New bill arrears rule restricting electricity consumer switches

Several thousand electricity consumers were blocked from switching suppliers in September, a trend that has continued this month, following a rule revision enabling suppliers to stop their customers from switching to rivals if they have not fully settled outstanding energy bills, suppliers have informed energypress.

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO implemented the new rule at the beginning of September following a request by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Though suppliers have sought closer monitoring of outstanding electricity bills linked with consumers preparing to switch companies, the new rule’s level of strictness is believed to even be impeding the mobility of punctual consumers with small and unintentional arrears left to pay.

Suppliers are now concerned about the measure’s impact on competition as even the smallest of bureaucratic obstacles can be enough to deter consumers from switching energy companies.

Consumer switches, both from power utility PPC to independent suppliers and from one independent firm to another, are currently high and would be even higher if the new restriction were not imposed, company officials noted.

Suppliers have protested that the rule revision was not preceded by public consultation.

Ellaktor, EDPR form alliance seeking greater RES market penetration

The Ellaktor group and EDP Renewables, both aiming for swifter and deeper RES market penetration, have established a strategic partnership following talks that began last summer.

The two companies plan to invest one billion euros over the next four to five years for the development of wind farms with a total capacity of 900 MW, sources have informed.

EDP Renewables was driven towards forming this partnership by the belief that its existing Greek portfolio of licenses, offering a capacity of 152 MW accumulated through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, would be insufficient to secure investment opportunities in the country.

The Ellaktor group, holding a RES portfolio of 460 MW, is looking to further bolster its position in the renewable energy market.

By uniting their portfolios, the two companies believe they will be better positioned for anticipated market changes and opportunities.

Ellaktor stands to also benefit from resulting access into lower-cost capital markets.

The plans of the two partners include development of two wind farms with a total capacity of 436.8 MW in central and southern parts of the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens. The two firms have acquired licenses for these projects from other companies.

A further 460 MW will be developed from a portfolio of existing licenses. These licenses are not linked with Ellaktor’s portfolio of wind parks already operating.

Ellaktor already holds a total of 26 RES projects, all operating. They are comprised of 24 wind energy farms with a total capacity of 484 MW, one small-scale hydropower plant (5 MW) and one solar energy farm (2 MW), offering a total installed capacity of 491 MW.

Minister urges target model readiness for smooth launch

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has urged all target model officials – including RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy; power grid operator IPTO; the energy exchange and EnExClear – to have resolved any pending issues so that a smooth launch of the model may be achieved on November 1.

Describing the upcoming date as historic for Greece’s energy sector, the minister was essentially conveying concerns of energy producers, traders and suppliers, not yet fully convinced that all market systems will be in full working order for the imminent launch.

The balancing market, in particular, remains a concern. The energy exchange is overseeing the day-ahead and intraday markets and IPTO will manage the balancing market.

Simulated dry-run testing of these markets, conducted for a period of over two months to test their limits and operating ability ahead of the target model launch, was completed about a fortnight ago.

Greece’s lead-up to the EU target model has been affected by a series of delays. Hatzidakis, the energy minister, is clearly determined to see the target model procedure through, not only because it is an EU commitment but also because of its prospective market and consumer benefits.

The target model will result in market coupling, or harmonization of EU wholesale markets, the intention being to eliminate market distortions and intensify competition.

A final full-scale test of all market systems is scheduled for October 27 while all is anticipated to be ready on October 30 ahead of the November 1 launch.

EuroAsia project moving again, Egypt present with EuroAfrica

Development of the wider region’s two major electricity grid interconnections, the EuroAsia Interconnector, to link Greece, from Crete, with Cyprus and Israel, and EuroAfrica Interconnector, a complementary project to link Cyprus with the African continent via Egypt, was discussed at a meeting in Nicosia yesterday between Greece’s energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and his Cypriot counterpart Natasa Pilides.

Progress at EuroAsia Interconnector, whose launch is scheduled for late in 2023, was held back by a Greek-Cypriot dispute prompted by Greek power grid operator IPTO’s withdrawal of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment from EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests.

The Crete-Athens segment is now being developed as a national project by IPTO and subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection.

EuroAsia Interconnector and EuroAfrica Interconnector promise to develop Cyprus into an electricity hub. A 310-km cable from Israel and a 498-km line from Egypt will converge at coastal Kofinou, in Cyprus’ south. From this hub, an 898-km cable is planned to link Cyprus with Crete before reaching Athens.

At yesterday’s meeting, the Greek and Cypriot energy ministers primarily focused on EuroAsia Interconnector, the Crete-Cyprus-Israel project, at a more mature stage.

Budgeted at 2.5 billion euros, this project, regarded as an EU Project of Common Interest, will promote regional energy security and further RES penetration in all three participating countries, Hatzidakis noted. The EU, it is estimated, will need to contribute at least half the project’s value.

Cyprus is the only EU member state without electricity grid interconnections.

Germany’s Siemens was awarded a procurement contract last May for EuroAsia Interconnector’s HVDC converter stations, budgeted at 623 million euros.

EuroAsia Interconnector was initially planned to offer 2 GW but this capacity has been halved, for the time being, as the other 1 GW will be used for the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

EuroAsia Interconnector’s Israel-Cyprus segment is budgeted at 900 million euros while the cost of the bigger Cyprus-Crete section is estimated between 1.6 and 1.8 billion euros.

 

Africa Upstream, LNG & Gas Summit taking place tomorrow

Following the success of the online Oil & Gas Summit, hundreds of EPs and service providers are gathering to listen to Africa’s biggest E&P opportunities, expand their partnerships and prospects at the Africa Upstream, Gas & LNG Summit, taking place tomorrow.

Speakers include: Ritu Sahajwalla, Managing Director, Greenville LNG; Ian Simm, Principal Advisor, IGM Energy; Keith Hill, President & CEO, Africa Oil corp; Harriet Okwi, Consultant & Founder, Okwi & Partners; Immanuel Mulunga, Managing Director, NAMCOR; Martin Bawden, Business Development Manager, Zebra Data Sciences; Gbemi Otudeko, Principal, Actis; Matt Tyrrell, Chief Geologist, TROIS Geoconsulting; Philippe Herve, VP Energy, SparkCognition; Adeleye Falade, General Manager Production, Nigeria LNG; Brian Marcus, Head, Capital Management, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc; Tabrez Khan, Director, EMEIA Oil & Gas Transactions, Ernst & Young; Mike Lakin, Founder and Owner, Envoi, Allan Mugisha, Project Manager, Springfield E&P; Gil Holzman, President & CEO, Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas; Chryssa Tsouraki, Co-CEO, IN-VR; Gawie Kanjemba, Lawyer and Energy Specialist; Scott Macmillan, Managing Director, Invictus Energy; Gregory Germani, Managing Director, West African Gas Pipeline Company; Kadijah Amoah, Country Director, Aker Energy; Eyas Alhomouz, CEO, Petromal; Duncan Rushworth, VP Business Developmemt, Svenska Petroleum; Rogers Beall, Executive Chairman, Africa Fortesa Corporation; Oumarou Maidagi . D, Head of Exploration & Production, Ministry of Hydrocarbons; Peter Dekker, Chief Geophysicist, PetroSA; Tom Perkins, Director, Stellar Energy Advisors Limited; Yann Yangari, Head of New Business, Strategy and Intelligence, Gabon Oil; Monica Chamussa, Exploration Manager, ENH; David Boggs, Managing Director, Energy Maritime Associates Pte Ltd; Jorg Kohnert, Managing Director, Jagal; Amina Benkhadra, General Director, National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines, ONHYM; Jeremy Asher, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tower Resources plc; and Khaled AbuBakr, Executive Chairman and Co-founder, TAQA Arabia.

 

 

Enel X Financial Services launches Enel X Pay

Enel X Financial Services, an Enel Group company that is fully owned by Enel X, has entered the digital financial services and mobile banking sector with Enel X Pay, an online banking account which, through a partnership with Mastercard, enables users to make fully secure payments and transfers in real time directly via smartphone app, to have a digital or physical card and monitor the transactions and spending of the whole family.

Enel X Pay was presented yesterday through a web press conference attended by Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X, Giulio Carone, CEO of Enel X Financial Services and Matteo Concas, Head of Financial Solutions of Enel X.

“Through Enel X Pay, we are expanding our platform of offers and products to financial services; a digital tool to easily manage financial transactions by relying on an innovative and trusted partner like Enel X,” said Francesco Venturini, Enel X CEO. “The disintermediation from traditional financial services give us the option of entering a highly competitive sector, bringing our ability to innovate and develop new solutions, from advisory and financial management services to insurance services.”

“With the launch of Enel X Pay we are bolstering our position in the fintech sector, contributing to the dissemination of digital payments and the development of financial services integrated with Enel’s ecosystem,” said Giulio Carone, CEO of Enel X Financial Services. “The business model we are looking at is that of a Big Tech firm, which makes available to customers its ability to innovate, counting on strategic partnerships with leading technology players, in order to offer high value-added solutions.”

Enel X Pay is a native digital account, involving a card and an Italian IBAN, which allows users to perform multiple types of transactions: from payment of bills, taxes and duties of the Public Administrations signed up to Italy’s pagoPA circuit, to SEPA transfers, from the peer-to-peer transfer of money with no additional costs, to donations aimed at solidarity initiatives to third sector associations like Save the Children, Food for Soul and Doctors without Borders.

With Enel X Pay, users can pay for the charging of electric cars in the infrastructures within the Hubject circuit. Hubject is the e-mobility joint venture involving the BMW Group, Bosch, EnBW, Enel X, Innogy, Mercedes Benz AG, Siemens and the Volkswagen Group, which boasts over 750 business partners and 250,000 interoperable charging points all over the world.

Users can manage the Enel X Pay banking account directly from the app bundled with a digital and physical card. The card is made out of plant-based bio-plastic and is linked to Mastercard, the key international payment circuit with over 52 million points of acceptance around the world.

In addition, courtesy of the Enel X Pay “family” option, a dedicated account can be activated for children between the ages of 11 and 18, providing them with a prepaid card while allowing them to make peer-to-peer transfers, withdrawals from ATMs as well as payments on e-commerce sites. Parents can rely on a useful tool which, on the one hand, offers children the freedom to manage their own funds and, on the other, allows the monitoring of their balance and transactions, while setting spending limits and fixing the amount of the prepaid card’s automatic top-ups.

The launch of Enel X Pay is a milestone in a process that the Enel Group has been engaged in for the last two years, accomplishing a series of strategic transactions. These include: the purchase of a majority stake in Paytipper, an institution with which the initial offering of online and offline payment services was created as well as the recent agreements with partners SIA and Tink which, through their highly secure and reliable technology platforms, will enable all Enel X Pay services, allowing for the development of additional open banking solutions tailored to customer needs.

Enel X Pay is available on the Google Play Store (Android) and, in the coming days, on the Apple App Store.

 

Mineral processing investment proposals submitted to post-lignite plan

Seven, possibly eight, investment proposals, for the construction of industrial plants to process raw minerals in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region into building and industrial materials, have been submitted to a committee overseeing the Just Transition Plan for lignite-dependent areas, energypress sources have informed.

An abundance of mineral deposits in the region, combined with incentives being legislated, are attracting the interest of enterprises active in the aforementioned domains.

Greece’s Just Transition Plan was published by the energy ministry earlier this month for public consultation until October 31.

Mineral deposits in the area include rock crystal, used to produce industrial glass, bricks, porcelain and colours; nickel, whose uses include reinforcing the durability of defense weapons and tanks; chromite, an iron chromium oxide; huntite, most commonly used as a natural mixture with hydromagnesite to produce a fire retardant additive for polymers; and attapulgite, its uses including mortar restoration.

Just Transition Plan objectives include the development of an industrial zone in the west Macedonia region that could host processing facilities for these mineral deposits in the post-lignite era.

Greece’s red line is its right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, Gerapetritis says

“The red line is one and only one: that we never relinquish our right to extend [our territorial waters] to 12 nautical miles,” State Μinister Giorgos Gerapetritis said on Tuesday in a radio interview with the state broadcaster ERT. He warned that “Greece will not allow any offshore drilling” within this area.

Gerapetritis also turned his fire on the opposition, accusing it of indulging in a policy on national issues that was “irresponsible and low cost”.

“However, we all have a fundamental obligation in a democracy, and that obligation is to ensure our citizens are properly informed. Citizens are not a herd but people … who have a full constitutional right to know how things stand in their proper dimensions,” the Minister of State stressed. “The correct dimension as it relates to maritime zones is very specific. Today, our territorial waters are at six nautical miles. Greece unilaterally reserves the sovereign right, at any time under international law, to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles. Beyond the six nautical miles, there are international waters. Of course, Greece has sovereign rights up to 200 miles or more,” he added.

(AMNA)

FM Dendias has asked for an arms embargo on Turkey, sources say

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has sent letters to his German counterpart Heiko Maas and his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez-Laya referring to Ankara’s recent provocative actions and calling for an arms embargo on Turkey, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.

In particular, in a letter to his German counterpart, the Greek minister requested that permits for the export to Turkey of certain types of military equipment, such as submarines, frigates, aircraft and armour upgrades, should not be granted, the sources clarified. Dendias also pointed out the recent series of provocative actions by Turkey, which, as he underlined, aim to create a fait accomplis using military means.

In this context, Dendias recalled the relevant intervention of Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, at the last European Council regarding the obligation of the EU member-states, arising from the common position that they have adopted, to suspend the export of military equipment to third countries when this equipment is used in acts of aggression or regional destabilisation, which is precisely what Turkey is doing, the same sources said.

Incoming LNG shipments down sharply, prices rise globally

LNG shipments into Greece are headed for a quieter period following heightened recent trading activity that put this energy source at the domestic sector’s forefront in the first half of 2020, overshadowing pipeline gas supply.

Latest activity indicates a swing in favor of pipeline gas, now favorably priced.

Last November, 18 tankers docked at gas grid operator DESFA’s Revythoussa LNG terminal just off Athens, bringing in a total amount of 1.5 million cubic meters of LNG, well over the schedule for this coming November, limited to three tankers booked for a total of 355,000 cubic meters.

Activity at the Revythoussa terminal was also subdued last month. Four LNG tankers brought in a total quantity of nearly 300,000 cubic meters.

LNG prices at the Dutch gas trading platform TTF, one of Europe’s biggest hubs, have risen constantly, as is the case internationally, following a dip in July.

Analysts believe rising demand in Asia, especially China, will make up for anemic demand in Europe and push LNG prices even higher as winter approaches.

Pipeline gas supply is expected to reassert its position in Greece.

Three bidders express first-round interest in South Kavala UGS tender

Τhree interested parties have submitted expressions of interest to a tender offering use, development and operation of an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in northern Greece, The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF S.A.) has announced in a statement.

Expressions of Interest were submitted by the following parties, in alphabetical order:

  • CHINA MACHINERY ENGINEERING CO. LTD. (CMEC) – MAISON GROUP
  • DESFA – GEK TERNA
  • ENERGEAN OIL & GAS

HRADF’s advisors will evaluate the aforementioned expressions of interest and submit to the fund’s Board of Directors their recommendation regarding the candidates that qualify for the next phase of the tender (binding offers phase).

The almost depleted natural gas field “South Kavala” is located in the southwestern part of the Prinos-Kavala basin, in 52 meters of water depth in the North Aegean Sea, about 6 km off the west coast of Thassos.

The duration of the concession agreement will be up to 50 years following the licensing of the UGS in South Kavala. The conversion of the natural gas field “South Kavala” into a UGS will be carried out by the concessionaire within a binding period to be determined in the concession agreement.

The UGS South Kavala is intended to serve as energy infrastructure that will enhance the security of supply in the Greek market as well as in Southeastern Europe, ensuring gas supply to end users and facilitating security-of-supply obligations of power producers and natural gas suppliers.

JinkoSolar to supply 204 MW of modules to juwi Hellas for major Kozani unit

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, has signed a module supply agreement for a project in Kozani, northern Greece, to be developed by juwi Hellas Renewable Energy Sources S.A., JinkoSolar has announced in a statement.

Construction of the solar park is scheduled to commence in November 2021, and will use 204 MW of Swan bifacial modules with transparent backsheet from DuPont, according to the statement.

Frank Niendorf, General Manager of JinkoSolar Europe, commented: “We are delighted that juwi Hellas, one of the most professional and experienced EPC companies, globally, has once again placed its trust in the superior quality and reliable performance of our solar modules for this impressive new project in Greece. The Kozani project will become Europe’s benchmark for renewable energy in terms of competitively priced and subsidy-free solar power. It is also one of the largest utility scale projects ever built in Europe to use bifacial modules and JinkoSolar is very proud to be a part of such a milestone.”

Dimitris Varlamis, JinkoSolar Head of Sales for South Eastern Europe, noted: “We are proud to contribute to this emblematic project which is by far the biggest solar project in Greece and one of the five largest projects in Europe featuring our high performance bifacial modules.”

Takis Sarris, Managing Director of juwi Hellas, commented: “juwi is launching a new era for PV in Greece – utility scale projects that bring clean energy to the Greek consumer at very low prices and do not require any subsidies at all. We are very proud that we have managed to fully develop such an important project for the country.”

PPC to offer lignite-dependent area residents 5% stakes in solar farms

Power utility PPC intends to offer residents of lignite-dependent areas in Greece stakes totaling 5 percent in solar farm projects planned by the company as part of its decarbonization strategy, chief executive Giorgos Stassis disclosed in an interview published by Greek daily Kathimerini yesterday.

PPC plans to develop and operate solar farms with a total capacity of 2.5 GW in west Macedonia, northern Greece, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, both lignite-dependent economies.

Besides creating jobs through these investments, PPC plans to offer locals the opportunity to invest in the power utility by acquiring shares for total stakes of 5 percent, Stassis noted.

Through this procedure, residents will join PPC in its investments and enjoy the exact same returns as the company, he said.

“I want to underline the annual investment return on these investments will range between 8 and 10 percent, at a time when deposit interest rates are almost negative,” Stassis said. The offer will be restricted to decarbonization-area residents, he added.

Commenting on local resistance against prospective RES installations, especially on islands, Stassis noted: “Islanders who, for years, have enjoyed low-cost electricity generated in Megalopoli and Ptolemaida at a cost for the environment and human lives, cannot object turbine installations on islands for production of electricity they will consume now that lignite-fired generation has become ultra-expensive and is being abandoned.”

PPC chief supporting swifter end to RES auction tariffs

Power utility PPC chief executive Giorgos Stassis, in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini, has called for a swift end to RES investor support through auctions, offering fixed tariffs, noting that green energy investors, like all energy players, must operate under new market conditions to be shaped by the target model, scheduled for a November 1 launch.

The energy ministry is preparing to submit, within the next few days, its finalized proposal to the European Commission on a new framework concerning RES auctions.

In the interview, the PPC chief, indicating that the RES sector is now fully competitive, contemplates the extent of the transition period that could be needed by green energy investors in the shift from auction tariffs to the free market; and PV and solar capacity quantities that should be offered for new projects through RES auctions from 2021 onward.

RES investors and officials essentially agree that the renewable energy sector is now a fully competitive market, but details such as the aforementioned remain unresolved.

It remains unclear for how much longer RES producers should keep securing tariffs through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and what the total capacity to be offered through this remainder of auctions should be.

In the most recent RES auction, last July, investor bidding levels for PV tariffs dropped to as low as roughly 45 euros per MWh, clearly indicating bid price levels will descend further as RES technology advances and lowers production costs.

Critics favoring an extended transition period for RES auctions contend that PPC, like all other vertically integrated energy groups, would benefit from a swifter end to RES auctions, offering tariff security over 20-year periods, as this development will lead to two-way agreements within the group.

At PPC, for example, the parent company will be able to secure a wider profit margin by purchasing PV-generated electricity from subsidiary PPC Renewables rather than through the wider market.

Oil firms troubled by heating subsidy revision for gas, firewood inclusion

Petroleum product traders are troubled by government thoughts to broaden the eligibility of heating subsidy support so that, besides heating fuel, three new categories, natural gas, firewood and pellets, are also added to the list.

Contrary to natural gas, heating fuel is overtaxed, while the encouragement, through subsidies, of firewood as a heating source does not make environmental sense given the high levels of resulting smog, petroleum industry sources have pointed out.

High levels of smog have been recorded in Greek cities during winters over the past decade or so as struggling households have sought lower-cost heating amid the recession.

Heating subsidies are already limited and barely cover the needs of underprivileged households, petroleum industry officials have noted, fearing their share of the total could diminish if other heating sources also become eligible.

Heating fuel supply for the approaching winter season began yesterday at a level of 77 cents per liter, 2 cents lower than the price level at the close of last season’s trading, in May. Heating fuel prices are forecast to remain low, sources said.

Despite the lower price level, demand was subdued on opening day, yesterday. Many consumers took advantage of last season’s price drop and are already stocked up. In addition, temperatures around Greece remain mild.

DEDDIE’s WACC close to 7%, RAE framework approval soon

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s new WACC level, determining the yield, required by potential buyers, will be set at just below 7 percent for a four-year period covering 2021 to 2024, energypress sources have informed.

This WACC level, well over rates of no more than 2.5 percent offered by respective European operators, is expected to be seen as a very attractive offer by investors.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has been given the green light by the energy ministry to hasten proceedings for a launch of the DEDDIE/HEDNO privatization, offering a 49 percent stake, in November, as promised by the ministry.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has awaited RAE’s approval of its new regulatory framework, including the WACC level, to launch the tender. This framework will include an option for a four-year extension, covering 2025 to 2028.

If the privatization is launched next month, it could be completed within the first quarter of 2021.

Market officials have forecast a DEDDIE/HEDNO selling price of close to 1.5 billion euros for the 49 percent stake.

The operator’s assets, essentially comprising networks totaling 239,000 kilometers in length, plus substations, are estimated to be worth 3.5 billion euros.

The DEDDIE/HEDNO business plan for 2021 to 2024, still subject to official approval, should excite investors. It features investments worth 2 billion euros and network 5G add-on potential for a wide range of telephony and internet services.

The prospective installation of 7.5 million digital power meters in place of conventional meters around the country, an upgrade budgeted at 850 million euros, is another strong selling point. Recovery funds will be sought for this project, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis recently informed. This would save the operator a considerable amount.

Germany’s EON, Italy’s Enel, Enedis, a subsidiary of France’s EDF, as well as a number of Chinese companies had showed interest, unofficially, in the DEDDIE/HEDNO sale well before the pandemic broke out.

 

 

Storengy’s Kavala UGS tender exit prompts formation changes

A decision by France’s Storengy (Engie) to not participate in a forthcoming tender offering an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) license for the almost depleted South Kavala offshore natural gas field in the country’s north has prompted a domino effect of formation changes by groups of investors planning to bid.

GEK TERNA appears to have formed an association with gas grid operator DESFA for the tender after having previously agreed to join forces with Energean Oil & Gas and Storengy.

Energean Oil & Gas, holding a license for the virtually depleted South Kavala field, has not remained an onlooker. The company has also found a partner, believed to be domestic, from the construction sector, according to sources.

To date, Energean Oil & Gas has held talks with three major groups, Mytilineos, AVAX and Aktor, the same sources added.

A Chinese investor is also believed to be interested in the South Kavala UGS tender, staged by privatization fund TAIPED, but will not link up with any partners.

The tender is offering rights for the use, development and exploitation of the virtually depleted offshore natural gas field south of Kavala as a UGS facility for a period of up to 50 years.

Participants must submit first-round, non-binding offers by October 19 following three deadline extensions.

Solid bidder turnout for DEDA east Macedonia, Thrace gas network tenders

Five construction companies and one consortium have taken part in the first two tenders staged by gas distributor DEDA for the development of gas distribution networks in Xanthi/Drama and Alexandroupoli/Komotini, respectively, in Greece’s north and northeast.

Key Greek construction firms such as Aktor, Avax and Intracom were among the bidders, sources informed. Newcomers and older companies also took part in the tenders, totaling 33.4 million euros, including Edil Hellas, Ergo ATE and Vermion ATEE-Sourla Bros ATEBE.

The level of participation on the two tenders was described as satisfactory by DEDA’s managing director Marios Tsakas and a vote of confidence for the gas company’s ambitious plans to broaden the coverage of networks in provincial Greece.

DEDA covers all parts of Greece not represented by fellow DEPA Infrastructure subsidiaries EDA Attiki, covering the wider Athens area, and EDA THES, covering Thessaloniki and Thessaly.

Project contracts with winning bidders could be signed by the end of the year so that construction work of the new networks can begin early in 2021 in all four provincial cities, sources said.

Avax, Aktor, Ergo ATE, Edil Hellas, Vermion ATEE-Sourla Bros ATEBE and Intracom took part in the DEDA tender for the development of gas networks in the Xanthi and Drama areas, budgeted at 17.1 million euros.

Avax, Aktor, Ergo ATE, Edil Hellas and Intracom also took part in the Alexandroupoli/Komotini tender, budgeted at 16.3 million euros.

The two regional projects are being funded by own funds, loans and business development funds for the east Macedonia and Thrace regions.

Gas distribution networks totaling at least 200 kilometers for 4,066 connections concerning all gas consumer categories by 2024 are planned for the Xanthi and Drama areas.

As for the Alexandroupoli and Komotini areas, the DEDA plan entails construction of gas distribution networks totaling 170 kilometers for at least 5,279 connections by 2024.

DEDA plans to launch new tenders next month for construction of gas networks in Orestiada and Kavala, northern Greece, sources said.

Overall, the new gas distribution networks planned by DEDA in the six provincial cities are budgeted at 56.6 million euros, plus 24% VAT, and will provide a total of 496,000 kilometers of mid and low-pressure gas supply lines for at least 15,000 consumer connections of all categories.

DEDA is also planning tenders next month for gas network projects in central Greece and the central Macedonia region.

RAE set to permit gas link fee discounts after initial hesitation

Following initial hesitation, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appears set to permit distribution network connection fee discounts offered by natural gas distributors to attract new customer. But this approval will only apply to areas where gas market penetration levels remain low.

RAE has hesitated to approve such discounts offered by gas utility DEPA’s subsidiaries EDA Attiki, EDA Thess and DEDA – the three gas distributors covering the wider Athens area, Thessaloniki-Thessaly and rest of Greece, respectively – fearing the special offers could be regarded as a form of state aid by the European Commission’s competition officials.

However, DEPA Infrastructure, a new DEPA entity now controlling these three gas distribution subsidiaries, recently warned that RAE’s delays are undermining its privatization procedure. This warning was highlighted in a letter to the authority that was also shared with privatization fund TAIPED and the energy ministry.

RAE’s delay in endorsing EDA tariffs for 2019 to 2022 has consequently also placed the gas company’s development plan in turmoil, DEPA Infrastructure pointed out in the letter.

RAE has overcome its concerns and is now preparing to endorse the tariffs. The authority will also permit connection fee discounts in areas where natural gas market penetration levels do not exceed 25 percent.

In areas where natural gas market penetration levels are exceeded but not greater than 75 percent, RAE will permit connection fee discounts of up to 90 percent in 2022, 80 percent in 2023, 70 percent in 2024 and 60 percent in 2025.

The authority will not endorse any connection fee discounts for municipalities where natural gas market penetration levels exceed 75 percent.

 

NECP and efforts on the right track, Brussels report notes

The country’s efforts to reach objectives set in the National Energy and Climate Plan, shaped by long-term European climate and energy goals, as well as the domestic plan itself, have been favorably reviewed by the European Commission in a related report released yesterday as an appraisal of the finalized NECP submitted to Brussels by the Greek government.

The European Commission, which has reviewed the NECPs of EU member states and how they stand in connection with Europe’s energy and climate objectives, described the Greek plan and its progress as “satisfactory” and “sufficient”.

The Brussels review, however, pointed out that the country’s reforms concerning competition in the retail and wholesale electricity and gas markets, among other domains, require strengthening.

The report also called for an enhancement of Greece’s just transition plan concerning the post-lignite era. Greater detail in the assessment of the social and employment repercussions, as well as retraining requirements, in lignite-dependent areas where the lignite-fired power stations are planned to be withdrawn over the next three years is needed, it noted.

As for measures concerning the Greek economy’s pandemic-related recovery, at least 37 percent of recovery funds to be made available should be invested in climate-linked initiatives so that mid-term emission reduction targets are met, the report noted.

Enel’s Francesco Starace named chief at SEforALL, supporting SDG7

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), a non-profit international organization that works closely with the United Nations to accelerate and deliver at scale the solutions needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – by 2030, has appointed Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Enel S.p.A., as Chair of the SEforALL Administrative Board, SEforALL has announced in a statement.

With less than 10 years to meet SDG7, and with increasing urgency for the world to get on track to meet the Paris Agreement climate goals, SEforALL’s role in driving a global clean energy transition has never been more important, Starace, who has been CEO and General Manager of Enel, one of the largest utilities in Europe, since May 2014, begins in the role with immediate effect.

Speaking on the announcement, Elizabeth Cousens, Vice-Chair of the SEforALL Administrative Board, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the UN Foundation, noted: “Francesco is a visionary energy leader with a long track record in driving business ambition around climate action, sustainability, and energy access for hundreds of millions of  people around the world who lack it. He is a natural choice for this important role at such a critical moment. With SEforALL’s unique mandate from the UN to drive SDG7 action in line with the Paris Agreement, his leadership can help support the organization go even further and faster to achieve our goal of universal energy access.”

As Chair of the Administrative Board – the principal governing body of the organization – Mr. Starace will help shape strategy and operations for the organization at the highest levels. Mr. Starace currently also serves as a member of the UN Global Compact Board of Directors and the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty. He previously served as a member of the former SEforALL Advisory Board and President of EurElectric, the European association for the electricity industry.

“Energy must be at the heart of the global agenda to lead the world on a more sustainable pathway, focusing multi-stakeholder action especially on renewables and energy efficiency, which are key for delivering on the goals of energy access and climate mitigation. I am very proud to join SEforALL and to support its efforts for the clean energy transition and to work together toward achievement of SDG 7,” noted Starace. “My main objective as Chair of the SEforALL Administrative Board will be to cooperate with leading actors to accelerate the critical shift to a more sustainable, modern and accessible energy for all. I have great confidence in SEforALL leadership and its unique strengths to tackle the complexity of the energy challenges and to support ensuring the fundamental right to electricity for everyone, globally.”

The announcement comes after SEforALL recently released a new three-year business plan to help drive scaled action towards sustainable energy for development and energy transitions. The ambitious plan recognizes the need to strengthen global advocacy while expanding activities that prioritize data-driven decision-making, strategic partnerships and country-specific implementation.

Welcoming his appointment, Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, said: “With ambitious action we can still achieve SDG7 by 2030, but the next few years are critical to increase energy access – especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. SEforALL’s leadership is pivotal to deliver this vision and why I’m delighted to welcome Francesco Starace as our new Chair of the Administrative Board. Francesco brings incredible experience that can help SEforALL deliver an energy transition that is truly inclusive, equitable and leaves no one behind.”

New market dry-run testing to end this week, target model launch on Nov. 1

The dry-run testing procedure for market systems ahead of the forthcoming target model launch, scheduled for November 1, will be finalized at the end of this week, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy exchange and power grid operator IPTO have jointly decided.

Dry-run testing of the day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets began on August 3 to test their limits and operating ability ahead of the target model’s launch, aiming for market coupling, or harmonization of EU wholesale markets.

Market coupling, to increase competition and lower wholesale energy prices, will ultimately lead to energy union, the EU strategy seeking to offer consumers secure, sustainable, competitive and lower-cost energy.

All domestic parties involved, as well as the energy ministry, have ascertained the Greek launch will take place on November 1 following previous delays.

Even during these final days of simulated testing, day-ahead market prices have, at times, continued to display discrepancies with Day-Ahead Schedule price levels.

This has been attributed to the absence, from dry-run testing, of many traders who participate in the Day-Ahead Schedule, meaning the price levels of the two situations are based on different data.

Though balancing market prices have improved considerably as the simulated testing has progressed, following discrepancies, conclusions cannot be made until actual market conditions come into effect.

Meanwhile, public consultation by RAE on a market monitoring mechanism and a market surveillance mechanism for the new markets is due to be completed next Monday.

The market monitoring mechanism will seek, through structural and performance indicators, to evaluate levels of concentration and the market power of each participant, while the market surveillance mechanism will focus on identifying and combating strategies detrimental to competition.

The next step, once the new markets are launched, will be to market couple, initially with the Italian market, by the end of the year, followed by the Bulgarian market, in the first quarter of 2021, Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis recently informed.

 

 

South Kavala UGS bidders talk formations as deadline nears

Prospective bidders of an upcoming tender to offer an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) license for the almost depleted South Kavala offshore natural gas field in the country’s north are deliberating over possible partnerships as the October 19 deadline for official expressions of interest approaches.

Greek gas grid operator DESFA, Energean Oil & Gas and GEK TERNA will participate in the tender, according to enegypress sources, while some market officials believe a Chinese company, not yet revealed, is also interested.

All three Greek companies have remained tight-lipped on possible partnership formations for the tender. GEK TERNA and Energean Oil & Gas are believed to be discussing the prospect of teaming up, while DESFA and the Chinese company will most likely enter the tender alone, energypress sources informed.

The tender, staged by privatization fund TAIPED, will offer rights for the use, development and exploitation of the virtually depleted offshore natural gas field south of Kavala as a UGS facility for a period of up to 50 years.

Investments needed for the project’s development are estimated between 300 and 400 million euros.

The field is located approximately 6 kilometers from the west coast of the island Thasos, in the North Aegean Sea, at a depth of 52 meters.

Its development into a UGS facility promises to contribute to Greece’s energy security and that of southeast Europe.

Extraordinary conditions push SMP as high as €105 per MWh

Extraordinary conditions resulting from coinciding temporary closures of various power facilities, both in Greece and abroad, have pushed up the System Marginal Price, or wholesale electricity, to levels of as much as 105 euros per MWh, as was the case yesterday.

Four domestic gas-fired power stations – Enthes (Elpedison), Heron CC, Lavrio IV and Protergia – were out of order yesterday, for different reasons.

Problems beyond the Greek border have made matters worse. Bulgaria’s 1,000-MW Kozloduy nuclear power plant is currently out of order. The Greek-Bulgarian line serves as a transit route towards North Macedonia as a line linking Bulgaria and North Macedonia is out of order. So, too, is a line linking Greece with Italy.

Power stations that rarely operate, such as an open-cycle Heron unit, needed to be called into action as a result of the problems on these various fronts. Their necessary contributions pushed the SMP to far higher levels.

Three power utility PPC lignite-fired power stations, Agios Dimitrios II and III and Melitis, along with PPC’s gas-fired power stations Aliveri V, Lavrio V, Komotini, Megalopoli V, as well as units run by the independent energy firms Heron, Thisvi and Corinth Power, all needed to be called into action to cover the grid’s needs.

The market appears to have normalized for today. SMP levels are down to relatively satisfactory levels, averaging 44.49 euros per MWh, primarily as a result of significant RES contributions, covering more than 50 percent of the overall demand, 123.993 GWh.

The lignite-fired power stations used yesterday – Agios Dimitrios II and III and Melitis – will remain closed today.

Producers seeking lower-cost industrial electricity alternatives

Industrial electricity consumers of the high and mid-voltage categories are securing lower-cost agreements with independent suppliers, while energy-intensive consumers, currently negotiating with power utility PPC for new tariffs to take effect January 1, are pushing for better deals.

These developments are reshuffling the industrial electricity market, previously dominated by PPC.

Independent energy company Heron and Macedonia Paper Mills (MEL) recently announced an electricity supply agreement that includes a package of services for energy efficiency, electromobility and RES coverage of the producer’s energy needs.

Cement producer Heracles had previously reached an electricity supply agreement with Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, paving the way for further agreements between producers and independent suppliers.

These developments have had a wider knock-on effect, including for mid-voltage supply, as demonstrated by an agreement between energy supplier NRG, a member of the Motor Oil group, with the country’s other cement producing giant, Titan.

Following losses in 2018 and 2019, PPC is believed to be turning its focus on more profitable sectors and is no longer interested in maintaining a high share of the industrial electricity market – both high and mid-voltage.