The energy ministry is striving to offer a swift response to a set of European Commission queries concerning Greece’s updated Market Reform Plan, forwarded for public consultation by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.
The energy ministry is aiming to submit a finalized plan to Brussels by the end of July, so that the European Commission can process and approve the plan before its officials take off for their summer breaks in August.
The queries forwarded by the European Commission primarily seek clarification and do not raise any fundamental issues, which has given Greek officials hope of the plan’s imminent finalization.
Brussels’ approval of the Market Reform Plan is crucial as it is one of two prerequisites faced by Athens before the government can submit an application for a support mechanism, either a Strategic Reserve, which would compensate power utility PPC for maintaining its lignite-fired power stations on emergency stand-by, or a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism.
The second requirement is Brussels’ approval of an Adequacy Report being prepared by IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator. Its finalization was originally planned for the end of July but this aim now seems set to be delayed by a week or two.
A draft of the country’s Market Reform Plan, whose finalized version will carry target model market revisions for Greece, has been forwarded, by the energy ministry, to the European Commission for consultation between the two sides, expected to begin without delay.
The energy ministry and Brussels have also agreed on a timeline concerning Athens’ submission and examination of a proposal for a Strategic Reserve Mechanism, needed to ensure electricity supply security through the market’s transition and reforms.
Based on this schedule, the two sides will strive to have finalized the Strategic Reserve Mechanism by the end of the year, so that it may be launched in early 2022.
Brussels’ Directorate-General for Competition plans to begin its consultation for the Market Reform Plan in July. The procedure is expected to last four months, before target model market revisions are implemented.
As part of the overall effort, Pantelis Kapros, Professor of Energy Economics at the National Technical University of Athens, conducted a study – commissioned by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy – serving as a road map for the Greek wholesale electricity market’s revisions, the objective being to fine-tune the target model.
Power grid operator IPTO will concurrently conduct a new adequacy report, including reliability standards, to accompany the Greek plan.
IPTO is taking into account current and potential grid capacities of neighboring Balkan markets for its preparation of an updated adequacy report, a study to serve as a base for various new plans, including the shaping of Greece’s requests for a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) and Strategic Reserve, an updated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), and private-sector investment decisions for new natural gas-fired power stations.
IPTO is also factoring into its adequacy report calculations the heightened investment interest and activity in Greece’s RES sector, energy storage, now that this domain appears set for initiation, as well as the introduction of new elements to mechanisms and energy exchange markets, including the demand response system, remunerating major-scale electricity consumers when the operator asks them to shift their energy usage or stop consumption during high-demand peak hours, so as to balance the electricity system’s needs.
Electricity grids in the Balkans are being revamped, creating unprecedented electricity export opportunities for Greek exporters. The EU’s intention to impose a carbon border tax on electricity imports from non-EU countries adds to Greece’s export potential to the Balkans, as well as more new natural gas-fired power stations than the quantity included in the current NECP.
Given the developments, Greece now probably needs four new natural gas-fired power stations, including power utility PPC’s Ptolemaida V.
Private-sector firms are pushing ahead their plans for the development of such units, as was highlighted by a related joint announcement last Friday from GEK Terna and Motor Oil.