Pilot auction for 200-MW RES units combining energy storage worked on

A new RES support framework prepared by the energy ministry for the European Commission to examine includes provisions for a pilot auction offering tariffs to 200-MW RES projects combining energy storage, energypress sources have informed.

This is the first time a specific tariff-related procedure is being prepared for this category of projects, expected to play an instrumental role on the country’s energy map in the years ahead.

However, it remains unclear when such RES production-energy storage project combinations could mature.

A recent legislative revision delivered by the energy ministry freezes, until the end of the year, applications and issuance of production licenses, environmental permits and connection terms for energy storage projects combining RES units until a related framework is, in the meantime, established.

The new RES support mechanism, nearing finalization as details are being worked on by energy ministry and Brussels officials, is expected to facilitate the continuation of competitive procedures for tariffs until 2025.

 

 

Huawei FusionSolar Residential Smart PV wins iF design award

Two key products from Huawei FusionSolar Residential Smart PV product suite – SUN2000 Smart Energy Controller and LUNA 2000 Smart String Energy Storage System (ESS) – have recently been honored with iF Design Awards 2021.

These awards demonstrate the global recognition of Huawei’s creative and user-friendly designs that blend function and emotion, and fuse tech with nature. This marks the second such iF Design Award bestowed upon Huawei residential Smart PV solution, following the success of FusionSolar App in 2020.

Huawei has always adhered to user-centered and innovative product design principles to meet the needs of customers around the world.

Since 1953, the iF Design Award is organized by Hannover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH, the oldest industrial design institute in Germany, and has become one of the world’s three most prestigious design awards, and also known as the “Design Oscar”.

It builds its reputation on independent, rigorous, and reliable guiding principles. Since 1953, the iF Design Award has been recognized internationally as a symbol of design excellence. The jury of almost 60 world-renowned experts from more than 20 countries select products that excel in design, user experience, and innovation based on rigorous criteria and procedures.

SUN2000 Smart Energy Controller

The SUN2000 Smart Energy Controller features a smooth and exquisite appearance that matches its powerful functions. As the first-of-its-kind smart PV inverter utilizing AI-boost arcing protection, the smart energy controller boasts the highest safety rating and can increase energy yields by 30% when coupled with the optimizer, providing users with safe, stable, and green energy. Thus, it enables families to enjoy a low-carbon life.

LUNA2000 Smart String Energy Storage System

The smooth, sleek, waterfall-inspired aesthetic design of LUNA2000 ensures a good fit in the home environment, where the device serves as a backup power supply. Advanced high-voltage parallel connection technology supports the mixed-use of both old and new batteries. Its modular design promises both pack-level and rack-level optimizations that can increase the charge and discharge capacity, maximizing the potential of each battery. The home energy storage system gives homeowners confidence and peace of mind with five layers of safety protection.

Huawei FusionSolar App

As an integral part of our residential solution, Huawei FusionSolar App was also recognized with an iF Design Award in 2020. The app refines management to the module level and offers a user-friendly interface, presenting all the information you need right at your fingertips. It also allows you to check home power consumption in real-time and provides suggestions on how to fully utilize excess solar energy, while supporting intelligent management of each PV module to improve the efficiency of energy production. This attention to detail even extends to the APP’s interface that appears warm in color, bringing to mind the comforting warmth of home.

Huawei FusionSolar Residential Smart PV solution has already been deployed in over 500,000 households around the world, and has redefined modern living through three-layer protection, proactive safety for the entire house, intelligent management of each PV module to ensure optimal power generation performance, and stable operation during power outages.

 

 

 

 

RES simplification, energy storage bills in September

The energy ministry plans to submit a draft bill to Parliament in September, following public consultation, for a second round of RES licensing simplifications concerning new projects.

During this time, the ministry intends to have also finalized and forwarded its legislative framework for the emerging energy storage sector, to play a crucial role in the country’s ambitious RES output targets.

The energy ministry plans to jointly submit the RES licensing simplification and energy storage bills to Parliament.

The new RES licensing simplification revisions will be based on a key proposal made by the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, heading the ministry’s RES licensing committee, entailing the termination of non-binding connection offers.

Instead, investors behind new RES projects will directly proceed to applications for finalized connection offers, once environmental permits have been issued.

Also, RES investors will be set time limits to submit installation permit applications for projects. Time will begin counting as soon as the investors have accepted finalized connection offers. If the time limit is not met, RES production certificates for corresponding projects will automatically expire.

According to the ministry plan, PV projects, land-installed wind turbines and hybrid stations will be given 12-month periods, while all other RES technologies and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) units will have 18 months.

Licensing authorities will also be set time limits, according to the plan. They will be given 20-day limits to request any additional information or clarification from investors. Also, authorities will have 20 days to issue RES licenses once applications are deemed complete.

Energy storage interest enormous, applications for over 12 GW

Investment interest for the installation of energy storage units is already considerable, even though related licensing and support mechanism frameworks have yet to be established, data presented yesterday by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has shown.

According to the data, RAE, since October, 2019, has received 123 applications for prospective energy storage and pumped storage projects representing a total of 12,229 MW.

Of these applications, 110 concern energy storage systems representing a total capacity of 9,102 MW, the RAE data showed.

To date, RAE has already issued production licenses for 38 energy storage units with a total capacity of 3,582 MW.

A further 12 applications representing 2,447 MW are for pumped storage units, not including a Terna Energy project in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece.

So far, RAE has issued three licenses for pumped storage facilities representing 807 MW.

Energy ministry officials already suspect the energy storage market may experience overheating issues, as has been the case with the RES market.

Energy storage subsidies to ‘cover up to 40% of project cost’

The energy ministry is close to finalizing the shape of its proposal for a competitive procedure concerning investment support qualification for energy storage units through the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou informed yesterday during a speech on the first day of a conference titled “Investing in Green Energy Transition: Energy Storage – New Technologies – Energy Saving”.

According to Sdoukou, the ministry is striving to forward its proposal to the European Commission as soon as possible as Athens aims to launch the competitive procedure in the first quarter of 2022.

Investors are expected to be offered 200 million euros through the competitive procedure as investment support for energy storage systems totaling at least 500 MW.

Greece is expected to have determined and notified all qualifying parties by the second quarter of 2023.

The government aims to offer a total of 450 million euros as investment support for energy storage and pumped storage projects.

Sdoukou asserted that this amount will suffice to cover subsidies of up to 40 percent for the development of energy storage systems, necessary to support the country’s increased RES penetration objective set for 2030.

Ministry puts brake on RAE-licensed energy storage plans

The energy ministry is stopping the implementation of RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy)-licensed energy storage station plans as it wants to avoid priority treatment in power grid operator IPTO’s examination of connection-term applications submitted by investors already holding production licenses.

The ministry intends to first ensure the induction of investment plans already holding production licenses into the new, soon-to-be-legislated licensing framework for energy storage units before all investment plans, old and new, are examined from scratch, to determine the processing order of IPTO connection-term applications.

According to energypress sources, the government was never in favor of a policy pursued by RAE to license energy stations despite the absence of a legislative framework for this sector.

The majority of RAE’s energy-storage licenses have been granted through an existing framework for natural gas-fired power stations, used as a surrogate framework.

According to data recently presented by RAE president Athanasios Dagoumas, the authority, since 2019, has received a total of 98 applications for energy storage, pumped storage and hybrid units representing a total capacity of 8,213 MW.

By April, this year, RAE had issued production licenses for the majority of these applications, while the examination of a further 34, representing a capacity of 4,519 MW, was pending.

Solar, wind, energy storage system costs ‘exceed’ RAE figures

The cost of installing and launching solar and wind energy facilities, as well as storage systems, exceeds levels presumed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, RES agencies and investors have pointed out in public consultation staged by the authority on the cost of new entry for all electricity generation technologies.

RES equipment costs have not only failed to stabilize in recent times, but, on the contrary, struck an upward trajectory, RES officials highlighted.

Some public consultation participants pointed out that RAE’s figures only factor in equipment supply and construction costs without taking into account the connection costs entailed.

SEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, rejected RAE’s capital expenditure estimate for domestic roof-mounted solar panel installations, presumed to be €550,000/MW, noting this figure is extremely low and does not reflect actual market conditions.

The association also noted that RAE’s €400,000/MW CAPEX estimate for commercial PVs is also too low, contending this cost ranges between €500,000-€550,000/MW.

The capital expenditure figure for offshore wind farms is far greater than RAE’s estimate of 3.1 million euros per MW, contended ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

“Given the lack of relevant experience in Greece, depth of the seas, and the still-undeveloped supply chain, the €3.1m/MW estimate is probably very optimistic,” ELETAEN stated.

Ministry committee set to deliver energy-storage framework plan

Facilities operating purely as energy storage stations will be placed under one category for licensing and regulatory purposes, while a separate category will be established for operations combining storage and RES stations, according to a proposal being prepared by a special committee assembled by the environment and energy ministry.

Also, all electricity markets, such as the day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets, will be open to all energy storage units, regardless of category, according to sources.

Units operating as energy storage stations, alone, are likely to receive licenses through an existing framework already used to grant licenses to natural gas-fired power stations, sources informed.

RAE has resorted to this existing framework as a solution to offer production licenses to a number of companies that have lodged applications for large-scale battery facilities.

The committee, set to stage its final session tomorrow, is expected to present a finalized proposal early next week to authorities, including political officials, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, energy market operators, and the energy exchange.

The energy ministry, placing great emphasis on energy storage as part of the country’s decarbonization strategy, intends to forward the committee’s framework plan for public consultation at the end of June. The ministry plans to submit a related draft bill to Parliament by October 31.

PPC lignite electricity packages through futures market

State-controlled power utility PPC will soon begin offering rival suppliers lignite-generated electricity packages through the target model’s futures market, energy minister Kostas Skrekas and the European Commission’s Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, also Brussel’s Commissioner for Competition, have agreed at a meeting yesterday.

Vestager, during the session, also made clear that the balancing cost of a mechanism concerning power purchase agreements (PPAs) between industrial producers and RES producers cannot be subsidized, but, instead, will need to be aligned with terms that apply for other EU member states.

Athens expects to submit its PPA plan to Brussels in June for approval.

Also next month, the government plans to submit its support framework proposal for energy storage units.

As for the country’s Strategic Reserve Mechanism, the European Commission’s deputy requested a new proposal from Athens, in line with new EU directives.

Under the Strategic Reserve Mechanism, PPC and all other electricity producers opting to withdraw units from the market for back-up services, would be remunerated for sidelining these units for periods determined by IPTO, the power grid operator.

Vestager stressed that the country’s Strategic Reserve Mechanism cannot coincide with the wider Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM).

The Brussels deputy also pointed out that a compensation request made by Greece for PPC’s redevelopment of lignite areas, part of the decarbonization effort, is legally baseless and cannot be pursued further.

Energy storage subsidy program in 1Q next year

A competitive procedure to offer 200 million euros in subsidies for energy storage projects is planned to take place in the first quarter of 2022, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has told the 6th Delphi Economic Forum, making clear the ministry’s determination to utilize as swiftly as possible funds being made available for energy storage through the national recovery plan, dubbed Greece 2.0.

In the lead-up, the energy ministry intends to invite investors interested in participating in the procedure to submit investment plans in autumn.

The procedure will be based on a related framework, describing the conditions and terms, to require the European Commission’s approval.

The subsidy program will financially support energy storage installations to offer capacity totaling hundreds of MW, the minister told the forum.

The Greece 2.0 national recovery plan, to carry funds expected to be worth a total of 450 million euros, will also be used to support the development of pumped storage stations.

Investors have expressed tremendous interest in the development of energy storage units. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has received a large number of production license applications for various RES technology units.

Since 2019, RAE has received a total of 98 applications for energy storage units, pumped storage facilities and hybrid stations, representing a total of 8,213 MW, which, along with a prospective pumped storage station set for development by Terna Energy in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece, will reach 8,893 MW.

To date, RAE has granted licenses for the majority of these applications, while 34, representing 4,519 MW, still need to be processed.

 

Energy investment activity rising, focus on RES projects, energy transition

Investment activity in the domestic energy sector is rising with major deals being negotiated, the main focus being on renewables and the energy transition, participants at yesterday’s Delphi Economic Forum made clear.

This activity promises significant growth for all RES technologies, even the more innovative, such as offshore wind farms and energy storage units.

Major energy players are moving to capitalize on opportunities that are emerging as the country pushes ahead with its decarbonization effort. Also, investor talks concerning domestic and international partnerships, the latter promising to secure expertise in sectors such as offshore wind farms, are in progress.

Power utility PPC, moving ahead with RES investments, aims to have launched projects with a total capacity of 1.5 GW by 2023. The utility’s redevelopment plan for the country’s two lignite-dependent regions, Ptolemaida, in the north, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, is in progress.

PPC plans to invest 3.4 billion euros on RES project development in these regions, and an upgrade of their distribution networks, Konstantinos Mavros, chief executive of PPC Renewables, a PPC subsidiary, told the forum.

PPC is also expected to establish partnerships facilitating its entry into the offshore wind market. In addition, the company also aims to have formed a joint venture with German power company RWE by the end of summer for development of RES projects totaling 2 GW.

Elsewhere, energy company Mytilineos is also preparing a strategic alliance with a major international group for its entry into the offshore wind farm sector.

Mytilineos is also close to completing, this year, a major post-lignite investment in natural gas-fueled electricity generation. In addition, the company plans to develop 300 MW in wind farms and 1.5 GW in solar farms over the next two years.

Furthermore, Mytilineos plans to develop 20 energy storage projects, each with 50 MW capacity, by utilizing its immense knowhow gained in this field through involvement in such projects abroad.

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is preparing RES and digital transition projects and will concurrently focus efforts to reduce carbon emissions and develop more eco-friendly products, including biofuels and hydrogen.

The Copelouzos group is nearing an investment decision on the development of a natural gas-fueled power station in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece. A decision is expected this summer. The group is currently engaged in talks with neighboring North Macedonia’s power utility for its possible entry into this project as a minority partner.

As for networks, power grid operator IPTO has planned numerous projects as part of a ten-year investment plan worth five billion euros. The operator anticipates new RES project penetration of 17 GW, a forecast exceeding the National Energy and Climate Plan’s goals.

DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, has put together a 3 billion-euro investment plan for the two next regulatory periods, each four years long. Projects include network undergrounding, service upgrades and improvement, new technologies, as well as grid digitalization projects.

Energy storage applications at 9 GW, regulatory framework pending

Applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, since 2019 for energy storage projects involving all technologies have exceeded past levels, as well as expectations, to reach a total of almost 9 GW, the authority’s chief executive Thanassis Dagoumas has told an IENE online workshop on energy storage.

Over the past two or so years, RAE has received a total of 98 applications for energy storage, pumped storage and hybrid projects representing an overall capacity of 8,213 MW, the official informed.

Taking into account a Terna Energy investment plan for a pumped storage station complex in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece, whose development is set to commence in October, this capacity totals 8,893 MW.

To date, RAE has issued production licenses for the majority of these applications, while 34, representing 4,519 MW, still need to be examined.

Despite the progress and considerable interest shown by investors, many issues remain unresolved for an energy storage regulatory framework.

To date, energy storage production licenses granted by RAE have been based on an existing framework for natural gas-fueled power stations.

Much work is still needed before some of the investment plans can be developed, Dagoumas, the RAE chief, acknowledged during the IENE event.

First of all, authorities need to decide on a support mechanism that could make these investment plans sustainable. A related study conducted last year on behalf of RAE showed that, without a support mechanism, energy storage units would not achieve sustainability.

This study also found that, given support, energy storage units would be both essential and beneficial for the grid.

Incorporating energy storage units into the National Energy and Climate Plan’s long-term planning for capacity sufficiency, as well as a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM), are also priorities, the RAE official noted.

The addition of energy storage units to the country’s energy plan is expected to subdue new power station investments and reinforce networks.

Other RAE priorities include incorporating energy storage into target model markets, a development promising balancing market flexibility.

Optimal energy storage capacity levels will need to reach 3 GW by 2030, 7 GW by 2040, and 12 GW by 2050, Pantelis Kapros, Professor of Energy Economics at the National Technical University of Athens, told the event.

Mechanisms, competition on Vestager agenda, here May 13

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas intends to present his case for the introduction of five support mechanisms encouraging energy-sector investments in Greece’s ongoing transition towards carbon neutrality to the European Commission’s Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, also Brussel’s Commissioner for Competition, on the occasion of the official’s upcoming visit to Athens, scheduled for May 13.

Vestager will be in the Greek capital with an agenda featuring two pending competition issues concerning state-controlled power utility PPC.

Greece has faced charges for PPC’s monopoly of the country’s lignite sources but an agreement was reached to end the case by introducing a mechanism offering the power utility’s rivals access to lignite-generated electricity.

A market test for this mechanism was completed some time ago but failed to attract any real interest from rival suppliers.

The percentage of lignite-based electricity made available by PPC, initially set at 50 percent of total lignite-fired output and then lowered to 40 percent, is viewed, by third parties, as too small for any real gains.

The second PPC-related matter to be discussed during Vestager’s visit concerns a recently initiated investigation by Brussels seeking to determine whether the power utility has engaged in activities impeding market competition.

Private-sector investors are pushing for a capacity remuneration mechanism (CRM) in order to go ahead with the development of natural gas-fueled power stations, needed as Greece heads towards a post-lignite era. Skrekas, the energy minister, has repeatedly said a CRM will be launched in June.

The minister also supports a strategic reserve mechanism to compensate PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, still needed for back-up services but nowadays loss-incurring as a result of higher CO2 emission right costs.

In addition, the government is seeking compensation for the premature closure of PPC’s lignite-fired power stations and related mines, being phased out until 2023.

The minister also supports a support framework for hybrid units on non-interconnected islands combining RES electricity generation and energy storage.

Skrekas is also striving to establish a mechanism that would subsidize RES producers for power purchase agreements (PPAs) with energy-intensive industrial enterprises as well as suppliers selling to major-scale consumers.

 

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.