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.

 

Crete-Athens link SPV ‘illegal but IPTO can still lead project’

The European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest regards an initiative by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, giving Greek power grid operator IPTO and its special purpose vehicle (SPV) development and financial control of a Crete-Athens grid interconnection plan as an illegal act, it made clear at a meeting in Brussels yesterday and called for the decision’s cancellation as a condition for the project to remain a part of Euroasia Interconnector, a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

Even so, the Brussels-based PCI team noted it believes IPTO can still spearhead the project’s development and called for a solution by January that would enable the Greek operator to select its 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.

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

Crete-Athens link project to maintain its PCI status, pundits believe

Pundits believe the European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest will decide to maintain the PCI status of a Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection plan at a meeting in Brussels today, as otherwise, the future of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, would be placed in jeopardy.

The European Commission’s PCI division summoned officials representing all parties involved in a dispute for control of a Crete-Athens to today’s meeting in response to a recent decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, giving Greek power grid operator IPTO the task of establishing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the development of Crete’s interconnection with Athens.

According to RAE’s decision, IPTO will hold a 51 percent stake and other shareholders – the Euroasia Interconnector consortium has priority rights – will be offered 39 percent with an option for a further 10 percent.

A decision on the roles to be played by the Euroasia Interconnector consortium and European operators in the Crete-Athens link project’s development is also expected at today’s meeting.

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

RAE’s Crete-Athens link initiative lawful, IPTO contends

A recent decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, to award  Greek power grid operator IPTO and its SPV Ariadne Interconnector development control of Crete’s major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens does not breach the terms of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, as the initiative puts to action a road map agreed to between the Greece’s regulatory authority and its Cypriot counterpart, IPTO have contended in comments to energypress.

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

RAE needed to move ahead with its decision as a project delay in the Crete-Athens link, which threatens to create electricity shortages on Crete as of 2020, was confirmed by ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, the IPTO officials added.

The European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest has summoned officials representing all parties involved in the dispute to a Brussels meeting today.

PCI talks for Crete-Athens link rivals at meeting next week

The European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest has summoned officials representing all parties involved in a dispute for control of an Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection plan to a Brussels meeting next week to examine whether this project can retain its PCI status and, if so, under what conditions.

The Crete-Athens link is part of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

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

The Greek and Cypriot energy ministries and regulatory authorities for energy, as well as Belgian electricity transmission system operator Elia, given an intermediary role by Brussels for the dispute, have been invited to next week’s meeting.

Brussels called next week’s meeting in response to a recent decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, handing IPTO the task of establishing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the development of Crete’s urgently needed interconnection with Athens as a venture in which the operator will hold a 51 percent stake and other shareholders – the Euroasia Interconnector consortium has priority rights – will be offered 39 percent with an option for a further 10 percent.

The RAE initiative does not contravene the terms of a MoU signed by IPTO and the Euroasia Interconnector consortium and provides the consortium with an opportunity to participate in the Crete-Athens interconnection project, Greek energy ministry officials have supported in comments offered to energypress.

Crete faces a looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020 because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, ends in December, 2019. A number of power stations on the island will need to be withdrawn.

Socar, Qatari firm proposals for Crete energy sufficiency issue

LNG usage and the establishment of a floating regasification terminal for gas-fueled electricity generation at power stations are the common factors of at least two proposals to be presented this week to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, as possible solutions for the Crete’s looming energy shortage problem as of 2020.

An exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, is set to expire in December, 2019.

An Athens-Crete interconnection plan that would resolve resulting power insufficiency issues on the island has fallen behind schedule and prompted the need for solutions until the project’s launch.

Azerbaijan’s state-run energy firm Socar – possibly in partnership with Heron, which has been given permission to relocate a natural gas-fueled power station from provincial Thebes, slightly northwest of Athens, to Crete – is expected to present RAE a model implemented by the firm on Malta in 2016. The island country faced a similar energy situation to Crete. A gas storage facility (FSU) and floating regasification terminal and combinations of gas-based electricity production now provide 50 percent of electricity demand on Malta.

A representative of a state-run Qatar energy firm has also approached RAE for a solution entailing gas supply and electricity production via a floating terminal to be anchored off Crete.

ACER complaint on Crete-Athens link backs Brussels, project in limbo

Just days after objections were raised by the European Commission, ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, has also expressed its disapproval of a decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, giving power grid operator IPTO permission to establish a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for financing and development control of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

ACER, which made clear its discontent – and astonishment – in a letter forwarded to RAE, described the authority’s initiative as a “unilateral move”, energypress sources informed. RAE has yet to respond.

The Crete-Athens interconnection project’s future now appears to be in limbo as this second intervention by a European institution adds further weight to the European Commission’s insinuation that the link would cease to enjoy PCI status and subsequent EU backing if the RAE decision is upheld.

Brussels reacted to the RAE move by noting the authority cannot award Crete’s major-scale interconnection with Athens to any party until the end of the year, the time period given to Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests responsible for a wider project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids – to decide if it will utilize a right offered for a 39 percent stake, or less, in the venture to develop the Crete-Athens link.

Compatibility concerns have already been raised about four transformers to be installed in the wider Athens area, Crete, Cyprus and Israel for the Euroasia Interconnector.

Also, Cypriot officials, in comments to energypress, cited the emergence of a national issue as Cyprus now finds itself detached from the EU – regarding the project – as a result of the RAE move at a time when the island’s Turkish-occupied northeast is seeking a power grid interconnection with Turkey.

 

 

 

IPTO carrying on with SPV for Cretan link despite Brussels reaction

Despite objections raised by the European Commission, the power grid operator IPTO is pushing ahead with bureaucratic procedures concerning the establishment of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for financing and development control of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

RAE, the country’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, last week gave IPTO permission to form the SPV.

However, Brussels has responded by noting that RAE cannot award Crete’s major-scale interconnection with Athens to any party until the end of the year, the time period given to Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests responsible for a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids – to decide if it will utilize a right offered for a 39 percent stake, or less, in the venture to develop the Crete-Athens link.

A company founding document for the new SPV, noting the PCI-status  project will be transferred to the operator once the interconnection is developed, was submitted to the General Commercial Registry (GEMI) three days ago.

According to the founding document, the SPV, named Ariadne and given a 25-year duration, will be headed by a five-member board that could be increased to 11 members.

 

 

Brussels opposes RAE move giving IPTO Cretan link control

The European Commission has raised objections to last week’s RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) decision awarding power grid operator IPTO financing and development control of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

Just days ago, IPTO established a special purpose vehicle (SPV) named Ariadne for the project.

Brussels, in an email forwarded to all parties involved, noted that RAE cannot award Crete’s major-scale link with Athens to any party until the end of the year, the time period given to Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests responsible for a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids – to decide if it will utilize a right offered for a 39 percent stake, or less, in the venture to develop the Crete-Athens link.

The European Commission’s move essentially comes as a warning suggesting the Crete-Athens link will be regarded as a national Greek project rather than a PCI-status European project if RAE’s decision to award IPTO the project remains valid.

The Euroasia Interconnector consortium wants to avoid legal action but cannot exclude such an outcome, sources informed.

IPTO establishes SPV for major-scale Cretan link

Power grid operator IPTO has established a special purpose vehicle (SPV) named Ariadne Interconnection for the financing and development of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

Last week, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, decided to award IPTO control of the project’s development. The authority could set official terms during the day. RAE has already given IPTO a related road map whose content includes advice on financing through the Europe Connecting Facility (CEF), an EU funding instrument developed specifically to direct investment into European transport, energy and digital infrastructures.

The Ariadne Interconnection SPV, established as a wholly owned subsidiary of IPTO, will begin operating with startup capital of 200 million euros. It will be responsible for the Greek segment of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests responsible for the wider project, has been given until December 10 to decide if it will utilize a right offered for a 39 percent stake, or less, in the venture to develop the Crete-Athens link.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have been involved in an extended dispute for control of the wider project’s Cretan segment.

IPTO has been given the right to stage a tender offering the venture’s remaining 10 percent. Belgian operator Elia and France’s RTE have both expressed interest.

 

 

RES producers excluded from Cretan major-scale link’s SPV

Certified network operators, primarily, and possibly financial institutions, will be entitled to take on minority roles in a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to soon be established by Greece’s power grid operator IPTO for the development of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

Companies with existing electricity production roles will not be able to participate in the SPV, whose 10 percent will be offered through a tender. This essentially means holders of licenses of major wind energy projects on Crete will not be able to join the SPV.

The Euroasia Interconnector consortium, responsible for the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, will be offered priority rights for a 39 percent minority stake. If this consortium does not exercise this priority right for all or any of the 39 percent it is entitled to, then any leftover portion will be added to the 10 percent stake to be offered to certified network operators and, perhaps, financial institutions.

IPTO is rushing to form the SPV in an effort to counter to Crete’s looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020 because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, ends in December, 2019. A number of power stations on the island will need to be withdrawn.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, have been involved in an extended dispute for control of the wider project’s Cretan segment.

The SPV will initially stand as a wholly-owned IPTO subsidiary and, three months later, by the end of the year, a tender will be staged inviting investor-operators to bid for a minority stake in the venture.

Belgian network operator Elia and France’s RTE have both expressed interest in the major-scale Cretan interconnection project. It remains unclear if they will seek to join the Euroasia Interconnector consortium for part of the SPV’s 39 percent stake or focus on the 10 percent stake.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, awarded IPTO the task of swiftly establishing a special purpose vehicle, and its majority 51 percent stake, this week in a decision that runs against a European Commission initiative that gave the Euroasia Interconnector consortium until the end of the year to resolve its dispute with IPTO. The European Commission has yet to offer an official response.

It is not yet clear if the issue will be added to the agenda for upcoming talks between the government and post-bailout inspectors.

RAE plans to give IPTO Crete-link control, SPV task

Fearing project delays that could prompt power supply shortages on Crete, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, intends to inform the European Commission of a decision to give Greece’s power grid operator IPTO the task of swiftly establishing a special purpose vehicle for the development of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens as a venture in which the operator will hold a 51 percent stake and other shareholders will be offered 39 percent with an option for a further 10 percent, energypress sources have informed.

The Euroasia Interconnector consortium, responsible for the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, will be offered priority rights for the 39 percent stake, the sources added.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, have been involved in an extended dispute for control of the wider project’s Cretan segment.

RAE’s plan comes as a counterproposal to a European Commission initiative giving the Euroasia Interconnector consortium until the end of the year to resolve its dispute with IPTO.

Greek energy minister Giorgos Stathakis had pre-notified of RAE’s latest move in parliament as well as in Chania last Friday, when he informed the energy authority would task IPTO with establishing an SPV by the end of this year, adding IPTO would hold a 51 percent stake and the Euroasia Interconnector consortium the other 49 percent.

Crete faces a looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020 because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, ends in December, 2019. A number of power stations on the island will need to be withdrawn.