Though the news was distanced from public attention, the country’s energy system needed to operate under emergency conditions a little over a fortnight ago as a result of freezing weather in the wider region that forced natural gas pipeline operators to reduce their flow.
Both Russia’s Gazprom and Turkey’s Botas natural gas companies needed to cut back on their gas supplies. The country’s system began to feel the strain as gas consumption increased both in the household sector and at gas-fueled power stations.
During the snowfall in Greece, Gazprom had severely cut back its natural gas supply to the country via Bulgaria, reducing its flow from 63 million megawatt hours per day to 56 million megawatt hours per day, a bare minimum, for an entire two days.
Turkey’s Botas followed suit, reducing its regular flow of 25.5 million megawatt hours per day to just 8.7 million megawatt hours from a transit point running through Evros, in northeastern Greece.
The energy alert struck its peak when a scheduled LNG shipload from Algeria, originally planned for January 9, was postponed due to perilous weather conditions. Its eventual arrival, on January 12, marked the end of the alert.
A concerted effort was required by Greece’s energy-sector utilities to get the country through the crisis. DEPA (Public Gas Corporation), DESFA (Natural Gas Transmission System Operator), IPTO (Independent Power Transmission Operator), and PPC (Public Power Corporation), operating under the guidance of Environment, Energy & Climate Change Deputy Minister Makis Papageorgiou, coordinated to overcome the extreme energy alert.
The country’s gas-fueled power stations needed to restrict their natural gas consumption to stop the problem from spreading into the household sector. Hydropower stations stepped in to play a crucial role in making up for the reduced electricity supplied to the system by gas-fueled power stations, especially during peak demand in the evening hours. The contribution of hydropower stations once again proved their worth to the grid.