IPTO facing grid-sufficiency challenge this coming Easter

Current energy market conditions, combining reduced electricity demand and deeper penetration of the energy mix by renewables, have emerged as a grid-security challenge for power grid operator IPTO, raising fears of power outages.

Output by RES units is generally on the rise and periods of low energy demand, such as the present, oblige the operator to manage a grid that is highly reliant on green energy, representing over 50 percent of the energy mix.

A sharp rise in energy demand expected during the upcoming Easter period and the subsequent dip pose an even greater challenge for the operator, required to manage the RES-dominated grid without support from energy storage units, still not part of the energy market picture but expected to figure more prominently in coming years.

Officials at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, note IPTO has fully informed the authority on the challenges it faces and action it plans to take to remedy the situation.

IPTO may choose to cut back on RES reliance. A second measure may entail limiting electricity imports through a freeze on interconnection rights.

Ioannis Margaris, Deputy Chairman at IPTO, highlighted the tricky situation faced by the operator at last week’s Power & Gas Forum in Athens.

“Our operations are on edge,” he noted, describing high-risk periods when low demand is combined with high RES penetration and mass withdrawal of conventional power stations, adding the problem will be exacerbated as Easter approaches. “Easter will be a big test.”