Public Power faces foreign challenge

State-controlled energy utility Public Power Corporation (PPC) could face tough times ahead as a number of foreign energy groups appear ready to encroach on its home territory after getting the green light from the Development Ministry to enter the Greek market. US energy group Enron, Italian state-controlled company Enel, France’s Atel and Cinergy and a Spanish-English consortium were granted licenses to develop distribution projects in Greece with a total of 1,100 megawatts, the ministry said in an announcement yesterday. The partial deregulation of the electricity market which took place on February 19 has generated large interest from foreign groups. French state-owned energy group Electricite de France underscored interest from foreign investors when it teamed up with Intracom subsidiary Hellenic Energy and Development and Phosphoric Fertilizers Industry early this month to apply for a license to construct a power generation plant in Kavala. Enron’s permit is for five years, allowing it to distribute 350 megawatts. Enel’s license runs for seven years with its distribution capacity set at 250 megawatts. Cinergy will dispense 200 megawatts of electricity, with its license valid for five years. Atel has the shortest contract, two years, and will distribute 300 megawatts of electricity. The ministry also allocated eight electricity generation licenses yesterday, two of which went to local construction companies, underlining the sector’s interest in building energy plants to meet their needs. Michaniki and Aegek Energy received the green light to build hydroelectric plants, at Aghios Nicholaos near Artas and in Ioannina, respectively. Both plants will have a generation capacity of 93 megawatts. The Kavala CCGT Power Plant consortium was awarded a license for a combined steam- and wind-powered turbine in Kavala which would be able to generate 440 megawatts of capacity. Two licenses went to Cinergy Global Trading Ltd., one for a wind-powered turbine with 80 megawatts of capacity in Boeotia and another for a 50-megawatt wind-powered turbine for the Hellenic Sugar Industry’s factory in Larissa. Aluminium of Greece got approval to construct three wind-powered turbines in Boeotia. Each of the projects will have 66 megawatts of capacity. Licenses given out to date by the ministry have tended to be for projects powered by alternative sources of energy such as wind, biomass and hydroelectricity.

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