Greece announced on Saturday the construction of a gas-fired power plant in the northern port town of Alexandroupolis.
Alexandroupolis plays a key geopolitical, energy, and development role and will continue to do so, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the inauguration of the project.
The unit will have a capacity of 840 MW and be built jointly by the Public Power Corporation (51 percent), DEPA Commercial (29 percent), and Kopelouzos Group (20 percent).
It will “increase our capacity to produce electricity, reducing electricity imports, but mostly increasing exports,” Mitsotakis said, adding that “our ambition is to become an energy security producer for our neighbors in the Balkans.”
The unit will cost four hundred million euros ($434 million) and will employ eight hundred people. It is expected to be operational in thirty-two months.
The new unit will be constructed at a strategic point (Alexandroupolis Industrial Area), where several natural gas infrastructural works and international power connector networks meet.
It will connect to the Ultra-High Voltage Center of IPTO (Independent Power Transmission Operator) of Greece at Nea Santa, where the second Bulgaria-Greece line ends up (Nea Santa-Maritsa East), a European project that will raise both countries’ transmission capacity to 1,400 MW (from Greece to Bulgaria) and 1,700 MW (from Bulgaria to Greece).
According to data released so far, the unit is expected to have a 63 percent efficiency rating, which means lower cost and fuel consumption, as well as lower carbon dioxide emissions.
A floating power plant is also to be built at Alexandroupolis
Along with the Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSTU) expected to be ready in 2024, the two projects will be “a double dynamic step toward the energy era’s future,” Mitsotakis noted.
Gastrade, owned by Greece’s Copelouzos family, is developing the FSRU, which will be anchored about eighteen kilometers off the northern Greek port of Alexandroupolis, carrying gas to shore via a 28-kilometer-long pipeline. It is expected to carry the gas to Bulgaria and further to the north once it starts operations.
Gastrade has said it is examining the construction of a second FSRU off of Alexandroupolis. Greece is becoming a European hub of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as demand grows in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
Currently, major LNG-related projects—either under construction, expanding, or being planned—are underway at five locations around Greece. Within the next two years, those projects could more than double the country’s capacity to handle world shipments of LNG.
The various projects—two near the town of Alexandroupolis in northern Greece, one near Volos in central Greece, and two near Athens—come as Europe dramatically increases its imports of LNG to replace Russian natural gas.