Recovery fund subsidies worth €400m for energy storage units

The energy ministry plans to allot 400 million euros of EU recovery fund money to the development of central electrical energy storage units. A related proposal by the ministry is headed for inclusion into the national recovery plan.

The aforementioned sum will be used to subsidize energy storage projects and will be made available to investors through a mechanism whose details are still being negotiated by government and European Commission officials.

Once the mechanism has taken final shape it will be forwarded to Brussels’ Directorate-General for Competition and Directorate-General for Energy for approval from both, necessary ahead of its implementation.

Though further details on the prospective support mechanism remain unknown, its subsidies are expected to be offered through a competitive procedure promoting selected projects.

At this point, developments have indicated both central energy storage technologies – pumped hydroelectric energy storage and accumulators (battery units) – will be eligible for subsidy support.

A study on central energy storage conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) for RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has shown that a combination of these two technologies is the optimal solution, as each covers different needs.

Revisions to permit energy storage for households, industry

A special committee assembled by the energy ministry to deliver a plan, by May 15, tackling energy storage licensing and operation issues, is working on revising an existing framework to facilitate, and make financially beneficial, battery system installations at homes, businesses and industrial facilities, energypress sources have informed.

The existing framework, particularly restrictive and, as a result, subduing related investments, limits energy storage system installations to 30 KW and permits usage to roof-mounted PV panels for self-production.

The ministry’s special committee, which has been working intensively for more than two months, is striving to make revisions that would  broaden the usage of energy storage systems, the sources noted.

Energy storage system installations are expected to be permitted regardless of whether respective consumers have installed RES systems. This promises to enable battery charging through the network for utilization of stored energy at times chosen by consumers.

The use of energy storage systems is nowadays widely acknowledged as an important contributing factor for support of electricity networks and prevention of grid instability issues, especially during hours when PVs are disconnected as a result of a lack of sunlight.

Talks continue for EU recovery fund energy projects package

Electricity network upgrades, including restricted underground cable installations – due to limited funds – at areas presenting serious energy security problems; decarbonization; as well as spatial planning and redevelopment for carbon-neutral cities feature as plans in an initial energy-projects package, worth over one billion euros, linked to the EU’s recovery fund, Brussels sources have informed.

Brussels authorities are currently appraising these projects, a procedure expected to be completed by the end of March. The Greek government will then need to immediately incorporate approved plans into a National Recovery and Resilience Plan and submit it to Brussels by early April.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas and European Commission officials discussed the ministry’s proposals during a virtual conference yesterday.

Besides decarbonization, energy efficiency upgrades of buildings, as well as energy-related town and spatial planning, the government is also addressing the need to modernize infrastructure, especially networks, as was highlighted by problems encountered in many parts of Greece during recent snowstorms.

The installation of underground transmission cables will be restricted to between 2,000 and 2,500 kilometers of medium and low-voltage networks, given the amount of recovery funds available for this project, estimated at 200 million euros, according to energypress sources.

The cost of installing underground medium-voltage power lines is estimated at 100,000 euros per kilometer, compared to 30,000 euros for overhead lines. Installation costs for low-voltage power lines are estimated at 70,000 euros per kilometer, compared to 25,000 for overhead lines.

The overall effort is also expected to include an upgrade of ageing overhead transmission lines around Greece, dating back to the 70s and 80s.

IPTO, Sunlight to sign MoU for energy storage unit in Thiva

Greek firm Sunlight, a member of the Olympia Group and one of the world’s leaders in the development and production of batteries for various commercial energy-storage applications, will partner with power grid operator IPTO for the installation of a pilot energy storage unit at a substation in Thiva, northwest of Athens.

The two sides are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the installation within the next few days. The energy storage facility is planned to have total power of 20 MW and a capacity of 20 MWh.

This project has been included in IPTO’s latest ten-year plan for the electricity transmission system’s development, covering 2022 to 2031.

IPTO has underlined the importance of exploring the prospects of central storage systems in order to manage localized congestion and offer support to the grid in view of the RES sector’s further penetration of the energy mix.

The operator’s chief executive Manos Manousakis had recently informed the operator would soon be signing an MoU with a major company active in energy storage.

Sunlight has distinguished itself for innovative, eco-friendly energy storage solutions, which it has marketed in more than 100 countries around the world over the past 30 years or so.

 

Energy storage framework, support system in progress

A special committee assembled by the energy ministry to process proposals for a legal framework and support system covering the energy storage domain is making steady progress.

The committee, headed by Dr. Stavros Papathanasiou, a professor at the National Technical University of Athens’ School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and including representatives of operators, the energy exchange and the regulatory authority, has until May 15 to deliver its findings.

Its main task is to offer opinions on regulatory decisions, codes, market regulations, even legislative interventions that may be required, in the form of a thorough plan as guidance for the functioning and entrepreneurial running of energy storage facilities.

Licensing matters, energy market participation rules for energy storage units providing capacity, flexibility, balancing and other services are all being addressed by the special committee.

It is also examining whether a support framework will be needed to determine supplementary compensation for energy storage systems in addition to earnings that may be generated through the market.

Any resulting support system would need to be endorsed by the European Commission.

Chinese firms barred from distribution operator sale

Conflict of interest, including in grid energy storage, a fast-growing market, has prompted power utility PPC to stop two Chinese firms interested in the prospective sale of a 49 percent stake in distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, a PPC subsidiary, from taking part.

State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), a strategic partner of Greek power grid operator IPTO with a 24 percent stake, and another Chinese company, still undisclosed, both participated in a market test for the DEDDIE/HEDNO privatization, indicating an interest to submit bids.

A total of 19 firms reportedly expressed preliminary interest in the sale’s market test, conducted by the procedure’s consultants.

The DEDDIE/HEDNO partial privatization’s conditions include a term barring the participation of any firms directly or indirectly related to IPTO.

The conflict-of-interest term was included in the sale’s rules as electricity network companies, whether involved in high voltage, such as IPTO, or mid and low voltage, such as DEDDIE/HEDNO, are expected to find themselves competing in various electricity market services, including energy storage.

The grid energy storage market – offering large-scale storage systems that store electrical energy during times of abundance, low prices, or low demand before returning it to the grid when demand is high and electricity prices tend to be higher – is experiencing rapid growth on a global scale.

Greece still lacks a legal framework covering this domain. The energy ministry is working on this pending issue, crucial for the country’s effort to achieve National Energy and Climate Plan objectives through greater RES penetration.

This legal framework will, amongst other matters, determine market participation and remuneration terms for energy storage units, as well as related services to be traded on the energy exchange.

PPC anticipates first-round expressions of interest from four to six consortiums for the DEDDIE/HEDNO sale of a 49 percent stake.

 

Brussels forwards new PCI list, to be finalized late this year

The European Commission’s fifth PCI (Projects of Common Interest) list in the electricity and natural gas sectors, being forwarded for public consultation, features, for now, a number of project additions and removals, compared to the previous edition.

Market officials and state authorities will have the opportunity to offer their views and observations over the consultation procedure’s twelve-week period before the European Commission adopts a finalized version of the fifth PCI list towards the end of 2021, based on an existing Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) framework, focused on linking the energy infrastructure of EU countries.

PCI projects are entitled to EU funding support. Brussels authorities introduced selection criteria revisions in December, ascertaining, however, that the impact of all projects, especially on CO2 emissions, will be appraised when finalizing the PCI list’s fifth edition.

The provisional list includes a number of electricity and gas sector projects concerning Greece.

Electricity-sector projects involving Greece include: a Bulgarian-Greek grid interconnection, expected to be completed in 2023; an Egyptian-Greek-Libyan grid interconnection headed by Green Power 2020 and scheduled for delivery in 2025; as well as three Egypt-Greece interconnections, two of these featuring Kykladika Meltemia SA as project promoter and expected to be respectively completed in 2025 and 2028, and a third headed by Elica SA and scheduled for completion in 2028.

An energy storage project planned by Eunice for Ptolemaida, northern Greece, and scheduled for completion in 2022 is a new entry on the PCI list.

In the natural gas sector, the PCI list includes: the Alexandroupoli FSRU (2022); a subsea pipeline between Greece and Italy, known as the Poseidon Pipeline (2025); EastMed, a pipeline planned to carry natural gas from the east Mediterranean to European markets, via Crete (2025); a compressor station in Thessaloniki’s Nea Mesimvria area (2022); a metering and regulating station in Megalopoli, Peloponnese (2025); a compressor station in Abelia, in Greece’s mid-north (2023); a compressor station in Kipoi, northeastern Greece (2024); a pipeline link for the Alexandroupoli FSRU (2022); a TAP pipeline capacity increase (2025); and the development of an underground gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in northern Greece (2023).

New minister, just appointed, has issues to resolve in 2021

Kostas Skrekas, just appointed new energy minister as part of the government’s cabinet reshuffle, in place of Costis Hatzidakis, who has headed the ministry for a constructive year and a half, faces a series of pending energy-sector matters that remained unresolved in 2020. They need to be addressed as soon as possible. Developments and conditions this year will be pivotal for these matters.

Skrekas was previously deputy minister for agricultural development and food.

Also in 2021, a year during which takeovers and mergers are seen occurring in the retail electricity and gas markets, rivals will continue battling for market share gains. The target model’s launch two months ago has brought about new conditions, strengthening the positions of vertically integrated suppliers.

The need for a normalization of the target model’s new markets stands as the energy ministry’s most pressing task at present. A sharp rise in wholesale electricity prices as a result of soaring balancing market costs has deeply unsettled the market, impacting the standings of non-vertically integrated suppliers, as well as industrial enterprises and consumers, who face rising bills.

Market coupling with Bulgaria’s day-ahead market, scheduled to take place within the first three months of the new year, is the next step of the target model, a procedure designed to harmonize EU energy markets and promote competition.

New energy-intensive industrial tariffs also need to be set soon. Though essentially a matter concerning state-controlled power utility PPC and Greece’s industrial players, the cost of industrial energy is crucial for Greek industry, carrying particular political and economic weight.

Also, Greece has little time left in its negotiations with Brussels for a framework to offer third parties access to PPC’s lignite-based generation. This issue is no longer as crucial as it once was because the country’s lignite output has been drastically reduced. Even so, it remains important for independent suppliers.

A number of energy-sector privatizations could be completed this year. Gas utility DEPA’s two new entities, DEPA Infrastructure and DEPA Commercial, electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, and a tender for a tender for the development of an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in northern Greece are all on this year’s privatization list.

In renewable energy, the ministry needs to take decisions within the first few months to clarify terms regulating the sector. RES investment interest is currently high. Steps still need to be taken in an ongoing effort to simplify RES licensing procedures, while a legal framework must be established for energy storage, offshore wind farms and hydrogen use.

 

RAE preparing to grant its first energy storage system licenses

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is preparing to grant its first ever licenses for battery energy storage systems following a related board decision last week.

The authority opted to base its decision on a rule from 2000 concerning electricity generation units as specific legal framework for installations of such energy storage systems does not exist.

RAE was prompted to move ahead with this licensing plan following interest by investors for installations of large-scale battery energy storage systems. Also, the new target model markets have shown a need for a flexible national grid.

“Markets are sending messages that illustrate a need for flexible units,” RAE president Thanassis Dagoumas pointed out.

The development of a new legal framework designed specifically for battery energy storage systems would have taken many months, the RAE chief noted, explaining the authority’s decision to move forward by utilizing the rule from two decades ago on electricity generation units.

“We analyzed avenues taken by regulatory authorities in other countries for the creation of their frameworks and determined that they have not addressed the subject in any uniform way,” Dagoumas said. “Some see these storage units from the perspective of production while others relate them to production and consumption.”

Energy ministry seeks recovery fund support for many domains

The energy ministry, seeking to ensure EU recovery-fund support for mature projects in key energy-related domains, has proposed their inclusion in a national plan whose first draft will be submitted by the government to the European Commission this month.

Greece is entitled to approximately 32 billion euros from the EU recovery fund, worth a total of 750 billion euros (390bn in subsidies and 360bn in loans) and established to counter the impact of the global pandemic.

Approximately 37 percent of the recovery funds will be used for green-energy development.

Energy efficiency upgrades of buildings; grid interconnections and RES initiatives, including energy storage; electromobility; nature protection; decarbonization; spatial planning for RES development; solid and liquid waste management; and smart power meter installations, a severely delayed project in Greece, are among the domains the energy ministry wants included in the national plan for EU recovery funds.

The energy ministry has previously sought support for some of these domains through the National Strategic Reference Framework.

A total of 130,000 efficiency upgrades of buildings have so far received subsidy support over a decade-long period through Greece’s Saving at Home program. The ministry is looking to significantly increase this rate to 60,000 upgrades per year through the recovery funds program.

Greece’s energy ministry will also seek recovery fund support for two major electricity interconnections – Crete’s major-scale interconnection,  to link the island’s grid with Athens; and the fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnection – both being developed by power grid operator IPTO.

 

First look at new ‘Saving at Home’ program imminent, launch long way off

A first impression of the latest Saving at Home subsidy program, supporting energy efficiency upgrades of existing properties, is expected within the next few days, possibly by the end of this week.

The energy ministry is preparing to announce details on categories eligible for the subsidy program, sources said.

Even so, the finalized plan is still be a long way off, the sources added, as numerous details need to be resolved before the subsidy platform can be launched.

Roof-mounted PVs, energy storage systems, smart home systems and electric vehicle recharging facilities will be added to the new program.

It will offer energy efficiency upgrade subsidies of up to 85 percent and be made available to virtually all property owners as income-related criteria will be relaxed. For example, families with annual income totals of as much as 120,000 euros will be eligible.

Greater subsidy amounts will also be made available for applicants following an increase of a previous 25,000-euro upper limit to 50,000 euros.

In addition, home owners with more than one property will be able to submit multiple subsidy applications. In such cases, a subsidy limit of 100,000 euros is expected to be imposed.

The new subsidy package will also include bonus amounts of 10 percent as COVID-19 premiums.

 

Greece keen to utilize American RES technology; funds eyeing market

The government wants to utilize latest American technology for more recent RES and RES-related domains such as offshore wind farms and energy storage, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted yesterday during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials in Thessaloniki.

For quite some time now, American renewable energy producers, institutional investors and funds have been scanning the Greek market for RES market opportunities.

A complete framework for offshore wind farms in Greece will be presented early in 2021, Sdoukou pointed out during yesterday’s meeting.

Major offshore wind farm development has been achieved off the American west coast, featuring, like the Mediterranean, waters of sudden depth, ideal conditions for the development of offshore wind farms.

US firms such as Invenergy, one of North America’s biggest wind energy producers; 547 Energy, a RES platform for Quantum Energy Partners; National Energy; and wind energy equipment manufacturer General Electric, have displayed a rising interest in the Greek market.

Besides RES and RES-related companies, a number of American funds are seeking investment opportunities in Greece.

At least ten US funds appear to be keeping a close watch on power utility PPC as a result of the corporation’s strategic turn to renewable energy.

They include Bell Rock Capital, Sephora Investment Advisors, Waterwill Capital Management, Cleargate Capital, Golden Tree Asset Management, Helm Investment Partners, Knighthead Capital Management, Craftsman Management, Colt Capital Partners and Kirkoswald Αsset Μanagement.

 

 

 

 

 

EC calls for CO2 cuts; NECP revisions, RES boost ahead

The European Commission has announced a new European Climate Law proposal for even more ambitious CO2 emission cuts in the EU, calling for reductions of 55 percent by 2030, instead of the present goal of 40 percent. If adopted, this proposal will prompt further revisions of National Energy and Climate Plans and RES installation increases by EU member states.

Compared to previous NECP objectives, RES facilities in most parts of the EU will need to increase by levels of between 20 and 30 percent by 2030, while energy consumption must drop further, between 15 and 20 percent, if the new Brussels proposal is adopted, reliable sources have informed.

Adoption of the proposal will require greater green-policy effort by member states and much bigger investments.

CO2 emissions produced by vehicles and buildings could be taxed, while more generous subsidy programs could be offered for energy efficiency upgrades.

In Greece, a 55 percent CO2 emissions cut by 2030 would require a further increase in RES installations so that a 19-GW target, by 2030, included in the country’s current NECP may be exceeded.

This more ambitious objective will enable the actualization of a greater number of possible projects on stand-by, currently representing a capacity of 76 GW. However, bigger investments for network reinforcement, increased interconnections and energy storage facility installations will be needed.

 

Competitive procedures for island hybrid stations, EC says

The European Commission is demanding competitive procedures for the installation of energy storage units or hybrid stations on the Greek islands as a condition for the establishment and approval of a thorough support framework covering such investments, energypress sources have informed.

Energy ministry officials are currently engaged in talks with the European Commission on energy storage and hybrid station installations for the islands.

A universal pricing framework offering investors specific tariffs for all the islands will not be possible if the European Commission condition for competitive procedures is to prevail.

Greek officials are pushing for a universal pricing framework for non-interconnected networks, hybrid units with RES facilities, and energy storage units, on the grounds that these greatly contribute to grid sufficiency and security and can also offer major cost savings by eliminating the need for high-cost, high-polluting diesel-fueled power stations that operate on non-interconnected islands.

In particular, the energy ministry is seeking Brussels’ approval for a transitional framework to support hybrid units on islands with mature investment proposals and production licenses.

Speaking at an Economist conference yesterday, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou said a plan for such a support mechanism has been submitted to the European Commission.

“We hope to have a response from the European Commission by the end of the year so that we can soon complete the pricing framework and make possible the actualization of these projects,” Sdoukou noted.

Initiatives are also being taken for the development of offshore solar farms and hydrogen-run unit, she added.

“We will continue to shape policies that promote renewables and guarantee that we will be at the forefront of the European energy transition,” Sdoukou concluded.

Energy projects a main focus of new financial support tool

A financial-support plan backing energy projects, the circular economy – waste elimination and continual use of resources – as well as pivotal infrastructure features in a wider support program announced by government officials yesterday for the economy and enterprises.

The support plan, to involve public and private-sector money, will seek to achieve economic regrowth as lockdown measures are gradually eased.

Development and Investment Minister Adonis Georgiadis presented the various facets of the support program yesterday following a speech from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the government’s plan for a restart of the economy.

The government intends to provide state support worth 400 million euros for the support plan’s section concerning energy, the circular economy and pivotal infrastructure. The amount will be channeled into the market by the Hellenic Development Bank.

In addition, this support fund will also seek to attract private-sector capital worth 600 million euros and ultimately generate energy-sector investments totaling approximately 3 billion euros.

Renewable energy and energy storage projects will be the main focus of this part of the support program, while qualification will be based on transparent criteria and banking rationale, officials noted.

The support plan’s section for energy, the circular economy and pivotal infrastructure, along with another section supporting strategic sectors of the economy, share the top spot in terms of state support – 400 million euros for each – among eight sections in total.

The total sum to be provided by the state for the support plan’s eight sections amounts to 1.8 billion euros, projected to snowball into investments worth 5 billion euros overall.

 

 

Energy storage discussed at RAE teleconference next week

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is hosting a teleconference May 15 for discussion on energy storage needs and a support framework.

The findings of a related simulation study commissioned to the National Technical University of Athens, examining grid performance amid high RES penetration levels and energy storage needs, will be presented and analyzed during the event. Public agencies, market officials as well as citizens will be participating.

Energy storage stations are needed, while their usage promises benefits concerning wholesale electricity prices, the NTUA study has determined, sources informed.

The need for energy storage systems (pumped storage, batteries etc) is stressed in the revised National Energy and Climate Plan, noting development of such facilities is required if ambitious RES installation targets are to be achieved.

RAE has examined support systems used in other countries. Energy storage projects cannot be sustainable if totally dependent on market earnings, comparisons have indicated.

 

IPTO looks to utilize battery storage system, island pilot project explored

Power grid operator IPTO is looking to utilize large-capacity batteries, a rapidly developing technology, to improve its network stability and performance.

The installation of a battery as a centralized energy storage unit on one of the interconnected islands is being explored by the operator as a pilot project, sources informed.

An island and the battery’s capacity have yet to be determined but a pilot project will soon be launched, the sources said.

This technology’s potential, any drawbacks, cost and benefits will all be assessed during the pilot project.

IPTO does not intend to use energy storage systems to sell electricity to the grid, but the operator could end up being compensated for providing back-up services.

The pilot project’s storage system installation may be made within 2020, sources said.

IPTO appears open to partnerships with other companies. Initial talks on the matter are believed to have been held with at least one energy company.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

US renewable energy giant Invenergy to open Athens office

Invenergy, one of the six biggest owners of wind energy parks in the USA and the leading wind energy developer in North America, is preparing to set up an office in Athens for renewable energy investments in the Greek market.

An international player also operating in Mexico, Latin America, Japan, the UK and Poland, Invenergy has developed some 150 projects with a total capacity of 24,100 MW, covering the electricity needs of 4.77 million households, according to the company website.

The Chicago-headquartered company, which employs 950 staff members at posts around the world, had opened up an Athens office in the past but it was eventually shut down as a result of a lack of domestic activity in the RES sector.

Invenergy maintains a diverse and rapidly growing portfolio which, besides wind energy, also includes solar energy, natural gas-fueled power stations and energy storage.

The company is currently looking to recruit an international development manager for its Athens office with responsibilities including development of renewable energy and gas projects, mainly in Greece, as well as business growth support for southeast Europe and, possibly, other regions, Invenergy posted on its website just days ago.

Development minister Adonis Georgiadis, commenting shortly after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ recent trip to Washington, noted – without naming – that one of the USA’s biggest renewable energy companies was preparing to enter the Greek market for battery production.

Major changes to RES licensing procedure sought by ministry

Ambitious renewable energy targets included in Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) have energy ministry officials looking to overhaul current RES licensing procedures for a swifter, simplified process, currently far too slow and detrimental for investors.

A big number of RES project installations will need to be made over the next decade if the lofty NECP targets are to be achieved.

The installed RES capacity will need to be more than doubled, meaning emphasis will need to be placed on simplifying current licensing procedures, slowed down by bureaucracy and excessive laws, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during yesterday’s presentation of the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The energy ministry is looking for radical solutions that stretch beyond just cutting back on the excessive number of documents and procedures now needed, or digitizing procedures.

On the contrary, the ministry believes the entire RES licensing process needs to be reexamined and revamped. Some sub-permits that are currently needed amid the overall procedure, taking years to cover, may be scrapped if their elimination would not cause any dangers.

Any revisions deemed extremely urgent could be rushed into an energy ministry draft bill on the environment, now being prepared for parliament in January.

Other ministry priorities include developing legal framework for energy storage; a pricing framework for hybrid stations on the islands; further support for RES installations at buildings through net metering; as well as the establishment of legal framework for alternative RES systems, such as offshore wind farms, Sdoukou told the NECP event.

Hydropower Balkans 2019 event in Belgrade a major attraction

The 3rd Annual International Investment Summit and Exhibition “Hydropower Balkans 2019”, held November 7-8 in Belgrade, brought together participants from 20 countries and featured presentations of HPP greenfield and brownfield projects in Greece, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Republike, Serbia, Slovenia and Srpska.

Participating companies included JS Elektroprivreda Srbije, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Albanian Power Corporation (KESH), Bulgarian Energy Holding, Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske, European Investment Bank, Hidroelektrarne na Spodnji Savi, International Finance Corporation,  Power Plants of North Macedonia, Montenegrin Electric Enterprise (EPCG), Hydro Power Plants at Vrbas,  PPC S.A., PPC Albania, Holding Slovenske elektrarne, Government of Republic of North Macedonia, EcoEnergy Consulting and Elektroprivreda BiH.

Plenary session participants concluded that the decarbonization process requires a significant increase of investments in clean generation and storage as well as additional grid and infrastructure investments.

Political risks, regulatory complexities, social and environmental issues are the most significant challenges for developers and investors, participants agreed.   

A round table dedicated to engineering aspects of HPP construction and renovation concluded the first day of the summit. International engineering companies and equipment suppliers discussed all project details directly with CTOs.

Decision makers at major financial institutions such as International Finance Corporation, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the European Investment Bank, informed participants on investment opportunities in the regional hydropower industry, challenges for developers and investors and risk mitigation.

At this year’s event, special attention was paid to small-scale hydropower potential in the Balkans.

Two round tables devoted to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina concluded the Summit.

In addition, a specialized exhibition on industry technology took place as part of the summit. Market leaders presented their technical, technological and service solutions for the region. They included ABB Italy, Sevinc Machine Industry and Trade, Emerson Process Management, Stucky, Tor Services, Zollern, Rakurs Engineering, Polyar Steel Construction, AUMA, Alpiq AG, Tractebel Engineering, AF Сonsult, and Landsvirkjun Power.

More than 150 business meetings were held during the summit.

The event was organised by Vostock Capital, officially supported by JS Elektroprivreda Srbije and sponsored by ABB Italy, Sevinc Machine Industry and Trade, as well as Emerson Process Management.

Minister reveals RES plans at Renewable & Storage Forum

Renewable energy units without operational support contracts will enjoy automatic market entry, large-scale RES projects with capacities exceeding 250 MW will not participate in competitive procedures but be promoted through a special support framework, while initiatives will be taken to unblock and foster the development of hybrid energy storage and offshore wind energy projects, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis disclosed at a Renewable & Storage Forum staged in Athens by energypress.

The minister was responding to questions during a live interview with energy-sector journalists Thodoris Panagoulis and Haris Floudopoulos at the event. The interview was staged before an audience of some 400 forum attendants.

Many RES producers believe they can secure better prices for output in the market rather than through competitive procedures and, as a result, are keeping projects. The first of the three aforementioned disclosures made by the minister at the event is promising news for these investors.

Also, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has taken action for the remuneration of RES projects with capacities exceeding 250 MW. The energy ministry is now preparing a related bill. Strong interest exists for the development of major-scale wind and solar energy projects, which, until now, have been held back. Their development will be crucial in helping Greece’s RES sector capture a 35 percent share of the country’s energy mix, the target set, market officials have stressed.

Additional RES sector legislative revisions to facilitate RES licensing procedures and spatial matters are being worked on, Hatzidakis, the energy minister, reiterated at the forum.

Stalled support plan for island hybrid units in motion again

The establishment of a new support framework for hybrid station development on non-interconnected islands, an initiative that stalled during the previous government’s tenure, is regaining momentum.

The energy ministry plans to soon forward for public consultation a new framework, essentially a guide detailing hybrid output remuneration,  sources informed. A finalized plan will then be drafted and delivered to the European Commission for approval before legislation in Greek Parliament.

Hybrid stations, combining renewable energy output with energy storage through the use of batteries or pumped storage, have, until now, not been considered a mature technology and, as a result, sidelined from RES auctions.

This has left the technology without a remuneration method. Investors have expressed increasing interest as indicated by an accumulation of approximately 150 production license applications submitted to RAE. These initiatives have remained stranded. They will advance once the new support framework is established.

The new support plan for hybrid stations is based on a proposal forwarded by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to former energy minister Giorgos Stathakis in July, 2018 without any further progress.

The new plan will not impose capacity or technology limits and will apply for non-interconnected islands, regardless of whether they are to remain autonomous or become interconnected.

The government’s willingness to restart the procedure was made clear yesterday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who commented on the matter at a foundation stone-laying ceremony for a new Mytilineos group power station in Boetia (Viotia), northwest of Athens.

 

 

Jinkosolar among participants at UN Climate Action Summit 2019

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, took part in yesterday’s UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York, the company announced.

JinkoSolar led discussions with attending leaders about the impact of climate change, the company noted in a statement.

To move forward on ambitious climate action globally, UN Secretary-General António Guterres invited over 100 heads of state, government leaders, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations. This event was one of five high-level summits during the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 74), which was officially convened on September 17, 2019.

The significant economic benefits of renewable energy, in particular, solar power, was among the most urgent topics of discussion.

The goal of the UN 2019 Climate Summit is to challenge state regions, cities, companies and investors to step up and propose actionable solutions. The plans proposed from the summit will contribute to the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled for December 2019.

Ms. Qian Jing, Vice President of JinkoSolar, commented: “As grid parity becomes a reality in over 100 countries and regions worldwide, renewable energy from solar power opens up incredible possibilities to solve problems. As large as reversing deserts into an oasis, reusing abandoned land and bringing new life to arid soil. This is all possible because of the 95% reduction in PV power generation costs over the past decade. With solar electrification on the rise, cutting down trees for fire and heating will be a thing of the past. Solar power will also redefine how we build new energy-powered automobiles, solar building materials will dominate architectural design, and building surfaces will become generators to store solar power. Once policy and the mechanism for economic incentives are in-sync, we will see more enterprise collaboration on technical innovation and this will accelerate energy transformation around the world.”

 

RAE energy storage support framework plan by end of year

A new energy storage support framework aiming to foster renewable energy growth is being prepared by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and should be completed by the end of the year, the authority’s chief executive Nikos Boulaxis has told the Thessaloniki International Fair.

“The future of renewable energy is linked to the ability to store it. RES growth and  decarbonization cannot be achieved without storage and strong interconnections,” Boulaxis noted.

The RAE boss underlined storage system development is vital for the non-interconnected islands as this would encourage RES installations prior to the completion of grid interconnection projects and also offer support to the interconnections.

The energy storage plan has already undergone public consultation. RAE is now working on shaping its proposal in collaboration with the energy ministry, responsible for any legislative revisions to be needed.

Also, the plan will soon be discussed with the European Commission for approval details concerning state aid as well as its target model compatibility.

Crete RES auctions, storage system tender planned for 2019

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, looking to protect Crete against energy shortages as of the end of this year, when old power generators operating on the island will need to be withdrawn, is planning new RES auctions for solar and wind energy units, as well as a tender for the installation of a modern energy storage system.

Crete faces a crucial energy sufficiency period between 2020, when the island’s small-scale grid interconnection with the Peloponnese will be launched, and 2023, when a large-scale link with Athens is expected to operate – if all goes according to plan.

The authority is planning to stage the RES auctions within 2019. RAE is also expecting a decision from DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s distribution network operator, determining two or three points on Crete’s grid as suitable for the installation of modern energy storage systems offering a total capacity of between 30 and 40 MW. Once the operator has forwarded its proposal, a RAE tender will follow, within 2019, inviting investors to submit offers for the energy storage systems to be installed on Crete.

They will be portable, enabling transportation to other islands, should the need arise, sources informed.

RAE is referring to the results of a study conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on the island’s energy sufficiency between 2020 and 2023.

Besides new RES facilities and the storage system, the RAE plan includes the conversion of 100-MW diesel-powered units at Atherinolakkos into natural gas-fired power stations, as well as the development of a new power station, preferably gas-fired, with a capacity of roughly 100 MW.

These measures are seen as optimal in terms of energy sufficiency, feasibility and environmental protection.

 

Four-pronged solution likeliest to avert Crete energy shortage

Currently examining options to prevent a looming energy shortage on Crete as of next year, when outdated high-polluting power stations will need to cease operating, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appears most likely to settle for a four-pronged solution involving facility conversions, the introduction of a new gas-fueled unit, additional renewable energy output and energy storage.

The package, constituting one of several plans researched by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), is seen as an optimal solution as it combines energy sufficiency, economy and environmental protection.

Crete faces an energy sufficiency alert between 2020 – when older units will cease operating and a small-scale grid interconnection linking the island with the Peloponnese is launched – and 2023, when a large-scale interconnection linking the island’s grid with Athens is expected to be completed.

The NTUA proposal includes converting 100-MW diesel-fueled units at Atherinolakkos to a gas-fueled facility; installing a new 100-MW unit, preferably gas fueled; development of new RES facilities with a total capacity of between 100 and 150 MW; and, in an unprecedented move for Greece, the installation and incorporation into the grid of energy storage systems (high-tech batteries) with a capacity of 30 to 40 MW.

Development of this four-pronged solution has, in effect, already begun but details still need to be discussed with energy ministry officials, the IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO operators, and power utility PPC.

 

RAE aims for energy storage framework draft by end of year

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has begun work on regulatory framework concerning the installation, operation and pricing of energy storage stations at electricity transmission and distribution networks, whose initial draft it aims to have completed and delivered to the Greek government and European Commission authorities by the end of the year.

The authority has already assembled a team that is working intensively to meet this target, sources said.

The results of a related public consultation procedure, a National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) study on renewable energy sector growth in the years to come, as well as data emerging from equivalent efforts around Europe, are all being used by the RAE team for guidance.

The main question that needs to be resolved by RAE at this stage is whether additional framework concerning the financial support of energy storage units will be required. If so, details concerning the shape of this support mechanism, the level of earnings energy storage unit investors should expect, as well as the parties to be responsible for covering the resulting cost (i.e. consumers, electricity supply companies, RES producers) will need to determined.

The prospective installation of energy storage stations on non-interconnected islands and the mainland will be examined as separate cases by RAE.

As part of its National Energy and Climate Plan, Greece is aiming for renewable energy to have captured a share of at least 31 percent of overall energy consumption by 2030.

 

Siemens Gamesa launches innovative energy storage system

In a world first, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), a global leader in the wind energy industry with a strong presence in all areas of the wind business, has  begun operation of its electric thermal energy storage system (ETES), a world first, the company has announced in a statement.

The innovative storage technology makes it possible to store large quantities of energy cost-effectively and thus decouple electricity generation and use.

During the opening ceremony, German’s Energy State Secretary Andreas Feicht, Hamburg’s First Mayor Peter Tschentscher, Siemens Gamesa CEO Markus Tacke and project partners Hamburg Energie GmbH and Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) welcomed the achievement of this milestone.

The heat storage facility, which was ceremonially opened in Hamburg-Altenwerder, contains around 1,000 tonnes of volcanic rock as an energy storage medium. It is fed with electrical energy converted into hot air by means of a resistance heater and a blower that heats the rock to 750°C. When demand peaks, ETES uses a steam turbine for the re-electrification of the stored energy. The ETES pilot plant can thus store up to 130 MWh of thermal energy for a week. In addition, the storage capacity of the system remains constant throughout the charging cycles.

The aim of the pilot plant is to deliver system evidence of the storage on the grid and to test the heat storage extensively. In a next step, Siemens Gamesa plans to use its storage technology in commercial projects and scale up the storage capacity and power. The goal is to store energy in the range of several gigawatt hours (GWh) in the near future. One gigawatt hour is the equivalent to the daily electricity consumption of around 50,000 households.

“Decoupling generation and consumption of fluctuating renewable energy via storage is an essential contribution to implementing the energy system transformation. We therefore need cost-effective, efficient and scalable energy storage systems,” stressed Feicht, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.

“With the commissioning of our ETES pilot plant, we have reached an important milestone on the way to introducing high-performance energy storage systems. Our technology makes it possible to store electricity for many thousands of households at low cost. We are thus presenting an elementary building block for the further expansion of renewable energy and the success of the energy transition,” remarked Markus Tacke, CEO of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

The technology reduces costs for larger storage capacities to a fraction of the usual level for battery storage.

The Institute for Engineering Thermodynamics at Hamburg University of Technology and the local utility company Hamburg Energie are partners in the innovative Future Energy Solutions project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy within the “6. Energieforschungsprogramm” research program. TU Hamburg carries out research into the thermodynamic fundamentals of the solid bulk technology used.

By using standard components, it is possible to convert decommissioned conventional power plants into green storage facilities (second-life option). Hamburg Energie is responsible for marketing the stored energy on the electricity market. The energy provider is developing highly flexible digital control system platforms for virtual power plants. Connected to such an IT platform, ETES can optimally store renewable energy at maximum yield.

LNG terminal upgrade launch delay sparks mini energy alert

The commercial launch of gas grid operator DESFA’s upgraded LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, is headed for a slight delay that could place some pressure on the country’s grid as a result of the higher energy demand anticipated as winter draws nearer.

DESFA had committed itself – in writing – to a commercial launch of a third storage tank by the end of November, for a needed capacity increase at the LNG terminal, while an official launch ceremony, possibly with the participation of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, has been planned for November 22.  This date remains unchanged.

However, latest developments suggest the commercial launch will not be possible prior to mid-December, sparking a mini energy sufficiency alert. A meeting involving all related authorities was staged yesterday at the energy ministry.

A fifteen-day delay may not seem drastic, but it could prove pivotal for Greece’s energy-related matters this winter given the European energy market’s prevailing conditions. Under a new term, electricity producers must maintain seasonal reserves.