DESFA assessing action needed for hydrogen-ready network

Gas grid operator DESFA is conducting a technical study examining interventions that will be needed to the country’s grid so that it may facilitate hydrogen’s entry into the energy mix. The operator aims to have completed and submitted this study to RAAEY, the Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water, by the end of the year, energypress sources informed.

The operator’s study is planned to include the cost of all actions needed for a hydrogen-ready grid, a substantiated proposal specifying an optimal hydrogen proportion for the country’s gas network, as well as feasibility studies on the connection, to the network, of individual hydrogen-related pilot projects.

These studies, DESFA anticipates, will also get authorities working on a hydrogen-related regulatory framework, currently non-existent.

A committee established to prepare a national strategy for hydrogen completed its task and delivered its findings to the energy ministry in 2021.

However, revisions made to the National Energy and Climate Plan, resulting in more ambitious targets, may prompt the energy ministry to seek an updated national strategy on hydrogen.

DESFA has already prepared a study assessing the degree of hydrogen mixing with natural gas over two stages, as proportions of 5 and 10 percent, and what these proportions would entail in terms of investments needed, Panagiotis Panousos, Energy Transition Manager at DESFA, told the recent RENPOWER conference.


Wholesale power price weekly average drops to 84-week low

The country’s wholesale electricity price weekly average dropped considerably last week to a level just over the psychological barrier of 100 euros per MWh, at 106.49 euros per MWh, an 84-week low, reflecting a downward trajectory in electricity demand.

Last week’s market clearing price fell by 17.13 percent compared to a week earlier, peaking at 186.55 euros per MWh and registering a low of 7.71 euros per MWh. Last week’s highest market clearing price average, for a day, was registered on Sunday, April 2, reaching 127.50 euros per MWh.

Electricity prices in Europe last week ranged between 54 and 133 euros per MWh, while prices yesterday swung from 62 to 142 euros per MWh.

Warmer weather last week led to a reduction in electricity demand, which, along with elevated RES output, pushed prices lower.

In Greece, weekly electricity demand fell last week but remained slightly above a level of 0.8 TWh, at 813 GWh. The energy exchange recorded total electricity demand for the week at 899 GWh, a figure taking into account export outflow of 86 GWh.

RES units averaged a daily output of 58 GWh last week for a higher share of the energy mix, which reached a weekly average of 52 percent. RES units produced a total of 405 GWh last week, a 55 percent increase compared to a week earlier.

Natural gas-fueled electricity’s share of the energy mix last week was 20 percent, net imports followed at 15 percent, lignite-fired generation represented 11 percent and major-scale hydropower units represented 2 percent.

Low-voltage electricity demand, including households, represented 54 percent of overall demand in Greece last week. Medium-voltage demand represented 19 percent of demand and high-voltage demand represented 18 percent. Demand concerning the Cretan grid represented 6 percent and grid losses reached 3 percent.

Power demand continues fall in January, RES dominate output

Electricity demand plunged by 13.24 percent in January, compared to the same month a year earlier, registering a drop for a seventh successive month, a monthly report published by power grid operator IPTO has shown.

Households, businesses and industrial producers have cut back on power usage in an effort to contain their energy costs.

January’s contraction in electricity demand ranks as the second-biggest recorded during the seven successive months of decline and is one of the biggest reductions ever recorded in Greece.

Households registered the biggest cut in electricity usage in January, down 15 percent compared to January, 2022, while heavy industry also cut back on consumption, by 7.8 percent, the January figures showed.

Overall electricity demand fell to 4,235 GWh in January from 4,881 GWh in January, 2022, the IPTO data showed.

Subsequently, the drop in electricity demand prompted a generation reduction of 25.75 percent in January, compared to the same month a year earlier, according to the IPTO data.

Renewables and hydropower dominated the country’s energy mix in January, capturing a 53.6 percent share. Natural gas and lignite-generated electricity captured a 30.5 percent share.


RES generation biggest energy-mix contributor for first time ever in 2022

Renewable energy was ranked the country’s biggest electricity producer for the first time ever in 2022, capturing a 41.6 percent share of the energy mix for output totaling 19.7 TWh, data provided by power grid operator IPTO has shown.

Natural gas-fueled generation, previously the country’s biggest producer, was ranked second in 2022 with a 38 percent share of Greece’s energy mix and output of 17.9 TWh. It was followed by lignite, once the country’s leading source of electricity production until it was overtaken by natural gas, with an 11.8 percent share and 5.6 TWh. Hydropower ranked fourth in terms of output in 2022, capturing an 8.5 percent share with output totaling 4 TWh.

Combining the energy-mix shares captured by the RES sector and hydropower adds up to 50.1 percent, meaning these two energy source categories edged past fossil fuels as Greece’s main producer of electricity.

Last year, natural gas-fueled generation fell by just over 4 percent compared to 2021, dropping from a leading energy-mix share of 42.8 percent.

All EU member states have set objectives, on a voluntary basis, to reduce natural gas consumption by 15 percent this winter.

In 2021, the RES sector was ranked second in terms of electricity generation in Greece with a 35.3 percent share of the energy mix followed by lignite, whose share hardly changed. Compared to 2022, hydropower output was slightly higher in 2021, when it had captured a share of approximately 11 percent.


PPC retail electricity market share at 63.3% in December

Power utility PPC’s captured a retail electricity market share of 63.29 percent in December, followed by the Mytilineos group’s Protergia, at 7.6 percent, Heron, at 7.03 percent, and Elpedison, at 6.09 percent, a latest report published by the Hellenic Energy Exchange has shown.

Day-ahead market prices in December rose 22 percent, averaging 276 euros per MWh compared to 227 euros per MWh in November, while electricity demand increased to 4,488 GWh from 4,109 GWh, the Energy Exchange data showed.

As for December’s energy mix, natural gas-fueled electricity captured the greatest share, 37 percent, followed by renewables, at 24 percent, electricity imports, at 19 percent, lignite-fired generation, at 15 percent, and hydropower, at 3 percent.

RES overproduction prompts near-zero price levels for 3 hrs

Renewable energy production has reached extremely high levels today, nearing an all-time high, for a 58 percent share of the energy mix, if RES units on Crete are taken into account, and a share of over 60 percent should hydropower stations be included in the calculations, day-ahead market figures have shown.

RES output will reach levels ranging between 3,290 MW and 5,370 MW, depending on the time of day, producing a total of 76,000 GWh, according to data provided by power grid operator IPTO.

Price levels dropped close to zero for three hours last night, between 3 am and 5 am, and will drop to 9.7 euros for an hour at midday.

It is worth noting conventional power stations continued operating during the nighttime hours of near-zero price levels. More specifically, natural gas-fueled power stations produced 127 MW and lignite-fired units generated 420 MW, for reasons concerning grid stability and exports.

It was a similar situation on October 7, when RES facilities fully covered the country’s energy needs for a five-hour period. On that day, IPTO, the power grid operator, explained a small proportion of conventionally generated electricity would be maintained to ensure grid stability and cover for any RES output fluctuations.


December gas energy-mix share up to 43%, RES input falls

Natural gas usage for electricity generation increased in December to represent 43 percent of the energy mix, up from 37 percent in November.

At 43 percent, natural gas-fueled electricity captured the biggest share of the energy mix in December, followed by renewable energy sources – wind, solar and biomass – at 26 percent, lignite, at 17 percent, net electricity imports, at 10 percent, and major-scale hydropower plants, at 4 percent.

Combing the RES and hydropower contributions, the renewable energy sector’s share of the energy mix in December essentially reached 30 percent.

Natural gas-fueled generation and RES generation reached 1,645,055 MWh and 1,012,485 MWh, respectively, in December, while lignite-fired output for the month totaled 656,157 MWh.

In 2022, overall, natural gas’ share of the energy mix increased by one percent, while the RES sector’s share shrunk by 8 percent.

Energy demand increased in December, reaching 4,013,598 MWh, following four successive months of decline.

December wholesale prices second-highest in EU

Wholesale electricity prices in Greece ranked as the EU’s second-highest in December, reaching 276.89 euros per MWh in the day-ahead market, up considerably, both on a monthly and annual basis, while electricity demand fell, a Hellenic Energy Exchange report has shown.

This December’s wholesale price level was 21.5 percent over the November price, and 18 percent above the level recorded in December, 2021.

Greece ranked second behind the common Italian and Maltese energy market, whose December price level was 294.91 euros per MWh.

Greece’s DAM prices remained high last month as a result of the country’s usage of a month-ahead model incorporating the TTF gas index. December’s electricity prices in Greece were shaped by the end-of-November price level of the TTF gas index, which ended the month at 118.68 euros per MWh.

By contrast, most other European wholesale electricity markets benefited from a drop in gas spot prices. They fell significantly in the last ten days of December to levels of 75 euros per MWh.

Limited renewable energy contributions to the country’s energy mix, down to 23 percent in December, compared to 33 percent in November, were another factor. This decline was attributed to lower wind energy output in Greece last month. On the contrary, wind energy output in central and northern Europe increased significantly during the final days of December.

Reduced trading at the day-ahead market in December, down 19 percent on December, 2021, signaled a further reduction in electricity demand last month, the Hellenic Energy Exchange report noted.

Big 2030 RES, energy storage target boosts for revised NECP

The energy ministry is preparing to set even more ambitious renewable energy and storage targets for 2030 through the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan, currently being revised as part of national and EU plans aiming to diminish reliance on fossil fuels, especially Russian natural gas.

The energy ministry is expected to set a total RES capacity target of between 25 and 30 GW for 2030, an objective that could be achieved with new wind and solar energy installations, as well as development of hydropower stations.

At present, RES facilities already operating in Greece offer a total capacity of 10 GW, meaning renewable energy projects producing an additional overall capacity of up to 20 GW will need to be developed over the next eight years if the energy ministry’s anticipated RES target boost in the revised NECP for 2030 is to be achieved.

Greece’s revised NECP will also include a major energy storage capacity boost to between 5 and 8 GW by 2030, well above the present target of 1.5 GW, through a portfolio comprising batteries and pumped storage stations.

Also, the 2030 target for the RES sector’s share of the country’s energy mix is expected to be increased to 80 percent from the current NECP target of 65 percent.

No need for lignite schedule revisions, officials determine

The country’s decarbonization plan, not responsible for the sharp rise in electricity prices, does not require any revisions, lignite continuing to contribute to the energy mix in accordance with the grid’s needs, government officials have determined following a weekend meeting during which the country’s energy mix was examined.

Lignite has played a bigger role in the country’s energy mix over the past few days, covering more than 20 percent of electricity generation needs, up from 10.5 percent in January.

According to data provided by power grid operator IPTO, six of power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations will operate today. Agios Dimitrios I, II, IV and V, Megalopoli IV and Meliti will all contribute to the grid, according to IPTO.

Officials participating at the weekend meeting also examined the progress of the country’s hydrocarbons sectors. EU member states are looking for ways to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) recently conducted seismic surveys at its ‘Ionio’ license, an Ionian Sea block southwest of Corfu. EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, is now awaiting the investor’s next steps.

Wholesale electricity €83/MWh higher without RES output

Wholesale electricity prices would have reached as much as 83 euros per MWh higher than the lofty levels of recent months had there not been any RES contribution to the country’s energy mix, a study conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has shown.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas made reference to the findings of this study during a recent informal meeting of EU energy ministers in France, to highlight the important role played by RES units in energy price de-escalation.

December’s wholesale electricity price average in Greece would have reached levels of 315 euros per MWh, well over the actual average of 235 euros per MWh, the minister noted, basing his point on the university study’s findings.

An intraday market record high of 415.94 euros registered on December 22 would have reached 451.11 euros per MWh without RES contributions to the country’s energy mix, the study noted.

Operator releases supplier energy-mix list for 2020

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

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


Government working to promote major-scale RES projects

The government is working on upgrading the country’s legal framework for the RES sector in an effort to promote the development of major-scale projects, not just smaller wind and solar energy farms.

The need for a national RES strategy revision has been intensified by the prospect of major pandemic-induced damage to the tourism industry, the backbone of the Greek economy.

Big RES projects promise to attract foreign funds managing portfolios worth billions. An influx by such funds promises to create jobs, generate economic growth and help Greece reach its ambitious RES objectives set for 2030.

The government took an important first step yesterday by ratifying legislation to simplify the RES licensing procedure. But this is not enough. Ensuing steps in the overall procedure for RES investments also need to be simplified.

“We have begun and are working on proposals to simplify procedures for the next stages all the way to the installation permit. We are also moving forward with other issues to accelerate the RES sector’s penetration of the energy mix,” deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas recently told parliament.

NECP being revised for more ambitious RES targets

Deeper penetration of renewable energy sources into the country’s energy mix is figuring as a key policy for Greece’s newly appointed environment and energy ministry.

The ministry is working to revise the National Energy and Climate Plan following recent observations by the European Commission, which described the country’s RES targets as not ambitious enough, energypress sources informed.

Officials are currently moving to assemble a work group by October so that an updated plan, detailing Greece’s post-lignite era targets, can be completed by the end of this year.

Greater RES participation in the country’s energy mix will be facilitated by a swifter withdrawal of old lignite-fired power stations operated by the power utility PPC, officials have stressed.

The energy ministry has commenced talks with the European Commission for an acceleration of the transition period entailing the closure of old power stations.

PPC’s newly appointed administration has begun conducting a cost-benefit analysis on lignite-fired power stations before deciding which units will be withdrawn.

The imminent privatization of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, expected to bring in investments leading to an upgrade of the electricity grid, will also be pivotal in accelerating the RES sector’s penetration of the energy mix, the officials added.

The network infrastructure’s current state is one of the main obstacles stopping producers from investing, they added.

DESFA presents more ambitious 10-year development plan worth €2.5bn

Gas grid operator DESFA has presented a significantly upgraded ten-year development plan covering 2020 to 2029 for public consultation that includes investments worth 2.5 billion euros.

It highlights the heightened role planned for natural gas in Greece’s energy mix as well as a need for an upgrade of the country’s gas infrastructure.

The public consultation procedure will run until September 2, the operator informed in a statement. Results will be published following this date, it added.

A series of projects, currently in progress or at the planning stage, promise to create new prospects for the natural gas market and significantly boost this energy source’s penetration of household and industrial markets.

Projects listed in DESFA’s ten-year plan include connections with gas utility DEPA’s CNG stations in Komotini and Tripoli; Kavala Oil and Elval industry connections to the national gas grid; and development of pipelines for gas supply to the Dodecanese and North Aegean islands.

RES energy mix targets likely; bureaucracy, networks an issue

Greece will most likely reach a RES energy mix target set for 2020, but problems subduing investment activity in the renewable energy sector, bureaucracy and insufficient network investments being two key concerns, remain, the European Court of Auditors has observed in a special report focused on renewables and electricity generation.

Greece, along with Latvia and Austria, will most probably meet their 2020 target if they continue to implement measures targeting renewables at the current pace, the report noted, adding all three EU member states currently require increases of less than 2 percentage points.

Inspections were conducted in Greece, Germany, Poland and Spain for the report, titled “Wind and solar power for electricity generation: significant action needed if EU targets to be met.”

Specific national targets for the share of gross final energy consumption coming from renewables have been set, ranging from 10 percent to 49 percent.

Greece’s RES target for 2020 is 39.8 percent. Spain has a target of 39 percent, Germany is aiming for 38.6 percent and Poland’s figure is 19.1 percent.

Germany and Spain maintained high rates of progress between 2010 and 2017, while Greece is behind schedule. In 2017, the country was 7 percentage points off target, the report noted.


DG Energy expresses concerns over more ambitious RES target

Despite agreeing to an even more ambitious RES energy mix target of 32 percent, compared to the European Commission’s 30 percent, by 2030 at an EU energy ministers meeting in Luxembourg three months ago, Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has yet to specify on policies that will need to be adopted.

EU member states need to submit their plans by the end of December and concerns in Brussels are growing.

Just days ago, at a meeting between national representatives and Directorate-General for Energy officials, a number of EU member countries, including Greece, were told that they have yet to set clear plans on policies needed for the more ambitious RES target. National representatives were asked to apply greater pressure on their governments.

The Greek energy ministry’s secretary general Mihalis Veriopoulos has, for quite some time now, assembled a special committee to focus on the issue but has not followed up with a public consultation procedure with industry figures as has been expected.

Natural gas takes lead in energy mix, demand up 21.6%

Demand for natural gas demand grew by more than 20 percent in 2017, primarily driven by the electricity generation sector, which absorbed 18.6 percent more natural gas during the year to capture a 66.8 percent share of overall demand for natural gas in Greece.

The total amount of natural gas transmitted through the country’s distribution system reached 4.64 billion Nm3 in 2017, up from 3.84 billion Nm3 in 2016, a 21.06 percent increase. In energy terms, 53.57 billion kWh was distributed last year compared to 44.42 billion kWh in 2016, a 20.6 percent increase.

Small-scale industry, households and enterprises captured 19.5 percent of overall natural gas demand following a distribution increase of 10.5 percent.

Large-scale industry also experienced an impressive consumption increase of 64.9 percent, which took its share of overall natural gas demand to 13.7 percent.

Part of the overall increase has been attributed to the particularly heavy winter experienced around Greece in 2016-2017, which led to an increase in demand for natural gas-fueled electricity generation as well as natural gas through the pipelines for heating purposes.

The share of natural gas used for electricity generation increased to 31.5 percent in 2017 from 26.6 percent a year earlier. Total electricity production grew to 52.04 TWh in 2017 from 51.24 TWh in 2016, a 1.56 percent increase.

Increased natural gas consumption in the industrial sector, which became apparent during the final months of 2016, remained consistently higher throughout 2017.