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.

Supreme Court ruling vindicates IPTO in €120m payment dispute

The Supreme Court of Greece has issued a verdict in favor of power grid operator IPTO, sparing the operator of the need to proceed with a delayed payment of a 120 million-euro sum concerning older clearances, made by the operator and sought by independent electricity suppliers, who have not been able to receive this money as power utility PPC, the market’s biggest player and contributor, has yet to deliver its related share to the operator.

IPTO is neither a buyer nor seller of electricity and cannot be embroiled in financial differences involving energy companies, according to the court decision. This legal development promises to trigger new cases pitting energy-company creditors and debtors against each other.

The country’s three independent electricity producers, Elpedison, Mytilineos and Heron, stand to receive the majority of the pending 120 million-euro sum, while smaller non-vertically integrated suppliers are also entitled to smaller shares.

Paradoxically, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has been pressuring electricity suppliers and issuing fines for amounts they owe to the operators, even though IPTO has not been able to deliver the 120 million-euro amount to suppliers as a result of PPC’s failure to contribute its share.

SPEF: PV costs up 30-75%, tariff reduction thoughts must be abandoned

Solar panel prices were up 30 percent for orders placed in March compared to a year earlier, while prices for AC cables, also used for solar panel installations, are as much as 75 percent higher compared to levels in 2019 and 2020, Dr. Stelios Loumakis, president of SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, has pointed out.

In response to these higher costs, the SPEF president called on authorities to abandon any thoughts of reduced tariffs for new solar energy projects currently being developed.

Installation costs for XT/MT substations have also risen considerably, up by 20 percent over the past year, according to Dr. Loumakis.

In addition, power grid operator IPTO’s connection term costs have also risen to levels double those of a few years earlier.

These connection term increases are not exclusively linked to higher-priced equipment but also to network upgrades being carried out by IPTO in order to boost capacity, projects whose cost is passed on to investors.

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.

 

Reduced supplier guarantees to operators being examined

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, looking for ways to ease the cashflow pressure felt by electricity suppliers in the energy crisis, is considering to reduce the level of guarantees they need to forward to the country’s operators – power grid operator IPTO, RES market operator DAPEEP, and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO – by revising a formula that determines these guarantee amounts.

However, certain independent, non-vertically integrated electricity suppliers remain apprehensive, fearing such a move could ultimately further increase the market strength of bigger rivals and push smaller players further aside.

At this stage, RAE is involved in talks with the market operators in an effort to determine if leeway exists for a reduction of the guarantees provided by suppliers.

RAE’s Aggeliki Mourtzikou, Director of the Wholesale Energy Markets Department, told the recent energypress Power and Gas Forum that the authority is moving carefully so that any intervention does not result in the creation of deficit figures whose side effects in the market could outweigh any short-term benefits concerning supplier cashflows.

The number of consumers seeking installment-based payment arrangements for energy bills has risen sharply, severely impacting the cashflow of suppliers.

Greece, Cyprus, Israel look to push ahead with key projects

The prospective East Med gas pipeline and a subsea electricity grid interconnection, projects that would link Israel with Cyprus and Greece and which are being heavily promoted 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 of today’s trilateral meeting in Jerusalem between the energy ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

Energy company representatives will, for the first time, also be participating in a trilateral meeting of energy ministers involving the three countries, highlighting the determination of all three countries, and the EU, for swift progress on projects and agreements that would contribute to greater energy diversification for Europe.

Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas will be accompanied by Kostas Xifaras, chief executive of gas company DEPA Commercial; Mathios Rigas, CEO of upstream company Energean; and Manos Manousakis, CEO of Greek power grid operator IPTO.

Representatives of corresponding Cypriot and Israeli companies will also be taking part in today’s trilateral meeting.

Prospects for the development of the EuroAsia electricity grid link promising to connect the three countries have grown considerably as Israel appears to have swept aside previous reservations. Israel has wanted the completion of the Crete-Cyprus link as a prerequisite ahead of further development.

 

 

Updated NECP raises RES capacity target to 25 GW by 2030

The updated National Energy and Climate Plan is expected to increase the country’s RES installation target for 2030 to 25 GW, up from the existing edition’s 18.9 GW.

The NECP’s greater ambition for increased RES installations and a bigger green-energy share of the country’s energy mix is based on the Fit for 55 agreement reached by the EU last April for a carbon emissions reduction of at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, revised from the previous reduction target of 40 percent.

Given the latest developments concerning Russia’s war on Ukraine, the EU is now determined to achieve even faster RES development to greatly reduce its reliance on Russian gas imports long before 2030.

The Repower EU plan, recently designed for this purpose, is aiming for an average 20 percent increase in new green projects that would cut natural gas consumption by a further 3 bcm. The Repower EU plan has also raised green hydrogen targets.

Greece’s RES units operating in 2020 totaled 10.1 GW, a capacity that will need to be increased by a further 10 GW by 2030, if the Fit for 55 target is to be met. This ambitious target increases the urgency of the energy ministry’s plan for further RES project licensing simplification.

Network upgrades already planned more than cover the country’s ambitious green targets. Power grid operator IPTO estimates that planned transmission network upgrades will enable RES units with a total capacity of 28.5 GW to operate by 2030.

Fast-track transmission project licensing to slash time needed

The energy ministry is preparing a new set of rules for fast-track licensing of grid transmission projects, the aim being to slash, by 75 percent, the overall time required for issuance of licenses concerning transmission projects deemed essential for the updated National Energy and Climate Plan, sources have informed.

The revisions, adopting proposals forwarded by power grid operator IPTO, promise to accelerate and simplify licensing procedures for grid transmission projects that have remained complex and too long for many decades. Under the current rules, licenses take as long as five years to be issued.

Environmental permits, just part of the overall licensing procedure, take at least 24 months to be completed. This time period is expected to be restricted to a maximum of seven months once the licensing procedure for grid transmission projects is simplified.

Also, the time needed for related building permits will be reduced from six months, at present, to just 15 days, sources informed.

The new licensing framework for grid transmission projects will serve as an integral part of the national plan for RES management, IPTO sources noted.

 

Operators coordinate for swifter RES connection terms

Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO have begun coordinating by exchanging information on available grid transmission and distribution network capacities, respectively, in an effort to accelerate connection terms offered to RES facilities.

At present, IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO are struggling to keep up with a flood of applications submitted by RES investors for connection terms.

The two operators have formed a working group which has already held one session involving the participation of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

It was agreed that the two operators need to establish better pictures of available capacities concerning the grid transmission and distribution networks.

Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030. RES investor applications submitted so far are estimated to already exceed this sum by 10 GW.

Gas-fired generation up 72.3% in February, PPC holds ground

Natural gas-fueled electricity generation rose sharply, by 72.3 percent, or 622 GWh, in February compared to the equivalent month a year earlier, according to power grid operator IPTO’s monthly report.

This increased generation essentially filled a gap created by lower hydropower production, which dropped by 76.3 percent, or 659 GWh, during the aforementioned period.

Lignite-fired electricity generation fell by 20.3 percent, or 105 GWh, in February compared to the same month in 2021, the IPTO report showed.

These changes highlight the importance of natural gas-fueled power stations for the country’s energy mix, supply security, and grid flexibility, market authorities told energypress.

Overall electricity generation in February reached 3,506 GWh, down 2.61 percent compared to the equivalent month a year earlier.

Natural gas-fueled generation represented a 54.13 percent share of this total production, renewable energy sources generated 40.02 percent, while hydropower units contributed 5.85 percent of the month’s total.

Market shares in the country’s retail electricity market remained virtually unchanged in February, the IPTO report showed.

Power utility PPC did not give away any ground, capturing a 64.23 percent share of the retail electricity market in February, marginally up from January’s 64.1 percent.

Mytilineos was ranked second with a 6.92 percent share, followed by Heron (6.48%), Elpedison (5.78%), NRG (4.19%), Watt & Volt (2.35%), Fysiko Aerio (2.04%), Volterra (2.01%), Zenith (1.89%) and Volton (1.49%).

 

RES project applications over 2030 limit, halt considered

RES investor applications submitted to power grid operator IPTO for connection terms concerning wind and solar energy facilities already greatly exceed the grid’s planned capacity for 2030, by 10 GW, taking into account prospective grid infrastructure upgrades.

This excess capacity has prompted the energy ministry to consider suspending the submission of any new applications until authorities have found solutions to manage the accumulation of project applications already submitted.

IPTO has completed its assessment of applications concerning 2020 and has offered connection terms to successfully applicants.

The operator is now preparing to process applications lodged in 2021 and during the first quarter of 2022.

The current total capacity of RES projects, either already operating or which have received connection terms up until the end of 2020, is 19.6 GW.

Applications submitted in 2021 and so far in 2022, all of which need to be evaluated, represent a total capacity of 19 GW.

Greece’s updated National Energy and Climate Plan has projected an installed RES capacity of 25 GW by 2030.

Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030.

 

Strategic reserve procedure for PPC lignite units hastened

The energy ministry, driven by the EU’s decision to end its reliance on Russian natural gas as soon as possible, is striving to hasten procedures aiming for European Commission approval of a strategic reserve mechanism concerning power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations.

The ministry is now completing certain required studies and pending procedures in preparation for Athens’ official application to Brussels.

Even so, government officials remain adamant that Athens’ decision to end all lignite-based electricity generation by the end of 2028 does not need to change, and must not change, even though the EU now appears more tolerant towards the use of coal.

The government officials also believe that no revisions are needed for an even more ambitious lignite phase-out plan set by PPC, according to which all the utility’s lignite facilities will be withdrawn by 2023, except for a new unit, Ptolemaida V, planned to switch from lignite to natural gas in 2025.

Power grid operator IPTO plans to deliver an energy sufficiency study to the energy ministry within the next ten days, while the ministry may be ready to submit its package of prerequisites to Brussels by the end of the month.

This would pave the way for Athens to lodge an official application for a strategic reserve mechanism, as well as a capacity remuneration mechanism.

No need for lignite schedule revisions, officials determine

The country’s decarbonization plan, not responsible for the sharp rise in electricity prices, does not require any revisions, lignite continuing to contribute to the energy mix in accordance with the grid’s needs, government officials have determined following a weekend meeting during which the country’s energy mix was examined.

Lignite has played a bigger role in the country’s energy mix over the past few days, covering more than 20 percent of electricity generation needs, up from 10.5 percent in January.

According to data provided by power grid operator IPTO, six of power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations will operate today. Agios Dimitrios I, II, IV and V, Megalopoli IV and Meliti will all contribute to the grid, according to IPTO.

Officials participating at the weekend meeting also examined the progress of the country’s hydrocarbons sectors. EU member states are looking for ways to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) recently conducted seismic surveys at its ‘Ionio’ license, an Ionian Sea block southwest of Corfu. EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, is now awaiting the investor’s next steps.

Subsidy returns to power, gas suppliers currently trapped

A sum estimated at one billion euros, which should, by now, have been transferred by the Greek State to energy suppliers as compensation for subsidies they have offered to households and businesses on its behalf, remains trapped in the coffers of DAPEEP, the RES market operator, as a result of rule ambiguities and errors, sources have claimed in comments to energypress.

This amount, planned to cover subsidy-related payments made by electricity and natural gas suppliers for January, February as well as March, is stuck at DAPEEP as three ministerial decisions issued last month, which define the framework for electricity and gas bill subsidies offered to household consumers, businesses and farmers, as well as subsidy clearance procedures enabling payments to suppliers, contain ambiguities and mistakes, the sources told energypress following its related report on payment delays faced by energy suppliers.

As a result of these ministerial decisions, DAPEEP has been called upon to check whether subsidy amounts covered by suppliers from their own funds on behalf of the Greek State are correct, the sources said.

In essence, the operator has been asked to cross-examine whether consumers who were subsidized were eligible for the support, restricted to primary residence only, and whether other eligible parties ended up not receiving subsidies.

DAPEEP is not in a position to perform this task alone as the RES market operator needs to cross-examine its figures with those of DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, and IPTO, the power grid operator, for which it does not have access, the sources explained.

Operator starts grid substation upgrades, to offer RES units 1,750 MW

Power grid operator IPTO has begun upgrading low and medium-voltage substations around the country to facilitate new RES unit connections to the grid.

The overall effort, expected to create additional grid capacity for RES units totaling 1,750 MW, is still at its early stages. So far, two of 33 substation upgrades have been completed, according to energypress sources.

The upgrade is budgeted at 30 million euros, of which 12 million euros is planned to be provided through the recovery fund.

The 1,750 MW in RES unit connections to be enabled by the operator’s substation upgrades represents nearly 40 percent of a 4,640-MW RES capacity estimated to be needed for the National Energy and Climate Plan to reach its energy-mix goals.

The upgrade work promises to increase substation capacity by 250 MVA in the Peloponnese and Epirus regions, by 100 MVA in the wider Athens area, by 200 MVA in central Greece, and by 250 MVA in north and northeastern Greece’s Macedonia and Thrace regions.

All contracts for the substation upgrades are expected to have been awarded by the fourth quarter in 2023, while all work is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter in 2025.

 

Electricity market pushed to its limits by widespread debt woes

The country’s electricity market is under severe pressure, being pushed to its financial limits by a chain effect of unfavorable events, namely serious cash-flow issues faced by suppliers, increasing overdue amounts owed by thousands of consumers to suppliers, as well as greater surcharge debt owed by the latter to electricity network operators and municipalities.

This concerning picture was presented in detail yesterday by two market operators, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and RES market operator DAPEEP, to the board at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, with energy minister Kostas Skrekas also participating.

Teleconferences were also staged with a number of electricity suppliers for discussions on their delays in relaying surcharges collected through electricity bills to network operators and municipal administrations.

Older surcharge amounts owed by suppliers, up until October, 2020, have led to payback arrangements equally dividing these amounts to letters of guarantees and monthly installments. Most of these commitments are being honored by the suppliers.

However, newer debt issues have emerged through the current energy crisis, beginning last autumn.

According to energypress sources, suppliers owe a total amount of 50 million euros to DAPEEP, a little under 10 million euros to power grid operator IPTO, and over 200 million euros to DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Much of the sum owed to DEDDIE/HEDNO has been covered by letters of guarantee issued by suppliers, following a related revision made by the energy ministry last August.

 

Supplier surcharge relay delays to operators on RAE agenda

Details of accumulated electricity-bill surcharge payment delays by electricity suppliers to market operators will be examined at a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) board meeting tomorrow to involve the participation of three market operators, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, power grid operator IPTO and RES market operator DAPEEP.

The progress of agreements concerning installment-based payments by electricity suppliers to operators for overdue surcharge amounts totaling 347 million euros up until October, 2020 will be on tomorrow’s agenda.

Suppliers owing this surcharge amount have faced penalties for their delays. The suppliers reached agreements to cover 50 percent of surcharge amounts owed with letters of guarantee and settle the remainder through installments over periods ranging from 8 to 10 months.

Besides updates on older surcharge amounts owed by suppliers, the three operators, at tomorrow’s RAE meeting, will also be asked to provide details on more recent unpaid surcharges, especially amounts concerning 2021.

According to RAE officials, a total of 12 electricity suppliers have fallen behind on surcharge payments since October, 2020, leading to an accumulated amount, since that month, of approximately 250 million euros. This figure remains unconfirmed. Tomorrow’s meeting will offer a clearer picture.

In addition, the failure of suppliers to relay municipal-related surcharges, currently worth a total of between 60 and 70 million euros, to municipalities will also be discussed at tomorrow’s RAE board meeting. In some cases, these delays have stretched for periods of up to 18 months.

This issue was discussed at a meeting yesterday between energy minister Kostas Skrekas and representatives of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE), who called for a revision that would require electricity suppliers to relay surcharge amounts to municipalities within two months.

 

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.

 

IPTO, HEDNO form working group for RES connection term coordination

Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO have agreed to form a working group, with participation from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a meeting initiated by the authority to seek solutions for further acceleration of connection terms offered to new RES stations through better coordination between the operators.

The three entities agreed that each operator must have a clearer picture of total available network capacity, both for transmission and distribution.

At the meeting, both IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO stressed that they have been working at a faster pace over recent years, in response to an increased inflow of RES connection applications.

In 2021, IPTO offered connection terms to 1,346 prospective RES projects representing a total capacity of 3,046 MW, five times more the total capacity of 620 MW it offered for RES connection terms concerning 43 RES projects in 2015.

Also, RES stations given the green light to enter the transmission network in 2021 increased by 310 percent, compared to the previous year.

Between 2015 and 2021, 1,673 RES stations representing a total capacity of 7.86 GW have secured access to the grid, data has shown.

 

Authorities on alert to counter snowstorm impact on country’s grid

The government and market operators are on high alert to counter, as effectively as possible, the impact on the grid of heavy snowfall around the country over the next few days.

Severe snowstorms last winter had led to network damages and outages over a number of days in a various parts of Greece, including the wider Athens area.

The government, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, power grid operator IPTO and gas grid operator DESFA are all on stand-by as the weather system, dubbed Elpida, moves in, bringing heavy snowfall.

The energy sector is well prepared to ensure energy sufficiency during the snowstorm’s anticipated rise in energy demand, authorities have noted.

Pipeline natural gas and LNG reserves at DESFA’s Revythoussa islet terminal just off Athens are sufficient to cover heightened demand during the adverse weather, officials have noted.

Total energy demand for today is forecast to reach 171,775 MWh, of which 58,825 MWh is expected to be provided by renewables, 94,606 MWh by natural gas-fueled power stations and 13,290 MWh by hydropower units.

Four lignite-fired power stations, Agios Dimitrios II, III IV and Meliti, are currently operating, while independent natural gas-fueled power stations operated by Heron, ENTHES, Thisvi, Protergia and Corinth Power are also generating for the grid.

DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, has announced a new hotline (800 400 4000) to which consumers can report any network damages.

 

RES output high in ’21, demand back to pre-pandemic level

The RES sector set a new production record in 2021, reaching 17,193 GWh, up from 14,800 in 2020, a 16.2 increase, while, in another important development last year, electricity demand rebounded to pre-pandemic levels of 2019, totaling 52,322 GWh, up 4.7 percent compared to 2020, data provided in a latest monthly report from power grid operator IPTO has shown.

Another eco-friendly energy source, hydropower, also ended 2021 with a record production level of 5,293 GWh, 82.5 percent higher than the 2020 total of 2,900 GWh, the IPTO report showed.

The RES and hydropower sectors, combined, provided 46.1 percent of the country’s overall electricity production in 2022, which reached 48,721 GWh.

Lignite-fired generation fell by 7 percent, to 5,341 GWh, in 2021, reflecting this high-polluting and high-cost energy source’s continual retreat.

Power utility PPC has been regaining ground during the energy crisis of the past few months, increasing its retail electricity market share to 63.9 percent in December from 63.1 percent a month earlier, the IPTO data showed.

PPC’s retail electricity market share has increased by nearly two percentage points  since September, when the energy crisis hit.

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.

 

Market Reform Plan, Adequacy Report by month’s end

Power grid operator IPTO is working on revisions to its Market Reform Plan, following observations by the European Commission, and an updated Adequacy Report, the aim being to have submitted both to Brussels by the end of this month.

Both these documents are prerequisites for the energy ministry’s delivery of a Strategic Reserve Mechanism and a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM).

The ministry’s successful completion of the two mechanisms will still require many months of negotiations with Brussels authorities before the European Commission, notorious for slow-moving processing, approves the two mechanisms, sources closely following developments on these matters have noted.

The European Commission usually has reservations about support mechanisms, so it could take time before the Greek requests are approved.

It still remains unclear when the Strategic Reserve Mechanism and a CRM could be launched. Some latency is likely following their anticipated approval.

The ministry is aiming to apply the Strategic Reserve Mechanism until 2023, when it would be succeeded by the CRM.

IPTO grid projects set to receive €195m in recovery fund support

Two major grid projects planned for development by power grid operator IPTO in order to boost the country’s grid capacity and energy security are set to receive a total of 195 million euros in funding through the recovery and resilience fund, following a joint ministerial decision by the energy and finance ministries.

The joint ministerial decision secures financial support, through the recovery and resilience fund, for the fourth and final phase of the Cyclades interconnection and reconstruction of the Koumoundourou high-voltage center along with a 400kV line linking the facility with the Corinth high-voltage center, west of Athens.

The two projects are budgeted at a combined total of 482 million euros. The fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnection, budgeted at 393 million euros, is expected to receive 165 million euros through the recovery and resilience fund.

The Koumoundourou high-voltage center, whose budget is estimated at 89 million euros, is expected to receive 30 million euros in financing through the recovery and resilience fund.

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.

Balancing market’s redispatching trial run extended by further two months

An ongoing trial run distinguishing between balancing energy and redispatching-related energy in the balancing market will be extended by a further two months, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has announced.

The dry-run had begun on December 1 and was initially planned to run for a period of about one month. But it has now been decided that the procedure will need to run until February 28 so that its formula, developed by power grid operator IPTO, can be tested over a greater period of time.

The trial run does not produce financial results but is limited to flagging quantities activated as a result of load changes.

According to the Market Reform Plan, the balancing market’s redispatching procedure is scheduled to be launched on March 31, 2022.

Measure to spare suppliers of interest payments to operators

A legislative revision prepared by the energy ministry will be designed to spare suppliers of having to pay interest on overdue amounts owed to operators as a result of unpaid receivables.

Suppliers will only need to pay interest on overdue amounts owed to operators in cases where court verdicts have ruled for the inclusion of interest payments.

The amendment concerns payments by power suppliers to power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and DAPEEP, the RES market operator.

 

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.