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.

 

 

 

 

September target for first energy storage support competition

An energy ministry plan for a competitive procedure to offer investment support for energy storage facilities with capacity between 800 and 900 MW has been approved by the European Commission, the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during a speech yesterday on the opening day of the two-day Power & Gas Forum, staged by energypress.

The energy ministry is working towards staging a first competitive procedure for this investment support in September, to offer between 400 and 450 MW, or half the planned total capacity, according to sources.

Talks with the European Commission on the matter ended successfully earlier this week, Sdoukou told the forum, adding that an official announcement will be released within the next few days.

Interested investors will be invited to lodge applications confirming their participation in the competitive procedure for investment support in the lead up.

A sum of 200 million euros in support funds is expected to be offered through Greece’s recovery and resilience plan, expected to cover approximately 40 percent of the energy storage unit costs.

Investment interest is high for energy storage development. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, issued licenses for 120 units representing a total capacity of 9,641 MW until the end of January.

 

Strategic reserve procedure for PPC lignite units hastened

The energy ministry, driven by the EU’s decision to end its reliance on Russian natural gas as soon as possible, is striving to hasten procedures aiming for European Commission approval of a strategic reserve mechanism concerning power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations.

The ministry is now completing certain required studies and pending procedures in preparation for Athens’ official application to Brussels.

Even so, government officials remain adamant that Athens’ decision to end all lignite-based electricity generation by the end of 2028 does not need to change, and must not change, even though the EU now appears more tolerant towards the use of coal.

The government officials also believe that no revisions are needed for an even more ambitious lignite phase-out plan set by PPC, according to which all the utility’s lignite facilities will be withdrawn by 2023, except for a new unit, Ptolemaida V, planned to switch from lignite to natural gas in 2025.

Power grid operator IPTO plans to deliver an energy sufficiency study to the energy ministry within the next ten days, while the ministry may be ready to submit its package of prerequisites to Brussels by the end of the month.

This would pave the way for Athens to lodge an official application for a strategic reserve mechanism, as well as a capacity remuneration mechanism.

March power, gas subsidies unchanged, suppliers owed

The level of state subsidies to be offered to household and business consumers for electricity and natural gas in March will remain unchanged compared to February, a support measure worth 350 million euros for the month, sources have informed.

Energy suppliers have already been informed of the decision, reached by the energy ministry.

As a result, household consumers will receive electricity subsidies worth 39 euros per month for consumption up to 300 kWh, only for primary places of residence.

Low-income households eligible for social residential tariffs (KOT) stand to receive electricity subsidies worth 51 euros per month.

Monthly subsidies for non-household consumers, including businesses, farmers and professionals, will remain at the level of 65 euros.

As for natural gas, household consumers stand to receive state subsidies of 20 euros per MWh plus that much more from the gas company DEPA Commercial. Businesses will receive 20 euros per MWh.

According to sources, energy suppliers have yet to be compensated by DAPEEP, the RES market operator, for subsidies offered in January and February, on behalf of the Greek State. Subsidies offered by the Greek State over the two-month period were worth a total of 700 million euros.

DAPEEP sources have ascertained that the sum owed by the operator to energy suppliers will be covered either late this week or early next week.

This delay has increased the cashflow strain felt be energy suppliers, now facing even greater pressure following last week’s invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a development that has sparked a further rise in energy prices.

Energy ministry-led committee working on NECP revisions

An inter-ministerial committee headed by the energy ministry is continuing work on revisions to the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), the effort’s aim being to achieve the European Commission’s more ambitious climate change targets, as stipulated in the EU’s Fit for 55 package, striving for a 55 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The committee has lined up meetings with top-ranked officials at related ministries, energypress sources have informed.

Formulas calculating the parameters of the revised Fit for 55 road map are expected to be implemented by the summer.

Besides the revised 2030 targets, the country’s new NECP will include climate-change targets for 2040 as well as energy-mix and energy-efficiency revisions that will be required for the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050, the same sources informed.

Ministry continuing talks with Brussels for green PPAs

Energy ministry officials are intensifying talks with the European Commission for its approval of a support mechanism concerning green PPAs to be established between industrial producers and RES producers through green pools.

The energy ministry recently responded to an initial set of questions forwarded by Brussels and is expected to stage a teleconference with European Commission official within the next week or two for further clarification of issues concerning the green PPAs.

According to sources, the initiative’s main objective is not to bolster the industrial sector but to help transform industrial players into greener players and also facilitate the entry of new RES units into the country’s energy mix.

Officials are striving to announce the green pool plan this coming summer.

 

Ministry preparing non-auction tariff deadline extension for investors

Investors behind solar and wind energy projects planning to secure non-auction tariffs for their projects will be given extensions beyond an upcoming February 28 deadline, based on a legislative revision being prepared by the energy ministry for ratification, energypress sources have informed.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has decided to extended the non-auction tariff deadline for investors in acknowledgment of major project development delays prompted by supply chain disruptions on a worldwide scale, as well as construction issues that were faced by investors following problems caused by a recent extreme weather system that severely affected the country’s ability to operate.

However, the deadline extension to be granted to investors through the upcoming revision is not expected to be extensive. The energy ministry has been contemplating granting a one-month extension, but a greater time period is now considered highly likely.

 

Electricity market unprotected from consumers with arrears

The country’s electricity market has been left without rules preventing consumers with power bill arrears from switching suppliers as a deliberate tactic to avoid payments.

A regulatory framework that would prevent consumers with arrears from switching suppliers has yet to be ratified, despite many months of deliberation.

Also, suppliers are now unable to request electricity supply interruptions for departing customers with arrears as a result of a revision made earlier this month to a related online platform managed by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Sector officials have warned the absence of regulations offering suppliers protection against consumers with arrears could lead to a drastic increase in the number of consumers switching from one supplier to another, without repercussions, as a means of avoiding payments.

The energy ministry, which has hesitated to act, has been in possession of a related proposal from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for several months now, following three rounds of consultation staged by the authority, the most recent round held eight months ago.

RAE to propose 50% consumer coverage of Kavala UGS cost

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will propose that consumer surcharges cover 50 percent of the total development cost of a prospective underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) at the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in the Aegean Sea’s north, sources have informed.

The authority is expected to include the UGS project on the agenda of its board meeting tomorrow and may forward, for consultation, its pricing policy and project funding proposal on Friday.

According to the same sources, the RAE plan includes a 35 percent cost-coverage proposal for the UGS project through EU funds or other support mechanisms – the Kavala project is on the EU’s PCI list, enabling EU funding – and 15 percent coverage by the investor.

The energy ministry appears to agree with RAE’s proposal for consumers to cover 50 percent of the UGS project’s cost through surcharges.

The need for strategic gas reserves has been further highlighted by the current energy crisis.

A pending regulatory framework from RAE is expected to soon be finalized, which would enable privatization fund TAIPED to move ahead with its next steps in the UGS’s tender. The procedure has remained stagnant for months.

The tender’s two final-round qualifiers, GEK TERNA – DESFA (Greek gas grid operator) and Energean, still need to submit binding offers. Should no other obstacles arise, the two qualifiers are likely to have submitted their binding offers within the next three months.

Suppliers cover subsidies, awaiting €525m payment

Electricity suppliers have had to cover a total of 575 million euros in subsidies offered by the government to consumers for January and February, while, according to sources, the energy ministry has promised to provide this amount to suppliers by the end of the month.

This delay has further increased the pressure on suppliers, forced to deal with significantly higher operating costs as they are spending bigger amounts for wholesale electricity purchases, severely impacting liquidity. Wholesale electricity prices have quadrupled compared to a year ago.

Repeating previous requests, electricity suppliers have once again urged the energy ministry to deliver the relevant subsidy amounts, which will stem from the Energy Transition Fund.

The pricing policies of suppliers have varied, largely based on assumptions, as the government has delayed offering details on its latest electricity subsidy package. A universal package for all low-voltage consumption was terminated as of January.

A study conducted by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following an energy ministry request, has shown overall market confusion as well as inconsistencies in the level of subsidies offered by suppliers to consumers. Some subsidies were lower than what they should have been and others higher.

Many consumers have criticized the energy ministry for poor management of the support measures.

Subsidy discrepancies found among electricity suppliers

An inspection by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, of electricity subsidies received by approximately four million consumers has found an inconsistency in the levels offered by suppliers, based on January’s subsidy rates offered by the state.

Some suppliers have offered consumers subsidies in excess of amounts they were entitled to while other suppliers have passed on smaller amounts, the RAE check has determined.

Though these discrepancies are expected to be corrected by suppliers in ensuing electricity bills, they do highlight a market in distress and unprepared for the government’s termination of a universal subsidy program as of January, limiting subsidy support to primary places of residence in cases of multiple property ownership.

Suppliers are criticizing the energy ministry for sloppiness in its planning of the subsidy support measures as well as payment delays impacting their cash flow and ability to function.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas is tomorrow expected to announce the details of the government’s energy subsidies package for February. The RAE inspection has highlighted the need for clearer instructions to suppliers.

State energy subsidies for February are expected to be lower than those offered for January, given a slight decrease in the average wholesale electricity price last month, down to 227.30 euros per MWh from 235.38 euros per MWh in December.

RAE has received over 3,000 complaints by consumers in recent times concerning issues such as overcharging, lack of billing transparency, and wholesale price-related clauses in bills.

RES licensing simplification aims to cut process to 14 months from 5 yrs

A draft bill for further RES licensing simplification, set for consultation within the next few days, carries revisions that will aim to shorten the time required by investors to obtain RES licenses to 14 months from five years at present.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas is determined to simplify the RES licensing procedure to facilitate a total of 12 GW in licenses needed for renewable energy projects to meet National Energy and Climate objectives set for 2030.

As part of the plan to hasten the RES licensing procedure, the total number of steps will be reduced from seven to five. Also, applications lodged will be filtered to eliminate bids lacking serious intentions, while non-binding connection term offers will be scrapped.

The simplified licensing procedure will also spare investors from needing to resubmit supporting documents more than once, to various agencies, as has been the case until now.

In addition, the energy ministry will establish a one-stop service center enabling applicants to monitor the progress of their licensing applications.

Consultation for RES licensing simplification, energy storage

Consultation is set to begin within the next few days for an energy ministry draft bill carrying a second round of measures designed to further simplify the RES licensing procedure and establish, for the first time, a complete framework concerning the development of energy storage projects, energypress sources have informed.

A third section of measures concerning development and operation of offshore wind farms, initially intended to be incorporated into this draft bill, is not yet ready. It will be released for consultation at a latter date, the intention being within the year’s first quarter.

The second round of RES licensing simplification measures will improve the country’s investment prospects as the overall time needed for licensing will be drastically reduced from five years at present to 14 months, according to the energy ministry.

Measures in the current draft bill include an initiative fusing three licensing steps into one – operator connection terms; installation license; and an operating contract with RES market operator DAPEEP. Until now, these three RES licensing steps have needed to be taken successively.

Second EV subsidies plan, offering bigger amounts, imminent

A second round of subsidies for electric vehicle purchases, offering as much as 8,000 euros per vehicle, is expected to be announced imminently by energy minister Kostas Skrekas, possibly even during the day, ahead of an anticipated launch in April.

According to sources, the second package will offer EV subsidies worth 30 percent more than those making up the first round.

A 6,000-euro upper limit had been set for the first package, but this level is now expected to be increased to 8,000 euros.

The second EV subsidy package is expected to total between 30 and 40 million euros, which, according to sources, will stem from the Energy Transition Fund as well as leftover funds from the first package.

Electric bicycles and tricycles are once again expected to be included in the new EV subsidy package, to be made available for both individuals and companies.

The subsidy support package is also believed to include incentives, worth as much as 2,000 euros per applicant, for the withdrawal of older vehicles.

Energy ministry officials have expressed satisfaction over the public’s response to the first EV subsidy package. A total of 18,000 applications were submitted, generating turnover of 70 million euros in the market, according to the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou.

Subsidy applications for electric bicycles dominated the government’s first EV subsidy package with a 69 percent share, while 22 percent of applications concerned motorbikes and nearly 10 percent were for cars, Sdoukou has informed.

The prospect of a VAT reduction, from 24 to 6 percent, for EVs is being examined, the official has noted.

 

Outage compensation today, 2 or 4-month surcharge removal

The details of compensation to be offered to many thousands of consumers affected by power outages during and following last week’s snowstorm, particularly felt in the wider Athens area’s northeastern section, are expected to be announced today.

The removal of network usage surcharges included on electricity bills, for either two or four months, is seen as the likeliest offer.

The network usage surcharge imposed on limited electricity consumption of 1,000 kWh over a four-month period, for example, is estimated at 22 euros. A higher consumption level of 3,000 kWh would result in a network usage surcharge of 48 euros.

The compensation offer was initially planned to be announced yesterday, but related talks between the energy ministry and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO stretched late into the night. Officials are believed to have deliberated on whether to scrap network usage surcharges, for affected consumers, for two or four months.

Approximately 200,000 people in 40 municipalities of the wider Athens area were impacted by the outages during the snowstorm, while electricity supply was restored in 97.5 percent of all cases 24 hours later, according to data submitted to parliament by energy minister Kostas Skrekas.