Grid to require electricity imports in 2018, study predicts

Although the country’s grid has displayed stability in recent years following a problem-ridden period between 2004 and 2008 – especially during the summer months when PPC, the Public Power Corporation, needed to issue daily guidelines to avoid the threat of power outages – new fears have arisen about prospective adequacy in the foreseeable future.

According to a joint study conducted by the National Technical University (NTUA) and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki for IPTO, for the Independent Power Transmission Operator, power adequacy availability in Greece is expected to encounter serious problems in about three years time, making necessary the importation of electricity to cover power shortages during high-demand periods.

“There are rising concerns about the future credibility of Greece’s energy system,” the study noted.

The joint study points out that the magnitude of the problem will depend on a series of indefinite factors such as the prospective increase of electricity demand, essentially a reflection of economic growth; the withdrawal of lignite-fired stations, or their limitation as a result of environmental obligations; and the growth rate of new renewable energy source (RES) units.

The study examined eighteen possible scenarios based on various combinations of such factors, including one that assumed the unavailability of gas-fueled electricity stations as a result of financial constraints.

All eighteen scenarios produced power adequacy availability problems as of 2018, which the study predicted will intensify considerably two years later to fall below minimum security levels, before worsening further in 2024.

The study, presented within the framework of public consultation procedures launched by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for its new capacity assurance mechanism, forecasts that new production sources will be required during periods of peak demand, while greater flexibility will also become necessary.

The new adequacy mechanism proposed by RAE, expected to undergo a ten-month transitionary period, offers rewards for flexibility, which producers will need to provide.