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.

Gas-fueled power producers take on LNG tanker security measure costs

Natural-gas fueled electricity producers will assume the cost of a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) decision to hire a tanker for additional storage capacity at the Revythoussa islet LNG terminal, just off Athens, as a precautionary gas supply measure for this winter season.

The details concerning the cost coverage of this measure have been included in an energy ministry amendment of a bill drafted for the establishment of energy communities, promising decentralized, locally generated energy solutions.

According to local regulations, licensed natural-gas fueled electricity producers need to maintain agreements with DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, as well as natural gas reserves.

Costs to be covered by natural-gas fueled electricity producers include the tanker’s hiring and operational costs.

A tanker loaded with 120,000 cubic meters of LNG arrived at Revythoussa at the beginning of this year and will remain docked at the facility until the end of February to offer supply security should high-demand conditions emerge, as was the case last winter, when the system was stretched to its limits.

US giant Tesla looking to establish R&D base in Greece

US giant Tesla, specializing in electric cars, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing, is examining the prospect of establishing an R&D center in Greece, energypress sources have informed.

The Silicon Valley company, one of the world’s biggest technological firms, has been engaged in talks with Greek government officials over the past few months, the sources said.

Tesla is said to be considering beginning with a modest investment. However, investment decisions have yet to be taken as the US firm is seeking to secure the best possible operating conditions before pursuing any plans. The US firm, striving for a high-yield arrangement carrying minimal risk, is expecting the Greek government to take action and shape appropriate conditions. The ball is now believed to be in the Greek government’s court.

A highly-ranked Tesla official contacted by energypress refused to make any comments on the matter.

In an interview with local newspaper Avgi tis Kyriakis, Research and Innovation Deputy Minister Costas Fotakis, who is spearheading the Greek government’s effort to lure the Elon Tusk-led US firm to Greece, noted that establishing local R&D departments of rapidly growing foreign firms stands as a key short-term objective. This suggests the government will strive to establish an agreement with Tesla.

The US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, has often referred to the prospects of Greek-American collaboration in the R&D domain. Last summer, Fotakis, the deputy minister, was among the guests at a Fourth of July function organized by the American diplomat at his Athens residence.

Tesla’s Chief Motor Designer, Kostis Laskaris, a Greek national who gained a PhD in electrical engineering systems at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), has been employed at the Silicon Valley firm since 2012.

Greece’s R&D sector has been subdued in recent years as a result of a lack of funding and mass exodus of young scientists.

RAE working on country’s long-term energy plan, due by end of year

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, backed by environment and energy ministry, is working on delivering a long-term energy plan for Greece by the end of this year.

The plan will include initiatives to help Greece reach climate change targets the country agreed to, for 2030, at the COP21 climate conference in Paris late in 2015, and also detail energy market revisions, including pricing issues.

The European Commission’s recent winter package, announced in November, requires all EU member states to prepare national energy and climate plans, based on 2030 targets, within 2017.

RAE has assumed the task of preparing a plan based on new conditions and needs. It will provide  proposals for revisions to the country’s energy portfolio, detailing necessary investments and infrastructrure, all in line with EU directives.

Besides ensuring a gradual expansion of the renewable energy sector, the RAE plan will also aim to achieve a balanced mix of energy-generating technologies, improve energy efficiency, and further diversify conventional energy sources through the development of new pipelines, refineries, natural gas and oil storage facilities, electicity network interconnection projects, and smart meters capable of handling renewable energy output fluctuations.

The RAE plan will also provide prerequisites needed for the establishment of a modern energy market for electricity and gas. Its framework will include features such as a secondary market.

Lessons learnt from the energy supply crisis last winter will help shape the long-term energy plan.


Preliminary moves explored for energy storage system development

The Greek government is exploring preliminary moves to start developing energy storage systems in Greece, well behind in this domain compared to other countries, where such units are already being installed, both at commercial and household levels.

According to market officials contacted by energypress, the prospect of energy storage development is expected to prove a major challenge for Greece as a result of the local energy market’s particularities. More specifically, these officials believe that the local market’s lack of electricity price fluctuations does not provide the appropriate conditions that would guarantee returns on energy storage investments.

Asked about the issue at an Athens Energy Forum event held Wednesday and Thursday, Nikos Hatziargyriou, the chief official at DEDDIE, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, noted that energy storage units represent an efficient solution for the islands, as they may contribute to local energy sufficiency.

The head official at DEDDIE, locally acronymed HEDNO, also said new guidelines set by the European Commission permit operators to stage related tenders in order to determine whether investor interest exists. If a lack of private-sector investor interest is confirmed through such a procedure, operators, if they wish, may proceed and invest themselves, Hatziargyriou explained.

The DEDDIE official explained that the issue needs to be worked on in collaboration with RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, so that an appropriate regulatory framework may be established.

Energypress sources contended that an energy storage market could theoretically be developed in the household sector to utilize daytime and nighttime electricity tariff differences. Such an investment, in a Tesla type battery, for example, could be recovered in 7 to 8 years, the sources contended.


Energy crisis spurring plans for gas infrastructure projects

The establishment of gas storage infrastructure, as part of the local energy market’s strategic planning, has developed into a top-priority issue for the country’s energy ministry.

This direction is largely due to the ongoing supply crisis in the energy market, especially the gas sector, a situation which, amongst other things, has highlighted the need to be able to store natural gas, a fuel considered certain to play a key role in Greece’s future energy mix, even if coal remains a pivotal factor.

Energy ministry officials are currently assessing the respective situations of projects related to the strategy, the aim being to accelerate their progress.

Information is being gathered on projects concerning an upgrade of the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens, as well as the addition of a floating LNG facility at this terminal; the development of a gas storage facility at the Gulf of Kavala in northern Greece; as well as the construction of a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece.

Energy ministry officials consider delays experienced in the development of a third LNG tank at the Revythoussa facility as inexcusable. This project, commissioned by DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016 but major delays are  expected. The addition of a third tank stands to increase the facility’s capacity from 130,000 cubic meters to 225,000 cubic meters. This alone will increase market competition as users will be able to store gas at Revythoussa for as many 28 days, up from the present limit of 18 days.

The energy ministry now holds a far more favorable view of a plan entailing the transformation of a depleted gas deposit in the Gulf of Kavala into an underground gas storage facility. The ministry wants this project to be reclassified as an EU Project of Common Interest (PCI), which would facilitate funding.

The prospective FSRU in Alexandroupoli is a private-sector venture and will entirely depend on the progress of the Greek-Bulgarian IGB pipeline.

An idea to dock a floating LNG tanker with a capacity of around 120,000 cubic meters at the Revythoussa terminal and use it as a storage facility was prompted by the ongoing energy crisis. A low-cost solution estimated at between 10 and 15 million euros, it would not take long to set up and launch.



New Brussels-required energy strategy committee imminent

A special committee to be charged with preparing a new national strategic energy plan required by the European Commission is expected to be established within February through a ministerial council decision.

This committee is needed as a result of the European Commission’s recently presented “winter package”, requiring all EU member states to prepare national energy and climate strategies within 2017. Targets looking ahead to 2030 are expected.

According to energypress, the procedure for the establishment of the Greek committee has been prepared.

The committee’s national energy and climate strategy will need to take into account new conditions and needs, offer solutions to the country’s energy portfolio and determine investment and infrastructure development needs, all within an EU context.

The strategy will also need to provide guidelines for further renewable energy sector growth; a balanced energy production technology mix; energy efficiency improvement; increased conventional energy source diversification through development of natural gas pipelines as well as natural gas and oil storage facilities; and development of interconnections and digital networks.

New market systems, including secondary markets, for both the natural gas and oil sectors will also be included in the national strategy.

PPC to test pioneering RES energy storage system on island

Serving as an indicator of its possible future moves in the renewable energy (RES) sector, main power utility PPC has decided to install – as a pilot project – a pioneering lithium-ion battery system for energy storage at its production facility on the Dodecanese island of Karpathos.

The battery energy storage system, developed by German company Accusol, will be used on a trial basis over a six-month period, free of charge, while PPC will be given the right to extend this period by a further six months. The battery energy storage system, featuring hybrid technology, has a 40-KW capacity.

This technology promises to store renewable-source energy and be injected into the grid whenever required, without destabilizing the network.

The storage capacity of lithium-ion battery systems promises to help counter the shortcomings of RES facilities, which cannot function uninterruptedly as a result of their reliance on specific weather conditions – sun for solar parks and windy conditions for wind parks.

Though relatively small, Accusol maintains a close association with fellow German corporate giant Siemens. The firm began producing high-tech energy storage products in 2012. Accusol also collaborates with Germany’s Windwärts Energy GmbH on the installation of photovoltaic systems for industrial use, as well as other firms on a variety of projects.