Lignite-fired power stations still playing key grid sufficiency role

Lignite-fired power stations remain a vital contributor to the electricity market’s daily programing, despite energy demand being at normal levels of approximately 6,200 MW at present.

Yesterday, three lignite-fired power stations, Agios Dimitrios II, III and IV, were mobilized along with natural gas-fueled power stations, RES units, hydropower and electricity imports, to cover a demand level of 128.545 GWh.

Power grid operator IPTO has revised its grid sufficiency report for this coming winter, noting that all the country’s lignite-fired power stations will need to be mobilized during periods of high demand.

According to the IPTO report, the country’s grid will require capacities of up to 8.8-9.5 GW between December and February, during cold weather conditions.

Such levels will require input from all the country’s available lignite-fired power stations, seven in total, offering a total capacity of 1,800 MW, it has been estimated.

Supplier overdue payments to operators reaches €350m

Overdue payments owed by energy suppliers to the country’s market operators have been on the rise since summer, now exceeding 350 million euros, a development that has prompted the government to consider implementing an installment-based payment schedule as part of the solution.

The sharp increase in wholesale electricity prices over recent months has had a severe affect on the cash flow of suppliers, putting them under major financial pressure.

However, it should be pointed out that the majority of this 350 million-euro amount owed by suppliers to operators concerns the power utility PPC and includes a considerable amount owed from long before the current energy crisis.

Power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, and RES market operator DAPEEP are all owed sums by the country’s suppliers.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is now considering a three-part solution entailing:  provision of letters of guarantee by suppliers to the operators, to prevent any further rise of the debt owed; immediate deposits covering 50 percent of amounts owed, either in cash or through bank guarantees representing equivalent amounts; and settlement of the remaining 50 percent through an installment-based schedule of between 8 to 12 payments, depending on respective agreements.

Greek-Turkish grid link maintenance reset prompts traders’ reaction

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

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

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

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

RAE forced to reset Cretan market target model entry for November 1

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has reset the target model entry of Crete’s electricity market for November 1, a month beyond a previous date set by energy ministry legislation, to enable full development of information systems to be used by operators and their associates, and also ensure that consumers are better informed on the transition, the authority’s president Thanasis Dagoumas has announced.

This change of date highlights the fact that time had run out for the settlement of pending issues ahead of the previous October 1 launch date for a Cretan hybrid model, intended to offer protection against extreme fluctuations in the balancing market.

As previously reported by energypress, RAE, last week, requested updates from the operators (power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, RES market operator DAPEEP) as well as the energy exchange, on their level of readiness, technically, for the Cretan electricity market’s target model entry on October 1.

It can be presumed that at least some of these agencies had not completed actions required in their respective domains for a launch tomorrow.

Crisis Management Committee to examine supply security

The Crisis Management Committee is expected to meet within the first fortnight of October to examine the overall situation in the energy market, driving price levels up to exorbitant levels for consumers of all categories.

The committee’s members will discuss the issue of supply adequacy and security for meeting electricity generation needs, primarily.

Electricity, natural gas and CO2 emission prices are skyrocketing, while natural gas shortages are now emerging in EU markets, all as a result of an extraordinary combination of developments in European markets.

For the time being, Greek energy sector authorities – RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy; DESFA, the gas grid operator; and IPTO, the power grid operator – have remained reassuring. Yesterday, RAE president Athanasios Dagoumas noted: “We are not in a state of alarm but are vigilant.”

Overall natural gas consumption is expected to increase in 2021. Consumption was 14 percent higher in the first half compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, DESFA data has shown.

Gas demand rose in July and August to meet increased electricity generation needs and is also expected to be elevated this coming winter.

In Greece, approximately 60 percent of natural gas consumption results from electricity generation. The ongoing withdrawal of coal-fired power stations and greater reliance on fluctuating RES output is expected to lead to a further increase in demand for natural gas.

Local authorities have pointed to Greece’s natural gas source diversification, made possible by the Revythoussa LNG terminal and TAP, both offering alternative solutions, as crucial in the effort to manage the current energy crisis.

Ariadne Interconnection tender for minority stake approved

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and the European Commission have approved a plan for a tender to offer a minority stake in power grid operator IPTO’s subsidiary firm Ariadne Interconnection, established specifically for the development of the Crete-Athens interconnection.

An initial plan for the sale of a 40 percent stake in Ariadne Interconnection is now expected to be lowered by IPTO, offering a reduced share, analysts believe.

The tender is likely to be announced by IPTO towards the end of the year, or possibly early in 2022. The procedure will be preceded by a roadshow pitching the tender and company that has taken on the Crete-Athens interconnection, a project budgeted at one billion euros.

Market officials believe the prospect of a minority stake in Ariadne Interconnection will most likely attract funds. China’s State Grid, holding a 24 percent stake in IPTO, has also expressed early interest.

The Crete-Athens interconnection project, currently in progress, is expected to be completed late in 2023 or early 2024.

It was originally planned as a segment of EuroAsia, a wider interconnection plan of PCI status to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli electricity grids, with EuroAsia, a consortium of Cypriot interests, at the helm. IPTO eventually withdrew the Crete-Athens segment for its development as a national project.

Crete market’s target model entry behind schedule

Delays observed in technical preparations by operators for the target model entry of Crete’s electricity market have resulted in pending issues that could prevent next month’s launch date from being achieved.

The energy ministry has prepared legislative revision stipulating a launch of a hybrid model for Crete on October 1.

In response to the delay, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will request updates from the operators (power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, RES market operator DAPEEP) as well as the energy exchange, on their level of readiness, technically, for the Cretan electricity market’s target model entry at the beginning of next month.

RAE will reset the current launch date if it judges preparations to be at an unsatisfactory level. A one-month extension, for a November 1 launch, is possible.

 

 

Island grid links result in initial public service savings for 2022

The public service compensation (YKO) special account, subsidizing higher-cost electricity generation on non-interconnected islands as well electricity costs for low-income households, is expected to end the year with a modest surplus, July’s launch of the Crete-Peloponnese grid interconnection being a key factor, paving the way, in 2022, for reductions of YKO surcharges included in electricity bills, energypress sources have informed.

A precise figure on the extent of the YKO special account surplus for 2021 is expected in October, when the distribution network operator, DEDDIE/HEDNO, managing this account, submits a related report to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

As is the case each year, the report will include financial details on the YKO special account for the current year’s first ten-month period as well as the operator’s projections for the final two months.

YKO savings resulting from the Crete-Peloponnese grid interconnection are worth approximately one million euros per day, the overall benefit in 2022 estimated at 380 million euros, power grid operator IPTO informed.

The end of the energy isolation of the Cyclades islands Syros, Paros, Tinos, Mykonos and Naxos has led to YKO savings of approximately 70 million euros per day, IPTO officials added.

Public service compensation account savings are expected to nearly double by 2024, when the fourth phase of the Cyclades grid interconnection is expected to be completed and the Crete-Athens interconnection is scheduled to be launched.

Further ahead, towards the end of the decade, this account’s outlay will be subdued even more when interconnections in the Dodecanese and North Aegean are scheduled to be completed.

 

RAE adopts new redispatching system, producers fear cost increases

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has decided to move ahead with an energy balancing and redispatching plan in accordance with a formula prepared by power grid operator IPTO following a meeting yesterday between representatives of ESAI, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, and IPTO.

Public consultation was also staged by RAE on the IPTO formula, prepared by the operator after being commissioned by the authority.

ESAI has expressed concern about the new plan, warning that changes to the current system could increase, rather than contain, balancing costs in the wholesale electricity market, amongst other dangers.

Natural gas-fired electricity producers noted that balancing market revisions decided on ought to have undergone an extensive trial period before being implemented.

 

Strategic Reserve Mechanism by early ’22 requires much work

Athens and Brussels have agreed on an early-2022 launch for Greece’s Strategic Reserve Mechanism, planned to remunerate power-generating units made available by electricity producers for grid back-up services, but, even so, a considerable amount of work lies ahead.

The European Commission plans to make an official announcement on the Strategic Reserve Mechanism between late November and early December, ahead of the mechanism’s approval by the Directorate-General for Competition.

Authorities in Athens and Brussels are still engaged in talks aiming to finalize the shape of the mechanism, while, at the same time, preparations are in progress for the submission of a new Adequacy Report by power grid operator IPTO, a prerequisite for the approval of Greece’s Market Reform Plan, needed for the new strategic reserve mechanism’s implementation.

At present, Greek officials are preparing responses to a set of second-round questions forwarded by the European Commission. As was the case with the first round, the questioning is extensive. Many of the Brussels questions concern financial details linked to the operation of lignite-fired power stations.

The ongoing Athens-Brussels talks are based on a new draft for the mechanism delivered by the Greek government last May. It includes a proposal for demand-response incorporation into the new strategic reserve mechanism.

 

IPTO, now in control of Crete’s small-scale link, boosts to full capacity

Power grid operator IPTO, which has assumed control of a small-scale power grid interconnection linking Crete with the Peloponnese following the transfer, to IPTO, of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s assets on Crete, effective August 1, has, since August 26, also increased the line to near full capacity, at 150 MW, sources informed.

In addition, IPTO yesterday successfully staged a trial run further boosting the line’s capacity to 180 MW, the absolute upper limit.

The Crete-Peloponnese grid link was launched on July 3 to transfer power loads from the mainland to Crete in order to prevent energy insufficiency issues on the island.

Between its first day and August 20, the link consistently supplied Crete at a capacity of between 70 and 80 MW. This transmission was boosted to 100 MW between August 20 and 25 ahead of the latest increases over the past few days.

Crete’s participation in target model markets will be based on a hybrid model proposed by the Hellenic Energy Exchange from October 1 until the island’s large-scale grid link with Athens is completed.

 

Fast-track procedures in place for power line undergrounding

The energy ministry, striving to replace overhead power lines with underground networks for the infrastructure’s protection following recent fire-related damages, preceded by snowstorm damages last winter, has taken measures to clear the way of any possible bureaucratic delays and is also seeking to secure additional funds for the undergrounding work.

Legislative revisions recently ratified in Parliament include a measure facilitating fast-track power line undergrounding by operators through forest land without them having to wait for approval from forestry officials, which has been customary practice.

As a result, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO can now proceed with power line undergrounding projects without delay or cancellation risks. This applies for both new power line networks and replacement of older ones.

The country has, at its disposal, EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) money totaling 187 million euros for power line projects.

However, given the average cost of power line network undergrounding, estimated at 85,000 euros per kilometer, the aforementioned RRF amount would suffice for the development of about 2,200 kilometers, just a tiny fraction of the country’s existing overhead power lines.

Besides the RRF, the energy ministry is also considering to exhaust funding support possibilities through the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for the power line undergrounding expansion projects, now regarded as essential due to the growing impact of the climate change crisis.

IPTO begins offering connection terms for group RES applications

Power grid operator IPTO has begun offering connection terms to group applicants behind small-scale solar energy projects, a development that enables direct transmission system access for these groups, sparing them of the need to enter via the distribution network.

According to sources, a first group application received connection terms from IPTO about three weeks ago, while a further two groups of small-scale PV units had secured their direct access to the transmission system by the end of last week.

More small-scale group applicants are expected to soon be given their connection terms.

 

Grid saturation forcing operator to block RES term applications

The grid’s medium-voltage capacity has reached its limit in many parts of the country, according to related information published by DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, forcing it to reject the overwhelming majority of new RES project connection-term applications.

Medium-voltage grid capacity is currently fully saturated in areas covering 40 percent of the country, including western Macedonia, in the country’s north, a lignite-dependent area planned for decarbonization.

RES connection-term applications in these areas lacking grid capacity are all being rejected. In other parts of the country, where limited grid capacity remains available, nine in ten RES applications are being rejected by DEDDIE/HEDNO, creating issues for prospective investors.

The problem primarily concerns smaller-scale RES investment plans not possessing the capacity to connect to the grid via IPTO, the power grid operator.

The saturation problem’s extent is even preventing the installation of roof-mounted solar panels in some parts of the country, according to one source.

The subdued potential, at present, of the latest Saving at Home program offering subsidies for energy efficiency upgrades at properties has been partially attributed to the grid’s lack of capacity for new RES installations.

 

Cyclades grid interconnection project entering fourth stage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Athens outage risk still high as fires burn close to key facility

Authorities remain on edge as the southern front of a fire in Kryoneri, northeast of Athens, could impact a pivotal high-voltage facility in the nearby Agios Stefanos area and severely lessen power supply throughout the capital.

Should the Agios Stefanos unit be damaged by the fires, the wider Athens area will fully depend on another facility, Koumoundourou, for power supply, but it would not suffice to cover electricity demand for the entire city.

Three key grid circuits in Athens are functioning, preventing extensive power outages or scheduled regional disruptions, but the Kryoneri fire is keeping power grid operator IPTO on alert, sources at the operator have informed in a latest update provided today.

Athens has faced elevated power-outage risk this week amid the persisting heatwave conditions. Generation has been sufficient to cover extraordinarily high electricity demand, but fires north of the capital regained momentum yesterday, raising fears of infrastructure damage and prompting authorities to evacuate towns.

Windy weather forecast for today, following numerous days of extreme heat, adds to the challenge as fires could spread.

The directions the fires could take, if they are not subdued, will determine whether authorities will implement a schedule disrupting electricity supply in specific regions to ease the pressure on the grid.

Over fifty fire fronts were burning in various parts of the country late last night.

 

Brussels launches consultation for Greece’s Market Reform Plan

The European Commission has uploaded, for public consultation, a Market Reform Plan  submitted by Greece proposing electricity market revisions.

The public consultation procedure’s feedback will assist Brussels’ assessment of the Greek reform plan. Participants have until September 6 to deliver their responses.

Brussels’ endorsement of the Market Reform Plan is one of two prerequisites needed before Greece can submit an application for a capacity mechanism – either a Strategic Reserve or Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM).

The second prerequisite entails Brussels’ approval of an Adequacy Report, currently being prepared by power grid operator IPTO. The operator initially planned to deliver this report by the end of July but a few more weeks are still needed for its completion.

Greece will be able to apply for a capacity mechanism once the two prerequisites have been satisfied.

The energy ministry and European Commission have agreed on a schedule for the approval of a capacity mechanism by the end of this year and its launch early in 2022.

However, maintenance of this schedule will be difficult given the European Commission’s demands, complex and time-consuming, when examining member-state capacity mechanism plans, officials monitoring the Greek effort have noted.

 

Grid faces new challenge today as heatwave persists

The country’s grid stands to face yet another major challenge today as electricity demand could climb to a new record level, driven up by the sustained heatwave conditions, projected to reach levels of between 40 and 42 degrees Celsius.

Power grid operator IPTO projects electricity demand will reach 10,835 MW, which would be a new all-time high, following yesterday’s level of 10,662 MW.

Natural gas-fired power stations operated by power utility PPC and independent producers will once again contribute dominantly, exceeding 43 percent, according to energy exchange data.

PPC’s combined-cycle Lavrio IV will return to action today following the replacement of technical components at the unit, according to IPTO’s schedule for the day.

The overall input of renewable energy units is expected to rise marginally today, compared to previous days, and cover 16.5 percent of demand.

Electricity imports are also expected to cover 16.5 percent of demand today.

Lignite-fired power stations, including Megalopoli IV, back following repairs, are expected to represent 14.46 percent of the energy mix.

Major-scale hydropower facilities should cover a little over 9 percent of electricity demand.

The government’s crisis management team expects generation will reach required levels and, furthermore, could be boosted by greater output at wind-energy facilities as a result of stronger winds that have been forecast for today.

On the other hand, the prospect of stronger winds is unfavorable for firefighters seeking to subdue a number of fire fronts. Also, the risk of new fires is also higher. In such an event, the grid, under extreme pressure over the past ten days amid the sustained heatwave, would surely suffer further damages.

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO crews are continuing efforts to restore power supply in fire-hit Varybobi, north of Athens. The northern section of Evia, northeast of Athens, and Pyrgos, northwest Peloponnese, have also been affected by power supply cuts as a result of fires in the regions.

Narrow power outage escape for Athens as fire damages key lines

The wider Athens area’s grid remains on red alert today after the capital narrowly escaped a widespread power outage yesterday following a return to service, a little after midnight, of power grid operator lines, while, in another encouraging development, winds are gaining momentum, boosting wind energy output.

The worst fears may be over but, even so, there is no capacity for complacency for as long as the extensive fires north of Athens, in the Varybobi area, keep burning.

For hours last night, Athens was on the brink of a general blackout as this fire disconnected two of three lines linking the city’s east and west. An extensive power outage, all over the city, would have been inevitable had the third line been damaged.

At 9pm last night, power supply for a big section of the city was provided through the one unaffected line. A change of wind direction helped keep the fire at a distance from this line, whose disruption would have cut power supply for millions.

Any remaining threat of an extensive power outage in Athens will be quelled once the Varybobi fire is brought under full control.

Consumption record expected, industry on switch-off standby

Electricity consumption today is expected to exceed yesterday’s level of 10,700 MWh, a ten-year high, and reach close to 11,000 MWh, which would represent an all-time high, as the prolonged heatwave peaks.

Industrial consumers are awaiting switch-off orders from power grid operator IPTO. Up until yesterday, they had yet to receive such instructions, but a number of industrial enterprises have already switched off voluntarily, while Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has urged consumers to exercise restraint in electricity consumption.

Authorities are placing their hopes for grid sufficiency in strong summer breezes forecast for Thursday that should cool temperatures and significantly boost generation through the country’s wind energy facilities.

Though still too early to judge, the grid appears to have stood up to the heatwave’s challenge so far. Minor technical issues and brief outages in various parts of the wider Athens area, Larissa, central Greece, and Agrinio, in the northwest, have been reported.

Authorities remain on edge as the resilience of a largely outdated grid remains uncertain amid daily consumption levels of 9,000 to 10,000 MWh for days on end.

Lignite-generated input is playing a crucial role. It covered between 16 and 18 percent of consumption yesterday. Power utility PPC’s lignite-fired Megalopoli III power station, which has been sidelined for months as part of the country’s decarbonization phase-out plan, operated most of the day yesterday.

 

Energy minister calls emergency meeting, heatwave set to peak

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas is due to visit power grid operator IPTO’s control center in Athens today for an emergency meeting he has ordered to deal with grid sufficiency issues raised by the prolonged heatwave conditions, expected to become even more acute during the week.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will participate in the emergency meeting along with the head officials of RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, and power utility PPC.

The grid is expected to face unprecedented conditions in coming days as electricity demand peaks to reach record levels, prompted by the extreme weather conditions.

The energy ministry has already urged the public to exercise restraint in electricity consumption over the next few days as a means of helping the pressured grid cope with the heatwave’s demands.

The energy minister also staged an emergency meeting yesterday morning with officials of the aforementioned energy sector companies.

Electricity demand today is expected to peak at 9,600 MW, at around 9pm, well over the average peak of 8,115 MW in the first half of 2021.

Imports, lignite, technical issue avoidance key to grid stability

The role of electricity imports, mobilization of power utility PPC lignite-fired power stations that have been sidelined for months, such as Megalopoli III, and unexpected technical failures at grid infrastructure and power stations are three key factors that will determine the performance of the country’s grid over the next few days, during which the ongoing heatwave conditions are forecast to peak and reach temperatures of as high as 45 degrees Celsius.

Power grid operator IPTO has already asked PPC to mobilize the Megalopoli III power station, a 250-MW unit headed for withdrawal and out of action over the past nine months as a result of grid saturation at the network in the Peloponnese.

But the extreme electricity demand has forced this unit’s return, highlighting the grid’s continuing dependence on lignite-fired generation during times of extreme need.

Over the past few days, lignite-based electricity has represented 16 percent of the country’s overall generation.

As for electricity imports, Greece, ideally, will need to import a few hundred MW from North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. The import potential from these sources is limited to between 1,400 and 1,500 MW annually.

A new interconnection to link Nea Santa, northeastern Greece, with Bulgaria’s Maritsa area in the country’s south, designed to double the grid interconnection capacity between the two countries, will not be ready before mid-2022.

The demand response system, compensating industrial consumers when the TSO (IPTO) asks them to shift their energy usage (lower or stop consumption) during high-demand hours, so as to balance the electricity system’s needs, is another tool that could be activated to save and re-channel approximately 1,000 MW.

HEDNO’s Crete assets set for transfer to IPTO

An energy ministry legislative revision facilitating the transfer to power grid operator IPTO of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s assets on Crete, a pending issue needed for the launch of market activity concerning the island’s small-scale interconnection with the Peloponnese, has been submitted to Parliament for ratification, ending months of debate on the matter.

As of August 1, Crete’s entire package of high-voltage electricity grid assets will be transferred from power utility PPC, DEDDIE/HEDNO’s parent company, to IPTO, the new owner of these assets, taking on their operational management.

Until now, DEDDIE/HEDNO has been responsible for the management of Crete’s small-scale interconnection with the Peloponnese.

The price IPTO will need to pay for the acquisition of these Cretan grid assets will be determined by their market value, to be calculated over two stages.

The first will reflect the regulatory value of the assets. The second, to be calculated at a latter date, will concern the evaluation of the assets transferred to IPTO by an independent, specialized appraiser to be accepted by both IPTO and PPC.

 

Cable development obligations for island RES projects dropped

Older RES project plans whose licenses obligated holders to also develop related cable connections can now proceed with the installation of projects without needing to develop the cable connections, according to a legislative revision drafted by the energy ministry.

The revision concerns RES projects with electricity production licenses issued prior to January 1, 2016 and planned for development on islands or island complexes that have been interconnected with the mainland or are planned to be interconnected by December 31, 2024, based on power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year development plan.

 

 

Ministry bill for small-scale PVs without competition procedure

The energy ministry has submitted legislative revisions to Parliament facilitating the installation of small-scale PVs, up to 500 KW, without competitive procedures as long as interested parties do not already own two such units that have also been installed without competitive procedures.

The draft bill also includes a revision designed to rectify unfair terms of the past for small-scale PVs on non-interconnected islands by offering 10 percent tariff increases for their output.

Another article in the bill enables older RES projects with licenses including provisions for the installation of connecting cables to now be developed without cable links if the hosting island has been interconnected or is in the process of being interconnected.

The bill also transfers distribution network operator DEDDIE’s assets on Crete to power grid operator IPTO, a pending issue that must be resolved for the launch of market activity concerning the island’s small-scale interconnection with the Peloponnese.

Heatwave pushes up wholesale prices to over €100/MWh once again

The latest rise in temperatures, prompting further heatwave conditions around Greece, is impacting the wholesale electricity market as the average clearing price in the day-ahead market has risen again to levels of over 100 euros per MWh, following days of more subdued levels, according to energy exchange data.

The average clearing price for today is up to 103.8 euros per MWh, up from yesterday’s level of 93.47 euros per MWh and Sunday’s level of 75.34 euros per MWh.

According to the day-ahead market figures, overall electricity generation today is planned to reach 167,437,017 MWh, with lignite-fired power stations covering just 11,172 MWh, natural gas-fired power stations providing 86,541,739 MWh, hydropower facilities generating 11,829 MWh and all other RES units providing 57,894,278 MWh. Electricity imports are planned to reach 16,159,231 MWh.

Today’s electricity demand is expected to peak at 12.30pm, reaching 8,580 MW, according to data provided by IPTO, the power grid operator.

Three of power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, Agios Dimitrios III, Megalopoli IV and Meliti, will be brought into action today, while five of the utility’s natural gas-fired power stations, Aliveri V, Lavrio IV and V, Komotini and Megalopoli V, will also be mobilized, along with gas-fired units operated by the independent players Heron, ENTHES, Elpedison (Thisvi), Protergia and Korinthos Power.

RES investors in rush to avoid €35,000/MWh guarantee cost

Thousands of RES investors already holding producer certificates are racing against time to avoid letter-of-guarantee payments of 35,000 euros per MW, which will be avoided if they manage to submit complete applications for finalized connection offers by a February 28, 2022 deadline to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO or power grid operator IPTO.

This same deadline applies for imminent producer certificates to be issued through last month’s application cycle. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has already begun processing these applications submitted in June. If these investors miss the February deadline for finalized connection offers, they too will also face letter of guarantee costs.

From the next cycle – in October – onwards, most applicants will need to submit letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW. Investors behind smaller projects with capacities of less than 1 MW, strategic investments, projects for public-benefit purposes, as well as projects developed by local authorities and foundations, will be exempted from the upcoming letter of guarantee requirement.

Its prospect is expected to increase the pressure on DEDDIE/HEDNO and IPTO, expected to face an increased inflow of applications over the next few months as investors scramble to meet the February 28 deadline.

The 35,000-euro per MWh letter of guarantee is being introduced to prevent saturation caused by applicants submitting bids but not following up with actual project development.

Target model revisions to enable new player entries, market coupling

The country’s Market Reform Plan, forwarded by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for publication consultation, includes a road map for target model interventions, designed, amongst other things, to facilitate the target model market entry of new players as well as ensuing market coupling steps with neighboring countries.

This road map also includes a plan to lift existing target model restrictions, including a 20 percent upper limit for PPAs that is currently valid without any expiry date.

Another revision included in the Market Reform Plan is intended to separate energy used for balancing purposes and energy used for unit loading revisions during re-dispatching procedures for grid security or sufficiency reasons.

This separation process is planned to be implemented as of December 1, beginning with flagging of quantities activated as a result of loading revisions.

A second stage is planned to be introduced March 31, 2022, when clearing procedures for these quantities will be launched.

Power grid operator IPTO is expected to submit, today, its proposal concerning the first stage.

As for the revisions to facilitate the target model entry of new players, a demand response mechanism concerning all markets, not just the balancing market, is planned to be implemented February 1, 2022.

Just over a month later, on March 8, RES market balancing services will also be introduced, according to the road map.

Intraday market coupling of the Greek, Italian and Slovenia intraday markets is planned for September 21, through complementary regional intraday auctions (CRIDAs), a further step towards full unification of the European electricity market.

 

Connection terms list topped by PPC Renewables, key projects

Power grid operator IPTO has released a list of pending finalized connection terms for RES and combined heat and power (CHP) projects, prioritizing strategic investments and RES projects planned for lignite-dependent areas being phased out as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

At the top of the list is an application for a 40-MW solar energy park project in Larissa, central Greece, listed under the strategic investments category.

It is followed by applications submitted by PPC Renewables for RES units planned in northern Greece’s west Macedonia area, until now a lignite-based local economy.

These applications submitted by PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, concern 19 projects promising a capacity of approximately 1.9 GW, planned for the provincial cities Kozani and Florina. They include a 550-MW solar energy park in lignite-dependent Ptolemaida.

Also on the list are a further 76 connection-term applications for RES projects representing a total capacity of approximately 2.5 GW.

Overall, the list includes 96 applications for projects totaling 4.5 GW. Of these, 92 are PV projects, 2 are wind-energy projects, one is a combined PV and wind energy project, while the remaining application is for a small-scale hydropower station.

 

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

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

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

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

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