national decarbonization plans, and its role is crucial for the sufficiency of the grid in the coming years and for the energy transition.
The plant’s important role was the focus of the energy minster’s address at the Agios Nikolaos facilities last Saturday. Kostas Skrekas visited the site upon the delivery and installation of a General Electric gas turbine that sets the project on its final stretch.
The new unit, the minister said, “will help us meet the target that this government has set, for the fastest lignite phase-out in Europe.” This is a power production unit, he added, “that will ensure the stability of the electricity network so that we achieve the other major goal we have: obtaining a share of renewable energy sources above 60% of electricity production by 2030.”
The company’s head, Evangelos Mytilineos, presented the 300-million-euro investment to the minister, expressing his hope there will be no more delays as in the past and the capacity remuneration mechanism (CRM) proceeds before the launch of the new plant’s commercial operation. (The CRM is a payment which encourages power generators to be available and ready to supply electricity to the grid when it is demanded by customers.) “We have a government that fulfills its pledges, so there is no chance this units will start before the CRM is launched,” said Mytilineos.