Crete interconnection to require new energy control center

Crete’s grid interconnection with the mainland will require the development of a new, upgraded regional energy control center on the island, according to power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year development plan covering 2021 to 2030.

The new center will be needed to ensure effective management of new energy market data, not achievable through the existing center’s means and infrastructure, as these would not be able to incorporate new technologies, IPTO stresses in its ten-year development plan.

Also, the existing energy control center’s maintenance has become extremely difficult and costly due to the unavailability of spare parts and experienced technicians for its type of technologies, the operator added.

IPTO awaiting approval of 20% Ariadne sale for €40m minimum

Power grid operator IPTO’s needed approval from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, of its sale plan offering a 20 percent stake in subsidiary firm Ariadne Interconnection, tasked with the development of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, is now in the hands of the authority, sources informed.

A condition setting a minimum sale price of 40 million euros, or 20 percent of the nominal value of Ariadne’s equity capital, totaling 200 million euros, has been included in the plan, the sources added.

It also includes criteria that will need to be met by prospective bidders, as well as the tender’s steps all the way to the final round, when qualifiers will be given access to the sale’s video data room.

The VDR will offer candidates financial, technical and legal details concerning the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, a project budgeted at one billion euros and slated for completion within 2023.

IPTO has already secured a 400 million-euro loan from Eurobank, an additional 200 million euros will stem from own capital, while the other 40 percent is expected to be provided in the form of EU subsidies, now close to approval.

China’s SGCC, IPTO’s strategic partner with a 24 percent stake, as well as European operators, among them Italy’s Terna and Belgium’s Elia, have all expressed interest ahead of the Ariadne Interconnection tender.

Importantly, IPTO is still awaiting RAE’s approval of WACC levels for the Cretan interconnection project – permitted revenue (2018-2021) and required revenue (2019-2021).

Projects categorized as projects of major significance are legally entitled to additional returns beyond the asset-based yield.

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.

Norton Rose Fulbright Athens team advises on largest interconnection project

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised IPTO/ADMIE, the owner and operator of the Greek electricity transmission grid, on the concession of the Crete – Attica HVDC interconnection project, to ADMIE’s subsidiary, Ariadne Interconnection. It is the largest electricity grid infrastructure project ever developed in the country and one of the longest subsea electricity links (328kms) developed so far globally.

The project includes the construction of a bipolar high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable, linking the island of Crete with the transmission grid in the Athens metropolitan area (Attica), with a rated power of 1 GW (2 x 500 MW), as well as the construction of electrode stations, AC/DC converter stations and onshore (underground) high voltage lines in Crete and Attica. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2022 and its estimated budget is €1 billion.

Advice included the drafting of the concession agreement and also extended to the consultation of the concession agreement with the national regulatory authority for energy (RAE) and credit institutions which are interested in financing the implementation of the project.

The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by Athens-based partner Vassilis Koroxenidis with assistance from senior associate Sergios Karotsieris. Dimitris Assimakis, head of the firm’s Greek energy practice, assisted the team on the national and EU regulatory and public procurement issues relevant to the project.

Dimitris Assimakis commented: “We are delighted to have assisted ADMIE, the Greek electricity TSO, with the implementation of this emblematic electricity interconnection project. This project illustrates ADMIE’s strong commitment to the further expansion of the transmission grid to the Aegean Sea islands. This contributes not only to the improvement of a reliable power supply and the economic growth of these regions but, most importantly, helps combat their environmental degradation and enables the addition of new renewable capacity from the islands into the national grid.”

PPC using extra 58-MW unit on Crete for safety despite weak tourism data

Power utility PPC plans, next week, to begin operating 58-MW capacity generators leased and to be installed at a company power station even though electricity demand on the island is expected to be far lower than usual this summer.

The island will still need this generation boost to meet local energy requirements despite the pandemic’s anticipated negative impact on tourism, authorities have estimated.

Crete’s energy sufficiency situation will not be resolved until the island’s grid interconnection with Athens is completed.

The generators, to be installed at PPC’s power station at Atherinolakkos, southeastern Crete, are scheduled to begin operating on July 1.

PPC has received a production permit for the generators between July 1 and August 31. Depending on the conditions, this license could be stretched to also cover September.

Under normal circumstances, electricity demand on Crete typically reaches 700 MW during the summer as a result of major tourism development on the island. Power outages, both short and long-lasting, are a common summer occurrence on Crete.

 

RAE renews call for ministry’s help on Crete sufficiency plan

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has reiterated a request for energy ministry support needed for the execution of a plan that is expected to resolve energy sufficiency concerns on Crete until the island’s major-scale interconnection with Athens is completed.

The authority, which has resent a package of Crete-sufficiency proposals to the energy ministry, is essentially seeking permission from the ministry to recruit consultants so that it can proceed with necessary tenders.

The RAE plan, comprised of four basic actions, is based on a related study conducted by the National Technical University of Athens. Besides ensuring energy sufficiency for the island, the proposals also meet environmental standards.

The conversion of a diesel-fueled power station into a 100-MW natural gas-fueled facility is one of the four RAE proposals.

Another entails the installation of a new 100-MW power station, preferably natural gas-fueled.

A third action involves a RES capacity addition of roughly 200 MW, evenly split between wind and solar facilities.

RAE’s fourth proposal concerns the installation – and introduction to the Greek grid – of energy storage systems, or high-tech batteries, representing a capacity of between 30 and 40 MW.

The first and second proposals depend on LNG supply to Crete. Subsequently, a tender will need to be staged for the installation of an FSRU as well as a 100-MW power station.

The additional RES capacity will also require tenders. In addition, RAE proposes a tender for the energy storage systems it envisions for the island.

These batteries could also be used on other Greek islands in the future if they are eventually no longer needed on Crete.

 

IPTO, ministry, RAE seeking common ground for Ariadne tender

Officials at power grid operator IPTO, the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, are seeking common ground that would pave the way

a tender to offer a minority 39 percent share in IPTO subsidiary Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV established for the development of the Athens-Crete electricity grid interconnection.

IPTO is looking to attract an investor, or investors, for a minority stake in Ariadne as financial support for the costly project.

IPTO wants to maintain a majority stake in its subsidiary as the operator is determined to control the construction of a project it will eventually operate.

State Grid Corp of China (SGCC), holding a 24 percent stake of IPTO, is expected to participate in the tender. The Chinese company has already expressed interest for a 20 percent stake in Ariadne and has signed a related memorandum with IPTO.

If SGCC’s interest is limited to a 20 percent stake, then a second equity package carrying a further 19 percent is likely to be offered to other investors.

EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-classified project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, was expected to acquire a 39 percent in Ariadne. However, a dispute with IPTO over control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens section has distanced EuroAsia.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis are both confident concerns raised by RAE over the tender’s procedure will be overcome and enable a launch of the competition within the first months of this year.

RAE is worried about complications that could arise and trouble the tender as a result of SGCC’s stake in IPTO. If not handled appropriately, the tender could spark protests from rival bidders claiming unfair competition, RAE fears. Also, the authority is well aware of Brussels’ sensitivity to the prospect of a wider Chinese presence in EU infrastructure.

 

SGCC interest in extra IPTO stake, 20% of Crete grid link SPV now official

State Grid Corp of China (SGCC) chairman Wei Kou has officially expressed an interest by the company to boost its 24 percent share of Greek power grid operator IPTO at a meeting with energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, ministry sources have informed.

The SGCC proposal will now be examined by the government, planning to offer a further stake of IPTO to investors.

SGCC holds preferential rights for the sale of any additional IPTO stake, according to a  shareholders’ agreement signed in 2017 for the Chinese company’s acquisition of a 24 percent stake.

The SGCC head official also confirmed his company’s interest to acquire a 20 percent stake in Ariadne, an IPTO subsidiary established as a special purpose vehicle for the development of the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection.

Crete FSRU plan encounters issues, onshore unit proposed

A plan to install an FSRU off Crete to import LNG as a means of countering the island’s looming energy sufficiency problem between 2020 and 2023 appears to have run into trouble as floating units of the required capacity are not available in the market for this time period.

Gas grid operator DESFA, requested by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to examine the FSRU prospect, has already proposed an even more ambitious alternative, the installation of an onshore LNG terminal on Crete, according to sources.

However, the considerable time required to develop this alternative – no less than three years – is a problem. So, too, is the cost entailed. Some form of support, possibly through CAT remuneration, could be needed.

If its development is eventually pursued, the onshore facility would serve as an LNG storage and regasification unit for LNG arriving from the Revythoussa islet terminal, close to Athens, or other sources, including Egypt.

An onshore unit’s sustainability would depend on the existence of gas-fueled power stations on Crete with a total capacity of around 400 MW, it is estimated.

Its adoption would bring about changes to a four-part solution proposed by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) that entails converting power utility PPC’s 100-MW diesel-fueled units, situated at Atherinolakkos, into gas-fueled facilities; installing new gas-fueled power stations with a capacity of about 100 MW; developing new RES facilities offering a capacity of between 100 and 150 MW; and setting up a storage system for 30 to 40 MW.

A small-scale grid interconnection is planned to link Crete with the Peloponnese as of 2020, when older high-polluting units operating on the island will have been withdrawn, based on EU regulations. However, the island’s energy sufficiency issue will not be fully resolved until 2023, with the anticipated launch of a major-scale grid link with Athens.

 

Crete link tender deadline for cables expires today

The deadline of a tender for the engineering, procurement and installation of underwater cable systems (2 x 500 MW) concerning the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection expires today following two extensions.

An initial July 22 deadline was extended to July 29 before being stretched further to August 5. These successive deadline extensions sparked rumors of possible revisions concerning the 330-km long project.

Power grid operator IPTO, whose subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection is staging the tender, has ruled out the possibility of any further extension.

IPTO is determined to make clear that the tender is pressing ahead despite efforts by Cypriot consortium Euroasia Interconnector aiming to block the procedure.

Euroasia Interconnector, heading a wider PCI-status project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, is at odds with IPTO for control of the Crete-Athens segment’s development.

Euroasia Interconnector took fresh legal action last week against IPTO and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, which, if successful, could prompt further tender delays.

The Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection is urgently needed to prevent a looming energy shortage on the island, Greece’s largest. Outdated diesel-fueled power stations operating on the island need to be withdrawn to meet EU environmental regulations.

The Cretan grid interconnection project is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Italy’s Prysmian and France’s Nexans, both leading companies in the field, have shown interest in the tender.

 

Elections, EuroAsia case to delay Crete link tender approval

Greece’s upcoming elections on July 7 and legal action pursued by EuroAsia Interconnector stand in the way of a decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to approve the terms of a competition offering investors a minority stake of up to 39 percent in Ariadne Interconnection, a subsidiary established by power grid operator IPTO for the development of a grid interconnection project to link Crete with Athens.

The RAE decision was expected any day now, but these two factors will delay the announcement for a latter date, sources at IPTO have informed.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid connection, has reacted as IPTO has taken control of the project’s Crete-Athens segment.

The consortium has submitted a case to Greece’s Authority for the Examination of Preliminary Appeals (AEPP) challenging tenders for the Crete-Athens link’s tenders concerning the project’s development (cables and transformers, budgeted at 600 million and 315 million euros, respectively).

AEPP has set a July 15 date to hear the Cypriot consortium’s case. EuroAsia Interconnector’s bid is not expected to succeed, legal officials explained, as this authority’s jurisdiction deals with companies protesting  tender terms that could exclude them from participating. Even so, the case needs to be heard and will contribute to the delay in RAE’s approval.

The Athens-Crete grid interconnection is urgently needed as electricity demand on the island is increasing while high-polluting units operating on Crete will soon need to be withdrawn as part of the EU’s environmental policy.

IPTO has committed itself to delivering the Athens-Crete link by the end of 2022.

 

Bigger power shortage forecast for Crete demands extra action

Having just determined a bigger-than-expected electricity shortage on Crete for this coming summer, DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, has informed the main power utility PPC to bolster its plan for additional mobile electricity production units on the island.

The operator has increased its projected summer shortage for Crete to 90 MW from the previous forecast of 50 MW.

PPC licensing procedures concerning the transfer of mobile electricity production units to Crete are already in progress, based on the original power shortage forecast. These mobile units, including 18 company-owned units currently stationed on Rhodes and totaling 23 MW, possess a total production capacity of 61 MW.

More units will now need to be brought into action to cover the 90-MW shortage forecast for Crete. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has urged PPC to act fast. Crete’s electricity needs will begin escalating to high levels in July.

PPC has already made clear it will need to be assured of reimbursements before it can make any additional capacity-boosting moves for Crete. It is awaiting officials documents from RAE recognizing the cost entailed.

Once the Cretan capacity issues for this summer have been resolved, RAE will need to think about the summer of 2020 as a small-scale grid interconnection linking the island with the Peloponnese will not have been completed. Solutions for the summers of 2021 and 2022, the intermediate period between Crete’s small-scale interconnection and the big link to Athens, also need to be found.

Solutions minimizing cost and environmental impact are the top priority for authorities.

RAE requests more IPTO details on Crete link project to set WACC figure

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has requested additional data from power grid operator IPTO to determine the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and regulated yield for Ariadne, an SPV established by the operator to develop the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

Moves are also being made to recategorize the Crete-Athens link as a national project rather than a segment of the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, as has been the case until now.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider project, has just warned that the loss of the Crete-Athens segment’s PCI status will prove costly for Greek consumers.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have been at odds for control of the wider grid interconnection’s Crete-Athens segment.

Details requested by RAE from IPTO include a precise budget figure for the Crete-Athens link’s total construction cost as well as specific completion and electrification dates.

Until now, IPTO has provided a construction cost figure of 996.4 million euros, not including support and extraordinary costs. A Grant Thorton study has budgeted the project at 1.1 billion euros. Also, a 2022 completion date has been provided but RAE wants the exact month declared.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has set a February 28 deadline for Euroasia Interconnector to recognize IPTO’s Ariadne as the sole project promoter for the Crete-Athens segment.

Euroasia Interconnector is not expected to accept. If so, RAE, immediately following the February 28 deadline, will award the Crete-Athens project to Ariadne as a national project included in IPTO’s investment program.

 

 

IPTO to keep over 51% of SPV for Crete grid interconnection

Power grid operator IPTO has finalized a plan for a tender to seek strategic investors for Ariadne Interconnector, its SPV established by the operator to develop the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

The IPTO plan is expected to be submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, within the next few days for approval. This could take some time as the grid interconnection, crucial for Crete’s energy needs, will now be categorized as a national project and no longer be part of the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider project, has been embroiled in a dispute with IPTO for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has set a February 28 deadline for Euroasia Interconnector to recognize IPTO’s Ariadne as the sole project promoter for the Crete-Athens segment.

Euroasia Interconnector is not expected to accept. If so, RAE, immediately following the February 28 deadline, will award the Crete-Athens project to Ariadne as a national project and a tender for strategic investors should be announced soon after.

Investors are expected to be offered less than a 49 percent stake of the Ariadne Interconnector SPV, the most likely share being 39 percent, the corresponding stake offered to Euroasia Interconnector amid the dispute.

Ariadne is expected to sign a concession agreement for the project’s development. The SPV will hand over the completed project to IPTO and then be compensated through commission fees generated by the project’s utilization.

Euroasia Interconnector is expected to react and demand either a financial sum or a percentage of the project as compensation covering project study costs and other preliminary work.

 

 

IPTO in Crete link talks with RTE, Elia, Scottish Power

Greek power grid operator IPTO has begun its search for strategic partners in the development and operation of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, sources have informed.

Last week, the operator’s chief executive Manos Manousakis informed a tender offering a stake in Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV established by IPTO for the project’s development, would be launched by the end of February with the aim of selecting new strategic investors within the next three months.

At this stage, IPTO appears to be planning to offer a 49 percent stake of its SPV to strategic partners for the Crete-Athens grid link project, budgeted at one billion euros.

IPTO has already approached three European operators, France’s RTE, Belgium’s Elia and Scottish Power, a subsidiary of Spain’s Iberdrola, the sources informed. Talks between IPTO and RTE, a participant in the power grid operator’s recent sale offering a 24 percent stake, are believed to have made the most progress so far.

IPTO has already taken preliminary pre-construction and financing steps for the Crete-Athens project, needed to combat a looming energy shortage threat on Crete. The operator, determined to pursue the link as a national project, is aiming for a 2022 launch.

IPTO has been embroiled in a dispute with Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

IPTO plans Crete link tender for Euroasia’s neglected 39%

Greek power grid operator IPTO has announced it will stage a tender offering investors, especially European operators, a stake in Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV established by the grid operator for the development of a Crete-Athens interconnection.

The move was prompted by the neglection of a pre-emption right, for a 39 percent stake in the SPV, by Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project. Euroasia Interconnector had been set a December 31 deadline to accept the offer for 200 million euros.

IPTO and the Cypriot consortium have been embroiled in a dispute for control of the wider grid interconnection project’s Crete-Athens segment.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, which appointed IPTO project promoter of the Crete-Athens link, required to prevent a looming energy shortage threat on Crete, will need to approve IPTO’s plan for a tender before this procedure can go ahead.

Euroasia Interconnector will now need to participate in IPTO’s prospective tender should it ultimately decide to become involved in the development of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

IPTO has already begun contacting European energy transmission operators, Manos Manousakis, chief executive at IPTO, informed yesterday. The Greek operator had approached Belgium’s Elia and France’s RTE in the past. A new invitation for their participation cannot be ruled out.

Euroasia Interconnector is widely expected to launch a legal challenge.

Earlier this month, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete forwarded a letter to Greek energy minister Giorgos Stathakis informing him that RAE’s decisions have led to delays in the wider PCI project, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.

The commissioner has apparently asked Greece to decide whether the Crete-Athens grid interconnection will be developed as a PCI project, enabling EU funding advantages, or as a national project, which would eliminate the project’s promoter from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a key EU funding instrument. The repercussions would spill over onto tariffs paid by consumers.

 

 

IPTO aiming for Crete-Athens link tender within February

Ariadne Interconnector, Greek power grid operator IPTO’s subsidiary established as an SPV for the development of the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection, expects to be ready to launch a tender covering all the project’s segments by the end of February, IPTO officials have informed.

Meanwhile, Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium regarding the Crete-Athens link as part of a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, which it is heading, yesterday finalized its shortlist of candidates for a tender of its own.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appointed IPTO as the project promoter of the Crete-Athens section without approval from Brussels.

It remains to be seen if the Crete-Athens link will retain its PCI status given the dispute between IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

The Greek side appears determined to pursue the Crete-Athens grid link alone as a national project, without third-party endorsements, including from the European Commission.

As the Greek energy ministry sees it, a two-year delay of the project has now been certified as Euroasia Interconnector failed to officially intervene by December 31. According to the ministry, this delay permits  RAE to handle the Crete-Athens grid link as a national project and, if needed, seek its addition onto the new PCI list, facilitating EU funds.

All is still vague, however, as the European Commission has acknowledged that RAE’s decision to place IPTO at the helm of the Crete-Athens grid link project has caused problems for the wider project’s promoter.

RAE calls for island grid link delay penalties of up to 10%

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has forwarded a proposal to the energy ministry detailing the terms and formula of a delay clause for the grid interconnection projects concerning the country’s non-interconnected islands, which, if triggered, would lead to annual penalties for promoters of as much as 10 percent of each project’s budget.

If, however, project promoters manage to gradually catch up on construction delays and their interconnections end up being electrified on time, then any penalty amounts paid during the intermediate period would be returned, according to the RAE proposal.

The proposed penalty amounts have been calculated to represent percentages of public service compensation (YKO) costs concerning islands being affected by grid interconnection project delays.

This penalty system is also seen as a warning to the project promoters of Crete’s major-scale interconnection, to link the island with Athens. Swift action and work will be needed if its 2022 completion date is to be achieved.

Previous island interconnection projects in Greece have moved at a notoriously slow pace, prompting RAE and the energy ministry to seek increased protection against any further delays for prospective projects.

IPTO signs Crete-Peloponnese link contracts, a major energy security step

Power grid operator IPTO has taken a major step in resolving Crete’s energy sufficiency threat feared as of 2020 by signing contracts with four companies, Fulgor, Hellenic Cables, Prysmian Powerlink and Terna, for the development of Crete’s grid interconnection with the Peloponnese.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, who attended the signing ceremony in Kissamos, northwest Crete, described the island’s interconnection project as a historic step that paves the way for Crete’s transformation into a green energy island of minimal environmental impact, while also ensuring energy security and growth prospects for the island.

A European Commission extension for diesel-fired power stations operated on the island by the main power utility PPC expires at the end of 2019.

Ending Crete’s energy isolation by linking the island with the mainland’s grid has been discussed since the 80s, when the required technology and means were not yet available, Stathakis noted, adding conditions have now changed and led to an acceleration of grid interconnections.

The Crete-Peloponnese grid link, expected to be completed in 2020, represents the first step of a wider link, from Crete to Athens, planned to be completed in 2022.

Elsewhere, the first of three grid interconnection stages in the Cyclades has been completed while the other two are said to be making swift progress.

 

RAE adamant on its Crete link plan despite Brussels objection

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appears adamant about its recent decision to appoint Greek power grid operator IPTO as project promoter of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection despite objections from the European Commission, insisting Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli PCI-status interconnection project, remains in charge of the Crete-Athens segment.

Latest developments in the dispute indicate RAE will push ahead with details concerning its decision to place IPTO at the helm of the Crete-Athens link within the next fortnight. These details include the provision of an environmental license to IPTO and the assembly of a technical team to work on the Crete-Athens link’s compatibility with the wider project.

In comments to energypress, RAE officials said the authority will push ahead as planned, contending its actions to date comply with EU laws and regulations. The Greek energy authority took action following a report delivered by ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, which confirmed the PCI-status project was two years behind schedule, the RAE sources added.

The concerns of Greek officials are focused on a looming energy sufficiency threat on Crete as of 2020, when high-polluting diesel-fueled power stations operating on the island will need to be withdrawn.

It remains unclear if the dispute will bring together Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete for higher-level talks on the matter.

 

New Athens-Brussels standoff in Crete-Athens link talks

Two teams of Greek energy ministry and European Commission Directorate-General for Energy technocrats have reached an impasse in negotiations held to resolve a dispute concerning control of the Crete-Athens grid link, planned as a segment of the wider Greek, Cypriot and Israeli interconnection.

The failure of the two teams to reach an agreement, needed to prevent a looming energy sufficiency threat on Crete as of 2020, will now elevate the negotiations to a higher political level for direct talks between Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete.

Earlier this week, Canete made clear Greece will not be granted any further deadline extensions beyond December 31, 2019 for diesel-fueled power stations operating on Crete.

Commenting yesterday, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director at the European Commission’s Directorate B on the Internal Energy Market, declared all negotiating efforts at the current level of talks have now been exhausted.

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli PCI-status interconnection project, have fought for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

The European Commission this week declared that Euroasia Interconnector, the project promoter of the wider Greek, Cypriot and Israeli link, also remains in charge of the Crete-Athens segment. RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, has placed an SPV named Ariadne, an IPTO subsidiary, at this segment’s helm.

Canete’s deadline extension rejection for Crete diesel units raises alarm

A question forwarded by ruling Syriza party Euro MP Stelios Kouloglou to the European Commission’s climate change and energy chief  concerning project awarding procedure delays for the Athens-Crete grid link has unintentionally raised the alarm for urgent action at the energy ministry and RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, suddenly both under major pressure to seek a solution that would prevent an energy shortage problem on Crete as of 2020.

Responding to the Greek MEP’s question, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete made clear, in a public statement, Greece will not be granted any further deadline extensions beyond December 31, 2019 for diesel-fueled power stations operating on Crete.

The commissioner’s reaction also serves as a preemptive response to any deadline extension, as has been contemplated by Athens, for Crete’s diesel-fueled power stations. Such a request has yet to be made.

According to sources, highly ranked Brussels officials visiting Athens last month had kept alive the prospect of a deadline extension for Crete’s high-polluting power stations until the energy shortage fears on the island were overcome, under the condition that this allowance was accompanied by an environmental initiative from Athens, such as the withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations operating on the mainland.

 

 

 

Canete: No further extension for Crete’s diesel-run power stations

Greece will not be given any further deadline extensions beyond December 31, 2019 for diesel-fueled power stations operating on Crete, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete has noted.

The Brussels authority was responding to a question raised by Syriza party Euro MP Stelios Kouloglou concerning Crete’s grid interconnection project delays and the island’s consequent energy sufficiency threat – if the existing power stations, high-polluting units, are withdrawn prior to the grid interconnection’s operational launch.

The Cretan interconnection – with the Peloponnese, as a first step, followed by a link with the Athens grid – represents a segment of a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids.

Cypriot energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis has urged his Greek counterpart Giorgos Stathakis to support action that would ensure Greece’s energy-related support for Cyprus and prevent a collapse of the PCI-status project.

The European Commission is working on the wider project’s development with all sides involved, Canete stressed in his response.

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the Greek-Cypriot-Israeli project, have fought for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment.

Flexible units, additional time for diesel facilities seen for Crete

New flexible energy production units could be introduced to Crete’s electricity grid and more recent diesel-fired power stations relied on by the island for power could be granted additional operating time by the European Commission to combat a looming local energy insufficiency threat as of 2020, when the main power utility PPC will need to begin withdrawing high-polluting units, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis informed yesterday.

The diesel unit withdrawal process, to be executed in 2020 and 2021, will begin with older facilities and gradually clear out most recent units as well.

Crete faces an energy supply shortage of as much as 200 MW, even following the launch of a small-scale grid interconnection project linking the island with the Peloponnese as a first step to Crete’s major-scale link with Athens, due for completion in 2022, according to a joint study conducted by power grid operator IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator.

Conditions have ripened for a positive response from the European Commission to a Greek proposal for life extensions of Crete’s diesel-fired units, IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis told a news conference yesterday.

 

Compromise reached for Crete-Athens link, tender soon

Greek power grid operator IPTO will remain at the helm of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, as its project promoter, all sides involved appear to have agreed at a meeting in Brussels yesterday.

The development is in line with the overall position maintained by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, who has been shown a willingness to discuss various options under the condition that these ensure control of the project for IPTO and a swift launch of its development

Greek officials are believed to have accepted some level of compromise. The details of this softened stance remain unknown but should be included in a document to be forwarded by the European Commission to all interested parties during the current week.

The Crete-Athens interconnection, ready for development in terms of technology and financing, according to IPTO, is crucial to ensure power sufficiency on Crete as of 2020.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider PCI-status Greece-Cyprus-Israel grid interconnection project, has fought for control of the Crete-Athens segment with IPTO.

Yesterday’s agreement paves the way for a tender early in 2019 to facilitate the launch of work on the Crete-Athens link.

The Greek and Cypriot regulatory authorities for energy, Greek and Cypriot government officials, as well as representatives of IPTO, Euroasia Interconnector, ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, and Belgian operator Elia, took part in yesterday’s meeting.

IPTO OKs technical committee for Crete link, wants swift action

Power grid operator IPTO will accept the establishment of a technical committee for a supervisory role concerning compatibility between the Crete-Athens grid interconnection and a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, but wants this committee to have delivered its final decisions by November 30 for avoidance of further delays to the Crete-Athens segment.

The Crete-Athens interconnection, ready for development in terms of technology and financing, according to IPTO, is crucial to ensure power sufficiency on Crete as of 2020.

IPTO is expected to present a full plan at a meeting in Brussels today to focus on compatibility issues concerning the Crete-Athens segment and the wider Greece-Cyprus-Israel grid interconnection.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, recently named the SPV “Ariadne Interconnection”, an IPTO subsidiary, the Crete-Athens link’s project promoter. Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, heads the wider Greece-Cyprus-Israel interconnection project. IPTO and Euroasia have fought for control of the Crete-Athens link segment.

The Greek and Cypriot regulatory authorities for energy, Greek and Cypriot government officials, as well as representatives of IPTO, Euroasia Interconnector, ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, and Belgian operator Elia, are all expected to take part at today’s meeting.

Euroasia wants RAE to change its Crete-Athens link decision

Euroasia Interconnector, the consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, has formally requested RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to reconsider its decision to recently award a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established by Greek power grid operator IPTO financing and development control of the aforementioned wider interconnection project’s Crete-Athens segment.

This is seen as a first step in what would develop into a full legal challenge if the Cypriot consortium’s request is neglected.

Euroasia Interconnector contends that RAE’s decision to award IPTO control of the Crete-Athens interconnection is invalid as European PCI-project  regulations do not give the Greek energy authority such powers.

The problem for the Greek side is that the argument raised by Euroasia Interconnector is essentially based on the positions expressed, in writing, by the European Commission and ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

According to sources, Brussels this week forwarded a new letter to Greek officials, warning that the Crete-Athens segment stands to lose its PCI status if RAE’s decision on the SPV, an IPTO subsidiary dubbed “Ariadne”, is not withdrawn or revised.

 

IPTO subsidiary replaces Euroasia as Crete-Athens link project promoter

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has officially declared a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established by Greek power grid operator IPTO as project promoter for the Crete-Athens grid interconnection in place of Euroasia Interconnector, the consortium heading a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

The SPV, named Ariadne Interconnector and established as an IPTO subsidiary, has, as a result, been given authority by RAE for the project’s financial matters and development. RAE’s decision on the matter, reached on September 10, was published yesterday in the government gazette.

The European Commission has questioned the purpose and legality of RAE’s move, seen as rushed, to award the IPTO subsidiary control of the Crete-Athens grid link.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, is expected to resort to legal action following yesterday’s publication.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have been locked in a dispute for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens link.

Athens wants limited powers for Crete-Athens link committee

The role of a technical committee proposed by the European Commission last week to supervise technical requirements of the Crete-Athens link so as to ensure the project’s compatibility with the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection should be limited to examining the interconnectivity of technical choices and not offer any powers over the project’s technical requirements as a whole, the Greek energy ministry and prime minister’s office have requested, according to energypress sources.

The Greek government has stepped in to add political weight to a dispute prompted by the maneuvering of Greek power grid operator IPTO and Cyprus’s Euroasia Interconnector consortium for control of the Crete-Athens link.

RAE, the country’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, recently awarded IPTO control of the Crete-Athens link project’s development but the European Commission, which rejected this move, responded by calling for a special committee in a supervisory role.

IPTO has already made clear it cannot accept a situation in which the operator would be expected to invest capital while being subject to the control of others.

IPTO, Iberdrola officials to hold Crete-Athens grid link talks

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Spanish energy group Iberdrola representatives have planned a meeting for tomorrow following the latter’s interest for a role in the development of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project.

IPTO is currently looking to establish partnerships with major European operators for this urgently needed project whose development promises to avert an electricity shortage threat on Crete in 2020. Greece faces an EU obligation to withdraw high-polluting power stations on the island by the end of 2019.

IPTO and Cyprus’s Euroasia Interconnector consortium have been locked in a dispute for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens link.

At a meeting in Brussels on Monday, European Commission officials called for a solution by January that would enable the Greek operator to select project partners as long as technical requirements are supervised by a special committee as a means of ensuring compatibility between the Crete-Athens link and the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection.

It appears IPTO will not accept the request for the establishment of a special committee. Operator officials reminded that technical details concerning the project, as requested by RAE, were submitted by IPTO in late May and then backed by a sustainability plan.

IPTO officials contend that the European Commission’s handling of the matter is further delaying the project’s development.

The European Commission’s request for a special committee had been initially proposed by the Euroasia Interconnector consortium before being rejected by Brussels as an initiative that would block the project’s development, IPTO officials noted.