Energy committee officials, meeting in European Parliament to revise an electricity market directive, have delivered a new proposal whose implementation would subject conventional power plants to a CO2 emission limit of 200 kilograms per KWh per year, as long as these plants belong to a category of back-up units that would contribute to the system only when necessary.
A decision has already been reached to exclude any plants that emit more than 550g of CO2 per KWh from public money, through eligibility for support mechanisms.
The latest proposal would offer some leeweay to plants exceeding this 550g limit, as long as they have qualified for the back-up reserve category.
The energy committee MEPs noted that power plants belonging to this back-up category are entitled to different emission limits as they will remain sidelined and called to action only if capacity mechanisms have proved to be insufficient. Subsequently, these back-up units will not cause the type of market distortions that could be caused by capacity mechanisms, officials agreed.
This additional proposal, offering some leniency, comes as an effort to bridge gaps between EU member states. Poland, for example, has reacted strongly against the 550g limit, noting it will affect the country’s electricity production.
European Parliament plans to propose an EU electricity market revision that would enable consumers to switch suppliers within 24 hours by early 2022.
The house’s energy committee voted in favor of the measure yesterday, ahead of three-way negotiations with the European Commission and EU member states.
The committee also favors consumer withdawals from supply contracts without any resulting additional charges. It will also propose the adoption of an independent price comparison tool comparing supplier offers, including tariffs and surcharges, by all member states.
The energy ministry has forwarded a finalized plan for RES auctions to the European Commission which, according to sources, envisages separate auctions for PV and wind energy technologies as well as two neutral pilot auctions open to investors of both technologies.
The plan concerns a three-year period covering 2018, 2019 and 2020 while a new program will ensue, based on a strategic energy plan scheduled for 2019 to 2030 and conclusions to be drawn from the auctions.
The current plan proposes annual auctions to offer total yearly capacities of 100 MW each for PV and wind energy technologies over the aforementioned three-year period, sources informed. In other words, PV and wind energy technology investors will be offered total capacities of 300 MW each over this three-year period.
The plan’s neutral pilot auction plan, the sources added, features an auction for the first half of 2019, followed by another in 2020. Each auction is planned to offer 200 MW for both PV and wind energy investors, the sources informed. A total of 400 MW would be offered through these two auctions.
The plan also includes provisions for an auction to promote the development of non-mature wind energy projects in areas where electricity capacity is available but license applications have not been submitted to fully utilize this capacity. The submarine cable interconnections of Polypotamos-Nea Makri and the Cyclades are two such cases.
Auctions are not being planned for other RES sub-categories (biomass, biogas, small hydropower units) and thermal energy stations as the current level of investor interest is not strong enough to justify auctions.
Once the European Commission has offered its approval of the current RES auction plan, the energy ministry will need to issue a ministerial decision, following advice from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, on various auction details, including terms and number of rounds.
Greece is continuing to pursue negotiations for the most favorable carbon emission rights agreement possible, the energy ministry has announced in a statement.
The announcement comes following a European Parliament vote last Wednesday in favor of the inclusion of CO2 emissions from shipping in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and the establishment, as of 2023, of a maritime climate fund “in the absence of progress at international level.”
Barring the inclusion of shipping CO2 emissions in the EU’s ETS, an issue for which the Greek government prefers an international agreement, the European Parliament’s vote was favorable for Greek interests, the energy ministry declared.
Greece’s deputy energy minister Sokratis Famellos will attend a meeting in Warsaw today, where carbon emission rights issues will be discussed.
Poland, along with Greece, are among the EU member states that reacted against initial carbon emission rights proposals made by the European Commission. Coordinated efforts by these countries have helped overvcome a number of differences.
Both Greece and Poland argue that lignite-fired electricity production represents a key part of their respective energy mixes and also provides a considerable number of jobs in the two countries.
The country’s serious electricity capacity issues exposed by the recent energy crisis has once again brought to the fore wider discussion on the need for an upgraded energy system, especially in electricity production.
The crisis highlighted the need to start shaping medium-term plans now in order to avoid a repeat. Of course, the necessary funds for investments to upgrade the country’s electricity production sector are a prerequisite.
The main power utility PPC has proposed that planning gets underway ahead of the imminent concluding talks for revisions to the EU Emissions Trading System covering 2021 to 2030. European Parliament is scheduled to reach final decisions on February 15.
According to PPC, the fulfillment of its position on carbon emission allowances – the utility is seeking free rights – would significantly contribute to the effort to upgrade Greece’s energy system.
The utility has pointed out that the recent energy crisis exposed the energy system’s weak spots. The crisis highlighted the pivotal role played by the country’s lignite-fired power stations and hydropower units, the need to schedule coal mining production, as well as the need for effective coordination of energy production units entering and exiting the system. The crisis also exposed interconnection insufficiencies and the energy supply security dangers these caused, as was the case for the wider region. The system’s inability to rely on natural gas and renewable energy production was also highlighted by the experience.
Greece’s Members of European Parliament (MEPs) appear to have adopted opposing views over main power utility PPC’s effort seeking free CO2 emission allowances, one side bonding as a national front in favor of the utility’s request, the other maintaining a more reserved stance.
A crucial debate by the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, to focus on EU emissions trading system (ETS) revisions, was originally planned to take place yesterday but has now been rescheduled for December 15 to give various opposing sides more time to bridge differences.
Despite the efforts made by Greek officials, PPC’s quest for free CO2 emission allowances is not a given.
It remains unknown whether Greek MEPs will eventually unite for PPC’s quest. Campaigns pursued by environmental groups have strongly opposed the utility’s objective.
PPC has sought to elevate the issue as one of national significance, and has succeeded to great degree. The utility estimates that implementation of a planned fourth stage of the ETS system will cost roughly 7 billion euros, while the adoption of PPC’s positions would offer Greece benefits worth over 2.5 billion euros for the period covering 2021 to 2030.
According to PPC, the issue is one that directly impacts consumers as the cost of acquiring CO2 emission allowances is factored into the cost of electricity production and passed on to consumer electricity bills.