RAE meeting to tackle Crete power shortage threat in 2020

Striving for a solution to prevent the threat of power supply shortages on Crete in the summer of 2020, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has summoned all parties involved in the island’s interconnection project to a meeting, expected to take place within the next few days.

The threat exists because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits will expire in December, 2019.

Though IPTO, the power grid operator, has scheduled its completion of the island’s first-phase interconnection, to link Crete with the Peloponnese, within 2020, RAE remains unconvinced and fears the project will most likely not be delivered until 2021.

This would strain Crete’s power system in 2020, especially during the summer, a period of elevated needs.

Crete’s currently independent grid will be downsized when the exemption to the EU law concerning power station emission limits expires. Some power stations on the island will need to be shut down permanently. The main power utility PPC estimates these inevitable closures to represent a capacity of 42 MW. Other units will be able to continue operating if environmental upgrades are made, but, even so, will face operating restrictions. This category of units is believed to represent a total capacity of 98 MW.

Electricity consumption on the island, Greece’s largest, is growing at a rate of 4 percent per year.

According to a joint study conducted by IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, and already presented to RAE and the energy ministry, the power supply shortage on Crete could range between 50 and 200 MW.

RAE has sought an extension to the EU law exemption until 2023 but, according to reliable sources, this is considered unlikely. The authority is also looking at ways to boost electricity capacity on the island through various means. These include a floating natural gas storage facility to be linked to a power station, as well as fuel changes at existing units.