A draft bill to introduce a new renewable energy (RES) support model for Greece, adjusted to EU directives, may be submitted to Greek Parliament for debate and ratification by the end of this week.
The bill, currently being examined by a central lawmaking committee, includes a plan intended to eliminate the RES special account’s persisting deficit by the end of 2017, a bailout demand.
According to energypress sources, no significant changes or surprise moves are included in the plan compared to its content when forwarded by the energy ministry for public consultation.
Included is a pilot program for the installation of photovoltaic system capacity.
The developments on the RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge included on electricity bills, the basic tool used to cover RES special account deficits, are interesting. Based on the plan, the ETMEAR surcharge for consumers will not be hiked, as energy minister Panos Skourletis has pledged.
Instead, according to energypress sources, it appears that electricity suppliers will be expected to shoulder the weight by returning portions of profit. Performances have been spurred by lower System Marginal Price (SMP) levels. This will particularly impact the power utility PPC, whose share is substantial, as well as the independent suppliers, to a lesser extent.
Lower SMP levels have been the key factor behind forecasts by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, for sharp RES special account deficit increases. Under the current system, when LAGIE forecasts deficit figures, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, increases the surcharge as a means to cover these deficit amounts.
The substantial SMP fall, greatly attributed to the increased penetration of renewable energy production into the grid, has placed greater pressure on the RES special account. Bigger ETMEAR amounts are required.
At the same time, lower SMP levels have greatly increased the profit margins enjoyed by electricity suppliers, as the SMP represents the wholesale price at which suppliers purchase electricity.
The government reasons that electricity suppliers, who have benefited from the SMP fall, should cover the extra ETMEAR surcharge required, not consumers. This is likely to be established as a new RES special account contribution to be covered by electricity supply companies.
According to sources, the amount will be balanced and is not expected to slow down the growing momentum of independent suppliers who are gradually gaining ground on dominant PPC as the country’s electricity market becomes increasingly liberalized.