ECONOMY

Alliances are formed ahead of power unit tender this month

Local and foreign energy groups are eagerly expecting the tender for three combined-cycle power production units of 400 megawatts each in end-February. The tender is for 900MW in total (each unit using only 300MW) for units based in Attica, Viotia and Corinth linked with the southern system. The process of consultation on the proclamation of the tender was completed earlier this month, so in the next few days the final text is expected from the Hellenic Power Transmission System Operator (DESMHE) and the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE). In view of the proclamation, discussions among interested investors are peaking for the creation of strong consortia, with the first groups already emerging. Foreign investing interests are seeking allies among local investors who own licenses for production and installation in the country’s southern system, as only they have the right to bid. The groups licensed are TERNA, Kopelouzos, Mytilineos, Hellenic Technodomiki – Viohalco, Vardinoyiannis, Alamanis (although this group is facing a big cash-flow problem) and Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE); the latter only have a production license, and last month applied for an installation permit, too, for a unit in Megara, western Attica, to be able to join the bidding. Apparently the Vardinoyiannis and Kopelouzos groups are close to forming an alliance. The former owns a production and installation license for a 395.9MW unit at Motor Oil’s complex in Corinth. The Kopelouzos group has through ENELCO SA (50 percent of which belongs to Italy’s ENEL) a production and installation permit for a 390MW unit in Viotia. The consortium of Hellenic Technodomiki TEV with Italy’s Edison, controlled now by France’s EdF, is certain. Hellenic Technodomiki owns through HE&D (where Viohalco participates) a license to produce 400MW in Viotia, too. Interest from abroad has already come from Spain’s Iberdrola, which is present in the Greek market through its 49.9 percent stake at Rokas SA. The Spanish have knocked on the door of HELPE, which is desperately looking for a partner for its 900MW unit in Thessaloniki as well. Iberdrola’s CEO met last week with HELPE President Timos Christodoulou; they were said to have discussed the participation of the Spanish firm in both of the Greek group’s units. Iberdrola’s reservations are due to the fact that HELPE has not yet secured the right to enter the bidding process as its installations permit is still pending; hence the Spanish also met the development minister to scrutinize his intentions about the timely licensing of HELPE’s unit. Spain’s second-largest company is also reportedly in discussions with TERNA which owns a license for a 547MW unit in Viotia, as well as with the Mytilineos group that has a 412MW-unit license in the same prefecture. Market professionals talk about a delay by the Spanish company, as both Greek groups are said to have already struck deals with other partners, without them being published. The reactivation of foreign investment interest is creating a new context in the domestic energy market. These foreign groups are already active in power production from renewable energy sources (RES) and almost all of them are in talks with the Public Power Corporation for joint RES investments. Some have also expressed an interest in the natural gas networks, appreciating the impact of the power and gas markets together.