Greek market coupling with Bulgaria scheduled for May 11

Greece’s next market-coupling step, a day-ahead market link with Bulgaria, following an equivalent step with Italy in December, is scheduled to take place on May 11 as part of a wider effort by Europe’s Nominated Electricity Market Operators and Transmission System Operators for a single European day-ahead market.

Preceding trial runs, started on March 16 and planned to take place until April 30, must be successfully completed before the Greek-Bulgarian day-ahead market link is given the green light for its launch.

Automatic energy flow from the more expensive to the less expensive electricity market is expected to initially prompt a slight reduction in domestic wholesale electricity prices.

Greater price convergence between the Greek and Bulgarian markets is expected to be achieved with the introduction of a second transmission line running from Nea Santa, northeastern Greece, to Bulgaria’s Maritsa area in the south. This second line promises to greatly boost transmission potential between the two countries.

The additional transmission line was originally slated for launch in 2023, but swift progress from the Bulgarian side has increased the likelihood of an earlier delivery, mid-way through 2022, according to Greek power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year development plan (2022-2031), forwarded for public consultation at the beginning of this year.

Until now, Bulgaria has clearly been the dominant electricity exporter in trading with Greece, but this role is expected to be reversed as of 2023 because Greek electricity prices will be relatively lower, according to ICIS, a specialized news portal covering energy and related domains.

IPTO, Terna plan Greek-Italian link boost of up to 1,000 MW

Power grid operator IPTO is taking initiatives to upgrade Greece’s interconnections with neighboring countries, acknowledging transboundary grid link insufficiencies are having a negative impact whose consequences include market functional disorders and higher electricity prices.

The operator has formed working groups with all of Greece’s neighboring countries to examine the prospect of constructing or reinforcing existing interconnections.

These associations include cooperation with Italian operator Terna. The two sides, prepared to consider both an upgrade of the existing system or the development of a new one, estimate that the Greek-Italian grid interconnection requires a capacity increase of between 500 and 1,000 MW.

According to sources, IPTO and Terna have agreed to proceed with related studies for an optimal solution as soon as possible. The operators intend to reach a decision within the next few months. Any selection will need to be approved by the Greek and Italian regulatory authorities of energy.

IPTO intends to include this project in its ten-year development plan covering 2022 to 2031, expected to be presented at the end of the year.

The existing Greek-Italian electricity grid interconnection, a 163km subsea cable with a 500-MW capacity in operation since 2002, will be used to facilitate the target model’s next stage, market coupling, beginning on December 15 with the aim of harmonizing the energy markets of the two countries.

ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, has pointed out that a Greek-Italian grid interconnection boost will be needed for an effective bridging of prices between the two countries.

ENTSO-E pledges for climate-neutral, resilient, innovative European recovery

The Green Deal represents an unprecedented energy and societal transition with a massive deployment of large-scale renewable sources, innovative low carbon technologies, deeper electrification, new electrical uses, and energy system integration. ENTSO-E welcomes the European Commission’s strategy to gear all policies towards achieving a climate-neutral, resilient and innovative EU. The European TSOs stand ready to do their part to help the green recovery.

During the COVID-19 crisis, TSOs have demonstrated their unfailing solidarity and entire commitment to deliver electricity to all EU consumers and vital services. This unprecedented crisis should not deter EU and national Governments to deliver on the Green Deal as it is core to the European economic recovery. For the green recovery to be a success, ENTSO-E recommends EU policy makers to:

1/ recognize the key-enabling role of electricity TSOs in the energy system integration. As system operators, grid planners & developers, and as market facilitators, TSOs can drive Europe’s energy ecosystem towards a “system of interconnected systems” starting with the development of a multi-sectorial approach to grid planning and anticipatory investment for both onshore and offshore networks.

2/ put electrification at the heart of EU decarbonization policies. Electricity is the dominant vector for clean energy and the electricity transmission network will play a central role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

3/ invest in low-carbon and fit-for-purpose infrastructures and their digital “twins”. Investing in the adequate extension of the transmission network and in the “cyber physical” power system delivers value for the whole society in terms of competitiveness, resilience and sustainability. Innovation is essential and especially in areas that will help most the transformation materialize.

4/ ensure a smooth recovery of the whole electricity value chain. The lockdown measures impacted the whole electricity sector. Risk of shortage in strategic value chains and of critical materials should be monitored and addressed. This is also about strengthening Europe’s industrial and strategic autonomy.

Investing in the transmission grid helps move the energy transition forward and concretely supports Europe’s economic recovery by generating direct and indirect revenues throughout the planning and building phase, and by reducing price differentials between regions and the overall energy costs. Policy makers’ and stakeholders’ support is needed to overcome barriers to the needed extension and upgrading of the transmission power network, notably when it comes to facilitating the permitting process.

ENTSO-E and its members are committed to put their expertise at the service of decision makers to turn the EU Green Deal into reality and believe that these recommendations will contribute to the climate-neutral, resilient and innovative recovery of the European economy.

IPTO: Thessaloniki RSC headquarters for southeast Europe in July

A Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) role for Thessaloniki planned by Greek power grid operator IPTO with its Romanian and Bulgarian peers, Transelectrica and ESO-EAD, respectively, will be ready for launch, from its headquarters in the northern Greek city, in the first week of July, energypress sources have informed.

IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis has declared the headquarters for southeast Europe’s RSC will be in Thessaloniki.

The Thessaloniki RSC plan was established by the Greek, Romanian and Bulgarian operators following years of negotiations with ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.

According to EU law, all European operators must, as of 2020, hand over a list of responsibilities to one regional security coordinator with headquarters at an EU member state.

These responsibilities include capacity calculation coordination, common network model development and regional security coordination.

Thessaloniki RSC autonomy threatened by ACER plan

A Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) for electricity in southeast Europe formed by Greece’s power grid operator IPTO with its Romanian and Bulgarian peers, Transelectrica and ESO-EAD, respectively, before Italy’s grid operator also joined and a decision was reached to establish Thessaloniki as its headquarters, is in jeopardy of losing is independence and operating as a subsidiary of a centralized unit covering all of Europe.

This plan has been proposed by ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, energypress sources have informed.

More specifically, ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, had proposed a plan entailing the establishment of four regional centers, prompting the partnership between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.

However, ACER now supports that new regulations call for a more coordinated solution that considers all of Europe as one security operational region. Particular regional needs could be dealt with through subsidiaries, according to ACER.

A decision is expected in April. The ACER proposal has alarmed Greek authorities as its adoption would undermine efforts made by IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to establish an independent center.

ENTSO-E: Greece in good position to meet energy demands this winter

Greece is in a good position to meet its energy demands this coming winter, even under unfavorable conditions, without import needs for most of the season, ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, has noted in its annual report.

The second half of December and January will be the most crucial period, the report noted, adding that RES curtailment is not expected to be needed in Greece.

Overall, the EU is ready to meet the winter’s energy demands, barring extraordinary conditions, according to the ENTSO-E report.

Temperatures 10 degrees Celsius below normal levels, combined with unanticipated capacity losses and low RES output, would create problems in Belgium and France in January, the report forecast. If so, these member states will need to depend on energy imports and possibly need to take emergency measures, it added.

ENTSO-E releases updated electricity demand forecasts for Greece

An updated ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity) report anticipating Greek electricity demand levels for the next ten years offers differing results compared to a ten-year forecast presented earlier this year by IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator.

The IPTO report forecast total electricity demand in Greece would reach 52,600 GWh this year, 57,100 GWh in 2020 and 60,930 GWh in 2025.

The ENTSO-E forecast expects demand to reach 55,903 GWh in 2020 and 68,421 GWh in 2025.

As for natural gas demand, the European network forecast a steady trajectory in Greece until 2020.

EFET files complaint against Greek, Bulgarian operators

The European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET) has filed a complaint to the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) against the Greek and Bulgarian power grid operators, noting that the two are restricting trans-boundary trade between the two countries.

EFET described the conduct of IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, and ESO, its Bulgarian counterpart, as abuse of their dominant positions in natural monopolies.

The complaint filed by EFET was prompted by IPTO’s decision to ban electricity exports on January 11 and 12 and ETO’s ensuing electricity export ban, which began on January 13.

EFET noted that the trans-boundary trade restrictions imposed led to the violation of guaranteed rights concerning interconnection access.

In its complaint, the federation also pointed out that the export ban negatively impacted market players who do not have access to alternative electricity sources, prompting significant financial damages for certain producers.

This EFET complaint is the first to be filed as a result of the developments prompted by the energy crisis in early January. As a result, both IPTO and ETO are now both being closely watched by European authorities.