RES special account requires more funds to cover new units planned

The renewable energy source (RES) special account’s widening deficit will be further affected by the Environment and Energy Ministry’s plan to add 2,500 MW of new RES facilities to the system by 2020, sector authorities have told energypress.

A long-term solution that goes beyond merely covering the RES special account’s current deficit forecast for 2016 by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, needs to be found, the authorities stressed.

Last week, LAGIE forecast that the RES special account’s deficit would reach 190.64 million euros in 2016 from 82.68 million euros at the end of last year.

The authorities explained that the arrival of new RES units – which is necessary if the country is to meet EU climate change objectives – will further reduce wholesale electricity prices and, as a result, increase the amount that needs to be raised though the RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge imposed on electricity bills. This surcharge makes up about half of the RES special account’s revenue.

Additional amounts will need to be found for the RES special account if new RES producers are to be paid for their output, even at the new and reduced tariff rates. It remains unknown how these additional amounts may be raised.

One authority, in comments to energypress, estimated that additional output of 2,500 MW by new RES units, as planned by the ministry by 2020, will require an ETMEAR surcharge increased by roughly five euros per MWh. The ministry has offered conflicting figures, contending that an increase of approximately 80 cents per MWh would suffice for a 1,700 MW RES capacity addition.

It is believed that an ETMEAR surcharge level of 3.5 euros per MWh is needed just for the 2016 RES special account deficit, assuming no other solutions are implemented, such as increased contributions from CO2 emmision right auctions, banks – as a result of high interest rates charged for sector loans – electricity suppliers, as well as RES producers.

The ministry insists it will not raise the ETMEAR surcharge rates,, which has sparked fears among existing RES producers of even greater payment delays for their output.