Competitive procedures for island hybrid stations, EC says

The European Commission is demanding competitive procedures for the installation of energy storage units or hybrid stations on the Greek islands as a condition for the establishment and approval of a thorough support framework covering such investments, energypress sources have informed.

Energy ministry officials are currently engaged in talks with the European Commission on energy storage and hybrid station installations for the islands.

A universal pricing framework offering investors specific tariffs for all the islands will not be possible if the European Commission condition for competitive procedures is to prevail.

Greek officials are pushing for a universal pricing framework for non-interconnected networks, hybrid units with RES facilities, and energy storage units, on the grounds that these greatly contribute to grid sufficiency and security and can also offer major cost savings by eliminating the need for high-cost, high-polluting diesel-fueled power stations that operate on non-interconnected islands.

In particular, the energy ministry is seeking Brussels’ approval for a transitional framework to support hybrid units on islands with mature investment proposals and production licenses.

Speaking at an Economist conference yesterday, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou said a plan for such a support mechanism has been submitted to the European Commission.

“We hope to have a response from the European Commission by the end of the year so that we can soon complete the pricing framework and make possible the actualization of these projects,” Sdoukou noted.

Initiatives are also being taken for the development of offshore solar farms and hydrogen-run unit, she added.

“We will continue to shape policies that promote renewables and guarantee that we will be at the forefront of the European energy transition,” Sdoukou concluded.

Fast-track procedures pursued for green island pilot project

Fast-track licensing procedures deviating current regulations will be pursued by authorities to transform Agios Efstatios, colloquially referred to as Ai Stratis, a small island in the northeast Aegean, into a green island with RES production systems covering 85 percent of local energy needs for a population of less than 300.

This renewable energy pilot project, organized and developed by KAPE, Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES), with the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou is expected to be completed in two years.

A RES hybrid station, telethermal unit converting excess RES output into thermal energy stored in hot water tanks, and a telethermal network fully covering local needs will all be developed.

 

RAE hybrid project licenses for islands include Accusol, EDF

German energy storage company Accusol and French corporate group EDF, already firmly present in the Greek market, are among a number of investors, local and foreign, to be granted the country’s first hybrid production licenses by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, for island projects.

The authority is believed to be preparing to officially issue these licences, already approved by its board.

Accusol’s licences concern the installation of hybrid energy storage systems on nine Greek islands, including Patmos, Kasos, Anafi and Gavdos.

The German company, working closely with Siemens, is offered technical consultancy by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

For the financing needs of its hybrid energy projects on Greek islands, Accusol has secured a 90 million-euro loan from Alpha Bank and Siemens with German government guarantees through the Heuler Hermes export credit agency.

Accusol has already launched, free of charge, a pilot BESS (Battery Energy Storage System) project on the island Karpathos for Greek power utility PPC, following an agreement late in 2016.

The company’s BESS system uses lithium-ion batteries to store renewable energy.

Development and Investment minister Adonis Georgiadis made indirect reference to Accusol at a Berlin investment forum yesterday, noting “licenses for solar energy production and storage, on Greek territory, have been granted”, without naming the company.

 

Major changes to RES licensing procedure sought by ministry

Ambitious renewable energy targets included in Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) have energy ministry officials looking to overhaul current RES licensing procedures for a swifter, simplified process, currently far too slow and detrimental for investors.

A big number of RES project installations will need to be made over the next decade if the lofty NECP targets are to be achieved.

The installed RES capacity will need to be more than doubled, meaning emphasis will need to be placed on simplifying current licensing procedures, slowed down by bureaucracy and excessive laws, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during yesterday’s presentation of the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The energy ministry is looking for radical solutions that stretch beyond just cutting back on the excessive number of documents and procedures now needed, or digitizing procedures.

On the contrary, the ministry believes the entire RES licensing process needs to be reexamined and revamped. Some sub-permits that are currently needed amid the overall procedure, taking years to cover, may be scrapped if their elimination would not cause any dangers.

Any revisions deemed extremely urgent could be rushed into an energy ministry draft bill on the environment, now being prepared for parliament in January.

Other ministry priorities include developing legal framework for energy storage; a pricing framework for hybrid stations on the islands; further support for RES installations at buildings through net metering; as well as the establishment of legal framework for alternative RES systems, such as offshore wind farms, Sdoukou told the NECP event.

Island hybrid station remuneration level and method recalculated

The energy ministry is currently preparing a new remuneration system for hybrid stations on non-interconnected islands, as well as revised payment levels.

Though the ministry’s proposal is expected to take into account the recommendations of a related RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) study, it should differ greatly.

The proposal, as promised by the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, will undergo public consultation before a new pricing framework for hybrid stations is approved. The European Commission will also need to endorse any new system.

Besides helping recoup investment costs, the new framework is intended to secure the lowest possible costs for consumers.

The new system will not feature any capacity or technology restrictions and will concern all non-interconnected islands, regardless of whether these will remain autonomous or be interconnected.

Figures are being recalculated at the energy ministry as the remuneration levels of investments will represent a key part of the proposal.

The consultation process could take place before the end of this year, according to sources.

Meanwhile, RAE has tasked the National Technical University of Athens with updating an older study on energy storage needs for the Greek grid ahead of the government’s ambitious 2030 RES targets and decision to strongly promote RES installations.

 

Minister reveals RES plans at Renewable & Storage Forum

Renewable energy units without operational support contracts will enjoy automatic market entry, large-scale RES projects with capacities exceeding 250 MW will not participate in competitive procedures but be promoted through a special support framework, while initiatives will be taken to unblock and foster the development of hybrid energy storage and offshore wind energy projects, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis disclosed at a Renewable & Storage Forum staged in Athens by energypress.

The minister was responding to questions during a live interview with energy-sector journalists Thodoris Panagoulis and Haris Floudopoulos at the event. The interview was staged before an audience of some 400 forum attendants.

Many RES producers believe they can secure better prices for output in the market rather than through competitive procedures and, as a result, are keeping projects. The first of the three aforementioned disclosures made by the minister at the event is promising news for these investors.

Also, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has taken action for the remuneration of RES projects with capacities exceeding 250 MW. The energy ministry is now preparing a related bill. Strong interest exists for the development of major-scale wind and solar energy projects, which, until now, have been held back. Their development will be crucial in helping Greece’s RES sector capture a 35 percent share of the country’s energy mix, the target set, market officials have stressed.

Additional RES sector legislative revisions to facilitate RES licensing procedures and spatial matters are being worked on, Hatzidakis, the energy minister, reiterated at the forum.

RES interest high in September, applications total 2.1 GW

Investor interest for the development of new RES units, especially solar energy projects, as well as wind energy farms, remained high in September.

A total of 114 applications representing an overall capacity of 2,093 MW were submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, during the month.

Solar energy project applications represent the bulk of this interest, numbering 82 for a capacity at 1,642 MW, compared to 406 MW for wind energy applications.

A smaller number of applications concerning small-scale hydropower projects totaling 10 MW were also submitted in September. The authority also received one application for a 2-MW biomass unit, three applications for hybrid projects on Lesvos totaling 14 MW, and one bid for a 20-MW telethermal project in Megalopoli.

Cantreva led the way with solar energy project applications totaling 413 MW. Terna Energy submitted solar project applications representing an overall capacity of approximately 372 MW.

Sizeable moves were also made by Portugal’s EDPR, submitting 185 MW in solar energy project applications and 90 MW for wind energy installations, as well as Germany’s ABO, which applied for solar energy projects totaling 107 MW.

Other noteworthy applications were forwarded by Maximus Terra (106 MW, solar), SPDGR (95 MW, solar), Iliothema (70 MW, solar) and Erimia (114 MW, wind).

 

 

Stalled support plan for island hybrid units in motion again

The establishment of a new support framework for hybrid station development on non-interconnected islands, an initiative that stalled during the previous government’s tenure, is regaining momentum.

The energy ministry plans to soon forward for public consultation a new framework, essentially a guide detailing hybrid output remuneration,  sources informed. A finalized plan will then be drafted and delivered to the European Commission for approval before legislation in Greek Parliament.

Hybrid stations, combining renewable energy output with energy storage through the use of batteries or pumped storage, have, until now, not been considered a mature technology and, as a result, sidelined from RES auctions.

This has left the technology without a remuneration method. Investors have expressed increasing interest as indicated by an accumulation of approximately 150 production license applications submitted to RAE. These initiatives have remained stranded. They will advance once the new support framework is established.

The new support plan for hybrid stations is based on a proposal forwarded by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to former energy minister Giorgos Stathakis in July, 2018 without any further progress.

The new plan will not impose capacity or technology limits and will apply for non-interconnected islands, regardless of whether they are to remain autonomous or become interconnected.

The government’s willingness to restart the procedure was made clear yesterday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who commented on the matter at a foundation stone-laying ceremony for a new Mytilineos group power station in Boetia (Viotia), northwest of Athens.

 

 

RAE proposes hybrid station payment limit of €200 per MWh

A RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) study focused on a regulatory support framework for the installation and operation of hybrid power stations on the Greek islands proposes a maximum remuneration level of 200 euros per MW/h for output.

The authority’s study for hybrid power stations, containing a renewable energy component that is balanced via a second form of generation or storage such as a diesel genset, fuel cell or battery storage system, was presented at a pan-European conference just held on the island Naxos.

Prospective investors who attended the event reacted against RAE’s remuneration proposal, contending projects will not be sustainable and, as a result, hybrid stations would not be developed.

Hybrid power plants have, for the time being, been exempted from auction procedures compensating output – as is the case for solar and wind energy facilities – as they are not yet regarded to be a mature technology amid a competitive environment.

The RAE study will be examined by the energy ministry, currently seeking a remuneration system for this emerging technology.

The RAE study also proposes a reexamination of the remuneration level every three years and a production level of up to 3,500 MWh per year.

Furthermore, the duration of respective support systems for islands should depend on whether they have been included in power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year plan for interconnection projects, according to the study.

If interconnections have been planned for islands, then payment guarantees for output should be offered for an initial period of 5 to 7 years, according to the study. Remuneration coverage periods, in all cases, should not exceed 23 years, it notes.

Innovative Tilos power supply project to start trial operation

An innovative hybrid project for power generation and supply on the island Tilos, as well as occasional supply to the neighboring jsland Kos, is set to start its trial operation by early February following three years of preparation, ANA-MPA has reported.

A final pending issue was settled on January 16 with the signing of an electricity sale contract between the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator and EUNICE Energy Group.

The group’s chief Development Officer Zisimos Mantas noted that the development establishes the Tilos Project as the country’s first hybrid station concerning electricity production stemming from renewable sources.

The project combines RES energy production with accumulator storage technology, enabling consumers to be supplied during periods when renewable sources (solar and wind) are insufficient or not available.

The project is comprised of an 800-KW wind turbine, a 160-KW photovoltaic unit, as well as a  battery with a storage capacity of 2.4 megaWatt-hour, able to cover the needs of the island for approximately one and a half day during the low-demand winter period. Demand rises during during the summer months.

It is estimated that the project will cover between 80 to 85 percent of the island’s energy needs throughout the year, while, on certain days, excessive energy will be channelled to the island Kos via an existing underwater interconnection.

Frequent blackouts experienced on the island in the summer are expected to be resolved once this project is launched.

Besides its electricity production and storage system, the project is also equipped with modern systems able to foreast conditions for wind and photovoltaic production. “This will assist us in programing – when to charge or unload the battery” underlined Mantas.

 

Ministry nearing decision on hybrid stations price formula, levels

The energy ministry appears close to reaching final decisions on the price-setting formula and price levels for electricity generated by hybrid power plants.

RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) official Dionysis Papahristou, speaking yesterday at a conference held by the authority, said RAE’s proposal, accompanied by a specialized study, has completed and delivered to energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

Hybrid power plants often contain a renewable energy component that is balanced via a second form of generation or storage such as a diesel genset, fuel cell or battery storage system.

The demand curve concerning the independent electricity system as well as existing levels of RES unit penetration are key factors influencing prices of hybrid station output, the RAE study showed, Papahristou noted at the conference.

RAE preparing to set hybrid power plant output payment levels

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is moving to soon determine payment levels for hybrid power plant output on the non-interconnected islands, keenly awaited by market players before they proceed with investment plans.

The authority has commissioned a National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) department to conduct a related study, whose findings, expected within the next two months, will serve to guide RAE in its hybrid power station output payment rate decisions.

According to recent data made available by HEDNO (Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator), a total of 24 hybrid power station projects exist around the country, 18 of these on Crete, representing a total capacity of 571.5 MW; three on Rhodes with a total capacity of 36 MW; one on Tilos, offering 0.4 MW; one on Lesvos with a 15-MW capacity; and another on Ikaria, measuring 2.55 MW.

Besides the hybrid power station output payment rates, sector investors are also anticipating the development of interconnection projects to link the non-interconnected islands with the mainland. These projects, crucial for the sector, are behind schedule.

Hybrid power plants often contain a renewable energy component that is balanced via a second form of generation or storage such as a diesel genset, fuel cell or battery storage system.