The Ptolemaida 5 lignite-fired power plant was inaugurated today by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Public Power Corp. Chairman and CEO George Stassis and GEK Terna Chairman and CEO George Peristeris.
In 2019, the New Democracy government took office in Greece, promising a swift turn away from lignite towards renewables and natural gas to achieve the country’s energy transition. In the meantime, the cabinet was forced to acknowledge the importance of the new Ptolemaida 5 coal plant, as the energy crisis led to a revision of state policy and an increased focus on energy security.
Mitsotakis himself recognized that “Ptolemaida 5 is of strategic importance” while adding that the use of lignite has been extended because of the war in Ukraine, but not for long.
PPC’s Ptolemaida 5 was constructed by Terna in Ptolemaida in Western Macedonia. It has a capacity of 660 MW with modern technology that reduces emissions. According to Mitsotakis, the cost of lignite for Ptolemaida 5 will be EUR 30 per MWh versus EUR 45 per MWh for older lignite plants, while it emits one ton of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour versus 1.4 tons. It makes it competitive against natural gas plants even at prices of electricity lower than today.
However, it is not enough to make the unit commercially viable in the long run, so it has been decided to convert it to natural gas sometime after 2028.