Independent power units to also protect against blackouts

Energy system problems experienced recently as a result of a considerable electricity shortage and an ensuing natural gas shortage appear to have mobilized authorities to better protect the grid against similar situations in the future.

A move by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, requiring all independent electricity producing units to declare how they plan to fulfill a term included in their operating licenses for uninterrupted operation over five-day periods whenever needed by the grid, represents one of the initiatives taken by authorities.

Having taken this regulation into account, certain units – Elpedison’s two units and a small facility operated by Heron – are already technically equipped to alternate between natural gas and fuel in order to ensure continual production.

Until several years ago, other units had committed themselves to maintaining, at their own cost, natural gas reserves equivalent to the amounts stored at the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens. However, this demand was scrapped when authorities determined that the Revythoussa facility’s storage capacity was insufficient.

All independent electricity producing units must now provide technical and financial details demonstrating how they plan to ensure continual electricity generation over five-day periods, and, within this framework, the cost of converting their existing power stations so that may be able to run on both fuel and gas.

Acknowledging the high cost of such conversion projects, authorities are also looking into ways to provide greater LNG support when a third tank at the Revythoussa terminal becomes available.