IPTO set to stage flexibility remuneration auction this Friday

Power grid operator IPTO has invited interested parties to register for an inaugural flexibility remuneration auction scheduled to take place this Friday.

The August 14 auction will offer bidders flexibility remuneration rights for a period covering August 15 to October 31 this year.

A total flexibility capacity of 4,500 MW will be offered at Friday’s auction at a starting price of 39,000 euros per MW, annually.

 

Athens-Crete interconnection work commences at both ends

Work at both ends of the Athens-Crete grid interconnection, Greece’s biggest infrastructure project at present, has begun in earnest, power grid operator IPTO sources have informed.

In the lead-up, IPTO subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection, developing the project, and contractors signed contracts totaling approximately one billion euros last month.

Various preliminary studies and construction work are now underway. A high-voltage subsea cable is planned to run from Heraklion, Crete to Megara, slightly west of Athens.

Also, a converter station will be built close to the Cretan village Damasta.

A converter station will not be needed at Megara, on the Athenian side of the project. Instead, the interconnection’s line will run through an underground passage to reach a central unit, where the converter station will be installed.

IPTO has discussed the project with local communities to minimize any inconveniences. Requests made by locals, determined to conceal any visual impact, were taken into consideration by authorities when planning the project’s route.

Revisions were made to an environmental impact study approved by the energy ministry last April.

IPTO made significant changes for the Megara end of the interconnection, significantly increasing the operator’s budget for the project. Changes included the adoption of subterranean line passages. Similar-minded revisions have also been agreed to for the Cretan end’s Korakia area.

Once launched, the Athens-Crete grid interconnection promises to offer electricity consumers overall annual savings of 400 million euros in Public Service Compensation (YKO) surcharges, included in electricity bills.

The project will also offer major environmental benefits as CO2 emissions resulting from the overall electricity supply effort for Crete will be reduced by 60 percent once the Athens-Crete interconnection is fully launched.

This project represents Crete’s major-scale link. A preceding smaller-scale link from Crete to the Peloponnese has also been incorporated into the effort.

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.

Gas, renewables cover 76% of electricity demand in June

Natural gas and renewable energy sources covered 76 percent of electricity demand in June, limiting lignite’s contribution to a mere 5 percent, latest figures provided by power grid operator IPTO have shown.

The development highlights the fast-approaching end of the lignite era in Greece, currently in transition towards green energy.

Natural gas-fueled generation in June covered 37 percent of electricity demand, plus 2 percent contributed by cooling, heating and power (CCHP) generation, while renewables contributed 37 percent, including hydropower input of 9 percent.

Highlighting lignite’s severely diminished role in generation, PPC restricted its lignite-fired generation last month by 75 percent compared to the equivalent month a year earlier.

During this same one-year period, renewable energy source generation increased by 7.6 percent, while natural gas-based electricity production was up by a milder 1.2 percent, the IPTO data showed.

In another noteworthy statistic, all of the country’s lignite units were switched off for 40 hours, continuously, for the first time in June.

Remaining energy utility sales, DEDDIE and IPTO, nearing

The time is nearing for Greece’s two remaining energy utility  privatizations, those of electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO.

An energy ministry official yesterday updated journalists on the progress of both sales at a presentation of gas distributor DEDA’s five-year investment plan.

All details concerning the sale of a 49 percent stake in DEDDIE/HEDNO, a fully owned power utility PPC subsidiary, will be ready and finalized in September, enabling the announcement of a tender that month, according to the ministry official.

Preparations for this sale include the evaluation and transfer of assets used by DEDDIE/HEDNO from PPC to the operator.

As for the IPTO sale, talks between the operator and China’s SGCC – already holding a 24 percent stake in IPTO and first-offer rights in the event of the sale of a further stake in the operator – are still at an early stage.

The energy ministry is moving carefully in an effort to comply with fine details of EU directives concerning the entry of non-EU members into European enterprises and infrastructure.

Norton Rose Fulbright Athens team advises on largest interconnection project

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised IPTO/ADMIE, the owner and operator of the Greek electricity transmission grid, on the concession of the Crete – Attica HVDC interconnection project, to ADMIE’s subsidiary, Ariadne Interconnection. It is the largest electricity grid infrastructure project ever developed in the country and one of the longest subsea electricity links (328kms) developed so far globally.

The project includes the construction of a bipolar high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable, linking the island of Crete with the transmission grid in the Athens metropolitan area (Attica), with a rated power of 1 GW (2 x 500 MW), as well as the construction of electrode stations, AC/DC converter stations and onshore (underground) high voltage lines in Crete and Attica. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2022 and its estimated budget is €1 billion.

Advice included the drafting of the concession agreement and also extended to the consultation of the concession agreement with the national regulatory authority for energy (RAE) and credit institutions which are interested in financing the implementation of the project.

The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by Athens-based partner Vassilis Koroxenidis with assistance from senior associate Sergios Karotsieris. Dimitris Assimakis, head of the firm’s Greek energy practice, assisted the team on the national and EU regulatory and public procurement issues relevant to the project.

Dimitris Assimakis commented: “We are delighted to have assisted ADMIE, the Greek electricity TSO, with the implementation of this emblematic electricity interconnection project. This project illustrates ADMIE’s strong commitment to the further expansion of the transmission grid to the Aegean Sea islands. This contributes not only to the improvement of a reliable power supply and the economic growth of these regions but, most importantly, helps combat their environmental degradation and enables the addition of new renewable capacity from the islands into the national grid.”

Solar energy sector country’s biggest RES player since 2014

Solar energy systems have played a key part in the RES sector’s increased share of the country’s energy mix since 2014, data provided by power grid operator IPTO has shown.

RES and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) units in operation at the end of 2019 totaled 6,373 MW, of which 3,301 MW concern wind energy parks and 2,640 MW concern photovoltaic systems.

The number of RES licenses granted until the end of 2019 totaled a capacity of 30.3 GW, according to IPTO data included in the operator’s ten-year development plan covering 2020 to 2029, forwarded for consultation.

These licenses mainly concern wind and solar energy projects, with hydropower stations as well as biomass and biogas units playing a smaller role.

 

Suppliers retroactively charged €45m for IPTO discrepancies

Power grid operator IPTO has retroactively charged electricity suppliers a total amount of approximately 45 million euros for account discrepancies between November, 2019 and April, 2020.

These retroactive charges have annoyed suppliers who have informed the energy ministry’s leadership about the issue and are expecting its intervention for a solution, sources said.

The retroactive charges for each supplier have been calculated in accordance with market shares, meaning power utility PPC, still the dominant retail player, is responsible for the lion’s share of the 45 million-euro amount.

Suppliers and sector associations are preparing to challenge IPTO’s retroactive charges for the six-month period by contending they result from miscalculations that have not factored in RES production, specifically that of roof-mounted solar panels.

The additional retroactive charges are particularly burdensome for medium-voltage traders as profit margins in this sector are extremely narrow and the competition is intense.

The development has caused confusion as financial results for November and December, 2019, two of the six months included in IPTO’s discrepancy calculations, have already been finalized and published.

“Such practices deprive companies of the ability to plan policies and also create business uncertainties in a sector that needs to operate with absolute reliability as it is directly related to millions of consumers,” a top official at one of the independent suppliers told energypress.

 

 

First demand response auction in July, TFRM validity to get extra month

The energy ministry, anticipating the European Commission’s imminent approval of Greek government proposals for a demand response mechanism and a transitory flexibility remuneration mechanism (TFRM), has signed related ministerial decisions so that the mechanisms, vital tools for industrial energy costs, can be implemented immediately once Brussels has given the green light.

Official approval of the plans by the European Commission is expected within the next few days.

Power grid operator IPTO has been informed by the ministry so that it can prepare the first demand response auction, seen taking place within July. IPTO announced a registration procedure yesterday, setting a July 23 deadline for applicants.

The TFRM’s validity is expected to run for an additional month, compared to the initial term agreed to by Athens and Brussels, to make up for its delayed delivery.

Over the past few days, Greek authorities have needed to respond to numerous questions forwarded by Brussels officials, seeking explanations and clarification on both the demand response and flexibility mechanisms.

 

IPTO, Ariadne agreement details partnership for Crete link

Power grid operator IPTO has signed a concession agreement with its fully owned subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection detailing their relationship for the Athens-Crete grid interconnection project, energypress sources have informed.

The agreement was prepared with assistance from legal and consulting firms to overcome concerns raised by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a decision by Greek authorities to develop this interconnection as a national project and not as part of the wider EuroAsia project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids.

RAE will now assess the concession agreement’s details and make observations, if needed, before procedures commence to bring investors into Ariadne Interconnection for a minority share.

The details of this entry procedure still remain unclear but the energy minister is expected to clarify through related legislation.

One of the ambiguities concerns whether large-scale RES projects on islands will be able to reserve IPTO interconnection capacities.

The Copelouzos group and Terna, for instance, maintain investment plans for Crete. If given the green light by the energy ministry, they will reserve capacities for the Athens-Crete interconnection, provide funds accordingly and be given corresponding stakes in Ariadne Interconnection.

Investors are expected to acquire up to 40 percent of Ariadne Interconnection, according to the IPTO board.

Chinese company SGCC, IPTO’s strategic partner with a 24 percent, has already expressed an interest to acquire a 20 percent stake in Ariadne Interconnection. Other interested parties include European operators, among them Belgium’s Elia and France’s RTE, as well as prominent financial groups possessing major investment portfolios.

IPTO launches tender for Athens area substation upgrade

Power grid operator IPTO has announced a tender for the reconstruction and modernization of the 400-kV Koumoundourou substation serving the wider Athens area, a project budgeted at 46 million euros (57 million euros including VAT).

This facility was constructed in the 1970s, along with four other units, to transmit electricity to the wider Athens area.

The Koumoundourou substation upgrade, one of the projects included in the so-called Eastern Corridor, is expected to be completed in 2024. This corridor also includes the Megalopoli and Corinthos substations, both undergoing upgrades at present.

Interested parties face an August 10 deadline to submit their offers to IPTO, expecting turn-key, ready-to-use delivery.

Ministry awaiting Brussels nod for demand response, TFRM

The energy ministry, anticipating the European Commission’s approval of Greek government proposals for a demand response mechanism and a transitory flexibility remuneration mechanism (TFRM), has decided to sign related ministerial decisions, possibly even today, so that the mechanisms can be immediately implemented once Brussels has given the green light.

Though the two sides have come closer on the mechanisms, it still remains unclear when the European Commission will go ahead with its approval.

Over the past few days, government officials have needed to respond to a series of questions from Brussels, seeking explanations and clarification on details concerning both mechanism plans.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition is treating both mechanism proposals as one package.

Domestic energy-intensive industries are urgently awaiting the package’s approval in the hope that Greek power grid operator IPTO can stage a demand response auction before July is out.

Under terms agreed to so far, IPTO will be permitted to offer up to 800 MW through demand response auctions, down from 1,030 MW allowed through the preceding plan.

Also, the demand response mechanism will be made accessible to a greater number of companies, including smaller players, through a reduction of a consumption lower limit.

In addition, the demand response mechanism is expected to be valid for a one-year period, not two years, as was requested by EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers.

The TFRM is expected to be divided into two stages, the first running until the launch of target model markets, scheduled for September 17, under the same terms that applied for a mechanism that expired in March, 2019.

The TFRM’s second stage is seen running from the launch of the target model until a permanent flexibility mechanism is introduced. Its capacity is expected to be drastically reduced to 750 MW from 4,500 MW. Remuneration levels are also expected to drop.

 

Ministry, responding to Syriza MPs, lists reasons for further sale of IPTO

A government decision to further privatize power grid operator IPTO is linked to the EU’s objective for carbon neutrality by 2050 as well as a national decarbonization target by 2028, efforts requiring big investments for greater emphasis on new and innovative technologies and systems; an upgrade of existing networks as smart networks; as well as the development of new business models, the energy ministry has noted in response to recent questioning, in Greek Parliament, by MPs of the main opposition leftist Syriza party.

Also, swift development of electricity transmission networks promises to significantly contribute to a speedy recovery of the pandemic-hit national economy, the ministry noted.

In addition, the sale of an additional stake in IPTO is a pre-election pledge made by the New Democracy party, the ministry response reminded. ND was elected into power one year ago.

IPTO’s initial privatization, shaped and carried out by the previous Syriza government, is unusual as the Greek State may have maintained a majority 51 percent stake but its powers for strategic decision-making are limited and require the approval of the minority partner, China’s SGCC, holding a 24 percent stake, the energy ministry pointed out.

SGCC has been given the right to block strategic decisions at IPTO and priority rights in any further privatization of the power grid operator.

IPTO board changes following new board for IPTO Holding

Two board members at power grid operator IPTO, Giannis Kambouris and Dimosthenes Papastamopoulos, both choices of the previous Syriza government, are resigning, sources have informed.

Kambouris, also the deputy at IPTO Holding, formed following ownership unbundling at IPTO three years ago, resigned from the IPTO board yesterday.

Papastamopoulos, one of the closest associates of the main opposition Syriza party’s Panos Skourletis, who held the country’s energy portfolio, appears set to submit his resignation.

The replacements of Kambouris and Papastamopoulos could be announced tomorrow at an IPTO board meeting.

An entirely new five-member board for IPTO Holding is expected to be announced at an IPTO Holding annual general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for July 16.

The New Democracy government wants to make changes at IPTO and IPTO Holding for further alignment with its policies.

IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis will definitely remain at his post, sources noted, adding that his deputy, Giannis Margaris, and board member Iasonas Rousopoulos will both probably also carry on for the time being at least.

DEDDIE not coping with RES connection term applications

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO is struggling to keep up with an increasing inflow of applications for connection terms by investors behind solar energy projects, while, in many cases, many applications, when finally processed, are not being approved as a result of network saturation.

This problem mainly concerns smaller-scale investments whose capacity is not enough to warrant grid connections via the power grid operator IPTO. DEDDIE is not able to upgrade the network with substations, wherever this is technically possible.

Though the distribution operator has made considerable administrative progress it has not been enough to cope with the increased number of applications.

In the first half of 2020, DEDDIE responded, either positively or negatively, to a total of 1,500 connection term applications by RES investors representing a total of 580 MW, energypress sources informed.

This is almost double the inflow processed by DEDDIE in the second half of 2019 (730 applications, 245 MW), and triple the number the distribution operator processed in the first half of 2019 (520 applications, 165 MW).

Highlighting the scale of the problem faced by DEDDIE, some 7,000 applications arriving from various parts of the the country currently remain pending. Even at its currently faster pace, DEDDIE will require at least two years to get through these applications, joined constantly be new arrivals, many of these concerning energy communities, which are given priority.

 

RES project completion, without connection, to suffice for tariffs

The energy ministry is working to revise a rule that determines when development of RES projects is considered complete, which enables them to secure their tariff prices for output, either through competitive procedures or not.

Under the current rules, RES projects are considered ready once they have been connected to networks, not when their development has been completed.

This has proven to be a major problem for investors behind wind and solar energy projects completed on time but unable to secure tariff prices as a result of the inability of power grid IPTO or distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO to offer connections when needed.

The matter is being worked on, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during a virtual conference staged by the Hellenic-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Final decisions have not been reached but the plan is to have authorities inspect and certify the completion of RES projects regardless of whether they have been connected, in order to secure tariff levels available at the time, sources informed.

The energy ministry is also striving to further simplify RES licensing procedures by merging or even eliminating certain steps or permits currently required, according to Sdoukou.

 

 

Government moving to replace entire IPTO Holding board

The government intends to soon replace all five board members of listed IPTO Holding, its representative in power grid operator IPTO with a controlling 51 percent stake. IPTO was ownership unbundled three years ago.

The energy ministry is expected to propose, as replacements, five new officials on July 16, when IPTO Holding is scheduled to hold its annual general shareholders’ meeting, energypress sources have informed.

A shareholders’ decision on a new five-member IPTO Holding board is one of eight issues on the upcoming meeting’s agenda.

The term of the current board, comprising Iason Rousopoulos, the chief executive, Giannis Kabouris, its deputy, and board members Alexandros Nikolouzos, Konstantinos Karakatsanis and Evaggelos Darousos, expires on December 11 this year.

The existing board has asked shareholders to submit resumes of candidates they wish to propose for the new board no later than 48 hours prior to the July 16 meeting.

The IPTO Holding board change is not expected to impact – at least initially – work proceedings at power grid operator IPTO. Rousopoulos and Kabouris, IPTO Holdings’ chief and deputy, respectively, are also members of the IPTO power grid operator board.

DES ADMIE, the IPTO public holding company, holds a 25 percent share of IPTO and China’s SGCC the other 24 percent.

IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis, who has the faith of the energy ministry and the Chinese shareholder, is expected to remain at his post, despite the changes at IPTO Holding, and orchestrate the sale of a further stake in IPTO. SGCC maintains priority rights in any prospective IPTO privatization procedure.

 

 

PPC turns to hydropower facilities as temperatures rise

Power utility PPC has turned to its hydropower facilities to meet heightened electricity demand anticipated over the next few days as a result of hot temperatures in many parts of the country.

PPC plans to use hydropower stations during the peak-demand hours of 11am-3pm and 8pm-10-pm, but the input of these facilities is expected to be contained. Water deposit levels have been extremely low this year.

PPC’s hydropower stations, 15 in total, offer a capacity of 3,171 MW.

Temperatures are forecast to reach as high as 38 degrees Celsius in some parts of Greece. These weather conditions will force PPC to resort to its hydropower units.

The power utility may need to provide between 50 and 60 percent of its total hydropower capacity over the next few days.

Hydropower generation was down 24 percent in the first five-month period this year, compared to the equivalent period last year, according to power grid operator IPTO’s monthly report.

Hydropower generation reached 995 GWh between January and May compared to 1,308 GWh during the equivalent period in 2019.

Hydropower facility contributions to the country’s overall generation represented just 6 percent of the total in January, 4 percent in February, 6 percent in March, 7 percent in April and 9 percent in May.

Cyprus wants unchanged cost agreement for link with Crete

Though a new application submitted by EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, to the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility for funding support concerning an electricity grid interconnection project to link the Greek and Cypriot systems has yet to be examined or reciprocated by the European Commission, Greece and Cyprus have already begun talks on how to divide the remainder of the project’s costs not covered by the CEF.

The Cypriot side, which took the initiative for these talks, appears determined to ensure that Greece will stick to its share of the cost under the terms agreed to when the project also included the Athens-Crete link as part of a wider plan to interconnect the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems.

EuroAsia Interconnector head the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli plan. Greek power grid operator IPTO withdrew the Athens-Crete segment and is now working on it as a national project. IPTO is aiming for swifter progress on this section, urgently needed to resolve Crete’s pressing energy sufficiency issues.

Cyprus’ Regulatory Authority for Energy, RAEK, has forwarded to its Greek counterpart RAE a text presenting its cost-related views. RAEK wants to ensure that a Cross Border Cost Allocation agreement signed by the two sides late in 2017 for the Greek-Cypriot link, running from Crete to Cyprus, remains valid, despite Greece’s withdrawal of the Athens-Crete section.

According to the CBCA agreement, Cyprus will take on 63 percent of the cost of the Crete-Cyprus link and Greece will be responsible for the other 37 percent, under the condition that 50 percent of the total cost will be covered by EU funds, through the CEF.

The Crete-Cyprus interconnection is budgeted at 1.5 billion euros, meaning Greece’s share will be approximately 280 million euros.

This amount will be incorporated into IPTO’s accounts and need to be recovered through network surcharges included in consumer electricity bills, seen as a delicate matter by the Greek government.

Greek authorities have yet to respond to RAEK’s initiative as they await news from the European Commission on the CEF request.

New Peloponnese RES project applications deferred to 2021

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO have written off any possibility of accepting new RES connection applications in 2020 for new solar and wind energy projects, as well as other technologies, but application procedures could recommence in 2021, energypress has been informed.

Authorities face the challenging task of managing an enormous level of RES investment interest, especially for solar energy projects, before procedures for new-project applications can restart.

In the Peloponnese, where RES development has been held back by system saturation for seven years, a new IPTO study is still needed on the capacity to become available once two transmission networks, the west and east corridors, are completed.

Once IPTO has delivered this study, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, should lift its saturation-related ban on new RES projects in the Peloponnese and also set capacities available for each technology – wind, solar, small-scale hydropower, biomass-biogas.

However, IPTO’s delivery of the west and east corridors in the Peloponnese does not promise a complete solution as these lines, limited to 400-KV capacities, are well below capacities represented by the level of investment interest.

A fair and effective competitive procedure serving as a selection process will need to be established.

IPTO handed RAE fine for target model’s balancing market delay

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has imposed a fine on power grid operator IPTO as a result of its failure to maintain a schedule concerning the establishment of an energy exchange  balancing market, an obligation included in a ministerial decision for the target model, energypress sources have informed.

RAE took this decision at a recent board meeting after summoning the operator to offer explanations for its delay in the delivery of an online platform needed for the balancing market.

The information-system delay prevented trial runs of the energy exchange’s three markets, initially scheduled to begin April 10. These trial runs ended up being launched earlier this week, on Monday.

IPTO’s defending case was deemed insufficient by RAE, even though the sudden departure from Greece, early in the pandemic, by a General Electric team working on the balancing market’s information system was pivotal and beyond the operator’s control.

The first stage of testing, involving virtual tests of all energy exchange and IPTO systems, is scheduled to last until July 10. An initial assessment of the trial period will then follow.

A second testing stage, a dry run, or continual simulated testing of all new wholesale markets, is scheduled to start August 3.

The launch date for the energy exchange’s markets has been rescheduled for September 17. The energy ministry is expected to soon sign a related ministerial decision.

RAE’s WACC reduction for operators ultimately neutralized

A recent decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, reducing the WACC rate amid a fixed four-year period for energy market operators, as a result of the government’s corporate tax reduction from 29 to 24 percent, is ultimately expected to be neutralized as the authority has asked operators to submit updated data based on latest market conditions, including borrowing costs, all factors applied by the authority to its WACC formula.

Gas grid operator DESFA, power grid operator IPTO, as well as the country’s gas distributors EDA Attiki, EDA Thess and DEDA, initially reacted against RAE’s intention to reduce the WACC rate, determining earnings, within the preset four-year period. It is supposed to be adjusted every four years.

However, RAE’s latest call for updated data from operators and distributors, effectively promising to offset any WACC rate adjustment, has been well received.

 

Natural gas, electricity imports most influential for Greek SMP levels

Natural gas and electricity imports are playing an increasingly important role in shaping System Marginal Prices, or wholesale prices, while the influence of more traditional energy sources is waning, latest monthly data provided by the Greek energy exchange has shown.

Natural gas’s influence on SMP levels grew between January and May this year, compared to other fuels and electricity imports and exports, the data showed.

Throughout the five-month period, natural gas-fueled power stations consistently ranked first in number of hours used for SMP levels, peaking in May with 491 hours. Electricity imports consistently followed as a the second most influential factor for all five months.

Lignite-fired power stations, previously a key factor for SMP levels, are now limited to a marginal role, their lowest contribution, one hour in an entire month, recorded in April, the January-to-May figures showed.

Greece’s international grid interconnections are playing an increasingly influential role in shaping the country’s SMP as well as covering energy demand, the data showed.

Power grid operator IPTO has increased capacities for electricity imports via Greece’s grid interconnections in the north.

Safety measures vital for target model markets, producers stress

The introduction of energy exchange spot markets, in September, when they are scheduled to begin operating, without the adoption of safety measures facilitating competition and preventing manipulative methods, primarily by power utility PPC, the market’s dominant player, could lead to undesired results and strengthen the market’s monopolistic character, independent electricity producer representatives have told energypress.

The officials expressed their concerns as a monitoring mechanism being prepared by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, with consultancy support, may not be fully functional at the time of the target model’s launch.

The monitoring mechanism is considered the basic tool in the effort to ensure healthy competition in electricity markets as it will be used to collect data from power grid operator IPTO and the Greek energy exchange and identify any manipulative practices in the wholesale market.

Interventions needed, according to independent electricity producers, include restricting PPC’s ability to establish two-way agreements; offering support to the new target model market with a supplementary market offering capacity availability; and protecting markets, overall, through powerful, consistent and independent monitoring mechanisms.

 

Energy exchange launch date rescheduled for September 17

The energy ministry is set to reschedule the energy exchange market’s launch date for September 17, two-and-a-half months beyond the original June 30 date, following commitments made yesterday, during a virtual conference, by the power grid operator IPTO and Hellenic Energy Exchange (HENEX) administrations on the delivery of information systems and time required for trial runs.

The energy ministry is now expected to soon deliver a related ministerial decision, probably next week, setting the new schedule for the target model, or, more specifically, the energy exchange’s spot markets.

The compatibility of platforms and other applications being co-developed by the Greek energy exchange and IPTO for the balancing market is seen as crucial to the success of the new schedule.

As has been previously reported, a delay in the delivery of a balancing market platform to IPTO by General Electric, commissioned this project, has been a key factor behind the inability of officials to meet the original June 30 launch date.

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 the outbreak.

IPTO, now closely coordinating with GE for a specific delivery date following the relaxation of lockdown measures, has promised to gradually deliver required information systems as of this month, prompting Greek authorities to set a new launch date.

According to the new schedule, certain trial runs testing combined energy exchange and IPTO systems will begin on June 22. Simulated testing, or a dry run, of all systems is expected to start on August 3 and last until markets are actually launched on September 17, given no issues arise.

RES auction for Crete wind, solar installations at end of year

A RES auction to offer respective 100-MW capacities for new wind and solar energy installations on Crete is still quite a long way off and will, at best, be staged towards the end of this year or early in 2021, energypress sources have informed.

Crete’s network for wind and solar energy facilities is currently saturated, according to technical standards provided in an older decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

However, studies conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and power grid operator IPTO both support that RES station output of between 180 and 200 MW can be safely absorbed by the Cretan network once the island’s grid is interconnected with that of the Peloponnese.

The island’s overall capacity boost is expected to reach between 2,000 and 2,500 MW once the major-scale grid interconnection, linking Crete with Athens, is completed.

A RAE proposal forwarded to the energy ministry has called for wind and solar energy auctions offering respective installation capacities of 100 MW, the aim being to cover investment demand and also boost power capacity on the island, still using diesel and pressed hard to resolve energy-sufficiency issues in the summers.

PPC, Terna, Copelouzos resume talks for Crete RES partnership

Power utility PPC has resumed talks with Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group for a consortium to develop RES projects on Crete, but work is still needed if institutional complications are to be resolved.

The plan’s viability will depend on whether the consortium – if formed – can secure a contract with power grid operator IPTO to ensure a capacity reservation in the prospective Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

Approximately three years ago, Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group decided to merge two respective wind-energy projects covering Crete’s four prefectures, which took their combined capacity total to 950 MW, in order to facilitate an EU funding effort.

PPC also entered the picture just months ago, prior to the pandemic’s outbreak, for talks on the establishment of a three-member consortium. PPC Renewables, a PPC subsidiary, possesses wind-energy capacity on Crete.

The prospective venture planned by the trio entails transmission and sale to the mainland of 1 GW generated by wind-energy facilities. Each partner would hold a 33.3 percent stake in this venture.

 

 

Electricity demand down 12.6% in April, industrial use slumps 23.6%

Electricity demand slumped 12.6 percent in April compared to the same month a year earlier, the biggest drop registered by high-voltage industrial consumers, forced to suspend or restrict output during the lockdown, power grid operator IPTO’s monthly report has shown.

Industrial electricity consumption in April fell sharply by 23.6 percent, the IPTO report showed.

The drop in electricity consumption linked to mining activity was even sharper, falling 55.5 percent in April. Besides the lockdown, this drop was also attributed to significant operational restrictions implemented at power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power plants.

Electricity generation in April fell by 3.2 percent, to 2,893 GWh compared to 2,990 during the same month a year earlier, according to the data.

This reduction was mild compared to major shifts observed in sources of generation. Lignite-based generation fell by 62.7 percent year-on-year, confirming, most emphatically, the commencement of PPC’s decarbonization effort.

High costs for lignite-based generation severely reduced the operational time of PPC’s lignite-fired power plants, limiting lignite’s share of the electricity production mix to just 10 percent in April.

On the contrary, the production share of interconnected RES facilities, benefiting from favorable conditions, rose sharply by 33.9 percent, year-on-year, to capture a market-leading 36 percent share of overall electricity generation in April.

Natural gas-fired power plants followed with a 30 percent share following an 11 percent year-on-year rise in output.

Electricity imports (grid interconnections) contributed 18 percent, while hydropower facilities increased their output by 19.8 percent to capture a 6 percent share in April.

PPC provided 951 GWh, or 56.6 percent of the production, while independent producers covered 43.4 percent.

Among the independent producers, Mytilineos led the way with 228.1 GWh, followed by Elpedison (210.4 GWh), Korinthos Power (154.1 GWh) and Heron II (136.3 GWh).

The IPTO data on generation highlights an increasing shift towards cleaner energy sources.

 

 

Target model, energy exchange plans shaped by meeting today

The energy ministry intends to set new launch dates for the target model and energy exchange markets once it has drawn conclusions from a crucial meeting today with representatives of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the Greek energy exchange, and power grid operator IPTO.

A previous June 30 target model launch date will definitely be missed as a result of various delays, including a pandemic-related hold up in the delivery of a balancing market platform by General Electric to IPTO.

The revised target model schedule, to be included in a related ministerial decision, will be based on the new feasible launch date for energy exchange markets.

No pending issues remain concerning the operating regulations to apply for the new markets. All rules have been approved.

Certain formula details, including a much-debated formula concerning the percentage of production each producer will be able to secure through contracts, are expected imminently, prior to June 22, when the tenure of RAE’s head official is set to expire.

A GE team that was stationed in Athens for the balancing market platform project left the country without notice, citing the possibility of greater pandemic danger ahead.

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

Well-informed authorities insist that the energy exchange’s spot markets cannot be launched before mid-September.

 

PPC ups Megalopoli V output to full capacity of 811 MW

Power utility PPC’s Megalopoli V power station in the Peloponnese has, for the first time,  begun operating at a full-capacity level of 811 MW following five years of production well below full potential, a restriction whose cost the utility has estimated at 200 million euros.

Power grid operator IPTO yesterday gave PPC the green light for full-scale production at Megalopoli V after an extended period of pressure applied by the power utility.

In the lead-up, PPC was forced to operate its Megalopoli V facility at 60 percent of its full capacity, 500 MW, following instructions from IPTO, noting the Peloponnese region’s existing network could not carry a greater amount.

Trial runs at Megalopoli V, a natural gas-fired combined-cycle unit, began in April, 2015 but PPC had never been given permission to boost generation at this power plant by 311 MW to reach full capacity.

Meanwhile, PPC’s Megalopoli III and IV units, both lignite-fired, were either shut or operated well below full capacity as a result of hefty CO2 emission right costs.

A swifter full-scale launch of Megalopoli V would have enabled the power utility to completely switch off the engines at loss-incurring Megalopoli III, a 250-MW unit, PPC has noted.