The monthly emissions from each power plant in Greece are estimated based on the latest available electricity production data (June 2023 for the interconnected network and May 2023 for the non-interconnected islands) and those of the annual CO2 emissions from ETS (2022), as well as the methodology and assumptions presented here.
Emissions per fuel
A total of 6.75 million tonnes of CO2 were emitted in the first six months of 2023 for electricity production. 45.5% was emitted from lignite plants (3.07million tonnes), 38.8% from fossil gas plants (2.58 million tonnes) and 16.2% from oil plants (1.1 million tonnes). Emissions from lignite continued to lead the way, emitting 1.4 times more CO2 than fossil gas, while producing 2.9 times less electricity, recording a historic low compared to the first half of previous years. However, emissions from fossil gas remained also high, despite the decreased contribution from fossil gas to the electricity production in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.
Total emissions from the sector were decreased by 23.2% compared to the same period in 2022, continuing the downward trend from all three fuels. The largest decrease was from fossil gas units (-1.07 million tonnes or -29.3% compared to 2022), showing the lowest performance after 2018 (2.26 million tonnes). The smallest decrease in percentage terms (-18.4%) was from lignite (-0.69 million tonnes), while the emissions from oil plants are estimated to have decreased by 0.28 million tonnes (-20.2%) compared to the same period in 2022.
An even greater decrease was recorded compared to the five-year average (-40.4%), where total emissions from the power sector from all three fuels were 1.33 million tonnes in the first six months of the year. This was primarily driven by the reduction in lignite production, resulting in a 3.64 million tonne (-54.2%) reduction in emissions from lignite plants in the first six months of the year compared to the five-year average (6.71 million tonnes), at the beginning of which lignite emissions were almost four times higher (11.08 million tonnes in 2018). The second largest contribution to emissions reductions after lignite was made by fossil gas-fired plants which reduced their emissions by 0.6 million tonnes (-19%) compared to the five-year average, followed by emissions from oil-fired plants which were reduced by 0.34 million tonnes (-23.6%).
Emissions per thermal power plant
In terms of the distribution of emissions among power plants, the first by far continued to be the lignite power plant of Agios Dimitrios, with cumulative emissions in the first six months of 2023 of 2.02 million tonnes, despite the fact that June 2023 recorded a historic low in emissions (0.57 million tonnes) due to the lowest contribution of Agios Dimitrios to electricity production in the last 10 years (35.3 GWh). In second place again was PPC’s new lignite unit “Ptolemaida 5” (0.49 million tonnes), which in June covered more than half of the electricity generation from lignite units (64.3%). Among the top three lignite plants was Megalopolis IV, although it was fourth in the overall ranking, emitting 0.36 million tonnes, while cumulatively with the first two they emitted 2.87 million tonnes in the first half of 2023, accounting for just over half (50.8%) of total emissions from the 17 thermal power plants in the country’s interconnected grid.
In 4th place in the ranking of the biggest polluters in power production was the “Megalopolis V” plant with emissions of 0.41 million tonnes, recording in June 2023 the highest monthly electricity production of the year (257.5 million tonnes). It was followed by the high-efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) plant of Aluminum with 0.33 million tonnes while one place higher than last month, in 6th place in the overall ranking, was the Lavrio IV-V gas plant with 0.3 million tonnes.
In the non-interconnected Islands, two of the three oil stations located in Crete (Atherinolakkos and Linoperamata) lead in emissions with total emissions of 0.42 million tonnes in the first six months of 2023, while Rhodes follows for the first time in emissions (0.18 million tonnes), emitting slightly more than the Chania oil station (0.1). Cumulatively, the top four oil stations in terms of emissions represent 58.7% of the total emissions on the non-interconnected islands.
Emissions of PPC ‘s thermal power plants
In 2021, PPC signed three bond loans containing sustainability clauses. Under the first two, with a total amount of 775 million €, emissions from PPC’s thermal power plants were to be reduced by 40% in 2022 compared to 2019 levels, while the sustainability clause of the third bond loan of 500 million €, imposed a 57% reduction in 2023 compared to 2019 levels.
Based on the ETS data for all PPC’s thermal plants in 2022, total emissions were 14.92 million tonnes, a 35.3% reduction compared to 2019 levels (23.09 million tonnes), about 4.7 percentage points or 1.07 million tonnes of CO2 away from the -40% target (13.85 million tonnes) corresponding to the viability clause of the first two bonds.
Regarding the third bond, which relates to PPC’s climate performance in 2023, emissions from the company’s thermal plants for the first six months of 2023 are estimated at 5.18 million tonnes. Given that the -57% sustainability clause requires emissions to be limited to 9.93 million tonnes for 2023, the carbon budget remaining in the business by the end of the year is 4.75 million tonnes. Therefore, by June 2023 the PPC has spent 52.2% of the total carbon budget for the year. If it continues to emit at the same rate, the carbon budget of its thermal units will be exhausted in December 2023, just before the end of the year. However, there has been steady progress from month to month and especially in comparison to the first months of the year when the PPC’s “emission reserve” was predicted to be exhausted in September. The progress is mainly attributed to the continued limitation of lignite production, whose contribution in June in particular (219 GWh) was the second lowest for the month of June in the last 12 years, just behind June 2020 (207 GWh).
You can see the evolution of the electricity sector emissions since 2013 as well as read the analyses from previous months here.