Exporters turn north, Greece-Italy link closed for maintenance

The Greece-Italy electricity interconnection, closed over the past week for maintenance work, has transformed market conditions for local traders as the Italian market, normally offering alluring prices for exports during considerable parts of the day, is currently not accessible.

Over the past year or so, electricity amounts acquired at Greek NOME auctions and left unabsorbed by the local market have been exported to Italy.

As a result of the temporary block towards the Italian market, Greek electricity exports can currently only be channeled through gateways in the country’s north, as has been highlighted by a sharp increase of exports through this region.

Prior to the commencement of maintenance work on the power cable interconnecting Greece and Italy, electricity exports to the north were usually limited to no more than 1,000 MW per day. Over the past week, this figure has risen sharply to levels exceeding 9,000 MW.

Under normal circumstances, Greece’s interconnections in the north are primarily used for electricity imports which are then either absorbed by the local grid or relayed to Italy, Greece serving as a transit zone.

Wholesale electricity prices in neighboring markets north of Greece are generally lower than those available in Greece and Italy.

The increased electricity export activity presently witnessed through the country’s north once again highlights that electricity amounts acquired at local NOME auctions are not being used to intensify domestic market competition, as was intended by authorities, but, instead, greatly exploited by traders for export opportunities.