ENERGY

Contingency plan under way

Lignite plants preparing to revert to operation, while alternative gas quantities are mulled

Contingency plan under way

The government has already set in motion the emergency plan to ensure the country’s energy sufficiency in the likely case that Russian natural gas imports will be interrupted as of May 20.

Public Power Corporation’s lignite mines have returned to work and are scrambling to be ready in time for the coal-fired plants to have enough of the fuel when they are asked to relaunch operations.

In recent weeks the Western Macedonia lignite fields have resembled a picture of previous years: Excavators, conveyor belts, trucks and miners have suddenly re-emerged and are working to implement the state’s contingency plan: “We are working based on the scenario that the lignite unit plants will have a full fuel supply at the end of May, in case the gas supply from Russia is cut off,” a competent PPC official tells Kathimerini.

PPC’s lignite plants are the main pillar of the emergency plan. Furthermore, gas-fired plants with the ability to switch to diesel will start doing so. The third measure concerns securing as much gas as possible from alternative sources, and the fourth provides for the upgrading of infrastructure to receive the main substitute to Russian gas – i.e. liquefied natural gas.

The tender for the procurement of a floating LNG tank is proceeding rapidly; that will increase the capacity of the Revithoussa terminal from 225,000 to over 360,000 cubic meters. Gas grid operator DESFA has invited expression of interest for the 12-18-month leasing of a floating storage unit (FSU) – practically an LNG carrier – that should be available as of May or July at the latest, allowing for more LNG loads to be stored at the island off the coast of Attica.

Kathimerini also understands the government has asked for the acceleration of the construction of the Alexandroupoli floating storage regasification unit (FSRU).

In fact the Gastrade vessel that will be used to develop the Alexandroupoli FSRU is already at the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore for the necessary modifications, before it sets sail for the northern Aegean Sea.