Greek lignite-fired generation down 76% year on year in October

• Rate of decline well ahead of phase-out schedule
• Gas up 10%, renewables up 28% on year
• Asset manager Optimus builds market share

Generation by Greece’s fleet of lignite-fired power stations — being bundled out of the market ahead of the government’s accelerated phase out timetable — was 76% lower year on year in October, data from market operator Energy Exchange showed Nov. 23.

Lignite generation has provided less than 10% of indigenous generation in 2020, down from a 25% share in the first 10 months of 2019 and a 33% share in the 2018 period. According to government plans, Greece’s seven lignite generation sites, totaling around 2.8 GW of installed capacity, will be shut down by 2023. The country’s last lignite plant in construction, PPC’s 660 MW Ptolemaida V, is scheduled to cease generation from lignite in 2028, around six years after scheduled completion. Conversion to gas is being considered.

PPC’s schedule of lignite closures:
Plant, units Capacity Closure date
Amynteo I and II 2 x 273 MW End 2020
Kardia III and IV 2 x 280 MW End 2021
Megalopoli III 255 MW End 2022
Agios Dimitrios I –IV 2 x 274 MW End 2022
Agios Dimitrios V 342 MW End 2023
Meliti I 289 MW End 2023
Megalopoli IV 256 MW End 2023

Gas, renewables shine
Natural gas’s share of indigenous production, meanwhile, was up 10% in October year on year while renewables were up 28%. Imports of electricity were down again in October, if less so than in September, with Bulgaria and North Macedonia Greece’s main sources, followed by Albania and Italy. System demand for the month edged up 0.4% with coronavirus impacts much reduced, but the evidence of lockdown remained in 10-month demand, down 5.5% year on year. In the market, average system spot prices were up Eur0.60/MWh (71 cents/MWh) month on month at Eur47.22/MWh, but remained 25% lower year on year.

State generator PPC’s domestic generation market share of 39.74% in October was slightly up on month, while DAPEEP, the system operator’s renewable energy single buyer subsidiary, saw its share dip two percentage points on month to 26.14%. Then came the country’s leading independent combined-cycle gas turbine operators Mytilineos (10.48%), Korinthos Power (7.57%, a plant 65%-owned by Mytilineos) and Elpedison (7.25%).

New entrant renewable asset manager Optimus Energy, meanwhile, has been emerging as a material new player in the Greek market with a domestic generation market share of 3.66% in October.’s%20fleet,Energy%20Exchange%20showed%20Nov.%2023.