A four-point plan to ensure an adequate supply of energy at affordable prices, which pivots on a doubling of electric power production using lignite coal, was decided on at a meeting of the Committee for the Management of Energy Crises chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, according to Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) sources.
At the meeting on Thursday, Public Power Corporation (PPC) CEO Georgios Stassis said power production using coal will rise to 10 TWh as follows:
1. Priority inclusion of lignite power plants in the daily power production schedule, as it is not technically desirable to constantly vary their production levels.
2. Giving enough time to pay off investments that will be needed for the intensive exploitation of existing coal mines and to open new ones, estimated at around 150 million euros.
3. Guarantees that the costs of the PPC and contractors will be covered in the currently unlikely scenario that natural gas prices collapse.
4. Abolition of a clause that requires the PPC to sell 40-50 pct of its power production from lignite coal at lower prices to independent producers until 2023, as part of a deal reached in an antitrust case concerning its monopoly of lignite in 2007.
Effectively, coal-powered electricity production will replace that using more expensive and possibly entirely unavailable natural gas, with the cost estimated to be roughly half that of natural gas at current prices. A major hurdle will be increasing production from coal mines in such a short space of time.