At least three new gas-fired power stations will be needed to ensure energy sufficiency within the next few years, but these new facilities will require a support mechanism to remain sustainable, a study conducted by power grid operator IPTO, looking ahead to the period between 2025 and 2035, has determined.
This IPTO study, whose findings have been unofficially handed over to the energy ministry, is essentially transitional as its outlook regarding the increase in RES and energy storage installations falls short of announcements made recently by energy minister Kostas Skrekas for the country’s updated National Energy and Climate Plan.
IPTO will make related revisions to the study once an upgraded NECP is officially approved.
Even so, two fundamental issues raised by the IPTO study appear unlikely to change. Firstly, the growing presence of wind and solar energy units in the energy system will need to be accompanied by the installation of more thermal plants, especially gas-fired power stations, given the existing capabilities of energy storage technology, in order to ensure electricity sufficiency.
Besides the new Ptolemaida V power station, now gearing up for a full-scale launch by the end of February – initially as a low-emitting lignite-fired power station before eventually converting to natural gas – at least three big gas-fired power stations will also be needed.
The IPTO study’s second fundamental finding unlikely to change concerns the need for support mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of both new and old power stations, given the concurrent installation of new RES units, energy storage facilities and gas-fired power stations. The energy ministry, as a result, will need to seek European Commission approval of Capacity Remuneration Mechanisms (CRM).
The IPTO study takes into account two RES penetration scenarios, one based on the existing NECP, established in 2019, forecasting RES installations of 15.5 GW and energy storage installations of 1.8 GW by 2030. The other scenario, more ambitious, assumes RES installations of 24 GW and energy storage installations of 3 GW by 2030.