Energy firms want DAM non-compliance fee formula reviewed

Consultation staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, on a formula determining a non-compliance fee for unlawful submission of sales orders in the day-ahead market for 2023 has prompted reaction from energy companies, fearing excessive penalties.

A formula proposed by the Energy Exchange is particularly strict, the Mytilineos group has commented, as it uses the average day-ahead market (DAM) clearing price for the day when the unlawful submission of a sale order by a production unit has taken place.

As price levels in the day-ahead market have increased significantly this year and are currently at 280 euros per MWh, the Energy Exchange’s proposed formula would lead to non-compliance charges worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

Power utility PPC, another participant in RAE’s consultation procedure, also believes the formula proposed by the Energy Exchange results in an excessive non-compliance fee. It has called for a review and implementation of tiered charges.

 

Greek energy market attracting major interest at London roadshow

Foreign funds are expressing major investment interest in Greece’s renewable energy market as well as the country’s plan for green energy transportation from the Middle East, while major international energy groups appear extremely interested in Greek upstream developments and the ongoing transformation of Greece as a natural gas hub, a series of one-on-one and group meetings between highly ranked officials of Greek energy groups and international investors have highlighted following the first day of a roadshow in London.

The London event, co-organized by the Athens bourse and Morgan Stanley, has already indicated that 2023 could be a bumper year for foreign investments in Greece’s energy sector.

Of 29 Greek companies taking part in the road show, ten hail from the energy sector, a representation highlighting the strong international investment interest in Greece’s energy market.

Power grid operator IPTO’s ADMIE Holdings, Cenergy, Ellaktor, Elvalhalcor, Helleniq Energy, Motor Oil, Mytilineos, PPC, TERNA and Viohalko, the ten Greek energy groups taking part, will hold further meetings with investors today. These sessions could lay the foundations for new deals.

Over 300 meetings are scheduled to take place at the London event. Many of these will purely focus on energy matters.

 

Local energy firms hedging in European Energy Exchange

An increasing number of energy companies in Greece are opting to hedge through the European Energy Exchange (EEX) and the derivatives market as a means of monitoring and countering risks prompted by strong price fluctuations and volatility in markets.

Most recently, the Mytilineos group registered with the European Energy Exchange, joining Protergia, the group’s energy supply company, which was already a member. Two major energy companies are set to follow suit, energypress sources informed.

The liquidity of the European Energy Exchange, combined with the security offered by a range of its products, allows participants to hedge their exposure to the markets and, therefore, reduce their risk ratio to sustainable levels.

Given that the EEX is a market leader in power derivatives, it offers significant opportunities to participants, as they can trade in 20 markets in addition to the Greek market, which currently has specific limits and restricted liquidity.

At present, the EEX includes 13 Greek participants, the majority trading in the producer market and 4 in the spot market, while two more new registrations are expected to be announced within the next few days.

 

Electricity demand falls for fourth consecutive month

Electricity demand in the household and business categories fell for a fourth consecutive month in October, plunging 9.25 percent compared to the equivalent month a year earlier, power grid operator IPTO’s monthly report has shown.

This downward trend highlights the efforts being made by anxious consumers to keep their energy costs down. At this rate, Greece appears to be on target to achieve the country’s energy-saving goals.

Electricity demand had fallen 3.27 percent in September, 13.17 percent in August, and 11.78 percent in July.

In terms of quantity, electricity demand fell to 3,604 GWh last month from 3,971 GWh in October, 2021, according to the IPTO report.

Domestic electricity production also dropped sharply last month, falling 22.94 percent compared to October, 2021, to 3,155 GWh.

Market shares of electricity retailers also changed. Power power PPC’s market share dropped below 60 percent for the first time in months, reaching 56.73 percent, down from 60.81 percent in September.

Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, gained from PPC’s loss, its market share climbing, for a second consecutive month, to 12.88 percent from 8.77 percent in September.

Heron maintained third place with a 7.31 percent market share, followed by Elpedison (6.50%), NRG (4.66%), Fysiko Aerio (2.32%), Volterra (2.29%), Watt & Volt (1.93%), Zenith (1.87%) and Volton (1.04%).

 

 

Revythoussa LNG slot prices soar, driven by Balkan exports

Driven by LNG export potential to Bulgaria and the wider eastern European region, energy companies have submitted bids of between 3.5 and 4 million euros for slots at gas grid operator DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens.

These bids, made at an ongoing DESFA auction offering slots for the next four years, are roughly three-and-a-half times higher than price levels recorded last year.

Two Bulgarian companies, Bulgargaz and Kolmar, as well as Greece’s power utility PPC and Motor Oil, were the winning bidders at the auction’s session yesterday, securing four of eight Revythoussa slots offered. The other four slots are expected to be taken by bidders today.

Earlier in the week, on Monday, gas company DEPA secured eight slots for 4 TWh, Mytilineos secured five slots for 5 TWh, as did and Bulgaria’s MET.

Greece’s recent transformation as a strategic gas exporter for the wider region has prompted a surge in demand for slots at the Revythoussa LNG terminal.

During the year’s first nine-month period, the country’s gas exports increased by 293 percent, representing over 20 TWh. Bulgaria was the main recipient. Greece has been covering the neighboring country’s gas needs for some months now, following natural gas pipeline disruptions from Russia.

 

Minor retail electricity market share changes in target model era

The domestic introduction, just under two years ago, of the target model, aiming to integrate the wholesale electricity markets of all EU member states, has brought about little change in the market shares of suppliers.

Power utility PPC’s retail market share has contracted by just over 4 percent, from 66.33 percent in November, 2020, to 62.01 percent in September, 2022, a loss unequally divided between independent suppliers.

In September, 2022, PPC’s retail market share fell to 62.01 percent from 64.41 percent a month earlier, while, during the same period, the collective market share of independent suppliers increased from 35.59 percent to 37.99 percent.

During this one-month period, HERON rose to second place among the independent electricity suppliers with a market share of 6.8 percent, behind Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, whose market share rose to 8.65 percent in September from 7.2 percent in August.

Elpedison dropped to third place among the independent suppliers with a 6.54 percent share in September, a marginal rise from 6.49 percent in August.

NRG, which is ranked fourth among the independent suppliers, also experienced a marginal increase in its market share to 4.76 percent from 4.7 percent, as did fifth-placed Aerio Attikis, reaching 2.34 percent from 2.13 percent.

Debate, amid the energy crisis, is still going strong about the rules for consumer switches from one electricity supplier to another. An increased number of consumers are leaving behind unpaid electricity bills when switching suppliers, fresh market data has shown, prompting a supplier association to call for restrictions.

Lignite mine interest rekindled by PPC plan to boost reserves

Power utility PPC’s effort to boost lignite extraction for reinforced reserves, needed as this energy source has returned to the fore, at least temporarily, in the crisis, is helping to bring back into the picture the state-owned Ahlada and Vevi lignite mines, both sidelined, as the interest of private investors in these units has been revitalized.

Major energy and construction groups are expressing renewed interest in these lignite mines, both in northern Greece’s Florina region, sources informed. PPC’s lignite reserves stockpiled at power stations have reached 2.7 million tons but are still considered insufficient.

Lignitoryhia Ahladas SA, the company to which two lignite mines, Ahlada 1 and Ahlada 2, were leased by the Greek State, was declared defunct by the energy ministry in July as a result of its failure to meet agreement terms, primarily lease payments. The Ahlada mines have supplied lignite to PPC’s Meliti power station. Further back, Ahlada was operated by the AKTOR-TERNA partnership.

As for the Vevi mine, the country’s first lignite mine for which an attempt was made to transfer its operations to the private sector, three companies, Mytilineos, TERNA and Aktor, participated in a tender in 2008 before Aktor was eventually named the winning bidder in late 2014.

However, Aktor was not able to pursue the project as concessionaire after the left-wing Syriza party came into power shortly afterwards. The project agreement was never brought to parliament for approval during the Syriza government’s two tenures, from January, 2015 to July, 2019.

 

DEPA Commercial gas storage in Italy, Bulgaria, 200,000 MWh

DEPA Commercial has stored away, at facilities in neighboring Bulgaria and Italy, natural gas quantities for a total of 200,000 MWh, slightly less than one third of the 622,440 MWh the company is expected to store through a Preventive Action Plan established by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

DEPA Commercial began its effort by storing natural gas at Bulgaria’s Chiren facility and, over the past 15 days or so, has also been storing away gas quantities in Italy.

DEPA Commercial, like all main gas suppliers licensed to use the country’s gas network, is expected to make these gas reserves available for all of the upcoming winter period, or, more specifically, from November to March.

These gas reserve amounts stocked up through the Preventive Action Plan are planned to play a protective role should Moscow make changes to deliveries of pipeline gas quantities.

Gas suppliers whose imports represent no more than 1 percent of the country’s total gas imports have been exempted from RAE’s gas storage requirement.

DEPA Commercial is Greece’s biggest gas importer, requiring the company to establish gas reserves for 622,440 MWh. The top three include Mytilineos, which must store away gas for 267,900 MWh and Promitheas Gas with 137,940 MWh.

 

Eurometaux: Crisis measures needed to ease pressure on struggling industry

Europe needs to take emergency energy-crisis action to ease the growing pressure on the industrial sector, a letter forwarded to the European Commission by European industry association Eurometaux has underlined.

The letter was signed by representatives of 40 major industrial enterprises and associations, including three leading Greek industrial players, Evangelos Mytilineos, head of Mytilineos group, Panos Lolos, ElvalHalcor’s Copper Segment general manager, and Antonis Kontoleon, president of EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers.

Aluminium and zinc production in Europe has been forced to drop to 50 percent of capacity as a result of high energy costs, while the copper and nickel sectors are also facing serious problems, the Eurometaux letter notes.

Reasonable electricity and natural gas prices are necessary for production of metals, the letter underlines.

Europe cannot have a successful energy and raw materials strategy if electricity and gas prices remain at current levels for an extended period of time without relief, the letter says.

The crisis requires a comprehensive package of solutions, while no option should be disregarded during such unprecedented conditions, the association notes.

An improved temporary framework for state support as well as incentives for electricity purchase agreements with RES producers are among several proposals listed by Eurometaux in its letter to Brussels.

Government moves ahead with plan to reduce energy consumption

The introduction of energy saving measures, both compulsory and optional, for consumers has now become a priority for the government following growing shortage fears, throughout Europe, prompted by Russia’s indefinite closure of the Nord Steam I gas pipeline, supplying Germany and, by extension, central Europe.

At a meeting of government officials in Athens yesterday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis agreed to move ahead with measures intended to restrict electricity and natural gas consumption in an effort to avoid energy shortages during winter, sources informed.

The government will aim to decrease the amount of natural gas used for electricity generation by approximately 10 TWh, sector officials told energypress.

Annual natural gas consumption in Greece amounts to 70 TWh, of which 50 TWh is used for electricity generation.

An initiative was taken in early July, through a joint ministerial decision, to reduce electricity consumption at all public buildings, numbering 212,000, by 10 percent. The response, so far, has been poor, according to sources.

Campaigns raising the public’s awareness of the need to cut back on energy consumption will soon be launched by energy companies and operators. Citizens will be advised to keep heating temperatures at a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius and lights switched off in rooms not being used.

The government is also striving to limit electricity and natural gas consumption in the industrial sector.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas met yesterday with key industrialists at the helms of Titan cement group, Viohalco and the Mytilineos group, whose subsidiaries include Aluminium of Greece, to discuss plans limiting energy consumption, as well as the replacement of natural gas with diesel as an energy source wherever possible.

 

 

Key industrialists asked to cut down on energy consumption

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has asked a group of leading Greek industrialists to reduce energy consumption at their production facilities as a means of greatly contributing to the country’s wider energy-crisis effort ahead of what could be a challenging winter, energypress sources have informed.

The minister’s request, a response to Russia’s latest closure of the Nord Steam I gas pipeline, which, according to Moscow, was necessary for repairs, represents the start of the government’s gradual implementation of an emergency plan that factors in the possibility of a complete cut in Russian gas supplies.

The energy minister met last Friday with three industrialists, Dimitri Papalexopoulos, chairman of the executive committee at Titan cement group, Nikolaos Stasinopoulos, president of Viohalco, and Evangelos Mytilineos, chairman and board of the directors at the Mytilineos group, whose subsidiaries include Aluminium of Greece.

The minister, through this initiative, is striving for energy savings of approximately 15 percent as the production facilities of the three industrial groups are the country’s biggest consumers of electricity and natural gas.

Implementation of the minister’s plan is expected to help prevent power cuts to households and businesses. The three businessmen were also asked, by the energy minister, to avoid incorporating job cuts into their energy saving strategies.

 

 

Mytilineos’ Watt+Volt purchase signals start of takeovers

Vertically integrated Mytilineos’ acquisition of energy retailer Watt+Volt, a move that was announced yesterday and which takes the buyer’s electricity market share close to double digit figures, is seen as the beginning of a series of upcoming takeovers in the retail electricity and gas markets as survival conditions for players become more challenging.

In taking over Watt+Volt, Mytilineos, the market leader among the country’s vertically integrated energy groups, has added to its portfolio the biggest and most robust of the market’s non-vertically integrated players.

Mytilineos, represented by Protergia in the retail energy market, has now increased its market share to nearly 10 percent. Its customers total 550,000 and the company controls nearly 100 outlets.

In addition, the acquisition bolsters Mytilineos’ market presence in the electromobility market to 516 charging stations around the country.

 

Households cut back on power use, overall demand higher

Electricity demand in the household and business low-voltage category fell for a second consecutive month in May, as consumers seek to limit their energy costs, data in a latest monthly report announced by power grid operator IPTO have shown.

However, overall electricity demand increased by 2.68 percent in May, compared to April, a development attributed to a rebound in consumption in the hospitality and entertainment sectors following the lifting of lockdown restrictions, as well as higher temperatures, the IPTO data showed.

As for retail market shares, power utility PPC remained dominant in May, maintaining a share of approximately 64 percent share, held since the beginning of the year, according to the IPTO figures.

Mytilineos registered a 7.19 percent share in May, Heron’s share was 6.57 percent and Elpedison’s captured a 6.26 percent share. They were followed by NRG (4.23%), Volterra (2.08%), Fysiko Aerio (2.05%), Watt & Volt (2.01%), Zenith (1.73%) and Volton (1.35%).

Shipping sector developing offshore wind farm interest

The shipping industry, domestic and foreign, is expressing growing investment interest for offshore wind farms and is awaiting the emerging sector’s regulatory framework to develop such projects in Greek sea territory, energypress sources have informed.

Though plans are still nascent, a considerable number of shipping companies and shipowners are already in talks with consultants for related feasibility studies.

Conditions for shipping industry players are favorable. Their earnings have skyrocketed amid abnormal market conditions, worldwide, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020. These higher earnings have generated additional capital for investment, prompting shipowners to consider the potential of offshore wind farms.

Anticipating strong growth in this emerging sector, metals production group Viohalco plans to proceed with an investment estimated to be worth 70 and 100 million euros, which, through subsidiary Cenergy Holdings, will merge the knowhow of group members Hellenic Cables and Corinth Pipeworks for the establishment of the world’s first industrialized unit for floating wind turbines.

Norway’s Equinor, the world’s biggest developer of offshore wind farms, has already expressed interest to develop projects in Greece, proposing an area between the Cyclades islands of Tinos, Syros and Mykonos.

In addition, TERNA Energy has reached an agreement with Ocean Winds, a partnership between EDP Renewables and Engie, for co-development of offshore wind farms offering a 1.5-GW capacity. Also, Mytilineos has reached an agreement with Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners. Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is currently engaged in talks with a major foreign company and Motor Oil has signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).

Power utility PPC is currently involved in talks with at least five foreign companies, including Australia’s Macquarie, which recently acquired a 49 percent stake in PPC subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s distribution network operator. PPC is also believed to be in talks with American fund Quadum.

The Copelouzos group has joined forces with RF Energy to establish Aegean Offshore Wind Farms, a company planning to develop offshore parks offering an 850-MW capacity.

Greek shipowners own 5,514 ships, controlling 32 percent of the world’s tankers, 25 percent of bulk carriers and 22 percent of LNG carriers, the latter category being crucial for Europe’s effort to end its reliance on Russian natural gas.

 

Electricity producer tax for windfall profits in parliament

A draft bill proposing an extraordinary 90 percent tax on windfall profits earned by electricity producers – primarily operators of natural gas-fueled power stations – as a result of sharply higher natural gas prices over the past nine-month period, has been submitted to parliament for discussion and ratification following talks on the matter between the finance and energy ministries.

The draft bill is planned to legislate this extraordinary tax as well as a formula to be used for calculating respective company amounts to be taxed.

Discounts offered by companies to customers will be reduced from sums to be taxed, along with any returns resulting from bilateral contracts.

Once the draft bill is legislated, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will calculate amounts for each company to be subject to the extraordinary tax.

According to a related report prepared by RAE and delivered to the government and parliament, power utility PPC represents 729.91 million euros of the market’s total of 927.44 million euros in windfall profits amassed over a six-month period between October, 2021 and March, 2022.

The country’s independent producers, Mytilineos, Elpedison and Heron, along with RES producers participating in the market, represent the remaining 197.53 million euros in windfall profits, the RAE report determined.

RAE finalized windfall profit figures soon, producers react

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is examining objections and observations made by electricity producers in response to the authority’s report on sector windfall profits, headed for taxation.

The electricity producers, including vertically integrated energy groups with retail representation, have objected to details of a formula applied by the authority to determine excess profits during the ongoing energy crisis’ period between October, 2021 and March, 2022.

The producers, claiming the report’s findings are erroneous, want a series of additional factors to also be taken into account, including discounts offered to customers, losses incurred through fixed tariffs, as well as financial costs resulting from initiatives taken to boost cashflow.

Energy ministry Kostas Skrekas has asked RAE to take into account the factors raised by electricity producers before delivering a finalized windfall profit figure, expected imminently.

The government is preparing a legislative bill for a 90 percent tax on windfall profits once RAE has delivered its finalized figures, sources informed.

The RAE report has valued the total sum of windfall profits earned during the aforementioned six-month period at 927.44 million euros.

Power utility PPC holds the lion’s share of this amount, 729.91 million euros, while the independent players Mytilineos, Elpedison, Heron and RES producers active in the market are linked to the remaining amount.

 

 

 

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.

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%).

 

Gas trading debuts at energy exchange, prices at €85-88

Wholesale gas trading debuted at the Greek energy exchange without any problems, transactions representing a total quantity of 1,101 MWh at prices ranging between 85 and 88 euros per MWh, energypress sources have informed.

Energy exchange officials and participating companies expressed satisfaction following the first day of trading.

Ten companies – electricity producers and natural gas suppliers – are so far registered to participate in trading on the new platform. These are: AXPO, ELPEDISON, MOTOR OIL, DEPA Commercial, DESFA, PPC, EPA ATTIKI, ZENITH, HERON and MYTILINEOS.

The new platform, operating between 9am and 2.30am, incorporates a day-ahead market covering three 24 periods in advance, as well as an intraday market. It also hosts gas balancing trading covering the grid’s needs.

Officials are planning to also launch, at a latter date, trading for futures contracts, which will enable companies to pursue hedging strategies without needing to resort to other European markets for such tools.

The new platform promises to lead to more competitive natural gas prices as it will enable companies to capitalize on opportunities whenever they arise.

 

 

DEPA Commercial plans extra LNG orders for March, April

DEPA Commercial is planning to place extra LNG orders for March and April as a result of higher consumption levels at natural gas-fired power stations, prompted by increased electricity exports, as well as a greater level of natural gas exports to Bulgaria.

The gas company intends to import three LNG shipments in April and is also considering an additional LNG order for this month, which would be shipped in along with a 40,000-cubic meter order placed by energy company Elpedison, scheduled to arrive in just a few days, on March 13.

Should DEPA Commercial go ahead with this latter March order, it would be the gas company’s second for the month. DEPA Commercial has already placed a 73,855-cubic meter LNG order that is due to arrive tomorrow.

Natural gas-fired power stations in Greece have been operating at full capacity in recent times to cover increased electricity exports to neighboring countries, where electricity prices have exceeded those of the Greek market.

Two days ago, electricity exports reached 27.5 GWh, while electricity imports were under 6 GWh.

Additional natural gas exports to Bulgaria in recent times have also prompted the need for more LNG in Greece.

To date, four LNG orders for March, totaling 261,447 cubic meters, have been placed by three companies, DEPA Commercial, Mytilineos and Elpedison.

In general, enterprises are moving cautiously with any extra LNG orders as a result of fluctuating natural gas prices in international markets. Companies placing gas orders at current price levels could be set back millions by any sudden price dip.

 

Escalating war increases threat of gas shortages, prices surging

The escalating war in Ukraine following last week’s invasion by Russian forces has increased fears of natural gas shortages in the European market, which has led to a new price surge, adding to the price ascent prompted by the preceding energy crisis.

Markets are now jittery over concerns that the ongoing bombardments in Ukraine could damage gas pipelines running across the country. The prospect of a Russian retaliation to stricter sanctions threatened by the west is another concern pressuring markets.

Greece is in a somewhat sheltered position as the country imports Russian gas quantities via the Turkstream pipeline, crossing the Black Sea, but, given the overall developments, Athens cannot remain complacent.

The country’s crisis management committee will be meeting again today to discuss measures should the adverse conditions created by Russia’s war in Ukraine deteriorate further.

Greek authorities are expected to try and maintain reserves at the country’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, as close as possible to full capacity, and use pipeline gas to the fullest extent.

The country’s gas needs for March have been fully covered by four LNG shipment orders – two by Elpedison, and one each by Mytilineos and DEPA – expected at the Revythoussa terminal. Additional orders could be placed if needed. LNG orders have yet to be placed for April.

Natural gas prices surged yesterday, ending the day at 121 euros per MWh. At such a level, retail electricity prices could reach close to 300 euros per MWh. Today’s retail electricity price is 254.94 euros per MWh.

Europe now appears determined to reduce its dependency on Russian gas, covering between 40 and 45 percent of the continent’s needs. The issue has become a top priority on the EU agenda, but the road towards achieving this objective remains unclear.

PPC 300% increase in returning customers, outflow still bigger

The number of customers returning to power utility PPC in October increased by more than 300 percent compared to May, but the company is still losing more customers than it is gaining, latest market data obtained by energypress has shown.

PPC gained 5,200 new customers in October, compared to 1,350 five months earlier, the data showed. If the wave of PPC’s returning customers continues to swell, the inflow of customers will eventually exceed the outflow.

Recent data made available by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO backs this trend as the operator’s figures showed that PPC lost 47,000 low-voltage connections between the second and third quarters, well below the 71,000 lost between the first and second quarters.

PPC represented 5.06 million low-voltage connections in September, a 74.2 percent market share, according to the DEDDIE/HEDNO data.

Among the independent suppliers, representing an overall 1.61 million low-voltage connections in September for a 23.6 percent share, Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, was at the forefront with a 4.07 percent share, or 277,000 customers, followed by Elpedison, with 3.75% and 256,000 connections, and Heron with 232,000 connections and a 3.41 percent share.

 

Gas spot market absence ‘key to higher wholesale electricity prices’

Greek gas market peculiarities and the non-existence of a spot market for natural gas were attributed as key reasons behind wholesale electricity market price differences between Greece and markets abroad, local electricity producers told RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following the authority’s request for explanations.

RAE held talks with representatives of power utility PPC, Mytilineos, Elpedison and Heron on the issue of wholesale electricity price levels.

The Greek gas market operates on a month-ahead model without the possibility for supply through spot markets, all four electricity companies told RAE.

At present, roughly half of the country’s electricity is generated by natural gas-fired power stations.

Electricity suppliers snub RAE’s tariff categorization proposal

Power utility PPC and the country’s independent electricity suppliers have responded negatively to a proposal from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, calling for the categorization of low-voltage electricity tariffs offered to households into three groups, low, limited and high risk, for fixed, partially restricted and floating tariffs, respectively.

According to the RAE proposal, made in related public consultation, consumers taking on greater risk would be offered lower base tariffs, which, however, would be fully susceptible to market forces and resulting fluctuations.

In its response, PPC noted that it agrees on the existence of two consumer categories, offering fixed and floating tariffs, contending further categorization could ultimately unsettle consumers and even prompt negative perceptions of company offers as a result of the use of the high-risk tag.

Mytilineos group, in its remarks, noted that labelling a fixed tariff as a risk-free option would deprive consumers of the opportunity and incentive to change consumption habits or adopt options related to energy efficiency and savings.

 

Late November biding-bid tender deadlines for Larco privatization

Officials intend to set late November binding-bid deadlines to two tenders concerning the privatization of financially pressured state-controlled nickel producer Larco, a delayed procedure whose completion was initially planned for the first half of this year.

The deadline dates for the two tenders will be set within days of each other, government sources have informed.

Greek officials are pushing ahead with the privatization procedure following pressure from the European Commission, which has informed that the sale needs to be completed soon if the government is to avoid hefty penalties for illegal state aid offered to the nickel producer.

Also, officials appear to have decided to dismiss the nickel producer’s 1,100 or so workers, according to the sources, while the labor ministry is currently looking for fund support to cover their compensation packages.

The privatization’s first of two tenders concerns the transfer of mines in Evia, Fthiotida, Viotia (Agios Ioannis area) and Kastoria, ore stocks, by-products and recyclable materials as well as plots of rural land.

The second tender concerns the privatization of the Larymna smelting plant, the Larymna and Loutsi mines and relevant mining rights and other assets owned by the Greek State and currently leased to Larco.

Three of six initial candidates remain in the running – GEK TERNA, MYTILINEOS and COMMODITY & MINING INSIGHT IRELAND LIMITED.

PPC retail market share remains high, 64.37% in August

Power utility PPC’s retail electricity market share remains high, capturing 64.37 percent in August, down slightly from the previous month’s 65.25 percent, a latest report issued by the Greek energy exchange has shown.

The slight contraction does not represent a wider change in the overall market, but, instead, has been attributed to a market share gain by one supplier, Elpedison, a joint venture involving petroleum group ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and Italy’s Edison, following ELPE’s decision to stop receiving high-voltage electricity from PPC for supply from Elpedison. As a result, Elpedison’s retail electricity market share increased to 5.69 percent from 4.44 percent, placing the company in third place among the independent electricity suppliers.

PPC has essentially maintained recent market share gains in the retail market’s low and medium-voltage categories following power bill hikes made by independent suppliers as a result of their decisions to trigger wholesale cost-related clauses included in their electricity bills.

The entire field of independent electricity suppliers increased their overall share to 35.63 percent in August from 34.75 percent in July.

Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, led the pack of independent suppliers with a 7.67 percent market share in August, marginally below July’s 7.85 percent. Heron followed in second place with 6.4 percent in August from 6.77 percent in July and Elpedison was ranked third with aforementioned figures. NRG ranked fourth with 4.42 percent from 4.26 percent, while Watt and Volt was ranked fifth with an unchanged market share of 2.67 percent. Volterra was sixth with 2.05 percent from 2.07 percent, Fysiko Aerio Attikis seventh with 1.87 percent from 1.94 percent, Zenith eighth with 1.56 percent from 1.55 percent, Volton ninth with 1.46 percent from 1.43 percent and KEN tenth with 0.75 percent, unchanged from July to August.

Lignite area €5bn upgrade plan presented at cabinet meeting

The planned upgrade of Greece’s lignite-dependent areas – an effort of unprecedented domestic ambition budgeted at 5 billion euros that includes emblematic projects such as a hydrogen-producing facility, the country’s first; major-scale telethermal units; a 155-km natural gas pipeline in the north;  major-scale solar farms, including a 200-MW solar farm in Kozani being developed by Mytilineos for PPC Renewables; and the norther section of the E65 highway – will be presented at a cabinet meeting today.

A related draft bill includes provisions for the establishment of a special purpose vehicle for the overall effort, named Metavasi SA, meaning transition. The SPV will take over 16,400 hectares of power utility PPC’s lignite-related land, including fixed assets, except for property to be kept by the utility for its own green investments.

This transfer of 16,400 hectares represents 66 percent of PPC’s total land assets, currently measuring 24,700 hectares.

The Metavasi SPV will assume responsibility for the upgrade of the 16,400 hectares of land, currently hosting PPC lignite mines and lignite-fired power stations.

 

Mytilineos begins work on PPC Renewables 200-MW solar farm

The Mytilineos group’s Renewables & Storage Development Business Unit (RSD) has begun work on the development of a 200-MW solar farm in Kozani, northern Greece for PPC Renewables, a power utility PPC subsidiary.

The project will be added to two smaller solar PPC Renewables farms, each offering a capacity of 15 MW, which have already been completed by their respective developers, Mytilineos and GEK TERNA, for an overall capacity of 230 MW, Greece’s biggest solar energy facility under construction at present.

Mytilineos was declared preferred bidder last December in a tender staged by PPC Renewables. Parliamentary approval of the agreement in April paved the way for the contract’s finalization and commencement of work.

Mytilineos has been tasked with the design, installation and delivery of the solar farm, as well as its connection with two 150kV-cpaacity substations.

The project’s development cost was reduced to 83.7 million euros through the tender, down roughly 30 percent from an initial budget of 110 million euros, taking the facility’s energy production cost to 42,000 euros per MW, one of the most competitive rates in Europe.

The solar farm, to occupy approximately 500 hectares, will be comprised of bifacial panels with single-axis trackers. The RES facility will have an annual production capacity of 352 GWh, capable of covering the needs of approximately 75,000 households.

PPC Renewables, at a RES auction, has secured a tariff of 49.11 euros per MWh for the project’s output.

The project’s delivery has been given a 42-month period. PPC Renewables is striving to increase its installed RES capacity to 500 MW by the end of 2022.

 

Power producer LNG orders unaffected by higher gas prices

Increased natural gas prices in international markets have not restrained LNG imports at gas grid operator DESFA’s Revythoussa islet terminal just off Athens, data provided by the operator has shown.

LNG orders at the Revythoussa terminal for the two-month period covering August and September, placed primarily by power producers, seeking international market opportunities to subdue fuel costs, as well as gas company DEPA, total more than 742,000 cubic meters, the DESFA data showed.

This quantity represents six LNG tanker loads, ordered by as many key domestic natural gas market players for the two-month period.

Two loads, the first for power utility PPC and Motor Oil Hellas, and the second for Elpedison, arrived during the first half of August. A third tanker carrying LNG orders placed by Mytilineos and Heron will follow this month, bringing August’s LNG orders total at the Revythoussa terminal to 376,000 cubic meters.

Three more LNG shipments are scheduled to arrive at the Revythoussa facility in September. The first of these concerns orders placed by PPC and Motor Oil Hellas totaling 146,000 cubic meters. The second shipment will be for a 73,000-cubic meter order placed by DEPA, while the third concerns a 147,000-cubic meter order made by Elpedison.

Natural gas prices have remained high in international markets, currently about triple the price of levels in March.

Listed players plan 16 GW in RES projects worth €16bn

Greece’s listed energy groups, alone, plan to invest a total amount of 16 billion euros over the next decade for the development of green energy projects representing over 16 GW, big figures highlighting the anticipated dominance of the green energy market in the years to come as the country transitions to cleaner energy sources and decarbonizes.

Investments are already anticipated in mature RES technologies, namely wind and solar energy facilities, while, once market and regulatory conditions allow, major investments will be made in energy storage as well as offshore wind farms.

Terna Energy, market leader in Greece’s RES market, plans to reach an installed capacity of 3,000 MW in the next five years. The company, the biggest wind energy player in Greece and southeast Europe, is currently developing wind energy projects representing 400 MW while a further 63 projects are nearing maturity.

Power utility PPC is making impressive RES market progress through its subsidiary PPC Renewables. PPC, according to the company’s updated business plan, will make investments totaling 3.4 billion euros until 2023, 34 percent of this amount concerning RES investments.

Green energy is also a key aspect in the Mytilineos group’s investment plans over the next few years. Its solar energy projects portfolio, representing 1,480 MW, is one of the biggest in Greece. The company possesses 300 MW in RES projects either operating, under construction or set for construction, as well as a further 100 MW headed for final investment decisions by the end of 2021. Mytilineos also plans to develop 20 energy storage projects, each with a 50-MW capacity.

Hellenic Petoleum (ELPE), both acquiring and developing RES projects, is aiming for a 2-GW RES portfolio by 2030.

Motor Oil Hellas recently acquired 11 operating wind farms with a total 220-MW capacity as well as a 20-MW facility still under construction from private equity fund Fortress. MOH is aiming for an operating RES capacity of 364 MW by the end of 2022 as well as a medium-term RES goal of between 500 to 600 MW.

Ellaktor is planning investments worth 1 billion euros for the development of 900 MW through its partnership with Portugal’s EDPR.

Contractor Intrakat also aims to push ahead with a one billion-euro RES investment plan. The company has joined forces with Gaia Anemos, possessing wind and PV production licenses representing approximately 1 GW, plus RES expertise.

RF Energy has reached an investment decision to develop an offshore wind farm with a capacity of 498.15 MW northeast of the island Limnos. The project is budgeted at two billion euros, according to the company.