RAE taking gas-sector action to prevent energy crisis next winter

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is preparing measures to prevent a repeat of the energy crisis experienced by the country last winter, in December and February.

The authority is aiming to implement protective measures prior to further gas market reforms through a target model, now a Greek bailout requirement, expected by September.

As the overall effort’s first move, RAE will prepare a risk assessment study concerning natural gas supply security in Greece. RAE will use data to be provided by DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), to update a previous risk assessment study.

RAE plans to then swiftly introduce a series of measures. It is anticipated that these will include an existing plan concerning licensing requirements for power generating units. Power stations must guarantee their ability to operate uninterruptedly over five-day periods during emergencies to satisfy this specific licensing term.

With this requirement in mind, certain power units – two operated by Elpedison and a small Heron facility – are equipped to run on alternative fuels, allowing a switch from natural gas to fuel whenever needed. RAE is expected to soon clarify how such units will be compensated for their flexibility.

Power units not equipped to switch to alternative energy sources will need to maintain specified fuel reserves, an older requirement abandoned several years ago but now set to be reintroduced and remain effective until a third tank is added at the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens. This project has been severely delayed.

The use of a floating LNG tanker, which would be moored off the Revythoussa facility during periods of high energy demand, is being contemplated as a temporary solution until the terminal’s third storage tank is completed. The cost of such a solution could be covered by cash reserves raised through a supply security surcharge. The amount in this coffer is estimated to now be worth around 8 to 9 million euros.

Authorities are also considering taking action against contractors responsible for the delay of the third Revythoussa tank’s delivery. The amount that could result from penalty payments, if such a course is pursued, could be used to hire a LNG tanker for tempotary use.