Athens to seek one exemption, revision at crucial EU meeting

Greece will seek one exemption as well as a revision to three European Commission proposals intended to raise funds from the energy market to help households and businesses cover costlier electricity bills when the EU’s energy ministers stage a crucial meeting this Friday.

Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas will strive for the continuation of a revenue recovery mechanism without a lifting of a price cap on natural gas-fueled power stations.

The European Commission has proposed a maximum price for all electricity generation technologies (RES, nuclear, hydropower without storage, lignite, biofuels and geothermal), with the exception of gas. However, the Greek model has featured a price cap on gas-fueled units since July.

According to sources, if Greece is unable to keep its price cap on gas-fueled units, then a surcharge of 10 euros per thermal MWh of natural gas quantities used by electricity producers will be imposed. This measure, announced last week, would raise 400 million euros annually, market officials have estimated.

Greece is also expected to seek revisions to a Brussels proposal aiming for a reduction in  electricity demand. Athens, sources informed, wants Brussels’ proposal for a 5 percent electricity consumption demand to be optional, not compulsory, as the European Commission has proposed. Major Greek industrial players have reacted against this measure, citing reduced competitiveness abroad.

Greece will adopt an extraordinary 33 percent tax on windfall profits earned by Greek refineries in 2022, Brussels’ third measure, the energy minister informed during a SKAI TV interview on Saturday.

 

Natural gas charge introduced for generation quantities

The energy ministry has announced a 10-euro per thermal MWh charge on natural gas used by natural gas-fueled power stations, a key reason behind the initiative being the need to reduce gas demand as part of the country’s wider effort for less gas consumption, ministry sources explained.

In addition, the measure’s implementation serves as preparation for a possible decision by EU member states to impose a price cap on all electricity generation technologies other than gas, the ministry sources noted.

Independent electricity producers admitted being caught by surprise, noting they found out about the new measure through the media.

“We are unaware of the reason why the ministry is proceeding with such a move given the fact that the revenue recovery mechanism (price cap) collects funds for energy-bill support,” one representative noted.

Electricity production company sources estimated the measure is worth roughly 400 million euros per year.

Brussels to demand reduced energy usage from member states

The European Commission is set to call on EU member states to implement a plan requiring consumers to use less electricity for three to four hours a day.

Though it will be at the discretion of EU member states to each decide their respective hours of reduced electricity usage, the fact that this energy-saving measure will be mandatory highlights the seriousness of the energy crisis.

A draft of Brussels’ plan was leaked yesterday ahead of a series of measures to be announced tomorrow by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Though the latest energy-saving proposal will offer some flexibility to governments, including the ability to implement the measure during hours when RES output is low, it is expected to prompt further disagreement between member states as to how the energy crisis should be confronted, as was the case last Friday at a meeting of EU energy ministers.

Other measures to be announced by the European Commission’s leader tomorrow will include compensation offers, through auctions, for industrial enterprises reducing energy consumption.

 

Windfall tax for oil and gas firms, government decides

Windfall profits earned in 2022 by petroleum companies, through their refineries, as well as by natural gas wholesalers, will be subject to an extraordinary solidarity tax, the government has decided, energypress sources have informed.

The money to be collected through this extraordinary tax will go towards the Energy Transition Fund to support the government’s energy subsidies offered to households and businesses.

The government’s plan to move ahead with this extraordinary tax is linked to a probable European-wide solidarity tax on windfall profits earned by fossil fuel companies.

The Greek plan will be shaped along the lines of a windfall tax model imposed on electricity producers.

This new windfall tax on oil and gas companies was discussed at last Friday’s emergency meeting of EU energy ministers. It was supported by Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas, as well as his German and Spanish counterparts.

The Greek government appears determined to implement the windfall tax on oil and gas companies even if it fails to receive EU approval. Athens recently imposed a 90 percent windfall tax on electricity producers without EU approval.

 

 

No EU decision seen today for cap on Russian gas prices

At least ten EU member states oppose singling out Russia for a cap on its gas prices, warning that such a move could push Russian president Vladimir Putin to cut supplies to Europe completely, the Financial Times has reported.

The EU countries opposing action against Russia, alone, including Greece, Italy and Poland, want caps on gas prices for all suppliers.

The lack of consensus on a gas price cap means that the proposal is not expected to lead to a decision at today’s emergency meeting of EU energy ministers.

“Quite frankly the Russians will probably retaliate on this,” Nikos Tsafos, chief energy adviser to Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told the Financial Times.

“Europe should have a loud voice and impose a reasonable price,” said Italy’s energy transition minister Roberto Cingolani, saying he too preferred a general cap. “It is a perfect storm against our citizens and companies.”

Moscow has threatened to stop all gas supply to Europe should the EU impose a gas price cap. Russian gas supplies to the bloc have been cut by about 80 per cent to about 84mn cubic meters a day since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

 

Reduced power usage, gas price caps on EU meeting agenda

A list of emergency energy price-control measures to be discussed by the EU-27 energy ministers at an extraordinary meeting on September 9 make up a document prepared by the EU’s Czech presidency.

The proposals to be discussed, nine in total, include temporary caps on the price of natural gas used for electricity generation as well as plans for a reduction of electricity consumption.

Member states are already forming alliances and preparing to back preferred strategies ahead of the emergency meeting.

The document highlights the need for a united European response to soaring energy prices, while also underlining the difficult winter that lies ahead. “The resilience of the European energy market will be tested in the coming winter,” the document notes.

The list of proposals to be discussed also includes a temporary cap on the price of imported natural gas from specific sources of origin, as well as temporary exclusion of natural gas power plants from energy exchange clearing prices.

 

Nord Steam I indefinite closure raises alarm in the EU

Gazprom’s announcement of a latest closure for the Nord Steam I gas pipeline, until further notice, a move that will significantly reduce Russia’s gas supply to Europe, has raised EU concerns to a new high.

In response, an EU crisis team will hold an emergency teleconference meeting today to assess new market conditions resulting from the closure, for an indefinite period, of the Nord Steam I gas pipeline, northern Europe’s main supply route for Russian gas.

Russian gas supply to Europe through Ukraine has already been severely limited.

New measures are likely to be agreed on, to protect EU energy security ahead of winter, at today’s EU crisis team meeting, including moves for energy rationing, seen as an inevitability if Nord Steam I remains closed for an extended period.

“The EU is now in the red zone as further demand reduction needs to take place,” said Thierry Bros, a professor in international energy at Sciences Po in Paris. He estimates an extra 3% of demand needs to be cut.

 

European resolve for crisis solution containing gas prices

The growing resolve of European officials to find solutions that could contain gas prices is already producing results, as highlighted by a significant price reduction of just over 30 percent over the past week.

Germany appears to have changed stance by joining EU member states of the south in their call for a cap on natural gas, now being examined by the European Commission following a delay of many months.

Germany’s public admission that a single European solution is needed to counter the energy crisis, an acknowledgment coming after the country previously blocked proposals forwarded by Europe’s south, has swiftly impacted energy markets.

Yesterday’s news of a new Russian gas supply disruption through Nord Stream I, under the pretext of maintenance requirements, did not prompt a further increase in gas prices, as would be expected, but, instead, resulted in a price reduction. The TTF index fell yesterday to 239 euros per MWh, down from a record level of 346 euros per MWh on August 26, a 31 percent drop over the one-week period.

This reduction has filtered through to today’s wholesale electricity prices around Europe. They fell to 635 euros per MWh in France, 571 euros per MWh in Germany, 661 euros per MWh in Italy, and 582 euros per MWh in Greece and Bulgaria. The price level for Greece is approximately 100 euros lower compared to yesterday.

 

European gas storage units 80% full, sufficiency still not assured

Europe’s natural gas storage facilities have been filled to 80 percent of their capacity, on average, well ahead of an early-October target that had been set by EU authorities as an energy crisis emergency plan.

Given the intense competition anticipated for LNG cargoes in the international market, as well as Asia’s strengthened markets, securing sufficient reserves is important but not a guarantee that Europe will make it through the winter unscathed.

German estimates project that European gas reserves at 80 percent of storage capacity, as an EU average, would last for approximately two months if Russia were to fully disrupt its supply to Europe. The winter’s level of harshness will greatly shape consumption levels and, by extension, consequences.

European gas reserves are likely to reach 90 percent of storage capacity over the next month.

At this stage, the challenge for the EU is to continue securing gas loads. This would minimize the use of gas kept in storage and maintain high storage levels all the way through winter for a bolstered position looking further ahead.

 

Brussels preparing crisis action, natural gas price cap likely

The European Commission is preparing drastic action to counter the energy crisis in the form of a price cap on European wholesale gas prices to deescalate electricity prices around Europe.

According to energypress sources, details of the plan will have been finalized by around September 20 so that it can then be discussed by the EU’s energy ministers and heads of state.

Despite these necessary steps, the finalized plan could well be ready for implementation by the end of September as Brussels is seeking a swift procedure.

Highlighting the cruciality of the gas-cap plan for Brussels, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is being regularly updated on its progress by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy.

The Directorate-General for Energy is believed to be examining two alternative plans, sources informed.

The first alternative, seen as the more probable option, would entail gas import disruptions for gas offered at prices over the cap to be implemented. Brussels authorities believe Europe’s considerable share of global fuel demand could help subdue gas prices if orders are stopped collectively. The second alternative would involve subsidy support for gas imports.

 

 

EastMed pipeline consortium set to apply for PCI status

Boosted by the prospect of a significant gas deposit discovery off the Cyprus coastline, IGI Poseidon, the consortium behind the prospective EastMed gas pipeline, a 50-50 venture involving Edison and DEPA International Projects, is set to submit an application seeking Project of Common Interest (PCI) status, which assures EU funding support, for the gas pipeline project.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, skyrocketing oil and natural gas prices, as well as the EU’s efforts aiming for greater energy independence, with the backing of the US, are developments that have created new market conditions favoring the EastMed gas pipeline’s development.

On Monday, the ENI-Total consortium announced it has detected natural gas at Block 6 off the Cypriot coast, noting its preliminary estimates indicate the existence of a gas deposit measuring 2.5 trillion cubic feet, a significant quantity.

This gas deposit discovery is crucial for the sustainability prospects of the EastMed gas pipeline, intended to transport gas from deposits in the east Mediterranean to Europe.

According to a recent update from the IGI Poseidon consortium, the EastMed project’s licensing procedure and technical plans are nearing completion and should be finalized by the end of 2022. The EastMed gas pipeline could begin operating within 2027, the consortium added.

PCI-related funding support from the EU for the EastMed gas pipeline’s development would be crucial as this is a high-cost project, budgeted, most recently, at 5.2 billion euros.

Adverse market conditions pushing gas prices to new record levels

Europe’s energy market appears all the more likely to remain stuck in an extended energy crisis of new record levels for natural gas prices, and, by extension, electricity prices, analysts are projecting

Yesterday, gas prices at the Dutch TTF exchange neared a six-month high, rising by over 48 euros in a day as a response to an upcoming three-day disruption of operations at Nord Stream I at the end of the month for maintenance work.

European officials fear an extended disruption of Nord Stream I, beyond the scheduled three-day period.

Gas futures contracts for September yesterday reached as high as 293 euros per MWh, the highest level since March 8.

The energy situation in the European Union in the coming autumn and winter is going to be extremely difficult, the SEB bank noted in a report.

Yesterday, investment bank Citigroup warned that the inflation rate in the UK may reach 19 percent in early 2023 as a result of skyrocketing gas prices, projected to rise almost fivefold compared to the beginning of this year.

Europe will need to compete with major Asian LNG importers such as China, Japan and South Korea to secure required LNG loads, not subject to long-term supply agreements.

LNG prices in Asia have exceeded 57 dollars per million BTU, some loads offered for nearly 60 dollars per million BTU.

European gas storage units nearly 70% full, on course for October target

Europe’s gas storage facilities are estimated to be close to 70 percent full in early August, according to data provided by Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), representing the continent’s gas infrastructure operators.

Europe’s gas storage units continued being filled at a rapid rate in late July, despite the reduction of Gazprom’s gas supply through the Nord Stream I pipeline, now operating at just 20 percent of capacity.

Given the continent’s current gas storage levels, European authorities are confident an 80 percent objective can be achieved by early October. However, storage level discrepancies between EU member states remains a challenge that needs to be dealt with.

German gas storage units are now 70 percent full, while the level in Italy is higher, at 73 percent. On the contrary, gas storage facility levels are far lower elsewhere, registering 48 percent in Bulgaria, 24 percent in Ukraine and 53 percent in Croatia.

Day-ahead market split for RES, thermal units requested

The Greek government has proposed target model structural changes, at a European level, that would split the day-ahead market into two entities, one for RES, hydropower and nuclear facilities, and another for natural gas and coal-fired power stations.

For the first of these two new day-ahead market entities, producers would forecast production quantities and be remunerated based on bilateral contracts, detached from the day-ahead market.

For the second of the two new entities, natural gas and coal-fired power station producers, covering remaining energy needs, would submit financial and volume offers based on existing rules.

The Greek proposal was presented by energy minister at an EU council meeting of energy ministers on July 26, energypress sources informed.

Preliminary talks on the Greek proposal have already been held. The European Commission plans to deliver alternative proposals for the target model’s functioning by September.

The day-ahead market determines clearing prices in the electricity market.

 

 

Coal, nuclear exit slowdowns, demand-response part of EU plan

The European Commission plans to announce an energy-crisis emergency plan on July 20, its measures believed to include a slowdown of nuclear and coal-fired facility withdrawals in the EU, as well as a demand-response mechanism offering industrial consumers incentives to curb energy demand in exchange for compensation.

The EU is bracing for further cuts to Russian gas supply. Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom shut down Nord Stream I, a subsea pipeline linking Russia with Germany on July 11 for a 10-day period of maintenance work, according to Gazprom.

The EU’s emergency plan, to coincide with the end of this ten-day period, is expected to include measures aiming to cut gas use, incentives for firms to curb energy demand and gas savings now for stockpiling ahead of winter.

The European Commission plan will also call on EU member states to encourage industrial enterprises and electricity producers to switch energy sources and opt for biomass, biomethane, solar and and other renewable energy sources.

In addition, the plan will require thermal power stations equipped to also run on diesel to take necessary precautions enabling them to switch to diesel for continual periods of at least five days.

Italian gas storage up to 2 TWh from October for 5 months

Greek authorities are taking steps to prepare for a gas-storage solution ahead of next winter in neighboring Italy, in accordance with EU rules, requiring all member states without – or without sufficient – natural gas storage facilities, such as Greece, to store, by November 1, gas quantities representing 15 percent of annual consumption, based on last year’s level, at existing storage facilities maintained by fellow member states.

Based on this requirement and the country’s consumption level last year, Greece will need to store a total of approximately 900 million cubic meters of gas, or 8 TWh, of which up to 2 TWh will be stored at Italian facilities from October for a five-month period.

Storage costs for such a quantity are expected to reach 250 million euros, under favorable conditions.

A related proposal forwarded by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will undergo consultation before final decisions on the country’s gas storage plan are made.

 

Europe on alert, energy futures surging, concerns grow in north

Intensifying fears of energy security dangers around Europe next winter are becoming apparent as energy futures continue skyrocketing to unimaginable levels.

Europe is now in a state of heightened alert as the continent’s north, better equipped with greater energy storage facilities, is showing clear signs of serious concern, which was not the case earlier this year, when members of the continent’s south, including Greece, were systematically underlining the dangers ahead at every EU summit.

EU energy ministers have lined up yet another extraordinary Council meeting for July 26 to seek solutions for the Russian-induced gas supply crisis anticipated for next winter.

Highlighting Europe’s growing concerns, French futures for the fourth quarter, the heart of winter, yesterday peaked at 1,000 euros per MWh.

The French government’s announcement of a plan to fully nationalize debt-laden energy giant EDF in order to help it ride out the European energy crisis and invest in atomic plants preceded this latest price surge. Half of EDF’s nuclear reactors are currently sidelined as a result of technical issues.

In Germany, futures for December, 2022 yesterday exceeded 455 euros per MWh, fueled by news that the country’s Ver.di trade union has asked the government to accelerate a rescue plan for the Uniper energy group. The company itself has ascertained that a lump-sum tax plan stands no chance of being imposed, adding that consumers will not be called upon to cover the cost of the energy group’s rescue plan.

In neighboring Austria, moves are being made to secure space at Haidach, one of Europe’s biggest storage facilities, as Russia’s Gazprom has not met rules requiring storage facilities to cover a minimum level.

 

 

 

EU approves end of combustion engine sales by 2035

The European Union has approved a plan to end the sale of vehicles with combustion engines by 2035 in Europe, the 27-member bloc announced in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions to zero.

The measure, first proposed a year ago, will effectively halt sales of petrol and diesel cars as well as light commercial vehicles and facilitate a complete shift to electric engines in the European Union from 2035.

The plan is intended to help achieve the continent’s climate objectives, in particular carbon neutrality by 2050.

At the request of countries including Germany and Italy, the EU-27 also agreed to consider a future green light for the use of alternative technologies such as synthetic fuels or plug-in hybrids.

While approval would be tied to achieving the complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, the technologies have been challenged by environmental NGOs.

Environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg also approved a five-year extension of the exemption from CO2 obligations granted to so-called “niche” manufacturers, or those producing fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year, until the end of 2035. The clause will benefit luxury brands in particular.

These measures must now be negotiated with members of the European Parliament.

Greece seeks over €3bn from new EU climate-change fund

The Greek government is seeking more than three billion euros from the EU’s new climate-change fund, roughly the cost of measures designed to reduce the cost of power bills, for its electricity subsidies program.

The distribution plan for the new climate-change fund, approved in European parliament last week, is expected to offer Greece 5.5 percent of its 57 billion-euro starting sum.

Distribution details are still being negotiated by the EU’s 27 member states. Environment ministers will meet in Luxembourg today.

The new EU fund is expected to gradually grow through contributions raised by an extension of the carbon tax system (ETS II), planned to also cover buildings and transportation. The rise in fuel prices is expected to contribute many billions of euros in extra revenues to the climate-change fund.

The plan to extend the carbon tax system (ETS II) into transportation has prompted a strong reaction from the sector, representatives fearing additional costs without incentives for a shift away from fossil-fuel usage.

EU on edge as gas supply falls, emergency action in Germany

As officials in Greece and Europe tentatively wait to see if the TurkStream pipeline will resume operating next week, following an announcement several days ago by Russia’s Gazprom that gas supply via both lines of its TurkStream pipeline would be temporarily suspended June 21 to 28 for scheduled annual maintenance, Germany has just moved into the second of its three-stage emergency gas plan after Russia slowed supplies to the country, intensifying concerns of a market collapse.

The TurkStream suspension comes amid major disruptions to Gazprom’s supplies to Europe. Natural gas flow through the Nord Stream pipeline, running from Russia to Germany and also supplying the rest of Europe, has been cut by more than half since last week. Gazprom cited an equipment hold-up in Canada as a result of sanctions over the Ukraine war.

With fears, over recent months, of a drastic slowdown in Russian gas supply to Europe, now confirmed, the EU and its member states, all on high alert, are laying out emergency plans ahead of next winter.

Germany warned the country’s energy crisis may trigger a “Lehman effect” across the utility sector as it moved one step closer to rationing natural gas. “The whole market is in danger of collapsing at some point — so a Lehman effect in the energy system,” German economy minister Robert Habeck admitted at a press conference.

Under the second stage of Germany’s emergency gas plan, utility companies can pass on price increases to customers. The government is holding back on triggering a clause preventing this for now.

 

Shipping sector developing offshore wind farm interest

The shipping industry, domestic and foreign, is expressing growing investment interest for offshore wind farms and is awaiting the emerging sector’s regulatory framework to develop such projects in Greek sea territory, energypress sources have informed.

Though plans are still nascent, a considerable number of shipping companies and shipowners are already in talks with consultants for related feasibility studies.

Conditions for shipping industry players are favorable. Their earnings have skyrocketed amid abnormal market conditions, worldwide, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020. These higher earnings have generated additional capital for investment, prompting shipowners to consider the potential of offshore wind farms.

Anticipating strong growth in this emerging sector, metals production group Viohalco plans to proceed with an investment estimated to be worth 70 and 100 million euros, which, through subsidiary Cenergy Holdings, will merge the knowhow of group members Hellenic Cables and Corinth Pipeworks for the establishment of the world’s first industrialized unit for floating wind turbines.

Norway’s Equinor, the world’s biggest developer of offshore wind farms, has already expressed interest to develop projects in Greece, proposing an area between the Cyclades islands of Tinos, Syros and Mykonos.

In addition, TERNA Energy has reached an agreement with Ocean Winds, a partnership between EDP Renewables and Engie, for co-development of offshore wind farms offering a 1.5-GW capacity. Also, Mytilineos has reached an agreement with Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners. Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is currently engaged in talks with a major foreign company and Motor Oil has signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).

Power utility PPC is currently involved in talks with at least five foreign companies, including Australia’s Macquarie, which recently acquired a 49 percent stake in PPC subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s distribution network operator. PPC is also believed to be in talks with American fund Quadum.

The Copelouzos group has joined forces with RF Energy to establish Aegean Offshore Wind Farms, a company planning to develop offshore parks offering an 850-MW capacity.

Greek shipowners own 5,514 ships, controlling 32 percent of the world’s tankers, 25 percent of bulk carriers and 22 percent of LNG carriers, the latter category being crucial for Europe’s effort to end its reliance on Russian natural gas.

 

Israeli power grid operator officials in Athens for grid link

The energy ministry and power grid operator IPTO seem determined to press ahead with two major grid interconnection projects, one to link Greece with Cyprus and Israel, the other Greece and Egypt, REPowerEU, Europe’s strategic plan aiming to end the continent’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels through energy-source diversification, being the driving force behind this action.

IPTO, according to sources, is just about ready to forward a proposal for participation in EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium established for the development of the Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection.

Highlighting the activity concerning the project, officials of Israel’s power grid operator are in Athens for talks today with IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis and other company officials.

The Israeli officials will also take part in an ensuing meeting with Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas.

Israeli interest in the grid interconnection has grown following the European Commission’s decision to make available 657 million euros for the project’s Cyprus-Greece section.

The Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection will facilitate RES development in Israel, promising to contribute to the EU-27 aim for an end of Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

The grid link, to measure 1,208 kilometers and offer a 1-GW capacity, will also end Cyprus’ energy isolation and offer energy security to Israel.

It is budgeted at 2.5 billion euros with completion slated for the end of 2025, if procedures go according to plan.

Manousakis, the IPTO chief executive, plans to visit Cairo during June for talks with officials at Egypt’s power grid operator, EETC. Progress on the prospective Greek-Egyptian grid link has been smooth. The two sides are now preparing for a feasibility study.

Skrekas, the energy minister, is expected to be in Egypt sooner, to take part in the East Med Gas Forum, scheduled for June 14 and 15. He is expected to meet with Egyptian energy ministry officials on the sidelines of this event, for talks on the Greek-Egyptian grid link.

This project, based on a proposal from the Copelouzos group, entails a subsea cable from Egypt to the Greek capital.

It is budgeted at 3.5 billion euros and will offer a 3-GW capacity for renewable energy, which will also be exported to other EU member states through grid interconnections linking Greece with neighboring countries.

Energy price cap proposal makes EU summit summary

EU leaders participating in a two-day summit concluding today have agreed to ask the European Commission to examine the possible implementation of a cap on energy prices for a short period of time.

Brussels, facing the challenge of needing to find a solution that could contain energy prices, has received a proposal for energy price caps in a summit summary.

This is an encouraging step, but it remains to be seen if such a measure will be implemented. The Greek government has been pushing for an energy market price cap.

A summary of a preceding EU summit in March had included a paragraph proposing the introduction of a price cap in the wholesale natural gas market, but no specific decisions have so far been taken by the European Commission.

At the time, the European Commission had indicated it would present specific proposals within May.

The latest summit summary also reiterates the EU’s aim to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible.

The European leaders, in their summit summary, have also requested the European Commission to seek ways to contain rising energy prices; establish an EU foreign strategy for energy; and highlight the importance of domestic energy sources for security and supply.

 

Low expectations for crisis solutions at two-day summit

Expectations of energy-crisis solutions being found at a two-day summit of EU leaders, beginning today, are subdued as a result of the European Commission’s persistence for no intervention of Europe’s common energy market, contrasting interests between member states of the north and south, as well as disagreement over an embargo on Russian oil.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to reiterate his call for a detachment of natural gas prices from electricity prices as the only viable European solution that could strike the problem at root level.

However, the Greek leader’s proposal is not expected to be adopted, government officials admitted, warning that the energy crisis could completely spin out of control if the EU-27 do not reach an agreement by next winter.

Athens acknowledges that even if its plan for a wholesale market cap is effective, it will only result in a partial solution if Russia’s war on Ukraine continues and energy prices remain elevated.

The Greek leader, at the EU summit, will reiterate his call for emergency measures including a cap on TTF prices, which, for months now, have been distorted, not reflecting market reality.

NECP officials at odds over future gas role in Greece

Local authorities are at odds over the role of natural gas in the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan, to be revised, as well as on the decarbonization road map for the coming decades.

A second session just held by an energy ministry working group assembled for the NECP revisions has revealed contrasting views on the future plans for natural gas in Greece, energypress sources have informed.

One side of the working group’s members wants an end to the expansion of natural gas in Greece and containment of investments for new natural gas infrastructure, especially networks.

At the other end, a second group of officials supports that Europe’s intention to end the continent’s reliance on Russian natural gas highlights the need for diversification of energy sources in Greece, as the country’s system is designed based on the assumption of Russia being a key supplier of natural gas.

This group also noted that Greece, based on the new European energy plan, stands to become a main gateway for natural gas to the wider region and, as a result, is favorably positioned for related gas infrastructure investments worth 10 billion euros, through the REPowerEU plan, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

Solar energy investors focusing on large-scale projects

Increased emphasis is nowadays being placed on large-scale solar energy parks around Europe, as well as energy storage, through hybrid projects combining photovoltaics with batteries, participants at Intersolar Europe 2022, a major international conference and trade fair, held annually in Munich, have agreed.

The solar energy sector has enormous potential, especially in Europe, as a result of the EU’s decision to greatly reduce its reliance on Russian energy sources, participants noted, without overlooking concerns troubling the market, regarded as unstable by many.

Highlighting the growing level of interest in the solar energy sector, Intersolar Energy 2022 involved the participation of 1,356 exhibitors from 46 countries, attracting 65,000 visitors from 149 countries, a 33 percent increase compared to 2019.

A host of Greek companies took part, these being: Sunlight Group Energy Storage Systems, Elvan S.A., ILVIEF SA, Inaccess ltd, Nanotechnology Lab LTFN, Organic Electronic Technologies PC (O.E.T.), Profilodomi, Protasis SA, Raycap GmbH, Recom Technologies, S.K.EVANGELOPOULOS AND CO, SOLBOTIX S.A.

Local representatives of major international players also participated, representing companies such as Huawei, Jinko, Goodwe, Krannich-Solar, Kostal and Raycap, all active in the Greek market.

 

Roof-mounted solar panels to be made compulsory throughout the EU

The EU’s new solar energy strategy, just unveiled, envisions solar panels on all residential roofs throughout Europe as of 2029, according to the REPowerEU plan.

The initiative for compulsory roof-mounted solar panel installations will begin with public and commercial buildings in 2026, followed by private homes in 2029.

As part of the plan, the EU has called for roof-mounted PV licensing procedures to be restricted to no more than three months, as well as for new buildings with specifications enabling solar-panel hosting.

EU member states will need to remove any obstacles preventing further RES expansion, while municipalities with populations of more than 10,000 will need to establish at least one energy community as of 2025. Also, low-income households and persons with special needs will need to be given access to energy communities.

The EU plan for roof-mounted solar panels is expected to add 19 TWh from the first year of development and 58 TWh by 2025.

 

 

 

Russian gas payments by Greek companies due next few days

Greek companies that have imported Russian natural gas supplied by Gazprom and face installment payment deadlines expiring between May 20 and 25 are expected to accept Moscow’s ruble-currency demands as part of a wider EU approach that still remains unclear.

Even so, the European Commission, appearing set to revise EU directives concerning payment procedures by member states for Russian gas, is believed to be adjusting to Moscow’s ruble-currency demands.

Greek companies that have imported Russian gas believe the dispute will soon be resolved and are awaiting EU directives and related signals from the Greek government before proceeding with installment payments, sources informed.

The Greek government and the country’s energy players are continuing to observe emergency plans as energy supply security remains a threat as long as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues.

 

 

Brussels crisis plan presented to EU leaders next week

The European Commission will present a short-term intervention plan for the electricity and natural gas markets at a council meeting of EU leaders next week, the validity of the measures to run through next winter, until May 1, 2023, according to sources.

It remains unclear if this set of measures, intended to subdue exorbitant energy prices, has been finalized or will undergo revisions.

The package is believed to contain new measures as well as older ones that have already been discussed at national and European level.

The plan includes an initiative for the establishment of an EU Energy Platform, whose aim will be to ensure energy supply at fair prices as well as greatly reduced, even eliminated, reliance on Russian natural gas.

EU member states will be given a specific period of time to regulate prices in the retail gas market. Emergency cash-flow measures offering relief to traders will also be made available.

Electricity market measures are expected to include taxation or regulation of excess earnings, energy price regulation in the retail market, as well as price regulation for small and medium-sized enterprises.

 

 

LNG order costs fall as much as 40% below TTF prices

The cost of LNG orders placed in recent days has fallen 10 to 40 percent below levels at the Dutch TTF exchange, driven lower by fine weather around Europe and subdued demand in Asia as a result of lockdown restrictions imposed over the past two months by authorities in China, insisting on a zero-Covid policy.

LNG price levels are also lower at the TTF exchange, easing to levels between 93.5 and 94 euros per MWh, the lowest since February.

Market pressure has also eased as a decision by Ukraine to disrupt a pipeline supplying Russian gas to Europe has had less negative impact than initially feared.

Ukraine’s decision, believed to have been taken to pressure the West for stricter sanctions against Russia, prompted Russia’s Gazprom to find a bypass solution through alternative routes to the EU.

These developments could lead to a significant reduction in wholesale electricity prices as a result of less price pressure faced by electricity producers.

The duration of China’s lockdown will greatly shape LNG market developments. For the time being, LNG orders that had been intended for China are being redirected to Europe.

Though supply to Asia has fallen considerably from high levels recorded just months ago, LNG demand typically increases in China, Japan and South Korea during summer.