New PPC gas-fired plant

The Public Power Corporation (PPC) said yesterday it is seeking government approval for a new 400-megawatt natural gas-fired electricity plant, in an effort to clean up and replace aging power stations. The plant, near the city of Megalopolis in southern Greece, is intended to replace two older, 250MW lignite-fired power plants in the area, which are scheduled to be withdrawn from service by 2010. But the new facility is not expected to be in operation until the beginning of 2011. PPC, one of Europe’s worst-polluting power producers, is under pressure to reduce its heavy dependence on coal and turn to cleaner and renewable energy sources. The company has already announced it will build a natural gas-fired power plant in Aliveri, on the island of Evia, northeast of Athens, which is expected to begin operations in the summer of 2009. PPC also faces increased competition with the recent liberalization of the Greek energy market, which in theory allows businesses – and from next year, residences – to choose alternative power providers. Still dominant So far, no other major electricity providers have entered the market, and PPC still provides 96 percent of all electricity consumed in Greece. But the expected entry of other players has forced PPC to budget more than $6 billion in its current five-year plan to upgrade its electricity production. The company said it is also progressing with plans to build a 400MW lignite-fired power plant in the province of Western Macedonia, which it expects to begin operations between 2012 and 2013. «Upon completion of all these investments in modernization, PPC will succeed in significantly improving emissions in Megalopolis, Aliveri and Western Macedonia,» a company statement said. «It is also expected that the costs of production will improve, thanks to the higher productivity of the newer power plants.» (AP)