Operator releases supplier energy-mix list for 2020

RES market operator DAPEEP has published a list of the energy mixes of energy suppliers for 2020, showing which companies are pursuing the most eco-friendly policies.

The operator, in publishing the list, noted that electricity suppliers are obligated to supply consumers with information on their energy sources for the previous year, in clear and comparable fashion, as well as information on the environmental impact of their choices, or CO2 emission levels concerning electricity generation they market.

 

Medium-voltage suppliers seek higher-priced deal revisions

A sharp rise in medium-voltage energy costs over recent times, resulting from higher wholesale prices, threatens to damage the competitiveness of Greek manufacturers, Antonis Kontoleon, president of EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, has told energypress.

Rallying CO2 emission right prices as well as persistently higher prices in the day-ahead and balancing markets have prompted electricity suppliers to seek revised medium-voltage agreements as protection against loss-incurring sales.

Electricity suppliers, maintaining business to business agreements with medium-voltage consumers have increased – by 20 percent compared to just recently – their number of requests forwarded for new supply agreements.

More crucially, suppliers are asking their customers to accept upward price revisions.

In many cases, suppliers have forwarded letters to customers informing that they will no longer be able to service existing supply agreements unless prices per KWh are raised.

Low-voltage consumers also face increased electricity bill costs following the activation, by suppliers, of cost-protection clauses.

Independent suppliers have activated wholesale price-related clauses, incorporated in their supply agreements, while power utility PPC has triggered, for the first time, a CO2 emission rights cost-related clause.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has summoned PPC’s administration to offer an explanation on this decision, at a meeting today. The authority is also expected to soon summon independent suppliers.

NECP needs revising, EU CO2 emission goal more ambitious

The EU’s level of RES investment objectives has been raised even higher following an agreement reached this week by the member states and European Parliament for a swifter reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, reached after many months of inconclusive negotiations.

The agreement for a CO2 emissions reduction of at least 55 percent by the end of the decade, instead of 40 percent, as had been previously set, will subsequently require EU member states to revise their National Energy and Climate Plans.

NECP objectives concerning wind, solar and all other green-energy technologies will need to be reset.

For Greece, this development means that a 2019 NECP goal for the installation of 8.8 GW in new RES capacity by 2030 needs to be increased to over 10 GW, sources have informed energypress.

The precise figure will be determined by the proportion, or mix, of wind, solar and other RES categories to be included in Greece’s updated NECP, as each technology offers different GWh results per GW installed.

Greece’s NECP committee will soon need to proceed with new calculations and decide on a revised strategy.

The country’s revised NECP will also detail Greece’s updated decarbonization plan, including PPC’s commitment to complete this effort sooner by turning off its Ptolemaida V facility as a lignite-fired unit in 2025, not 2028, as originally planned. PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis pointed out this change of plan to analysts earlier this week.

Ministry approves strategy for emission-free buildings by 2050

The energy ministry has approved a report detailing a long-term strategy for the renovation of public and private buildings into carbon emission-free units of elevated energy efficiency by 2050.

The aim is to transform existing buildings into units of virtually-zero energy consumption, the report noted.

Given the fact that buildings currently represent almost 40 percent of overall energy consumption, a large-scale upgrade of existing buildings and construction of new eco-friendly buildings requiring minimal energy consumption is deemed necessary.

This prospect would offer tremendous energy consumption and cost savings for dwellers and users while also improving living standards in terms of comfort, security and health, the report notes.

Energy efficiency upgrade measures concerning 2020 to 2030 are already being implemented through the National Energy and Climate Plan, aiming for upgrades of 12 to 15 percent of buildings over this ten-year period.

However, more ambitious measures, including stricter exterior surface insulation standards for new buildings and a greater number of upgrades at existing buildings will be needed for close-to-zero carbon emissions in this sector by 2050, according to the report.

Energy consumption at buildings will need to fall 8 percent by 2030, compared to 2015, and close to 40 percent by 2050, the report notes.

 

PPC bond issue aims for real-money investors, market clout

Power utility PPC, which has just issued a 500 million-euro bond expiring in 2026, is aiming to attract foreign institutional investors – or real-money investors placed in the real economy, not hedge funds – to the issue, which, the corporation hopes, will also enjoy a solid course in secondary-market trading and help establish the company’s clout in capital markets.

PPC began presenting this bond issue to institutional investors yesterday and will continue to do so over the next two days in an effort to maximize the level of participation in the issue, a Sustainability-Linked Bond, the first of its kind to be offered by a Greek company.

The power utility is committing to a 40 percent CO2 emissions reduction by 2022, which if not achieved, will add 50 basis points to the bond’s yield.

The issue’s order book closes on Thursday. A clear picture on the turnout and type of investors drawn to the issue should emerge today or tomorrow, the latest.

PPC’s push to reduce CO2 emissions, which the company has told investors will fall from 23.1 million tons in 2019 to 13.9 million tons in 2022, is based on two key factors, a planned withdrawal of lignite-fired units representing a total capacity of 3.4 GW by 2023 and a change of investment direction focusing on renewables.

Data shows that PPC managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 56 percent between 2005, when levels were 52.6 million tons, and 2019. A drop to the 2022 objective of 13.9 million tons would represent a 74 percent reduction, compared to 2005. If achieved, such a reduction would exceed the national target of 62 percent.

An improved BB- rating from Fitch late in December was a key factor in PPC’s decision to head to capital markets at this point in time.

PPC to hold back on CO2 cost clause until at least March 31

Power utility PPC, facing rising CO2 emission costs, will not activate a related clause included in low-voltage supply agreements for protection until at least March 31, energypress sources have informed.

Otherwise, the overwhelming majority of the country’s households would soon be subject to significant electricity cost increases as CO2 emission costs have been on the rise over the past four months or so.

State-controlled PPC’s low-voltage supply agreements have included a CO2 emission clause since November 1, 2019.

Yesterday, carbon emission futures were priced at 32.78 euros per ton, slightly below a level of 35.14 euros per ton in mid-January.

CO2 emission costs have risen consistently since first hitting levels of 29 euros per ton in November, 2020.

According to recent forecasts by ICIS, specializing in commodity pricing, the upward trajectory of carbon emission costs will continue over the next three years, averaging 39.24 euros per ton in 2021, before skyrocketing to levels of 46 euros per ton in 2022 and 50 euros per ton in 2023.

PPC’s CO2-cost clause has already been activated for its medium and high-voltage supply.

The corporation plans to reexamine its CO2 clause freeze for low-voltage consumers beyond March 31.

Contrary to PPC, independent suppliers have incorporated wholesale market price clauses, not CO2 emission cost clauses, into their supply agreements.

Independent suppliers have activated their clauses as a result of higher balancing market costs. Their low-voltage consumers have consequently faced electricity bill increases ranging from 7 to 30 percent.

EBRD reports close to €800 million investment in Greece in 2020

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stepped up its investments in Greece in 2020 to address immediate needs caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to create the foundations for a recovery with a focus on building back better economies.

Continuing its support for the Greek economy in 2020, the Bank made €797 million new investments in 17 projects, compared to €571 million in 13 projects in 2019, putting Greece in the EBRD’s top five countries of investment last year. 

Andreea Moraru, EBRD Director for Greece, said: “We are very proud to contribute to the robust response of the Greek economy to the crisis, supporting the recovery, helping local businesses with their needs and facilitating the transition to greener economic activities.” 

The Bank provided a senior unsecured loan of up to €160 million power utility PPC. The facility will support PPC’s working capital needs at a time of customer payment volatility following the outbreak of the crisis. It will also strengthen the resilience of the electricity sector as a whole by ensuring the stability of essential utility supplies and maintaining the momentum towards decarbonization. 

The EBRD also stepped up its efforts to help the Greek private sector by investing €57.5 euros in GEK TERNA’s successful issuance of a seven-year €500 million bond. GEK TERNA S.A. is the holding company for a group active in concessions, renewable energy, thermal energy and construction, incorporated in Greece. 

This issuance was the largest bond transaction to be listed to date on the Athens Stock Exchange and the first corporate issuance in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic. The proceeds will be used to refinance secured commercial loans with longer tenors and reduced financing costs, enabling a corporate transformation that will optimize the capital structure of GEK TERNA. 

Facilitating the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, EBRD launched its just transition initiative linking the transition to a low-carbon economy with inclusive economic development. One of the first projects under this approach was the Bank’s €75 million investment in the successful Eurobond tap issuance by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), in support of a new solar photovoltaic plant in Greece, the largest solar energy project in south-eastern Europe to date. 

The total funds of €100 million raised will enable ELPE to finance the construction of 18 solar photovoltaic (PV) plants with a total installed capacity of 204 MW in Kozani, western Macedonia, the country’s most coal-dependent region. The solar park will be built close to existing coal-fired power plants that are being phased out and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 320,000 tons annually.

In addition, the EBRD invested €50 million in the first senior preferred (SP) green bond issuance by the National Bank of Greece (NBG), combining support for capital market development and for the green economy in Greece. It was the first green bond issuance by a Greek bank and the first SP instrument to be issued by a Greek financial institution. 

Together with other investors, the EBRD invested in a €186.4 million securitization transaction of automotive leases, originated by Olympic Commercial and Tourist Enterprises S.A. (Avis), the leading car leasing company in Greece and master franchisee of the global car rental company Avis Budget Group.  

The transaction was an important milestone for the Greek securitization market as it was the largest issuance by a non-bank originator and the first auto lease asset-backed security transaction in the country with a sustainable and green element. 

Part of the proceeds will be used by Avis for the replacement of its existing fleet with lower CO2 emissions, electric and hybrid vehicles, helping the company to reduce its diesel footprint.

In late 2020, the EBRD joined forces with the Ministry of Development and Investments of Greece to establish a new public-private partnership (PPP) preparation facility cooperation account, following a request from the Greek authorities. 

The EBRD will manage the facility, which will provide high-quality, client-oriented project preparation, training and advisory services, policy support and institutional strengthening activities related to the infrastructure sector in Greece. The Ministry will fund the activities of the facility with €20 million. The project pipeline will mostly be in the social infrastructure sector (education and health), sustainable urban infrastructure, and water and waste management.

Keeping vital trade flows going, the Bank provided a €20 million factoring facility to ABC Factors under its Trade Facilitation Program (TTP). Building on the EBRD’s cooperation with Alpha Bank, the parent company of ABC Factors, the facility will enable the factoring subsidiary to further expand its portfolio of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local corporate clients by providing funding for domestic and international factoring transactions. Greece remains the EBRD’s most active country under TFP, with close to €320 million trade transactions in 2020.  

In 2020, the EBRD started 41 new advisory projects with Greek SMEs in various areas, such as strategic and business planning, marketing and e-commerce, operational efficiency, financial management and digitalization, and delivered five online export training seminars to more than 100 participants. Donor funding from Greece, as well as from the European Union through the European Investment Advisory Hub of the European Investment Bank, has been crucial. 

Papoutsanis, a leading Greek manufacturer of soap and liquid cosmetics, became the first Greek firm to join the EBRD’s Blue Ribbon program, which combines business advice and finance for companies that stand out for their market leadership and high-growth potential. 

Furthermore, the Board of Directors of the EBRD approved a new strategy for Greece, which will guide the bank’s investment and policy engagement in the country during the next five years. 

The EBRD responded to the coronavirus pandemic with record investment of €11 billion in 2020 through 410 projects. This represents a 10 per cent increase in annual business investment relative to 2019, when the bank provided €10.1 billion to finance 452 projects.

EC calls for CO2 cuts; NECP revisions, RES boost ahead

The European Commission has announced a new European Climate Law proposal for even more ambitious CO2 emission cuts in the EU, calling for reductions of 55 percent by 2030, instead of the present goal of 40 percent. If adopted, this proposal will prompt further revisions of National Energy and Climate Plans and RES installation increases by EU member states.

Compared to previous NECP objectives, RES facilities in most parts of the EU will need to increase by levels of between 20 and 30 percent by 2030, while energy consumption must drop further, between 15 and 20 percent, if the new Brussels proposal is adopted, reliable sources have informed.

Adoption of the proposal will require greater green-policy effort by member states and much bigger investments.

CO2 emissions produced by vehicles and buildings could be taxed, while more generous subsidy programs could be offered for energy efficiency upgrades.

In Greece, a 55 percent CO2 emissions cut by 2030 would require a further increase in RES installations so that a 19-GW target, by 2030, included in the country’s current NECP may be exceeded.

This more ambitious objective will enable the actualization of a greater number of possible projects on stand-by, currently representing a capacity of 76 GW. However, bigger investments for network reinforcement, increased interconnections and energy storage facility installations will be needed.

 

PPC CO2 emissions down 71.1%, lignite-fired output fades

Power utility PPC’s CO2 emissions plunged 71.1 percent in the first half, from 1.97 million tons in January to 568,900 tons in June, reflecting the significantly diminished role of lignite in generation.

Lignite’s dominant energy mix role has been taken over by natural gas, supported by rising RES output and electricity imports.

Lignite-based electricity generation slid for most of the six-month period between January and June, dropping to 1.41 million tons in February, 882,240 tons in March, 730,970 tons in April and 564,900 tons in May before edging up to 568,900 tons in June.

CO2 emission right costs have been on an upward trajectory over the past couple of months, rising well over customary levels of about 20 euros per ton to reach as high as 29.66 euros per ton. Current levels appear to have stabilized at between 26 and 27 euros per ton.

Despite these higher CO2 emission right price levels, PPC’s operating costs are not expected to rise as a result of its big cutback on lignite-fired production.

PPC’s share of overall electricity production is projected to keep falling as independent producers and traders move in to fill the lignite void through natural gas and RES generation, plus electricity imports.

Athens-Crete interconnection work commences at both ends

Work at both ends of the Athens-Crete grid interconnection, Greece’s biggest infrastructure project at present, has begun in earnest, power grid operator IPTO sources have informed.

In the lead-up, IPTO subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection, developing the project, and contractors signed contracts totaling approximately one billion euros last month.

Various preliminary studies and construction work are now underway. A high-voltage subsea cable is planned to run from Heraklion, Crete to Megara, slightly west of Athens.

Also, a converter station will be built close to the Cretan village Damasta.

A converter station will not be needed at Megara, on the Athenian side of the project. Instead, the interconnection’s line will run through an underground passage to reach a central unit, where the converter station will be installed.

IPTO has discussed the project with local communities to minimize any inconveniences. Requests made by locals, determined to conceal any visual impact, were taken into consideration by authorities when planning the project’s route.

Revisions were made to an environmental impact study approved by the energy ministry last April.

IPTO made significant changes for the Megara end of the interconnection, significantly increasing the operator’s budget for the project. Changes included the adoption of subterranean line passages. Similar-minded revisions have also been agreed to for the Cretan end’s Korakia area.

Once launched, the Athens-Crete grid interconnection promises to offer electricity consumers overall annual savings of 400 million euros in Public Service Compensation (YKO) surcharges, included in electricity bills.

The project will also offer major environmental benefits as CO2 emissions resulting from the overall electricity supply effort for Crete will be reduced by 60 percent once the Athens-Crete interconnection is fully launched.

This project represents Crete’s major-scale link. A preceding smaller-scale link from Crete to the Peloponnese has also been incorporated into the effort.

Just Transition Fund excludes support for all gas projects

The EU’s Just Transition Fund, takings its cue from the European Investment Bank, has left natural gas projects of its funding list, noting it will not provide financial support for any investments concerning production, processing, distribution, storage or consumption of fossil fuels.

This exclusion creates issues for all the country’s natural gas projects, big or small, which authorities would have wanted to be supported by the Just Transition Fund.

They include a power utility PPC plan for a combined gas-fueled cooling, heat and power plant in Kardia, northern Greece, for coverage of the west Macedonia region’s telethermal needs, announced by the energy minister Costis Hatzidakis just days ago.

Other Greek project plans such as the Alexandroupoli FSRU and the development of an underground natural gas storage (UGS) facility at a virtually depleted offshore gas field south of Kavala have already been rejected by the EIB, unless hydrogen is incorporated into their plans to convert them into eco-friendly projects.

Natural gas, emitting approximately half the amount of CO2 produced by coal, also spills out methane, an undesired greenhouse gas.

Climate protection advocates insist new natural gas units could end up operating for decades, which would threaten the EU objective for zero emissions by 2050.

Big CO2 cost drop for PPC mid, high-voltage consumers, clause abolished

Power utility PPC’s abolishment of a CO2 emissions cost clause concerning its mid and high-voltage consumers, a long-standing demand by EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, has resulted in a considerable reduction of CO2-related costs for these consumer categories.

CO2-related costs for mid and high-voltage consumers fell sharply to 6 euros per MWh in April, down from levels of 13.40 euros per MWh in January, 13.56 euros per MWh in February and 11.14 euros per MWh in March. CO2 emission costs have dropped considerably, internationally, in recent times.

The CO2 cost level is expected to remain unchanged for May as lignite-based generation has been restricted.

 

RWE, to invest €1bn in Greek RES market, signing MoU today

German energy group RWE intends to invest approximately one billion euros in Greece’s renewable energy market over the next few years.

Details of the investment plan will be included in a Memorandum of Understanding expected to be signed today by the company heads of the German group and Greek power utility PPC at a Greek-German economic forum in Berlin.

RWE’s investment plan includes providing PPC expertise for its decarbonization effort. A prospective conversion of an existing PPC lignite-fired power station into a biomass facility, as well as joint investments in solar and wind energy projects with PPC subsidiary PPC Renewables are among the projects listed in the investment plan.

German renewable energy investment interest is focused on solar and wind energy projects. Other related technologies such as offshore wind facilities, as had been reported in the past, are not being considered.

RWE chief executive Rolf Martin Schmitz had informed Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the German energy group’s interest to invest and provide knowhow at a meeting in Germany last October.

Between 2012 and 2018, RWE reduced its CO2 emissions by 60 million tons, a 30 percent reduction. The group, looking to be fossil fuel-free by 2040, will focus on further development in the RES and energy storage domains, an investment effort estimated at 1.5 billion euros. Germany has pledged to be carbon-free by 2038.

PPC chief supports use of CO2 clause, simplification expected

Power utility PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis has defended the company’s need to maintain a CO2 cost clause included in its electricity bills as protection against emission cost increases, at a meeting with RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) officials.

The authority is working on revisions aiming to simplify electricity-bill clauses for greater transparency to household and business consumers.

Numerous complaints have been made by customers feeling confused by the current terms. RAE wants to establish terms enabling clearer price comparisons of supplier terms.

PPC’s right to maintain its CO2 clause has been questioned. At the RAE meeting, held yesterday as part of ongoing public consultation, the power utility’s chief contended creditor banks insist on the measure’s maintenance, adding its cancellation would require further electricity tariff hikes.

RAE may decide to continue permitting CO2 clauses once the target model is introduced, according to sources. If so, the current format will be revised to  offer consumers clarity, the authority has already stressed. Decisions are expected in about two weeks.

PPC given a month for CO2 surcharge transparency requirements

Power utility PPC is not honoring code of conduct requirements concerning transparency of information provided to consumers on CO2 emission cost surcharge calculations, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has noted in a letter to the utility.

PPC has been asked to inform RAE on corrective action within a month or face a fine, according to the letter.

This development supports a recent complaint expressed by EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, disapproving a CO2 surcharge cost formula applied by PPC to its mid and high-voltage power supply.

In its letter to PPC, forwarded just days ago, RAE has asked the power utility to comply – promptly and fully – with industry regulations by providing necessary billing information to its consumers.

EVIKEN is maintaining an aggressive stance, insisting that the power utility’s information to consumers on surcharges imposed continues to lack detail.

Energy-intensive industrial consumers have questioned CO2 surcharges of 12.65 euros per MW/h for high-voltage supply and 13.09 euros per MW/h for mid-voltage supply concerning December, 2019. Consumers have requested full details on these charges.

EVIKEN, comparing lignite production figures for April and November, believes the CO2 surcharge rate for December should have been less than 12 euros per MW/h. It has demanded related and fully transparent data for every month of 2019.

 

Additional energy costs a big concern for mid-voltage manufacturers

CO2 emission cost charges have developed into a major concern for mid-voltage manufacturers following recent market changes such as electricity tariff hikes and a reduced punctuality discount, offered when bills are paid on time.

The operating details of a CO2 emission cost adjustment mechanism, prompting charges that do not reflect actual costs, are seen as the main problem by manufacturers.

These charges are revised when CO2 emission right cost increases are greater than 10 percent and remain unchanged when the emission charge change is less than 10 percent.

As a result, the current system is leading to charges that do not reflect actual costs.

Electricity tariff changes for medium-voltage manufacturers, especially the termination of a CO2 emission cost discount, have increased their energy costs by 11 to 12 percent, making them less competitive.

The majority of these manufacturers are exporters and risk losing foreign markets, which would decrease production levels and place jobs at risk.

The issue is a concern for some 30 Greek manufacturers employing thousands and needing to overcome energy costs that represent between 30 and 40 percent of total production cost.

“Authorities need to understand that a measure prompting 10 percent electricity price increases or decreases is of little significance to an enterprise whose electricity cost represents just 2 percent of production cost, for example, but, on the other hand, is huge for an enterprise whose electricity cost represents 40 percent of production cost,” a leading industrialist told energypress.

Brussels CAT restriction a setback for Ptolemaida V

The European Commission has announced tough CAT remuneration mechanism restrictions for lignite-based power stations, effective as of July 4, a major setback for the CAT eligibility prospects of power utility PPC’s Ptolemaida V unit, now being developed.

According to some sources, the new capacity mechanism restrictions, announced in the Official Journal of the European Union last Friday, end all CAT qualification hopes for Ptolemaida V.

Despite this latest unfavorable development, state-controlled PPC and the energy ministry have remained optimistic and contend hope remains under certain conditions.

Power stations emitting over 550 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour will no longer be eligible for the capacity mechanism, according to the new restrictions.

Greek Parliament recently ratified a related energy ministry bill without prior EU approval.

Capacity mechanisms have been used by EU member states to fund electricity generation that may not be cost-effective or as clean as renewable power but is needed to guarantee supply during periods of peak demand.

Ministries to extend Kardia unit time limits, EC stance unclear

The energy and economy ministries are set, any day now, to deliver a joint ministerial decision offering an operating time extension for the main power utility PPC’s lignite-fired Kardia III and IV power stations from a current 17,500-hour limit to 32,000 hours.

The decision will not make specific reference to the Kardia facility but will note that an operating extension to 32,000 hours will be permitted for units offering telethermal services to surrounding regions.

For quite some time now, energy ministry officials have been negotiating the matter with the European Commission but it remains unclear if Brussels will offer its  consent for the two Kardia unit extensions.

This specification frames Kardia III and IV and satisfies a long-standing request by residents of Ptolemaida, in the country’s north, for a lifetime extension of the units as the wider region’s heating depends on them in the winter.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and state-controlled PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis had both promised residents, power station employees and local MPs that an extension would be granted.

The government recently called for snap elections on July 7.

More recently, the energy ministry has expressed increased confidence of an approval despite the strict terms of the EU’s debarbonization policy.

 

 

 

PPC requested to improve CO2 surcharge transparency

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has requested greater billing details from the power utility PPC on its CO2 emission surcharges for medium and high-voltage consumers.

RAE president Nikos Boulaxis informed PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis of the authority’s transparency request in writing several days ago.

This had been preceded by complaints from EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, on the CO2 emissions formula applied by PPC for medium and high-voltage consumers.

The lack of billing information does not ensure transparency for industrial consumers, EVIKEN had noted in a letter forwarded to RAE in February, while urging the authority to intervene.

Eurelectric: Electric vehicles growth effort lacks local support

Domestic political support for the EU’s ambitious electric vehicle growth objectives over the next decade is clearly lacking, officials at Eurelectric, a sector association representing the electricity industry’s common interests at a European level, have warned, while also doubting Greece’s ability to meet these objectives amid the current climate, seen as unfavorable.

The EU’s auto-related CO2 emission reduction targets will require the introduction of approximately 40 million electric cars, vans and trucks on European roads by 2030, Eurelectric officials explained.

The continent’s fleet of electric vehicles will need to grow 40 times over the next 11 years, compared to figures registered in 2018.

Eurelectric admits this is a difficult target but believes it is achievable through appropriate investments and support.

Put into a local context, the target sets a big challenge for Greece as the country’s fleet of electric vehicles will need to grow from about 600 at present to 23,200.

Sector changes are urgently needed in Greece otherwise the country risks being left behind in the wider effort to electrify transportation, the Eurelectric sources stressed.

Big investments in recharging infrastructure are necessary, while swift action must be taken at governmental and regulatory levels, the sources added.

Eurelectric remains pessimistic about the prospects in Greece given the lack of initiatives taken so far in the electricity vehicles domain.

EU regulations have set a limit of ten cars per recharging unit but the number has reached 15 in Greece, the Eurelectric sources noted.

 

RES-focused Ellaktor in talks for sale of its Elpedison stake

The Ellaktor group has reached an advanced stage in talks with foreign investors interested in acquiring its 22.74 percent stake in electricity producer and supplier Elpedison, sources have informed, a reflection of the corporate group’s intensifying focus on the renewable energy sector.

Last December, the Ellaktor group took over listed wind energy subsidiary El. Tech. Anemos, Greece’s second biggest renewable energy company, as part of a strategy to bolster its position in the RES domain and better adjust to the EU’s decarbonization policy aiming for a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030 and elimination by 2050.

The corporate group’s takeover of El. Tech. Anemos promises to provide additional cash flow supporting the subsidiary’s investment plan.

The brothers Anastasios and Dimitris Kallitsantsis, who took over the Ellaktor group’s helm last July following a tumultuous battle between the group’s major shareholders, had committed themselves, as a key strategy, to not selling the group’s stake in El. Tech. Anemos but, on the contrary, strengthen the group’s standing in the renewable energy sector.

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and Edison – acquired by EDF – hold a 75.78 stake in Elpedison as a joint venture, Ellaktor holds 22.74 percent, and Halkor has the other 1.48 percent.

 

Focus on Amynteo upgrade, Meliti II sidelined, for CATs

The energy ministry plans to focus on an environmental upgrade plan of the main power utility PPC’s Amynteo lignite-fired power station in the country’s north, intended to keep the facility running until all lignite deposits in the region have been depleted and, at the same time, sideline the development prospects of Meliti II – also in the north, in the Florina area – as a lower-priority project, as part of a wider effort to ensure CAT remuneration for existing lignite units.

The main power utility PPC, facing a bailout-required disinvestment, is currently selling lignite units and mines representing 40 percent of its overall lignite capacity.

A study conducted by PPC, as part of partnership talks with Chinese investors, has shown that Meliti II can only be a viable project with CAT remuneration support.

Under the EU’s current decarbonization regulations, an addition of Meliti II to the national grid will only be possible if the country’s other lignite-fired units are environmentally upgraded to an extent that would enable a Meliti II entry without any negative impact on the country’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Any new owner of Meliti II will need to factor in the investment cost of these strict decarbonization regulations.

Lignite units not excluded from local CAT payment proposal

A finalized power compensation mechanism plan prepared by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, and believed to have been received at the energy ministry does not make any distinctions that exclude lignite-fired power stations from CAT payments, energypress sources have informed.

The CAT remuneration eligibility of lignite-fired power stations has drawn attention in recent times as this detail is believed to be crucial to the sustainability of lignite power stations and mines included in the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units. The CAT payment eligibility of lignite units is seen as pivotal to the success or failure of the sale procedure.

It remains to be seen if the finalized Greek power compensation mechanism plan, to be forwarded by the energy ministry to the European Commission in September or October, will be approved in Brussels.

Conventional power stations such as lignite units need to meet a CO2 emission upper limit of 550 grams per KWh to qualify for CAT payments, according to current EU regulations. However, EU officials are still negotiating details for a finalized clean energy package. A five-year adjustment period for existing facilities appears probable.

On a visit to Athens earlier this month, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, appeared willing to exempt Greece from strict EU regulations as acknowledgment of lignite’s important role in the country’s energy mix. However, no details of any exemption plan have yet to be been released.

In a decision reached on April 17, the European Commission recognized the special role of lignite-fired electricity generation for energy supply security in Greece.

According to the RAE plan, CAT payments would be made available through annual auctions offering Reliability Options four years in advance. CAT payments would be valid for one year for existing facilities, while new units would secure CATs for seven years, as an investment and financing incentive, according to the plan.

 

 

European Parliament proposes 550g rule exceptions

Energy committee officials, meeting in European Parliament to revise an electricity market directive, have delivered a new proposal whose implementation would subject conventional power plants to a CO2 emission limit of 200 kilograms per KWh per year, as long as these plants belong to a category of back-up units that would contribute to the system only when necessary.

A decision has already been reached to exclude any plants that emit more than 550g of CO2 per KWh from public money, through eligibility for support mechanisms.

The latest proposal would offer some leeweay to plants exceeding this 550g limit, as long as they have qualified for the back-up reserve category.

The energy committee MEPs noted that power plants belonging to this back-up category are entitled to different emission limits as they will remain sidelined and called to action only if capacity mechanisms have proved to be insufficient. Subsequently, these back-up units will not cause the type of market distortions that could be caused by capacity mechanisms, officials agreed.

This additional proposal, offering some leniency, comes as an effort to bridge gaps between EU member states. Poland, for example, has reacted strongly against the 550g limit, noting it will affect the country’s electricity production.

Bleak future for Europe’s carbon-fired units, IEEFA study notes

European carbon-fired power stations, including conventional units operated by Greece’s main power utility PPC, face a difficult future as upgrades needed to meet stricter EU environmental standards will increase the cost of electricity generated by these units by as much as 10 euros per MWh and negatively impact their level of market competitiveness, according to a study conducted by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

The study also notes that European carbon-fired power stations also face regulatory obstacles.

Numerous conventional carbon-fired power stations will need to be upgdraded to meet new regulations by 2021, the IEEFA study noted.

The study takes into account solid-fuel units with production capacities of over 50 MW operating around the EU. These units amount to just under 600.

It places particular emphasis on the 108 heaviest polluting units whose emission levels are at least 40 percent over revised EU levels.

Half of these 108 units belong to seven corporations, Greece’s PPC, PGE, Enel/Endesa, EDF, Tauron, CEZ and Drax, while PPC controls five percent of these heaviest-polluting units, the study noted.

The IEEFA study noted that upgrades needed by these carbon-fired units in order to combat NOx emission limits will add between 2 and 4 euros per MWh to the cost of electricity generation. A further 6 to 7 euros per MWh will be added to the cost of electricity by upgrades needed to combat SOx emissions, the study also pointed out. In total, the overall electricity production cost increase at certain units could exceed 10 euros per MWh.

Emission levels at two PPC carbon-fired power stations in the Agios Dimitrios area, northern Greece, were found to be 150 percent over EU limits, the IEEFA study pointed out.

On a wider level, Greek power stations exceeded EU emission limits by 50 to 150 percent in 2014, the IEEFA study found.

A PPC upgrade program to curb conventional power station greenhouse gas emissions has been in progress for some years now.

It has been estimated that a total investment of 31.5 million euros is needed by PPC to reduce its NOx emissions, while unit upgrades worth a further 75 million euros are needed to limit SOx emissions.