Suppliers request revisions to alleviate cash-flow pressure

Electricity suppliers, facing steep and lasting wholesale electricity cost increases, which have resulted in cash-flow issues, are seeking revisions that could alleviate the pressure, in recommendations submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Rising wholesale electricity costs have created major cash flow problems for non-vertically integrated electricity suppliers as they are being forced to pay increasing amounts for electricity and related guarantees ahead of payments, to them, by consumers.

Consumers have also felt the pinch as suppliers, seeking protection against the rising wholesale prices, have activated wholesale cost-related clauses incorporated into their supply agreements.

Solutions for both sides seem elusive at present as market forecasts do not see any price de-escalation ahead, only further increases.

In one of the recommendations forwarded to RAE, suppliers called for their cash collateral payments made to the Hellenic Energy Exchange, as a form of guarantee, to be replaced by letters of guarantee representing equivalent amounts.

Suppliers have also requested a reexamination of the clearing price and payment formula in the day-ahead and intraday markets.

They also requested extensions for surcharge payments to power grid operator IPTO and the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

 

Energy Exchange Group (EnEx) celebrates its 3-year anniversary

Founded in June 2018, EnEx is comprised of the Hellenic Energy Exchange S.A. (HEnEx) and the EnEx Clearing House S.A. (EnExClear). Since its designation by the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) as the Nominated Electricity Market Operator (NEMO), HEnEx has evolved in line with the European agenda for a single and integrated European energy market.

As a designated NEMO, HEnEx successfully performed the necessary market transformations for the preparedness and operation of the Greek power market under the new model. All changes were completed in time and by the 1st of November 2020, the Greek power market was integrated with the European Target Model for electricity markets. HEnEx now operates the Day-Ahead Market, the Intraday Market and an energy Derivatives Market.

A very important milestone for HEnEx was the market coupling of the Greek Day-Ahead market to the European markets – over the border between Greece and Italy on December 15th 2020. On May 11th 2021, HEnEx achieved its second market coupling with Bulgaria. These interconnections enable cross-border trading, optimal capacity allocation and congestion management – all of which, facilitate a European Union-wide market in electricity with optimal welfare and resource allocation.

EnExClear plays also an important role in the flawless operation of the spot electricity markets in Greece. It provides clearing, risk management and settlement services for the Day-Ahead Market and the Intraday Market, and is also responsible for the clearing, settlement and shipping of implicit cross border transactions with the coupled markets. Furthermore, EnExClear is also responsible for the risk management and the settlement of positions of the balancing market, which is run by the Greek Transmission System Operator (IPTO).

Both HEnEx and EnExClear are directing their efforts towards the next important steps:

The establishment of a gas trading platform is the next major milestone. In collaboration with the Greek Gas TSO (DESFA), RAE and the Ministry of Environment, EnEx is designing the model for the new gas trading platform which is expected to be operational in fall 2021.

This year, HEnEx will also start operating three Complementary Regional Intraday Auctions (CRIDAs) and foresees its inclusion in the European Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) initiative in Q1 2022. Furthermore, following the connection of the island of Crete to the mainland electricity network, HEnEx is also leading the integration of the island to the existing Day-Ahead and Intraday Markets of mainland Greece.

In this dynamic and evolving energy environment, EnEx is committed to contributing to sustainability and providing high quality, transparent and non-discriminatory services to its markets participants. With confidence, EnEx will continue developing with vision and determination, while learning from its positive experiences, and strengthening the relationship with its partners and stakeholders.

 

Greek-Italian-Slovenian intraday market coupling in autumn

Market coupling of the Greek, Italian and Slovenian intraday markets has been scheduled for September 21 through complementary regional intraday auctions (CRIDAs), a further step towards full unification of the European electricity market.

This market coupling move promises to bolster the liquidity of Greece’s intraday market, which has remained subdued since its launch several months ago, while also easing balancing market burdens of participants.

A liquidity boost in the intraday market is necessary for optimal management of intermittent production, as is the case with most RES units.

Greece’s coupling with Italy and Slovenia constitutes the first step in this direction, the intention being to avoid significant discrepancies for RES units and costs they cause.

The degree to which this coupling step will impact Greece’s intraday market remains to be seen, given the limited capacity of an existing subsea cable linking Greece and Italy, offering 500 MW.

This interconnection will require a capacity boost if high-level intraday market activity is to be achieved, as the infrastructure will need to be able to facilitate physical deliveries of electricity amounts ordered.

Also, the interconnection’s leftover capacity for intraday market trading will depend on the level of electricity import and export agreements established through the preceding day-ahead market.

For example, if, on certain days, the interconnection’s capacity is entirely taken up for day-ahead transactions, then intraday market trading will not be possible.

A second step in the coupling of Greece’s intraday market is planned with the country’s entry into the continual XBID (Cross Border Intraday) market with Italy and Bulgaria, planned for the first quarter of 2022.

Ministry committee set to deliver energy-storage framework plan

Facilities operating purely as energy storage stations will be placed under one category for licensing and regulatory purposes, while a separate category will be established for operations combining storage and RES stations, according to a proposal being prepared by a special committee assembled by the environment and energy ministry.

Also, all electricity markets, such as the day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets, will be open to all energy storage units, regardless of category, according to sources.

Units operating as energy storage stations, alone, are likely to receive licenses through an existing framework already used to grant licenses to natural gas-fired power stations, sources informed.

RAE has resorted to this existing framework as a solution to offer production licenses to a number of companies that have lodged applications for large-scale battery facilities.

The committee, set to stage its final session tomorrow, is expected to present a finalized proposal early next week to authorities, including political officials, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, energy market operators, and the energy exchange.

The energy ministry, placing great emphasis on energy storage as part of the country’s decarbonization strategy, intends to forward the committee’s framework plan for public consultation at the end of June. The ministry plans to submit a related draft bill to Parliament by October 31.

Wholesale electricity cost up 8% in 1Q, surcharges double

The cost of wholesale electricity averaged 65.412 euros per MWh in the first quarter of 2021, up 8 percent compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, when the level averaged 60.67 euros per MWh, data provided by power grid operator IPTO has shown.

It should be pointed out that a direct price comparison of all components making up wholesale cost during these two quarters is not possible as, during this time, the structure of the wholesale electricity market changed from a mandatory pool system to the target model.

For example, a minimum RES-supporting surcharge burdening wholesale costs by an average of 3.4 euros per MWh during the first quarter last year has since been abolished. Also, the market-clearing price fell to 0.72 euros per MWh in the first quarter from 2.11 euros per MWh in the equivalent period a year earlier.

Even so, the reduction in these costs was outweighed by the increase in wholesale electricity prices. The total cost in the day-ahead and intraday markets averaged 55.17 euros per MWh in the first quarter this year, compared to last year’s average cost of 50.39 euros per MWh in the mandatory pool.

Surcharge costs also increased, averaging 9.53 euros per MWh in the first quarter this year, double the level of 4.78 euros per MWh a year earlier.

Particularly high prices registered late in 2020, during the early days of the target model launch, have eased so far this year. Last November and December, surcharge costs reached 17 and 16.09 euros, respectively.

Electricity consumption fell by 6 percent in the first quarter this year, compared to a year earlier, to 12.39 TWh from 13.175 TWh, as a result of lockdown measures amid the pandemic.

Authorities gearing up for intraday market entry of traders

Authorities are picking up the pace on moves needed to also enable traders to begin participating in Greece’s intraday electricity market, one of the new wholesale markets emerging with the target model’s recent introduction.

The Greek energy exchange will forward its proposal for necessary market regulation amendments to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, within the next two months, energypress sources informed.

These revisions will take finalized shape through ongoing discussions between the energy exchange, as operator of the intraday market, power grid operator IPTO, managing international grid interconnections, and RAE.

The authorities are seeking to establish an optimal formula for the intraday market entry of electricity traders.

The talks, until now, have indicated that intraday day interconnection rights will not be required for transboundary trade between intraday markets that have not undergone coupling.

Therefore, traders will be able to participate in the intraday market by utilizing the amount of daily interconnection rights they have secured and not used for transboundary transactions in the day-ahead market.

The addition of traders to the intraday market promises to boost its liquidity, currently low. This will help liberate market players by offering them greater flexibility, limiting the pressure on the balancing market.

Market coupling with Bulgaria expected by early May

Market coupling to unify the Greek and Bulgarian day-ahead markets, representing a second step for the participation of Greek wholesale electricity markets in a pan-European unification of markets through the target model, is planned for late April or early May, sources have informed.

The forthcoming step was preceded by market coupling between Greece and Italy, unifying, as of December 15, the day-ahead markets of the two countries through a single price coupling algorithm, EUPHEMIA (Pan-European Hybrid Electricity Market Integration Algorithm). It calculates energy allocation, net positions and transboundary electricity prices.

Greece’s market coupling with Bulgaria promises to create an even broader trading platform for market participants, sector officials noted. Besides bilateral contracts for energy imports and exports, market coupling will also facilitate automatic energy flow from the higher-priced country to the lower-priced country.

To date, Greece has clearly been an energy importer in its transboundary energy trading relationship with Bulgaria. It remains to be seen if this will be maintained under the new conditions.

Once market coupling of the Greek and Bulgarian day-ahead markets has been accomplished, Greece’s next step towards unification with European energy markets will be to link its intraday market with that of Italy, a step expected by next summer, through the implementation of complementary regional intraday auctions (CRIDA).

Further ahead, a third step, balancing market coupling through two European platforms, MARI (Manually Activated Reserves Initiative) and PICASSO (Platform for the International Coordination of Automated Frequency Restoration and Stable System Operation), is planned for the second half of 2022.

 

Wholesale prices up on first 2 days of target model trading

The target model’s launch over the weekend was successfully staged with a full field of 45 participating players, but wholesale electricity prices were pushed slightly higher.

Saturday’s day-ahead price for yesterday’s opening day ended at 53 euros per MWh before rising considerably to 61 euros per MWh yesterday for today.

This increase may be the result of a lack of confidence felt by players as they adjust to new market ways. In addition, the entry into the grid of high-cost lignite-fired power stations to cover telethermal systems is another factor.

Though producers, suppliers, traders and renewable energy players all actively traded for the target model’s launch, they have yet to fully come to terms with the new market conditions.

It is a matter of time before the model’s new markets – day-ahead, intraday, balancing – find their rhythm and price levels are normalized, energy sector authorities have noted.

No major issues concerning procedural or technical matters have been reported.

The intraday market launch was smooth. Prices ended at levels set by the day-ahead market as corrections were not made.

As for the balancing market, a brand new tool for the entire system, price levels ended as anticipated, at levels set during dry-run testing in the lead-up to the target model’s launch.

The target model, representing the Greek electricity market’s most significant reform, will enable market coupling with equivalent European markets, a development ultimately expected to reinforce energy security; offer consumers greater financial benefits through transboundary competition; prompt competitive pricing in the wholesale market; facilitate further RES penetration; and, by extension, hasten greenhouse gas emission reductions and the decarbonization effort.

IPTO, handling target model’s balancing market, set for launch

Power grid operator IPTO has declared being fully prepared for its imminent target model role of managing the balancing market, one of the new market systems to come into effect this coming Monday, when the target model is set to be launched.

Besides being tasked with managing the target model’s balancing market, IPTO, in a widely unknown role, will also be responsible for measuring overall operations of the target model.

The balancing market, an extremely complex market system requiring fundamental changes compared to current practices, will perform real-time balancing of demand against available offers.

The energy exchange will be responsible for the target model’s day-ahead and intraday markets.

In the lead-up to the forthcoming launch, IPTO, challenged by pandemic-related obstacles such as travel and staff restrictions, needed to make a series of coordinated efforts. These have included development of information systems and corresponding interface systems with the energy exchange (BMMS, MSS, XBMS and MODESTO), plus staff training.

The target model, representing the Greek electricity market’s most significant reform, is essential for market coupling with equivalent European markets.

The target model promises to reinforce the country’s energy security, offer consumers greater financial benefits through transboundary competition, lead to fair and competitive pricing in the wholesale market, while also facilitating further RES penetration, and, by extension, hastening greenhouse gas emission reductions and the decarbonization effort.

Minister urges target model readiness for smooth launch

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has urged all target model officials – including RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy; power grid operator IPTO; the energy exchange and EnExClear – to have resolved any pending issues so that a smooth launch of the model may be achieved on November 1.

Describing the upcoming date as historic for Greece’s energy sector, the minister was essentially conveying concerns of energy producers, traders and suppliers, not yet fully convinced that all market systems will be in full working order for the imminent launch.

The balancing market, in particular, remains a concern. The energy exchange is overseeing the day-ahead and intraday markets and IPTO will manage the balancing market.

Simulated dry-run testing of these markets, conducted for a period of over two months to test their limits and operating ability ahead of the target model launch, was completed about a fortnight ago.

Greece’s lead-up to the EU target model has been affected by a series of delays. Hatzidakis, the energy minister, is clearly determined to see the target model procedure through, not only because it is an EU commitment but also because of its prospective market and consumer benefits.

The target model will result in market coupling, or harmonization of EU wholesale markets, the intention being to eliminate market distortions and intensify competition.

A final full-scale test of all market systems is scheduled for October 27 while all is anticipated to be ready on October 30 ahead of the November 1 launch.

New market dry-run testing to end this week, target model launch on Nov. 1

The dry-run testing procedure for market systems ahead of the forthcoming target model launch, scheduled for November 1, will be finalized at the end of this week, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy exchange and power grid operator IPTO have jointly decided.

Dry-run testing of the day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets began on August 3 to test their limits and operating ability ahead of the target model’s launch, aiming for market coupling, or harmonization of EU wholesale markets.

Market coupling, to increase competition and lower wholesale energy prices, will ultimately lead to energy union, the EU strategy seeking to offer consumers secure, sustainable, competitive and lower-cost energy.

All domestic parties involved, as well as the energy ministry, have ascertained the Greek launch will take place on November 1 following previous delays.

Even during these final days of simulated testing, day-ahead market prices have, at times, continued to display discrepancies with Day-Ahead Schedule price levels.

This has been attributed to the absence, from dry-run testing, of many traders who participate in the Day-Ahead Schedule, meaning the price levels of the two situations are based on different data.

Though balancing market prices have improved considerably as the simulated testing has progressed, following discrepancies, conclusions cannot be made until actual market conditions come into effect.

Meanwhile, public consultation by RAE on a market monitoring mechanism and a market surveillance mechanism for the new markets is due to be completed next Monday.

The market monitoring mechanism will seek, through structural and performance indicators, to evaluate levels of concentration and the market power of each participant, while the market surveillance mechanism will focus on identifying and combating strategies detrimental to competition.

The next step, once the new markets are launched, will be to market couple, initially with the Italian market, by the end of the year, followed by the Bulgarian market, in the first quarter of 2021, Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis recently informed.

 

 

Safety mechanism to limit energy exchange fluctuations

Sizeable electricity price discrepancies – compared to day-ahead scheduling market levels – observed by officials in ongoing dry-run testing of Energy Exchange markets ahead of the target model launch scheduled for September 17 and attributed to unrealistic offers made by participants, are expected to narrow as more participants become involved.

Even so, officials supervising the simulated testing of all four Energy Exchange markets – day-ahead, intraday, forward, balancing markets – plan to introduce a safety mechanism enabling participants to make improved follow-up offers if price levels fluctuate beyond upper and lower limits.

Officials at related agencies and the energy ministry are confident the dry run will be completed on time despite being up against a very tight schedule.

The head officials of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy exchange, and power grid operator IPTO held a summit meeting yesterday with energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and the ministry’s secretary-general, Alexandra Sdoukou, to discuss the progress of the dry run. Other officials meet on a weekly basis to discuss the effort.

To date, any technical issues that have arisen have been resolved. Both the Energy Exchange and IPTO appear ready for the real-life launch. Market systems have been undergoing continual testing since August 3.

However, a shortage in the number of dry-run participants, especially traders, has been observed. This is concerning as current evaluations of the market system performances cannot be considered entirely accurate. All key players – gas-based electricity producers, suppliers, traders, RES producers and aggregators – must be involved in the simulated testing for a dependable picture.

Once the Energy Exchange and IPTO have declared their readiness, RAE will need to offer its approval of the dry run on September 11, a week before the target model’s scheduled September 17 launch.

The aim is for all players to have entered the market systems on September 15 to prepare their orders for the launch two days later.

Crucial week for target model’s dry-run tests of market systems

Though any glitches that have emerged during ongoing simulated testing of all energy exchange market systems ahead of a target model launch scheduled for September 17 have been quickly resolved, officials remain concerned about the venture’s level of readiness.

The number of participants for the dry run’s virtual transactions, especially traders, has been insufficient, while participants are submitting unrealistic offers, officials have observed.

This has prompted major fluctuations as well as sizable electricity price discrepancies compared to day-ahead scheduling market levels.

Market systems at the Energy Exchange, to operate the day-ahead, intraday and forward markets, and at the power grid operator IPTO, operating the balancing market, have been undergoing continual testing since August 3.

This week will be crucial as an increase in the number of participants is anticipated, while heightened maturity in bidding methods is also expected, all of which should result in safer conclusions.

For the time being, a deferral of the target model’s September 17 launch date is not being considered. All operators must declare complete readiness to RAE by September 11 if this launch date is to be maintained.

Electricity price levels, once the target model is launched, cannot be forecast at present. This could be possible within the next few days.

Officials at the energy ministry, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy exchange and IPTO, all monitoring the effort, are scheduled to stage their next weekly meeting tomorrow.

Energy exchange dry run starts, target model launch nearing

Simulated testing of all energy exchange market systems, the dry run, began yesterday, as officially scheduled, putting the launch of the target model on the final stretch.

Market systems linked to power grid operator IPTO, the Greek energy exchange, as well as EnexClear, an energy exchange subsidiary tasked with clearing transactions, are now operating under conditions of virtual reality, signaling the beginning of final-stage testing to be completed at the end of this month.

During the dry run, participating producers and buyers will be making simulated offers and purchases, the objective being to identify possible operational faults or insufficiencies for correction ahead of the official launch of the target model, scheduled for September 17.

All four energy exchange markets – the day-ahead, intraday, forward and balancing markets – are being tested. The energy exchange is in charge of the first three while IPTO is operator of the fourth.

Following August 11, EnexClear will take on a more active role for transaction clearances, a procedure to be performed on a weekly basis.

The overall procedure’s schedule was formalized by a ministerial decision signed on July 10.

August launch of target model not possible, pundits insist

A launch of spot markets at the Greek energy exchange is not possible until September, well-informed market officials insist, rejecting recent claims by power grid operator IPTO deputy chief Yiannis Margaris of an earlier target model start within August.

The energy ministry is currently coordinating with IPTO, the Hellenic Energy Exchange (HENEX) and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for clarity as to when the launch of the target model’s energy exchange markets is feasible.

A June 30 launch date will inevitably be missed, a key problem behind the delay being the absence of a specific date for the delivery of a balancing market platform to IPTO by General Electric, commissioned this project.

A GE team that was stationed in Athens for this project left the country without notice, citing the possibility of greater pandemic danger ahead, in reaction to its outbreak. This has delayed the delivery of the platform.

IPTO is now closely coordinating with GE for a specific delivery date, following the relaxation of lockdown measures.

Trial runs of all market systems linking IPTO, HENEX and EnexClear were scheduled to begin April 10. Dry-run testing, or continual simulation, of market systems was scheduled for May 15, ahead of the June 30 launch date for the target model’s day-ahead, intraday and balancing market launches, now all out of the question.

 

 

RAE starts target model delay investigation, hearing possible

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has launched an investigation seeking to pinpoint the causes behind the delay of the target model’s first stage.

An April 10 deadline was missed for trial runs of all market systems in a procedure involving power grid operator IPTO, the energy exchange and EnexClear.

IPTO was unable to complete the development of a balancing market platform needed for the trial runs. The operator attributed its delay to a coronavirus-related inability by General Electric to deliver required software on time. This delay has now clocked up some 60 days.

The energy authority wants to determine whether any other factors, besides the coronavirus pandemic’s inevitable effect, have played a role in the delay of the trial run.

RAE also wants to examine the impact of the delays until now on the target model’s next stages. A full-scale launch scheduled for June 30, when day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets are expected to begin operating, now appears to be out of the question, while a delay beyond summer is feared.

The authority could summon all parties involved to a hearing to determine whether penalties need to be imposed.