Month-ahead pricing prevents electricity prices from falling

Greece’s month-ahead pricing model in the energy market has prevented a recent 40 percent plunge in natural gas prices from pushing down electricity prices, currently at 248.24 euros per MWh, as has been the case in numerous other European countries.

Rigid electricity prices in the Greek market have sparked political debate, prompting the main opposition party, leftist Syriza, to claim speculative trading is at play.

However, Greece’s month-ahead energy pricing model can be attributed to this lack of correlation between gas and electricity prices in Greece, making the country an oddity in the European energy market.

As a result of the lack of an international spot market in Greece, electricity producers in the country purchase natural gas for each forthcoming month at price levels valid in the preceding month.

Electricity being produced at present factors in natural gas price levels from November, when purchased, instead of the current spot market price for natural gas, which has fallen to a ten-month low, not reached since last February.

Natural gas prices were consistently above 100 euros per MWh in November, peaking at 146 euros per MWh, but price levels yesterday, for January contracts, fell to less than 80 euros per MWh, continuing a downward trajectory that has been recorded over the past eight days.

Insufficient grid interconnections between Greece and neighboring markets, limiting the size of the Greek market, are a key reason behind the absence of an international spot market here.

 

IPTO set to join EuroAsia Interconnector by year’s end

Power grid operator IPTO is expected to join EuroAsia Interconnector, a Cypriot company established to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids, by the end of the year.

IPTO’s anticipated board approval of the company’s agreement with EuroAsia Interconnector is the next step in IPTO’s process of acquiring a stake in the company, expected to be at least 25 percent.

EuroAsia Interconnector accepted an official proposal submitted by IPTO in late July. Speaking at the recent Thessaloniki International Fair, IPTO president Manos Manousakis noted EuroAsia Interconnector’s acceptance of the Greek power grid operator’s terms ensures IPTO’s participation in the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grid interconnection, a project of strategic importance.

Once the IPTO board approves the agreement, the operator will need to conduct due diligence, expected to take place within the next month or two.

The deal for IPTO’s acquisition of a stake in EuroAsia Interconnector is expected to include terms for a further stake increase in the Cypriot company.

The agreement’s technical and financial details promise to propel the development of the Crete-Cyprus segment of the overall project, the most mature of all segments.

The Crete-Cyprus segment will end the electricity isolation of Cyprus, the EU’s only remaining member state still disconnected from fellow member states, and also boost Greece’s role as an electricity transmission hub in southeast Europe.

A total of 898 kilometers of subsea cables are planned to be installed at a depth of up to 3,000 meters for the Crete-Cyprus grid link.

 

Greek-Italian grid link repair work subduing power prices

The Greek-Italian grid interconnection’s temporary disruption for repair work is offering partial protection against wholesale electricity price increases in Greece.

The temporary-closure period for the grid interconnection, which has been sidelined towards both directions since August 19, has just been extended until September 3 following a request made by Italy’s power grid operator Terna, according to an announcement made by IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator.

Last Friday and Saturday, the wholesale electricity price was 300 euros per MWh higher in Italy compared to Greece.

Under normal conditions, price differences between neighboring markets prompts electricity export activity towards the lower-priced country.

Greek electricity exports were considerable in July, reaching 500 GWh, data provided by IPTO showed. Of this total, 351 GWh was exported to Italy, 253 GWh to Albania, 184 GWh to North Macedonia and 90 GWh to Bulgaria.

Electricity export figures will be subdued in August as a result of the disruption of the Greek-Italian grid interconnection. The link has been closed down for repairs on numerous occasions in recent years.

 

 

Four offers for Serifos, Milos, Folegandros grid links

Power grid operator IPTO has moved ahead with the second stage of a tender for a grid interconnection to link the islands Serifos, Milos and Folegandros with the mainland. This project represents part of the fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnections.

IPTO’s tender is divided into two parts, the first concerning mainland and subsea cable installations for interconnections linking coastal Lavrio, in the wider Athens area’s southeast, with Serifos and, by extension, Serifos with Milos. The second part of the tender concerns subsea cable installations linking Milos with Folegandros and Fologandros with Santorini.

According to sources, a total of four offers have been submitted to the tender’s two parts, two for each.

A tender for the installation of three substations, on Serifos, Milos and Folegandros, is also in progress. A total of six offers have been submitted to this tender. Their technical and financial details are currently being appraised.

IPTO hopes contracts for the two tenders can be completed within the current year so that the projects can be developed in 2023.

The fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnections includes a project for Santorini. Its development has been in progress since early May and, according to IPTO president Manos Manousakis, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.

Damco Energy and China’s Xian Electric were awarded the Santorini project’s substation contract, while Hellenic Cables has taken on the cable installation work.

 

Ten Greek grid link, storage projects on ENTSO-E list

A total of ten Greek grid interconnection and storage projects have been included in development plans set by ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, for up to 2030 and 2040.

They include an extension to the line running to Italy, the Euroafrica and Euroasia grid interconnections, an interconnection project for the south Aegean and its possible extension to Africa, new lines connecting Greece with Bulgaria and Turkey, a pumped-storage station in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece, two Cretan interconnections, as well as the GREGY north African interconnection.

In addition to 23 GW in transboundary grid interconnections being planned in the EU by 2025, authorities have also identified the need for a further 64 GW in projects, including storage units, at 50 European borders by 2030 and 132 GW by 2024.

Overall, the ENTSO-E plan includes 141 grid interconnection projects and 23 energy storage projects.

 

Tender for 20% stake in IPTO subsidiary Ariadne imminent

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved the terms of a tender to offer a 20 percent stake in power grid operator IPTO’s subsidiary firm Ariadne Interconnection, established specifically for the development of the Crete-Athens interconnection.

The authority’s approval, offered after IPTO met observations made by RAE, paves the way for the tender’s announcement, expected imminently. Roadshows pitching the tender and also gauging the level of interest of prospective buyers will precede the sale procedure’s announcement.

IPTO had originally planned to offer a 40 percent stake in Ariadne Interconnection before halving this offering.

State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), IPTO’s strategic partner with a 24 percent stake, which had expressed early interest in the upcoming Ariadne Interconnection tender, is believed to remain very keen.

SGCC’s existing involvement in IPTO prompted a series of obstacles that required RAE to turn to the European Commission for its approval before giving the green light for the tender.

The Crete-Athens interconnection, budgeted at one billion euros, is planned to be launched in 2024.

 

 

IPTO given permission to revise Cyclades grid link budget

Power grid operator IPTO has received permission to revise its budget concerning the fourth phase of the Cyclades islands grid interconnection following approval of a request submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

IPTO needs to revise the project’s budget as a result of sharp construction-cost increases brought about by higher prices of materials, equipment and energy.

According to Manos Manousakis, IPTO’s chief executive, the infrastructure cost for three remaining island grid interconnections has now reached 399 million euros (345 million euros for the project’s subsea cables and 54 million euros for three substations to be constructed on each of the three islands).

The updated budget’s finalization will enable the completion of the final round of tenders, already announced by IPTO, concerning the fourth phase of the Cyclades islands grid interconnection.

IPTO is expected to inform participants about a new and final deadline extension for binding bids, to be set for June 7, according to sources.

Egyptian grid operator team in Athens for Greek grid link talks

A team of highly ranked officials from the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), headed by president and CEO Sabah Mashali, is in Athens for two days of talks, beginning today, on the development of the Greek-Egyptian grid interconnection.

The EETC officials are scheduled to meet today with a team of Greek power grid operator IPTO officials, headed by president and CEO Manos Manousakis, for a discussion on technical details concerning the grid interconnection.

Tomorrow, the EETC team is scheduled to meet with Greece’s energy minister Kostas Skrekas as well as development and investment minister Adonis Georgiadis.

A first step for the project was taken last October when the Greek and Egyptian energy ministers signed a related Memorandum of Understanding. As part of the agreement, the power grid operators of both countries have assembled a working group to conduct necessary preliminary work.

The group’s responsibilities, according to the MoU, include technical coordination to ensure the grid interconnection’s compatibility; facilitating the project’s licensing matters; as well as providing support for the project’s classification as an EU Project of Common Interest, which would ensure EU funding support.

The Greek-Egyptian grid interconnection is planned to exclusively transmit green energy from Egypt to Greece as a means of increasing the energy-mix share of renewables in Greece and the wider region and also bolstering energy security in Europe, prioritized following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, during a recent meeting with European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, stressed the importance of the Greek-Egyptian grid link, noting it should receive European backing.

 

Greece, Cyprus, Israel prepare to discuss East Med, power grid link

The East Med gas pipeline and a subsea electricity grid interconnection to link Israel with Greece and Cyprus, projects whose prospects have grown as a result of the EU’s new energy policy, aiming to end the continent’s reliance on Russian gas as soon as possible, are expected to dominate the agenda at an upcoming trilateral meeting between the energy ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

The session is planned to take place in a fortnight’s time or immediately following the Greek Easter period, culminating on April 24.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi recently stressed that development of the East Med gas pipeline, a prospective 2,000-km pipeline planned to carry natural gas to Europe via Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy, needs to be pursued as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A consortium formed by Greek gas company DEPA and Italy’s Edison is continuing its studies on the East Med project plan.

As for the subsea electricity grid interconnection, Cyprus and Israel have pushed for its development to end their energy isolation. The European Commission has already approved funding worth 657 million euros for the prospective project’s section to run from Greece to Cyprus.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and energy minister Kostas Skrekas will be involved in two key meetings in Athens today, to focus on energy matters as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine, with Israel’s alternate prime minister and foreign affairs minister Yair Lapid, as well as US under secretary of state for political affairs Victoria Nuland.

 

Copelouzos’ Greek-Egyptian grid link backed by leaders

The Elica Interconnection, a Greek-Egyptian grid interconnection planned by the Copelouzos Group, has received the backing of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, entrepreneur Dimitris Copelouzos, founder of the group, has informed journalists.

A preceding teleconference between the leaders of the two countries, with participation from the president of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer, is expected to result in EU funding for the project.

According to Copelouzos, the project is budgeted at more than 3.5 billion euros, of which 1.5 billion euros will be provided by a group of Greek banks. The project is also a candidate for the PCI list, enabling EU funding support.

The Copelouzos group had set its sights on this project from as far back as 2008. Its double subsea cable, to stretch 954 kilometers from El Sallum to coastal Nea Makri, northeast of Athens, promises to transmit low-cost green energy with a 3-GW capacity, of which one third will be provided to local industries and the other two thirds exported to fellow EU members.

More specifically, on the exports, 1 GW will be transported through the Greek-Italian and Greek-Bulgarian networks, while the other 1 GW will be used for hydrogen production, most of which will be exported to other parts of Europe.

Licensing and financing procedures for the project are being hastened as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine as the Elica Interconnection promises to offer Greece and the rest of the EU yet another alternative energy source as part of the continent’s effort to restrict its dependence on Russia.

The Elica Interconnection is planned to be completed by late 2025 or early 2026.

EC stresses need for increased LNG imports, diversification

The European Commission, according to an official document that was recently leaked, has called for wider energy source diversification in Europe, greater LNG imports, as well as better utilization of infrastructure by EU member states, which would reduce the amount of Russian gas needed in the EU.

The number of LNG facilities and interconnections has increased since a previous crisis in 2009, enabling all European countries to have either direct or indirect access to LNG terminals, the document notes.

Europe’s improved grid interconnectivity has proven crucial over the past few months in the continent’s ability to tackle the latest energy crisis, the document highlights.

The European Commission has proposed an increase in LNG imports, noting terminals and interconnections are not operating at full capacity.

The European Commission is currently holding talks with gas-producing countries and gas transit countries (USA, Qatar, Japan, Egypt, Azerbaijan and Turkey) to facilitate gas trade by making the international gas market more flexible.

The Brussels document also proposes the conversion of European natural gas projects into hydrogen projects as well as the establishment of green hydrogen agreements with countries that are ready to produce hydrogen on a large scale for supply to Europe, including Australia, Chile, Morocco, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Ukraine.

 

Egypt appears keen to accelerate plan for natural gas pipeline to Greece

Egypt’s minister of petroleum and mineral sources Tarek El-Molla (photo, right) has underlined the potential of energy-sector collaboration between Cairo and Athens and the significance of an MoU signed by Egypt and Greece for joint development of energy infrastructure.

The Egyptian minister was speaking at the annual Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypts, before 2,000 attendants from 65 countries, among them top-ranked officials from multinational energy giants.

Agreements already signed between Egypt and Greece pave the way for the development of a subsea natural gas pipeline linking the two countries, El-Molla noted.

According to diplomatic sources, this special mention by the Egyptian minister highlights his country’s interest to push ahead with the natural gas pipeline project, which, on the one hand, would facilitate Egyptian natural gas exports to the EU and, on the other, help the continent further diversify its energy sources.

A further increase in activity between Athens and Cairo for an acceleration of procedures leading to the gas pipeline project’s development has not been ruled out by the diplomatic sources.

In addition, the potential of a subsea electricity grid interconnection between the two countries also seems to be gaining momentum, the diplomatic sources noted. Greek power grid operator IPTO and Egyptian counterpart EETC are collaborating on this latter project.

The current Russia-Ukraine problem once again highlights Europe’s need for further energy source diversification. Russia, through gas giant Gazprom, covers approximately one third of European natural gas consumption in the household and business sectors.

 

Peloponnese West Corridor grid deviation still awaiting approval

Power grid operator IPTO’s virtually completed grid infrastructure upgrade in the west of the Peloponnese, a crucial project promising to foster development of regional RES projects and also enable smoother functioning of power utility PPC’s natural gas-fired power station in Megalopoli along with its lignite-fired units, remains on hold, awaiting the energy ministry’s environmental-permit approval of a project deviation forced by monks at a nearby monastery.

The grid project, budgeted at 110 million euros and known as the Western Corridor, runs from Megalopoli to Patras, northwestern Peloponnese. It is planned to link the Megalopoli high-voltage center in the Peloponnese with an existing 400-KV line running across mainland Greece, from Acheloos to Distomo. Just two more pylons, of 400 in total, remain to be installed for its completion.

A court ruling following legal action taken by five monks forced project planners to reposition these two pylons, originally planned for installation approximately 500 meters from the Agion Theodoron monastery in Kalavryta, northern Peloponnese.

The project was initially included in the grid’s plan back in 2006 but its development did not commence until 2018. A related subsea line linking the Peloponnese with the mainland was installed in 2019.

At present, the Peloponnese is mainland Greece’s only area without a high-voltage (400 kV) connection. It is interconnected to the wider Athens area with 150 kV lines, like links used for islands, inhibiting green investments and large infrastructure projects planned for the country.

 

IPTO 10-year investment plan approved with SGCC backing

The board at power grid operator IPTO has approved the state-controlled company’s ten-year investment plan, covering 2023 to 2032, with full support from State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the operator’s strategic partner, holding a 24 percent stake, a sign that tension between the two sides over the past few days has now eased off.

The ten-year investment plan was unanimously backed by IPTO’s nine-member board, which includes three members representing SGCC, energypress sources informed.

Days earlier, SGCC had informed it would prefer an administration change at IPTO after being notified, by the operator, of the Greek State’s decision to renew the term of IPTO president and chief executive Manos Manousakis.

In addition, Chen Dong, IPTO’s deputy chief executive, forwarded a letter to RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, warning that the Athens-Crete grid interconnection’s completion is in danger.

At a preceding board meeting, an agreement with Siemens for procurement of the Athens-Crete grid link’s substations was approved by the IPTO board with a majority vote that did not include the support of the three SGCC representatives.

The Athens-Crete grid link’s substations, a crucial part of the grid interconnection, will determine, to great degree, the ensuing technology to be selected for the project, seen as pivotal for prospective transboundary interconnections.

Work on Santorini grid link, ending isolation, set to start

Work on a grid interconnection for Santorini, to end the island’s energy isolation through a link with neighboring Naxos, is expected to begin in mid-January.

A supervisory committee has given the green light for the Santorini link, paving the way for sub-contractors who have signed contracts with power grid operator IPTO – following a related tender completed a few months ago – to commence work in January, according to energypress sources.

Santorini’s grid link represents the first step in the fourth and final phase of the Cyclades interconnection, whose overall budget is worth 410 million euros, of which 165 million euros will be provided by the recovery and resilience facility.

Naxos was interconnected with the country’s mainland grid in October, 2020, during the second phase of the Cyclades islands interconnections.

IPTO expects the Santorini interconnection to be completed and launched in the first half of 2023.

The Santorini grid link will enable further interconnections with Milos, Folegandros and Serifos. Tenders for the contracts concerning the three islands will soon be announced, the objective being to complete these projects within the first half of 2024.

China’s SGCC objects to term renewal of IPTO chief executive

State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), a strategic partner of Greek power grid operator IPTO with a 24 percent stake, has informed it would prefer an administration change at IPTO after being notified, by the operator, of the Greek State’s decision to renew the term of IPTO president and chief executive Manos Manousakis (photo).

The energy ministry, responding to an energypress question on the matter, made clear it fully supports IPTO’s current management and insists on the renewal of Mr. Manousakis’ tenure. His current term expires in June, 2022.

Talks, at political and corporate levels, are expected to be staged between the two sides within the next few days for a solution to the matter.

According to sources, SGCC disagrees with technical issues concerning IPTO’s biggest project in progress at present, the Athens-Crete grid interconnection.

Siemens is providing the project’s substations, a crucial part of the grid interconnection as it determines, to great degree, the ensuing technology to be selected for the project, seen as pivotal for prospective transboundary interconnections.

IPTO investments, including island grid links, up sharply over past 4 years

Investments made by power grid operator IPTO in the first nine-month period of 2021, for the development of crucial grid projects, including island grid interconnections, as well as upgrades of existing facilities, reached 241.8 million euros, exceeding, by more than 100 million euros, amounts spent during equivalent periods in any of the years prior to the operator’s split from power grid operator PPC in June, 2017, through an ownership unbundling procedure.

Since 2018, IPTO’s investments in grid projects have reached 1.12 billion euros, more than double the amount tallied in the preceding four-year period between 2013 and 2016, when a total of 489 million euros was invested.

The operator’s investment strategy has focused on accelerating grid interconnection projects serving Aegean Sea islands, thereby ending their energy isolation while also reducing the environmental and financial impact of local high-polluting and costly generators used on non-interconnected islands.

DEPA Commercial, Egypt’s EGAS negotiating gas deal

Gas company DEPA Commercial is negotiating an agreement with state-controlled Egyptian gas firm EGAS for LNG supply, just weeks after Greek and Egyptian officials established a joint technical committee as a first step for the development of a Greek-Egyptian electricity grid interconnection.

Energy dealings between the two countries will be discussed at a meeting today in Cairo between Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas and Egypt’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources Tarek El-Molla. Also, DEPA chief executive Kostas Xirafas will meet with the EGAS administration.

The Greek energy minister is also taking part in today’s 6th EastMed Gas Forum, in Cairo, along with his counterparts from Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the State of Palestine.

An announcement of a Greek-Egyptian gas agreement, following today’s sessions, has not been ruled out.

The prospect, promising DEPA Commercial greater diversity of sources and lower costs for its customers, has acquired greater significance as the EU finds itself embroiled in an intensifying energy crisis.

Greece and Egypt have also established a joint Exclusive Economic Zone, the recent agreement for the development of a Greek-Egyptian electricity grid interconnection emerging as a first step.

Greek-Egyptian technical committee formed for grid link

A joint technical committee has been formed as a first step for the development of a Greek-Egyptian electricity grid interconnection.

The working group’s formation was included in a Memorandum of Cooperation signed in mid-October by Greek energy and environment minister Kostas Skrekas and Egypt’s electricity and renewable energy minister Mohamed Shaker.

The establishment of technical specifications required by the grid interconnection project to ensure the project’s interconnectivity with the Geek and Egyptian grids is a key priority for the technical committee.

The committee will also explore the possibility of having the project included on the Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list, enabling EU funding support.

The interconnection project, whose development will entail the installation of an underwater cable linking the two countries, will exclusively facilitate transmission of renewable energy.

 

Greek-Turkish grid link maintenance reset prompts traders’ reaction

Traders who have secured year-long physical transmission rights (PTRs) through the Greek-Turkish grid interconnection stand to lose over 150 euros per MWh, according to the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET), as a result of a change in the annual maintenance schedule for the link made by the operators of the two countries, subjecting traders to unanticipated higher wholesale electricity market prices in both markets at present.

Greek power grid operator IPTO and its Turkish counterpart, TEIAS, have reset this year’s annual maintenance period for the grid link to November 8-14, instead of the initial, and customary, September 13 to 19 period.

EFET has underlined that holders of PTRs will be compensated based on the initial marginal price of the annual auction, 15.38 euros per MWh.

EFET has forwarded a letter to IPTO, TEIAS and other related bodies calling for a further  deferral of November’s planned maintenance work at the the Greek-Turkish grid interconnection until early next year, so that traders making annual PTR offers can take into account the maintenance period.

Cyclades grid interconnection project entering fourth stage

The fourth stage of a grid interconnection linking the Cyclades with the mainland is set to continue following the completion of a tender for the installation of a substation on Santorini.

Power grid operator IPTO yesterday announced the preferred bidder for cables to be installed between Santorini and Naxos.

A new substation for the interconnection linking the southwest Cyclades of Santorini, Folegandros, Milos and Serifos is scheduled for autumn.

New tenders for cables and substations concerning Folegandros, Milos and Serifos will be announced in autumn, officials noted.

The schedule for the southwest Cyclades’ entry into the country’s high-voltage system remains unchanged at 2024.

Besides the four aforementioned islands, six other islands in the wider region, Anafi, Kimolos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Kythnos and Thirasia, will also get to benefit from stable, lower-cost and eco-friendly electricity supply through medium-voltage links being developed, or to be developed, with other islands.

The wider investment plan’s completion will bring to an end the need for high-polluting and high-cost units being used for localized generation on islands.

The completion of the Cyclades grid interconnection is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons in the first year, alone, while public service compensation costs included as surcharges in electricity bills to subsidize higher-cost generation on islands will be reduced by approximately 90 million euros, annually. Also RES capacity in the Cyclades will increase to 332 MW.

 

 

IPTO, Terna to co-develop second Greece-Italy subsea link

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Italy’s Terna have agreed to join forces for the construction of a second subsea cable grid interconnection to reinforce the market coupling of the two countries.

The chief executives of the two operators, IPTO’s Manos Manousakis and Terna’s Stefano Donnarumma held talks in Rome earlier this week, reaching a decision to co-develop the project through a joint venture, sources informed.

Officials in Greece and Italy consider this project, a 200-km cable offering a transmission capacity of between 500 and 1000 MW, will contribute to further RES growth in both markets, while also boosting activity in their target-model energy exchange markets.

The EU has just revised its climate change targets, increasing its RES energy-mix target for 2030 to 40 percent from the previous goal of 32 percent.

First stage of Greek-Italian grid link feasibility study completed

The final stage of a four-step feasibility study being conducted by power grid operator IPTO and Italy’s TERNA for a second subsea cable grid interconnection linking the Greek and Italian systems is expected to be ready at the end of this year, according to a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two operators. The first of the four feasibility study stages has been completed.

IPTO and TERNA, according to the MoU, are examining the prospect of developing yet another grid interconnection, via a subsea cable, for additional capacity of between 500 and 1,000 MW.

This range is also stated in the operator’s ten-year network development plan covering 2022-2031 as the capacity boost required for the Greek-Italian grid interconnection.

This need, as pointed out in IPTO’s ten-year network development plan, was pointed out in ENTSO-E studies looking into requirements for a reinforced European Transmission Network.

The grid link between Greece and Italy needs to be reinforced to enable electricity price convergence between the two countries, according to this study.

The positive impact of a second grid interconnection for further coupling of the two markets was highlighted by energy minister Kostas Skrekas in an article for Greek Energy 2021, an extensive energy-sector publication prepared by the energypress team for a tenth year in succession.

According to Skrekas, target model Greek electricity prices have equaled Italian-zone price levels for about half the time. This period would have been more extensive, but the existing infrastructure’s capacity limits  prevented further price convergence, the minister noted.

The remainder of hours showed grid-link saturation, highlighting the need for a new line, he added.

RRF funds of €195m for new Cyclades link, pivotal substation

Power grid operator IPTO’s grid interconnection plan to link the west and southern Cyclades islands with coastal Lavrio, southeast of Athens, as well as the operator’s upgrade project for its pivotal Koumoundourou high-voltage substation, including a new transmission line to Korinthos, all regarded as vitally important projects by the European Commission, stand to EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funds totaling 195 million euros.

The RRF subsidies to be allocated to the west and southern Cyclades islands grid interconnection, seen reaching 165 million euros, will cover just under half of this project’s total cost, budgeted at 408 million euros.

The grid interconnection work will entail the development of five underground and subsea cable circuits measuring 370km in length as well as the installation of four GIS substations on the islands of Santorini, Serifos, Folegandros and Milos.

The Koumoundourou high-voltage substation upgrade stands to receive the other 30 million euros in RRF funds for the two projects.

The Koumoundourou upgrade, budgeted at 46 million euros, has been awarded to the Mytilineos group and is expected to be completed by September, 2023, according to an IPTO announcement.

PPC power plant in northeast to rely on new Bulgaria, Turkey grid links

New transboundary grid interconnections with Bulgaria and Turkey will seemingly play a pivotal role in the sustainability of a new 665-MW gas-fueled power station planned by power utility PPC in Komotini, northeastern Greece, judging by estimates at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The authority has already issued a production license for this unit, which PPC aims to launch by the end of 2024, despite the fact that five other investments plans for new gas-fueled power stations, promising additional total capacity of 3.2 GW, already exist, including a Mytilineos group unit already under construction.

According to a related report submitted by RAE to Greek Parliament, the National Energy and Climate Plan foresees an increase in installed natural gas-fueled power stations from 5.2 GW in 2020 to 6.9 GW by 2025, a 1.7 GW increase.

Given these figures, RAE presumably considers that the development of all planned units will not be possible. Instead, market forces will determine which of the investors will be able to proceed with their plans, based on individual company feasibility studies.

Power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year development plan covering 2021 to 2030, expected to soon be approved by RAE, includes projects designed to bolster the grid in the east Macedonia and Thrace regions of northeastern Greece, and also reinforce the grid interconnections of these regions with the North Aegean islands, Bulgaria and Turkey.

IPTO seeking active role in Cyprus, Israel, Egypt grid interconnections

Power grid operator IPTO is seeking an active role in the grid interconnections to link Greece with Cyprus and Israel, as well as Egypt, the company’s chief executive Manos Manousakis told yesterday’s Power and Gas Supply Forum, an online event staged by energypress.

Responding to questions as to whether IPTO is considering to acquire an equity stake in these projects, Manousakis noted that the operator’s role is to ensure the interoperability of the Athens-Crete and Crete-Cyprus power grid interconnections, a commitment made by the Greek government back in October, 2019.

The European Commission, engaged in ongoing exchange with IPTO in an effort to understand the level of maturity of these grid interconnection projects and, primarily, the interoperability of its systems, has mentioned that Brussels would be interested in the equity involvement of a European TSO, Manousakis informed.

Other priorities at IPTO include upgrading and expanding Greece’s grid interconnections with neighboring countries, which would boost cash flow in the domestic energy market through electricity exports, the chief executive noted.

A tender for the development of the local segment of a second transboundary grid interconnection linking Greece and Bulgaria, from Nea Santa, northeastern Greece, to Bulgaria’s Maritsa area in the south, will be completed this year, Manousakis informed.

New interconnections with Albania and North Macedonia are also being examined at present, he noted.

In addition, IPTO is close to signing a cooperation agreement with Italian operator TERNA for the development of a second Greek-Italian grid interconnection.

Furthermore, plans for an upgrade of the Greek-Turkish interconnection, a project linking the European and Turkish transmission systems, are also maturing, the IPTO chief informed.

 

 

Transitional hybrid plan for Cretan participation in markets

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has decided on a transitional hybrid model for Crete’s participation in target model energy markets, covering production and consumption, once the island’s small-scale grid interconnection to the Peloponnese is soon launched.

The fundamentals of the transitional model – to be applied until Crete’s full-scale grid interconnection, all the way to Athens, is completed – have been agreed on by the participating market operators. But details still need to be worked out.

Power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and the energy exchange are currently shaping the finer details of the transitional plan, expected to be finalized over the next few days.

Under the transitional hybrid solution, Crete – whose grid will continue being managed by DEDDIE/HEDNO until IPTO takes on the responsibility when power utility PPC, DEDDIE/HEDNO’s parent company, has transferred its network ownership on the island to IPTO – will purchase electricity transmitted through the small-scale grid link at target model energy markets.

As for electricity flowing in the opposite direction, production of Cretan units will be represented by IPTO.

The transitional model, when ready, will be forwarded for public consultation. European Commission approval will be needed for the finalized plan. RAE has already briefed Brussels officials on its proposed transitional model.

Finding a solution for Crete has proven to be a challenge as the small-scale grid link to the Peloponnese will not fully cover the island’s energy needs, meaning it will not automatically cease to be a non-interconnected island once the small-scale grid link begins operating. However, a considerable part of Crete’s energy needs, approximately 30 percent, will be served by the small-scale interconnection.

Normally, when grid links for non-interconnected islands are completed, IPTO assumes responsibility of their electricity networks. However, Crete, Greece’s biggest and most populous island, represents a much bigger interconnection project that is being developed over two stages. The project’s second stage, to reach Athens, is anticipated in 2023.

Failure to find a transitional solution would threaten to leave the small-scale link unutilized.

Greek-Italian market coupling boosts transaction efficiency

The Greek-Italian electricity market coupling of day-ahead markets, launched on December 15 as part of the target model, is living up to its expectations as a safety valve facilitating optimal electricity flow between countries.

The initiative, operating through a single price coupling algorithm, EUPHEMIA (Pan-European Hybrid Electricity Market Integration Algorithm), which calculates energy allocation, net positions and transboundary electricity prices, has run smoothly since its launch over a month ago.

Greek-Italian transboundary electricity transactions admittedly enjoyed a high level of maturity prior to the introduction of market coupling, courtesy of reliable price forecasts by participants for the Greek and Italian markets.

A grid interconnection, in the form of a 163-km, 400-kV voltage and 500-MW capacity subsea cable, has been in service since 2002.

However, the market-coupling initiative has taken the efficiency of these transboundary Greek-Italian electricity transactions to a higher level as auctions allocating grid interconnection capacities are no longer required.

Since the mid-December coupling of the Greek and Italian energy markets, electricity has constantly flowed from the market offering lower prices to the higher-priced market, proving this market system’s ability to utilize interconnections to their fullest.

Market coupling of the Greek and Bulgarian day-ahead markets is planned to follow, its launch scheduled for spring.

An increased number of interconnected electricity markets promises to give the Greek wholesale electricity market a regional role. However, transboundary grid interconnections will need to be upgraded if this is to be achieved.

Brussels forwards new PCI list, to be finalized late this year

The European Commission’s fifth PCI (Projects of Common Interest) list in the electricity and natural gas sectors, being forwarded for public consultation, features, for now, a number of project additions and removals, compared to the previous edition.

Market officials and state authorities will have the opportunity to offer their views and observations over the consultation procedure’s twelve-week period before the European Commission adopts a finalized version of the fifth PCI list towards the end of 2021, based on an existing Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) framework, focused on linking the energy infrastructure of EU countries.

PCI projects are entitled to EU funding support. Brussels authorities introduced selection criteria revisions in December, ascertaining, however, that the impact of all projects, especially on CO2 emissions, will be appraised when finalizing the PCI list’s fifth edition.

The provisional list includes a number of electricity and gas sector projects concerning Greece.

Electricity-sector projects involving Greece include: a Bulgarian-Greek grid interconnection, expected to be completed in 2023; an Egyptian-Greek-Libyan grid interconnection headed by Green Power 2020 and scheduled for delivery in 2025; as well as three Egypt-Greece interconnections, two of these featuring Kykladika Meltemia SA as project promoter and expected to be respectively completed in 2025 and 2028, and a third headed by Elica SA and scheduled for completion in 2028.

An energy storage project planned by Eunice for Ptolemaida, northern Greece, and scheduled for completion in 2022 is a new entry on the PCI list.

In the natural gas sector, the PCI list includes: the Alexandroupoli FSRU (2022); a subsea pipeline between Greece and Italy, known as the Poseidon Pipeline (2025); EastMed, a pipeline planned to carry natural gas from the east Mediterranean to European markets, via Crete (2025); a compressor station in Thessaloniki’s Nea Mesimvria area (2022); a metering and regulating station in Megalopoli, Peloponnese (2025); a compressor station in Abelia, in Greece’s mid-north (2023); a compressor station in Kipoi, northeastern Greece (2024); a pipeline link for the Alexandroupoli FSRU (2022); a TAP pipeline capacity increase (2025); and the development of an underground gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in northern Greece (2023).