Static RES projects occupying grid capacity to be cancelled

The energy ministry plans to stop granting free-handed connection term extensions to RES projects that have not made licensing progress over considerable periods, the objective being to reserve as much grid capacity as possible for renewable energy investors determined to push ahead with their project plans.

Ministry action is expected to lead to the termination of RES project plans that have secured connection terms but remained stagnant for no apparent reason. The resulting free space will be made available to investors keen to push ahead with green energy projects.

However, in taking action to make rules stricter for RES investors, the energy ministry will tread carefully to establish a formula that will avoid cancelling out projects that have been delayed for reasons beyond the control of their investors.

For example, development of some RES projects has been held back by legal wrangles. The ministry does not intend to cancel such projects.

However, the energy ministry believes a considerable number of RES projects have no reason to be stagnant. The focus will be on such cases.

Power grid operator IPTO has granted RES connection terms totaling approximately 11 GW, of which 3 GW, sources informed, concern projects not making any progress.

 

Western corridor grid project’s final expropriations announced

Power grid operator IPTO’s “western corridor” grid project, to link the Peloponnese with the ultra high voltage network, has reached its final stretch following the energy ministry’s announcement of an additional expropriation procedure concerning private land needed for the development of the network from Patras to Megaloupoli.

The expropriations will enable the completion of an alternative route for an overhead transmission line that detours Agioi Theodoroi, a monastery in the Kalavrtyta area, northern Peloponnese, following its objections, three years ago, to the project running by the monastery.

The project’s completion will enable power utility PPC’s Megalopoli V power station, a 400-kV capacity unit, to help cover the country’s electricity demand.

The additional expropriation plan concerns two expanses, one measuring a total of 5,577 square meters, the other 915 square meters.

The first expanse, comprising a total of 30 plots in a wider area of Patras, northwestern Peloponnese, is planned to host a transmission line running a total length of 6.77 km.

The second expanse, made up of eight plots in the Kalavryta area is planned to host a transmission line running a length of 1.98 km.

The energy ministry decision also paves the way for the development of a transmission line from Patras to Megalopoli, in central Peloponnese, on land covering 13,077.37 square metres in the wider Kalavryta area.

 

Electricity producers windfall tax now imminent

Joint ministerial decisions needed by the finance and energy ministries for the implementation of a 90 percent windfall tax on recent extraordinary gains achieved by vertically integrated electricity producers are set to be signed by the two ministries, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has told a news conference.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has delivered its report for electricity producer earnings covering a six-month period from October, 2021 to March, 2022, to be subject to the new windfall tax.

As for a second period to be subject to this extraordinary tax, a three-month term covering April to June this year, RAE has requested further details from the energy groups on discounts offered as well as returns linked to bilateral agreements. These details will be delivered to RAE once they have been approved by a certified public accountant.

 

Power producer diesel reserves focus of emergency meeting

Top-ranked officials representing the country’s Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Motor Oil refineries, electricity producers, as well as RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will take part in an emergency meeting called for today by the energy ministry to address diesel safety reserves and a conversion to this energy source by a number of natural gas-fueled power stations should Russia completely disrupt its gas supply.

According to a RAE plan, five natural gas-fueled power stations will run on diesel should Moscow turn off the taps. These facilities will need to maintain an adequate level of diesel reserves covering the emergency plan.

Diesel reserve level requirements for these power stations have been increased, up from 5 to 20 days of consumption, or maximum storage capacity. Electricity producers must reach the increased safety levels by November 1.

Decarbonization plan delayed by 2 years, greater lignite focus

The government has asked power utility PPC to extend its lignite-fired electricity generation by two to three years, as a means of cutting back on the use of natural gas, now a high-cost energy source as a result of Russia’s greatly reduced supply to Europe.

The government request, representing one of several energy-crisis measures it has put forth, will delay the country’s decarbonization plan by at least two years.

Lignite currently represents over 10 percent of the country’s energy mix, double its 5 percent share not too long ago, which resulted in annual production of 2.5 TWH. The government is aiming for a lignite energy mix representation of between 17 and 20 percent, or 9 TWH of electricity production, annually.

Increasing lignite-fired generation by approximately 6 TWH will require a natural gas reduction of 12 TWH, which is double the gas cut requested by the European Commission.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas believes lignite’s 20 percent energy-mix target can be achieved within the first half of 2023.

 

Next RES auction in early September, for 1,000 MW

The next RES auction, to feature a new remuneration framework for investors, is set to be held early September, following the signing of a related ministerial decision, which paves the way for the session’s official announcement by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The authority will officially announce the auction imminently, giving participants time to prepare for the session from early July onwards, according to energypress sources.

The signing of the ministerial decision, one of two signed, enabling the procedure to go ahead, was announced yesterday by the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou during a speech at a conference, Green Deal Greece 2022.

Sdoukou reiterated that the RES auction will be a mixed session for solar and wind energy facilities and will offer tariffs for projects with a total capacity of 1,000 MW.

Bidders will be able to submit multiple bids, the formula also used for the previous auction, the energy ministry official noted.

DEPA Infrastructure sale hurdle overcome by ministry revision

The energy ministry has incorporated provisions into a RES licensing simplification draft bill in order to overcome obstacles that have delayed the completion of gas company DEPA Infrastructure’s sale to Italian company Italgas.

The ministry’s provisions, now paving the way towards this sale’s finalization, separate certification requirements set by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for the gas company’s distribution subsidiaries from the DEPA Infrastructure sale procedure.

RAE recently set terms that would essentially nullify certification for DEPA Infrastructure’s three gas distributors, EDA Attiki, EDA THESS and DEDA, if the buyer proceeds with an equity capital increase within three years of the sale’s completion.

Italgas officials have been in Greece since December, when the sale and purchase agreement was signed by the sellers, the Greek State and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), holding a stake, and the Italian buyer.

During this period, the Italgas officials have been collecting financial and other data concerning DEPA Infrastructure’s subsidiaries.

New prioritization formula for RES projects in the making

The energy ministry is examining and preparing the details of a new formula to prioritize RES investor applications for power grid operator IPTO’s binding connection terms concerning new projects and, by extension, grid capacity reservations.

RES project prioritization is expected to be determined by the appraisal of various factors, including financial credibility and technical competence of investors, as well as their commercial operation plans for RES units.

The ministry intends to deliver a related ministerial decision as soon as a draft bill for a second round of RES licensing simplification measures and an energy-storage framework has been ratified in parliament. This draft bill has already been submitted to parliament.

A ministerial decision on the RES project prioritization formula is expected in the first week of July.

The RES project prioritization list to result from the application of the new formula will concern applications submitted from the beginning of 2021 until now.

Energy storage wait from scratch, more project details now required

Investors who had obtained licenses from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for prospective energy storage stations and were queued up for project approvals will now essentially lose their places as a new energy ministry bill requires additional studies, which, when submitted, will give applicants new waiting-list numbers.

Older documents already submitted for projects will remain valid. RAE has expressed its disapproval of the energy ministry’s rule revision, noting it will create a huge backlog of work for the authority.

Holders of licenses for energy storage stations will now need to also submit an extensive list of technical descriptions concerning various aspects of their projects. They include: technical configuration and main equipment of the station; maximum infusion and absorption power; guaranteed capacity; initial installed capacity of the storage systems; possible expected capacity loss during operation and the degree and method of its replenishment; as well as foreseen replacement of main equipment during the life of the station.

According to recent data, RAE, by the end of 2021, had issued a total of 181 licenses for energy storage projects representing a total capacity of 14.3 GW, including 14 pumped-storage stations with a 3.04-GW capacity.

Emergency measures for supply security through 2023

The government is rushing to approve a series of emergency measures aiming to protect energy supply security through 2023 following Russia’s latest reduction of natural gas to Europe.

Last Friday, Russia halved its natural gas deliveries to Italy and Slovakia and cut off France after previously disrupting all natural gas flow to Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland.

An energy ministry draft bill carrying the emergency measures was submitted to parliament late last Friday night.

It includes articles for the installation of a floating storage unit at the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, the islet just off Athens; extended operation of power stations on Crete, until December 31, 2023; as well as mobilization of power stations on islands interconnected with the mainland as back-up facilities.

PPAs through Green Pool, state subsidies to be set at 85%

A Green Pool model forwarded by the energy ministry for European Commission approval ahead of an envisaged launch at the beginning of 2023 will have the dual goal of setting energy costs for eligible industries at competitive price levels and bolstering green-energy generation through power purchase agreements.

The energy ministry hopes its plans will be given the green light as soon as possible so that industries can, immediately afterwards, establish PPAs for green energy, with state subsidies set at 85 percent.

This would enable industries to partially cover their energy needs as of the beginning of 2023 at competitive prices and also reduce their carbon footprints.

The Greek proposal was forwarded to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition early this month, the aim being to make energy-intensive industries more environmentally friendly and facilitate the energy-mix entry of new RES facilities.

Israeli power grid operator officials in Athens for grid link

The energy ministry and power grid operator IPTO seem determined to press ahead with two major grid interconnection projects, one to link Greece with Cyprus and Israel, the other Greece and Egypt, REPowerEU, Europe’s strategic plan aiming to end the continent’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels through energy-source diversification, being the driving force behind this action.

IPTO, according to sources, is just about ready to forward a proposal for participation in EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium established for the development of the Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection.

Highlighting the activity concerning the project, officials of Israel’s power grid operator are in Athens for talks today with IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis and other company officials.

The Israeli officials will also take part in an ensuing meeting with Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas.

Israeli interest in the grid interconnection has grown following the European Commission’s decision to make available 657 million euros for the project’s Cyprus-Greece section.

The Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection will facilitate RES development in Israel, promising to contribute to the EU-27 aim for an end of Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

The grid link, to measure 1,208 kilometers and offer a 1-GW capacity, will also end Cyprus’ energy isolation and offer energy security to Israel.

It is budgeted at 2.5 billion euros with completion slated for the end of 2025, if procedures go according to plan.

Manousakis, the IPTO chief executive, plans to visit Cairo during June for talks with officials at Egypt’s power grid operator, EETC. Progress on the prospective Greek-Egyptian grid link has been smooth. The two sides are now preparing for a feasibility study.

Skrekas, the energy minister, is expected to be in Egypt sooner, to take part in the East Med Gas Forum, scheduled for June 14 and 15. He is expected to meet with Egyptian energy ministry officials on the sidelines of this event, for talks on the Greek-Egyptian grid link.

This project, based on a proposal from the Copelouzos group, entails a subsea cable from Egypt to the Greek capital.

It is budgeted at 3.5 billion euros and will offer a 3-GW capacity for renewable energy, which will also be exported to other EU member states through grid interconnections linking Greece with neighboring countries.

Ministry aiming for new RES auction before August

The energy ministry is striving to stage a first RES auction featuring a new support framework before August, the most likely period being late July, and, as a result, is currently preparing a second ministerial decision needed for the procedure to be staged, energypress sources have informed.

This second ministerial decision will include details on total capacity to be auctioned annually, number of auctions per year, their scheduling, starting prices, minimal levels of bidding competition required, as well as the level of maturity projects must have achieved to be considered eligible for auction participation.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has been informed of all the related details and is working on the first auction’s official announcement. As a result, Once the ministerial decision is published, RAE should be ready to immediately announce the first RES auction.

The inaugural auction will offer RES investors behind new projects tariffs for 1,000 MW.

The old bidding system will continue to apply, meaning bidders will not face restrictions on the number of bids they can submit for tariffs, energypress sources informed. However, thoughts for a one-bid system will be reexamined at a latter stage, the sources added.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has noted the ministry intends to stage an additional RES auction, under the new support framework, in 2022, also for a total capacity of 1,000 MW. However, it remains unclear if there will be enough time for the extra session before the year is out.

 

 

Subsidies remain key tool to counter steep energy prices

Electricity bill subsidies will remain the basic tool in the government’s policy seeking to offer households and businesses protection against the energy crisis’ exorbitant electricity prices, it has been decided at a Brussels meeting.

DG Energy and DG Comp authorities, in talks with Greek government officials, did not permit wholesale market measures for electricity purchases by suppliers at levels below the System Marginal Price, a lower cost that would then have been passed on to consumers.

Brussels officials had expressed hesitation from earlier on for a two-pronged solution entailing wholesale and retail market intervention as the European Commission wanted to avoid, at all costs, any impact on the target model, Europe’s unified electricity market.

As a result, energy minister Kostas Skrekas and the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou arrived in Brussels yesterday with a simpler alternative plan that was shaped to be more compatible with the European Commission’s sensitivities.

 

Swift Brussels approval sought for energy market measures

The energy ministry’s leadership will seek swift approval of a national plan for two-pronged intervention in the wholesale and retail electricity markets, intended to subdue energy prices, at a meeting with European Commission officials in Brussels today.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas and the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou will discuss the country’s plan with DG Energy technocrats. The government has announced the measures will be implemented July 1.

The measures include a suspension of wholesale electricity price adjustment clauses included in retail electricity bills as well as a wholesale price-cap mechanism.

These measures, however, will not necessarily keep tariffs steady. On the contrary, suppliers will, after informing customers, be able to adjust kilowatt hour prices based on their wholesale electricity purchase costs.

According to sources, Greece’s plan stands a strong chance of being approved by the European Commission as it essentially does not affect the target model and also includes a taxation measure for windfall profits earned by electricity producers, a measure repeatedly proposed by the European Commission.

RAE finalized windfall profit figures soon, producers react

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is examining objections and observations made by electricity producers in response to the authority’s report on sector windfall profits, headed for taxation.

The electricity producers, including vertically integrated energy groups with retail representation, have objected to details of a formula applied by the authority to determine excess profits during the ongoing energy crisis’ period between October, 2021 and March, 2022.

The producers, claiming the report’s findings are erroneous, want a series of additional factors to also be taken into account, including discounts offered to customers, losses incurred through fixed tariffs, as well as financial costs resulting from initiatives taken to boost cashflow.

Energy ministry Kostas Skrekas has asked RAE to take into account the factors raised by electricity producers before delivering a finalized windfall profit figure, expected imminently.

The government is preparing a legislative bill for a 90 percent tax on windfall profits once RAE has delivered its finalized figures, sources informed.

The RAE report has valued the total sum of windfall profits earned during the aforementioned six-month period at 927.44 million euros.

Power utility PPC holds the lion’s share of this amount, 729.91 million euros, while the independent players Mytilineos, Elpedison, Heron and RES producers active in the market are linked to the remaining amount.

 

 

 

Biomethane a priority for DESFA, pilot project in the making

Gas grid operator DESFA, placing biomethane interests among its priorities, intends to forward a related proposal to the energy ministry by the end of June as part of ongoing consultation for regulatory framework revisions that will enable the Greek market to incorporate biomethane as a new commercial activity.

DESFA, supported by consultants, is preparing a related study on amendments needed to existing laws – covering domains such as environmental and building matters – for the development of a biomethane market in Greece.

Biomethane could replace natural gas for the operation of a compressor station in Thessaloniki’s Nea Mesimvria area and another in Abelia, Thessaly, central Greece, now being developed.

Both locations are situated close to areas offering considerable waste quantities, which makes biomethane projects viable solutions that will significantly limit DESFA’s environmental footprint.

The biggest part of DESFA’s transmission network is relatively new and could, as is, or with minor revisions, host green gases, namely biomethane and hydrogen. New network sections now being developed would be ready to transmit green gases from the start.

DESFA is currently holding preliminary talks with market players for possible partnerships in a pilot biomethane project. However, the operator intends to finalize its biomethane business plan before deciding on any partnerships.

 

Electricity producers’ excess profit €600m, net sum €200m

Excess profits earned by electricity producers during the ongoing energy crisis’ period between October, 2021 and March, 2022 reached 600 million euros, an 80 percent share of this amount gained by power utility PPC, the dominant player, an inquiry held by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has found.

The findings of this report, forwarded to energy minister Kostas Skrekas last Friday, concern vertically integrated energy groups active in electricity production and supply.

Most of these excess profits have been utilized by energy companies to support their pricing policies in avoidance of even further price rises, the RAE reported has noted.

Sector officials have estimated the sum of excess profits channeled by energy companies for pricing-policy support at 400 million euros, meaning the net amount of excess earnings is 200 million euros.

Energy companies have offered discounts and subdued, as much as possible, retail prices with these excess profits.

The government has announced it will impose a 90 percent tax rate on excess profits, but details of this plan remain unclear.

Funds to be collected by the state will be used to support ongoing subsidies offered to consumers.

RAE completes windfall profits inquiry in electricity generation

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has completed an inquiry into windfall profits earned by electricity producers during the energy crisis and is set to forward its results to the government and energy ministry this coming Friday, once they have been endorsed by the authority’s board, energypress sources have informed.

The inquiry covers the period up to the end of 2021. The government has announced windfall profits will be heavily taxed.

To determine profits in electricity production, RAE officials took into account electricity production-unit profit levels every 15 minutes, the frequency at which energy exchange offers are made, for all facilities of all production technologies (natural gas, lignite, renewables) and then compared these results to annual profit figures posted by each producer.

Though the amount of windfall profits resulting from RAE’s inquiry is not yet known, the results are not expected to be spectacular, according to energypress sources.

Just over a month ago, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that a 90 percent tax rate will be imposed on windfall profits earned in electricity production.

RAE will follow up with an inquiry into possible windfall profits in the wholesale and retail gas markets, as well as electricity supply.

Unlimited bidding system to also apply for next RES auction

A continual bidding system offering RES auction participants an unlimited number of bids, used for previous sessions, will continue to apply for the next auction, the first to be held under a revised support framework for the sector’s wind and solar energy projects.

Prior to this decision, energy ministry officials had considered limiting bids, for project tariffs, to one per session for investors, from the next RES auction onwards. This one-off bidding system will now be reexamined at a latter date.

Other changes will be introduced as of the next RES auction, including different starting prices for wind and solar energy projects as installation costs for the two RES technologies nowadays differ.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas recently informed that tariffs for a total capacity of 1,000 MW would be offered at the next RES auction. The ministry, he added, intends to stage one further RES auction within 2022, also for 1,000 MW.

Swifter guarantee payment for RES connection terms

RES project investors granted connection terms, old and new, for projects are likely to be required to pay guarantees within a two-month period, a shortened period that is expected to filter out idle, undeveloped project plans occupying capacity.

The details of this revision will be finalized once consultation on a related draft bill prepared by the energy ministry has been completed.

The draft bill will cover the next round of RES licensing simplification measures and a framework for the development of energy storage units.

 

 

 

 

Revythoussa FSU 12-month rental or permanent solution

Greek authorities are making comparisons in preparation for a choice between an FSU one-year rental and a permanent floating storage unit at the Revythoussa LNG terminal as part of a plan to boost the country’s gas storage capacity ahead of next winter.

A decision for a capacity boost at the Revythoussa LNG terminal, with the addition of a fourth unit, has already been reached, highly ranked energy ministry officials have informed. A competitive procedure will be staged for the contract.

The option of renting an FSU for the Revythoussa LNG terminal, a facility operated by DESFA, the gas grid operator, would take approximately two months to complete, sources said.

This solution would make operations at the Revythoussa LNG terminal more flexible as it would enable unloading of two LNG orders simultaneously, instead of just one, as is the case at present.

A disruption of Russian gas supply to the EU would force all member states to try and secure additional LNG shipments.

The second alternative, entailing the installation of a permanent floating storage unit at the Revythoussa LNG terminal, would require more time to complete without offering any additional advantages, compared to the FSU rental, energy ministry officials noted.

Officials at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, are comparing market data such as domestic gas demand projections, and also considering Revythoussa’s prospects for a bigger role as a natural gas gateway for neighboring countries. Bulgaria and Romania are already using the Revythoussa terminal for LNG imports.

Energy storage unit payment based on RES feed-in premiums

The energy ministry is preparing a legislative revision to secure remuneration levels for energy storage facilities, deemed necessary to ensure sufficient earnings for such units and their sustainability as investments.

The energy-storage framework being prepared for the Greek market, regarded as innovative, resembles the feed-in premium system adopted for renewable energy units and will secure remuneration levels for energy storage facilities through competitive procedures.

Units that qualify for remuneration through the competitive procedures will be entitled to participate in all markets (day-ahead, intraday and balancing).

If earnings secured by energy storage units through this market participation are smaller than remuneration levels agreed to, the difference will be fully covered by a compensation amount stemming from the RES special account. On the contrary, if earnings exceed remuneration levels agreed to, then the operators of energy storage units will need to return excess sums to the RES special account.

The energy ministry’s legislative revision will also incorporate a framework for investment support to energy storage units, to be given access to 200 million euros from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

 

PPC capable of boosting lignite extraction by 43%, utility tells

Power utility PPC has the capacity to increase its lignite extraction to as much as 15 million tons annually, from 10.5 million tons at present, for a 43 percent increase to full-capacity lignite-fired generation, in the event of a Russian disruption of natural gas supply to Europe, according to an updated annual mining plan submitted by the utility to the energy ministry.

Even so, this increased production could still not be enough to fill the enormous gap that would be left by a Russian cut in natural gas supply.

The country’s lignite-fired electricity generation can increase to 6.5 TWh annually from the present plan of 4.5 TWh, according to the utility plan. However, PPC would need to hasten the development of a series of projects to boost productivity at its lignite mines and increase the amounts of lignite stocks at the yards of its seven lignite-fired power stations – five Agios Dimitrios units, as well as Meliti and Megalopoli.

The annual plan’s objective is to increase lignite stocks at each of the five Agios Dimitrios facilities to 1.75 million tons from 1.2 million, while also increasing the amount at Meliti to 300,000 tons from 220,000 tons this month, as well as the lignite stock at Megalopoli to 500,000 tons from 270,000 tons.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to comment on Greece’s lignite alternative, given the Russian threat, at the official launch, tomorrow, of a major-scale solar energy farm developed by Hellenic Petroleum ELPE at Livera, close to Kozani, northern Greece. Offering a 204-MW capacity, this facility is one of Europe’s biggest.

RES and energy storage licenses in less than 2 years from 5 at present

The time needed by investors to secure RES project and energy storage licenses will be reduced to less than two years, from five at present, according to a RES licensing simplification draft bill prepared by the energy ministry, expected to be announced within the next few days.

Through the simplified licensing procedure, the ministry will aim to facilitate RES licenses representing a total capacity of 12,000 MW and investments estimated at 10 billion euros by 2030.

The ministry’s legislative initiative will be carried out over two stages, the first concerning RES and energy storage project licenses, and the second offshore wind farms.

The revisions will enable investors to push ahead with licensing steps simultaneously rather than successively, as is the case at present.

Also, the procedure will include criteria filtering out prospective RES applicants deemed to not be genuinely interested in developing projects.

 

 

 

 

Emergency steps taken for FSU at Revythoussa LNG terminal

The energy ministry appears to be pushing ahead with an emergency plan for swift installation of a floating storage unit (FSU) at the country’s only existing LNG terminal, on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, for increased LNG storage capacity ahead of next winter, sources have informed energypress.

Gas grid operator DESFA, the Revythoussa facility’s operator, has already researched the market for an appropriate vessel, which will need to be equipped with modern technology and recently built.

The FSU to be moored at Revythoussa will need to offer an LNG storage capacity of between 130,000 and 140,000 cubic meters to satisfy the Greek market’s needs, the sources noted.

Under normal conditions, procedures concerning this specific project would take over 12 months to complete and enable installation, but authorities are now moving fast as a result of the extreme impact Russia’s war on Ukraine has had on the energy market.

DESFA will present a cost-benefit analysis to the energy ministry by this Wednesday, according to sources.

 

 

 

Fast-track transmission project licensing to slash time needed

The energy ministry is preparing a new set of rules for fast-track licensing of grid transmission projects, the aim being to slash, by 75 percent, the overall time required for issuance of licenses concerning transmission projects deemed essential for the updated National Energy and Climate Plan, sources have informed.

The revisions, adopting proposals forwarded by power grid operator IPTO, promise to accelerate and simplify licensing procedures for grid transmission projects that have remained complex and too long for many decades. Under the current rules, licenses take as long as five years to be issued.

Environmental permits, just part of the overall licensing procedure, take at least 24 months to be completed. This time period is expected to be restricted to a maximum of seven months once the licensing procedure for grid transmission projects is simplified.

Also, the time needed for related building permits will be reduced from six months, at present, to just 15 days, sources informed.

The new licensing framework for grid transmission projects will serve as an integral part of the national plan for RES management, IPTO sources noted.

 

FSRU at LNG terminal, Italy storage, lignite use decided

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has staged an emergency meeting with the country’s crisis management team to establish measures that would need to be implemented should Russia decide to disrupt its natural gas supply to Europe.

Gas grid operator DESFA will need to deliver a cost-benefit analysis to the ministry by tomorrow on a plan entailing the addition of an FSRU at the Revythoussa islet LNG terminal, just off Athens, as a capacity-boosting move.

In addition, the operator has until Tuesday to report back to the ministry on the progress of its talks with Italy’s SNAM aiming to reserve storage capacity at the neighboring country’s underground gas storage (UGS) facilities.

DESFA must also update its estimate on additional LNG shipments that would be required in Greece if Russia disrupts its natural gas supply to Europe.

Gas company DEPA Commercial, Greece’s biggest gas importer, is closely monitoring the availability of LNG shipments in international markets in order to secure additional shipments, if this is deemed necessary.

Furthermore, power utility PPC will forward, by Tuesday, to the energy ministry, its annual lignite extraction plan for continual operation of its available lignite-fired power stations.