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.

 

 

 

ELPE leaving PPC for supply agreement with Elpedison

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), until now receiving its high-voltage electricity from power utility PPC, appears set to end this association to establish a new supply deal with energy firm Elpedison, the petroleum group’s own 50-50 joint venture with Italy’s Edison.

If this move is confirmed, Elpedison’s retail market share will make a gain to nearly 1.5 percent.

PPC, currently involved in talks with industrial consumers for new high-voltage supply deals until 2023, is likely to lose another big producer, sources informed, without elaborating.

Last month, the power utility officially reached a supply agreement with Aluminium of Greece, a member of the Mytilineos group, the final deal between the two enterprises following a 60-year association.

Barring one case, in which considerable ground still needs to be covered, PPC’s other negotiations will industrial consumers are believed to be nearing agreements, sources informed.

PPC and the industrial consumers still need to agree on the extent of a tariff increase, expected to be set at approximately 20 percent. The new agreements are not expected to offer consumers discounts for punctual payments.

Other details being discussed include how the respective profiles of industrial consumers will influence tariff agreements. Take-or-pay clause details are also still being negotiated.

This round of deals between PPC and industrial consumers will be the last involving fixed tariff agreements. From 2023 onwards, industrial consumer supply agreements with PPC will be subject to floating rates pegged to wholesale market costs.

Conditions for power purchase agreements (PPAs) between industrial consumers and RES producers are expected to have ripened by 2023. A related energy exchange platform facilitating such agreements is expected to be ready within 2022.

PPC loss of low-voltage customers slows down in 2Q

Data for the year’s second quarter has shown a slowdown in power utility PPC’s market share contraction rate in the low voltage category.

PPC’s reduced loss of customers in the second quarter has been primarily attributed to the utility’s modernized commercial policy and a more focused marketing strategy.

Between April and June, a total of 68,000 households and small businesses, a monthly average of just over 22,000, left PPC for other electricity suppliers, down from a monthy exit rate of between 30,000 and 35,000 over the past year and a half.

The higher exit rate of PPC customers was maintained until the end of the first quarter, when 103,000 customers left the utility over the three-month period.

PPC represented 5.1 million of the country’s 6.6 million low-voltage connections around the country in the second quarter, a 75.1 percent share.

Low-voltage customers represented by independent electricity suppliers reached the level of 1.5 million for the first time.

Among the independent suppliers, Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, was at the forefront, according to second quarter data, with a 3.94 percent share, followed by Elpedison (3.67%), Heron (3.32%), Watt & Volt (2.6%), Zenith (2.48%), Volton (1.75%), NRG (1.99%), Aerio Attikis (1.5%) and Volterra (0.57%).

Energy transition proving to be expensive, 30% price hike seen

Unprecedented price rises in the wholesale electricity market, up by as much as 80 percent between July 1 and August 8 and tripled since the beginning of the year, will inevitably impact consumers with imminent increases of approximately 30 percent, market officials have told energypress.

The average wholesale electricity price for this year has been estimated at between 80 and 90 euros per MWh, up 30 percent compared to levels in 2019, used as the base year as price levels in pandemic-hit 2020 were distorted by the unprecedented conditions.

Households and businesses should soon expect elevated electricity bills as a result of wholesale-related clauses triggered by suppliers in response to the sharp wholesale electricity price increases recorded since early July.

These developments, largely attributed to European Commission policies implemented to combat climate change, have prompted comments by key energy market officials, including Evangelos Mytilineos, chairman and chief executive of the Mytilineos group, who recently warned “the energy transition will be expensive.” Another official noted this is a “new era of higher-priced electricity.”

CO2 emission right costs have more than doubled since the beginning of the year, reaching levels, at present, of between 54 and 55 euros per ton.

Natural gas prices have doubled since January at the TTF Dutch trading platform, to 42 euros per MWh.

Greek market officials widely acknowledge the country has no other option but to gradually end its reliance on lignite and fossil fuels, while stressing, however, the need for swifter legislative revisions facilitating quicker RES penetration and energy storage development.

 

 

Mid-October bidding deadline for assets leased to Larco

Privatization fund TAIPED will, according to sources, set a mid-October deadline for binding bids concerning the privatization of the Larymna smelting plant, the Larymna and Loutsi mines and relevant mining rights and other assets owned by the Hellenic Republic and currently leased to “LARCO General Metallurgical & Mining Company S.A.” (LARCO).

Six interested parties are participant in the tender. These are:

  1. COMMODITY & MINING INSIGHT IRELAND LIMITED
  2. GEK TERNA S.A. – AD HOLDINGS AG
  3. MYTILINEOS S.A.
  4. SOLWAY INVESTMENT GROUP LIMITED
  5. THARISA PLC
  6. TRAFIGURA GROUP Pte Ltd

PPC industrial supply deals last act ahead of market share dive

Power utility PPC’s latest supply agreements with industrial consumers, finalized just days ago with steel producer Viohalco, Titan cement and building materials group, as well as all other industrial players, following a preceding deal with Aluminium of Greece, a member of the Mytilineos group, represent, barring unexpected developments, the final act ahead of major market changes that will dramatically reduce the utility’s market share beyond December 31, 2023, when these new high-voltage supply agreements expire.

They are PPC’s last industrial supply agreements offering fixed tariffs. As of 2024, PPC will offer indexed tariff prices that will be pegged to the wholesale electricity market’s monthly clearing price in the day-ahead market.

This change will most likely prompt industrial consumers to seek alternative electricity supply solutions.

Aluminium of Greece has already done so, as it plans to receive electricity from the Mytilineos group’s new natural gas-fired power plant being developed in the Agios Nikolaos industrial zone in Viotia’s Agios Nikolaos area, northwest of Athens, to be direct cable-linked to the Aluminium of Greece facility, as well as through RES production, ending a 60-year association with PPC.

At present, PPC sells an annual electricity amount of between 63 to 64 TWh, of which approximately 5 TWh concern high-voltage electricity. If energy-intensive consumers leave PPC from 2024 onwards, to avoid indexed tariffs, the utility’s electricity sales will drop to between 58 and 59 TWh, and, by extension, its retail market share will contract to about 50 percent from 64 percent at present.

This is the state-controlled utility’s aim as an evenly divided electricity market in which PPC will hold a market share of about 50 percent and the independent suppliers the other 50 percent will end the DG Comp’s frequent interventions over the utility’s excessive retail market share.

The energy ministry is aiming for green-energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) to cover 20 percent of industrial electricity demand by next year.

 

PPC near deals with industrial customers after Aluminium of Greece agreement

Power utility PPC, which officially reached a supply agreement last week with Aluminium of Greece, a member of the Mytilineos group, is close to finalizing agreements with all other industrial consumers. Announcements of new deals could be imminent.

PPC and the industrial consumers still need to agree on the extent of a tariff increase, expected to be set at approximately 20 percent. The new agreements are not expected to offer consumers discounts for punctual payments.

Other details being discussed between the two sides include how the respective profiles of industrial consumers will influence tariff agreements. Take-or-pay clause details are also still being negotiated.

This round of deals between PPC and industrial consumers will be the last involving fixed tariff agreements.

From 2023 onwards, industrial consumers establishing supply agreements with PPC will be subject to floating rates pegged to wholesale market costs.

Industrial tariffs will fluctuate in accordance with monthly clearing prices at the energy exchange’s day-ahead market.

PPC’s recent agreement with Aluminium of Greece, covering July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023, is the last following a 60-year association between the two companies. The Mytilineos group has set eco-friendly objectives for aluminium production.

Beyond 2023, Aluminium of Greece will receive electricity from the Mytilineos group’s new natural gas-fired power plant being developed in the Agios Nikolaos industrial zone in Viotia’s Agios Nikolaos area, northwest of Athens, to be direct cable-linked to the Aluminium of Greece facility, as well as through RES production.

PPC, industrial consumers nearing 2021-23 supply deals

Power utility PPC’s ongoing negotiations with industrial consumers for new two-year supply deals covering 2021 to 2023 are making progress in a number of cases, where deals are close to being finalized, while, in others, work is still needed to bridge gaps.

Tariff increases of approximately 20 percent are expected, while discounts for punctual payments by customers will not be incorporated into the new two-year deals, it has become apparent.

The talks are now focused on other matters, still unresolved, including the method applied by the power utility to shape customer profiles influencing respective tariff levels.

The percentage of a take-or-pay clause to be applied on monthly electricity consumption levels, or discrepancies from agreed consumption levels, is another matter that remains unresolved.

At this stage, PPC appears likely to accept a more flexible solution compared to its initial proposal.

PPC has already reached an agreement, until 2023, with the vertically integrated Mytilineos group’s Aluminium of Greece, the final deal in a 60-year association.

As of 2023, PPC’s pricing policy for energy-intensive consumers will change as tariffs will no longer be fixed but linked to wholesale electricity costs.

Lignite units to exit in August, according to IPTO plan

The introduction of a demand response mechanism in the balancing market within 2021 is projected in a Market Reform Plan, according to a power grid operator IPTO document that has been forwarded for public consultation until Wednesday.

The document notes that a related grid sufficiency study takes into account structural interventions in wholesale markets. These interventions have been included in the Market Reform Plan.

According to the reform plan, the demand response’s participation in markets is expected to be feasible as of the fourth quarter this year.

The new grid sufficiency study will be attached to the Market Reform Plan, whose draft copy has already been forwarded to Brussels, as previously reported by energypress.

The purpose of the study, along with a road map for wholesale market revisions, will be to support the need for a Strategic Reserve, during a first phase, as well as a Capacity Reserve Mechanism (CRM), planned to succeed it.

Besides these two mechanisms, IPTO also intends to take into account a plan entailing a swifter withdrawal of the country’s lignite-fired power stations. This is based on a key assumption that the power utility PPC, as it has announced, will withdraw remaining lignite units within August due to the unfeasibility of operating these units, nowadays high-cost as a result of elevated CO2 emission right costs.

Megalopoli III was withdrawn in March, even though IPTO had not offered its consent due to grid sufficiency concerns, while Agios Dimitrios, Megalopoli IV and Meliti are expected to follow in August.

The introduction of new units is expected to commence in September, 2022, beginning with a new Mytilineos natural gas-fired power station, and followed by Ptolemaida V early in 2023, initially as a lignite-fired unit before it is converted to gas in early 2026, a change that will also offer a capacity boost to 1,000 MW.

Also, new PPC hydropower facilities are expected to begin emerging midway through the decade, these being Metsovitiko (29 MW) in 2025, Mesohora (160 MW) in 2026 and Avlaki (83 MW) in 2028.

Competition intense in solar panel market, JinkoSolar ruling

Major investment interest for prospective solar energy projects, as indicated by the number of applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, as well as projects already in progress, has established Greece into a particularly important market for the photovoltaic sector.

A large number of investors have now entered the Greek solar energy market, many of these major international players. As a result, competition has intensified, as is reflected in lower price levels offered at auctions. Tariffs per KWh have fallen to levels well below those for customary electricity generation.

Competition between solar energy equipment suppliers has also greatly intensified. All the major international players have already entered the Greek market, or are preparing to do so. Driven by the market prospects in the years to come, they are looking to capture solid market shares.

Even so, 2021 has not been a comfortable year so far, while projections for the remaining months are unfavorable. Solar panel deliveries have encountered enormous problems as a result of shipping issues, which has prompted higher prices in the market.

As a result, the intense competition between PV equipment suppliers has not been limited to solar panel prices, which vary depending on quality, but also concerns, to a great extent, availability, flexibility and delivery-schedule reliability. This is an important aspect for investors as it often determines whether projects can be developed or not.

Amidst these market conditions, data has shown that JinkoSolar has managed to prevail and register high-level performances.

In the large-scale project category (utilities, 10 MW and over), setting the market tone and generating major revenue levels, the company appears to have now captured a market share of around 70 percent. JinkoSolar has signed contracts for a total capacity of 370 MW in 2021. Also taking into account smaller projects, orders for 2021 exceed 550 MW, representing more than 1.2 million PV panels.

In west Macedonia, a region in the country’s north attracting the interest of investors as a result of its existing electricity transmission networks, four major-scale projects promising a total capacity of approximately 370 MW, all equipped with JinkoSolar panels, are currently being developed.

One of the four solar farms, a 15-MW investment by PPC Renewables, is being developed by MYTILINEOS. Also, an ELPE 204-MW facility is being developed by juwi, while Kiefer is preparing a 110-MW unit and Total Eren a 40-MW facility.

Responding to a question on the reasons behind JinkoSolar’s strong performance, Dimitris Varlamis, Jinko Solar’s Head of Sales, South Eastern Europe, noted: “The advanced technology and quality of the panels, reliability of the company, but also the high level of our services, are the key factors customers judge us by and place their trust in us.” He made particular note of the company’s collaboration with COSCO, the Chinese shipping and logistics company. “Realizing, on time, the needs of our customers, especially for major-scale projects, we have collaborated, since 2019, with Cosco and Eurocom, making the most of the potential offered by related legislation innovatively drafted and by the public administration so that we could give shape to the system that could provide these services. We invested time and money and finally managed to be in a position to deliver panels to the Greek market in the shortest possible time, without VAT costs, while, at the same time, reducing to a minimum any risk for the customer during the panel delivery process.”

Through the use of this model, “we have, under the extremely adverse conditions of this year, continued to deliver successfully and consistently, previously notifying our customers on time about the situation and what they should expect,” Varlamis explained.

Investor experience

Major contractor representatives of the sector offered comments to energypress on their close cooperation with JinkoSolar, and the fruitful results:

“MYTILINEOS, as one of the world’s biggest energy players in the photovoltaic sector, always relies on the most reliable suppliers in order to incorporate the best technology into its projects, as well as to ensure that equipment will be delivered on time, so that projects can be connected on schedule. As a result, for years now, we have chosen JinkoSolar as one of our strategic suppliers of solar panels for projects all over the world,” explained Nikos Papapetrou, General Manager of the Renewables and Energy Storage division at MYTILINEOS. “In the first quarter of 2021, in a project of symbolic significance for PPC Renewables, as it is the first of a series of projects being developed by the company in [northern Greece’s] the Kozani area as part of the decarbonization effort, MYTILINEOS, following a competitive procedure and significant support from JinkoSolar, managed to emerge as the preferred bidder and develop, in little time, a 15-MW solar energy farm,” he continued.

On the same wavelength, Christina-Natalia Mela, General Manager at Total Erene Hellas, commenting on a 40-MW solar energy farm project in Sidera, Kozani currently being developed by the company as part of its investment plan for Greece, underlined: “The more difficult the supply chain becomes, the more necessary it is to work with reliable suppliers to ensure on-schedule launches of energy parks,” making note of the importance of “JinkoSolar’s successful delivery – amid a difficult period for supply of photovoltaic panels – of all modules within the first half of 2021, which enabled us to make unimpeded progress with all work so that the project can be connected with the network as scheduled.”

JinkoSolar’s reliability factor was also stressed by Christos Petrocheilos, General Manager at Kiefer. “At a time of extremely adverse conditions in the supply of panels, with sharp price increases for raw materials needed for photovoltaic panels, as well as major delivery delays, JinkoSolar has, yet again, proven to be the most reliable supplier, as the company successfully delivered, within the first quarter of 2021, our entire order of 240,000 Tiger bifacial panels,” he noted. “Carrying on from our collaboration for a project in Amfilohia [northwestern Greece], where, in 2020, we installed over 100 MW, JinkoSolar remains our strategic supplier of panels,” Petrocheilos said, referring to Kiefer’s trust, once again, in JinkoSolar for a project in Kozani’s Vathylakkos area, northern Greece, where the company, as EPC Contractor, is developing one of Greece’s biggest solar park clusters, totaling 110 MW, for approximately 100 investors.

“The supplier of PV panels possibly represents the most crucial factor in the development of a solar energy plan, which is the reason why we have chosen JinkoSolar as our strategic supplier,” noted Maria Mitsiolidou, General Manager at Green Line Energy. “Besides the quality of the panels and their technical characteristics, JinkoSolar successfully delivered over 120 MW during a particularly difficult period, a time when punctual delivery of materials and equipment is not at all a given,” she added.

Over the past three years, Green Line Energy has moved ahead with a major investment plan, developing and constructing numerous PV projects at various points around Greece. The company’s portfolio of projects, both completed and prospective, is expected to exceed 600 MW.

Piraeus port, an entry point

JinkoSolar’s collaboration with Cosco and transportation services company Eurocom at Piraeus port has been pivotal, as previously stressed by JinkoSolar’s Mr. Varlamis, for the company to be able to deliver panels to customers in Greece in the shortest possible time, without VAT charges.

Cosco and Eurocom representatives offered related comments to energypress.

Aggelos Karakostas, General Manager at COSCO:

“JinkoSolar is among Cosco’s biggest customers worldwide and we are reinforcing this important relationship through our strategic partnership at Piraeus Port, which JinkoSolar has chosen as the entry point for its solar panels to Europe.

This important relationship offers added value to Greece as the products are cleared through customs in Greece and then transported to other markets.

Piraeus port is the closest European mainland port to China, making the shipping time the shortest possible, while COSCO provides the maximum possible support to JinkoSolar so that solar panel deliveries are made on time.”

Hristoforos Varveris, CEO at Eurocom:

“Eurocom SA, in collaboration with Cosco, has designed innovative procedures facilitating JinkoSolar’s inflow to both the European and Greek markets through certified logistics centers and simplified customs procedures.

The Greek public administration has risen to the occasion, enabling the provision of value-added services at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, at par, and in many cases, superior in quality to those provided by ports in northern Europe.”

 

 

Damco Energy CCGT boost to 840 MW approved by RAE

A plan by Damco Energy, a Copelouzos group subsidiary, to increase the capacity of its prospective natural gas-fired power station in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, from 662 MW to 840 MW has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The energy company now needs to make an investment decision, expected within the summer, before work on the project commences, sources informed. Its licensing procedure has been completed.

According to the sources, ESM, North Macedonia’s state electricity company, set to acquire a 25 percent in the Alexandroupoli natural gas-fired power station, is now at the final of its preparations and is currently performing due diligence.

Damco Energy is one of a number of companies that have not only decided to develop natural gas-fired power stations but also to boost capacities of their respective projects to over 800 MW.

Mytilineos was the first to do so with its plan for an 826-MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT unit) in Agios Nikolaos, Viotia, northwest of Athens, a project already being developed.

Following suit, Elpedison upgraded a licensed natural gas-fired power station plan in Thessaloniki to 826 MW, while, just weeks ago, GEK Terna and Motor Oil also announced an upgrade for their natural gas-fired power station in Komotini, northeastern Greece, a joint venture, to 877 MW.

Power utility PPC has also announced a plan to convert its new lignite-fired power station, Ptolemaida V, to a natural gas unit, planned to ultimately offer a capacity of over 1,000 MW by 2025.

The prospective natural gas-fired power stations, totaling 4.3 GW, are planned to fill the capacity gap that will be left by PPC’s withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations, exiting as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

These new gas-fired units are also expected to export electricity to Balkan countries through grid interconnections with neighboring markets.

RRF funds of €195m for new Cyclades link, pivotal substation

Power grid operator IPTO’s grid interconnection plan to link the west and southern Cyclades islands with coastal Lavrio, southeast of Athens, as well as the operator’s upgrade project for its pivotal Koumoundourou high-voltage substation, including a new transmission line to Korinthos, all regarded as vitally important projects by the European Commission, stand to EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funds totaling 195 million euros.

The RRF subsidies to be allocated to the west and southern Cyclades islands grid interconnection, seen reaching 165 million euros, will cover just under half of this project’s total cost, budgeted at 408 million euros.

The grid interconnection work will entail the development of five underground and subsea cable circuits measuring 370km in length as well as the installation of four GIS substations on the islands of Santorini, Serifos, Folegandros and Milos.

The Koumoundourou high-voltage substation upgrade stands to receive the other 30 million euros in RRF funds for the two projects.

The Koumoundourou upgrade, budgeted at 46 million euros, has been awarded to the Mytilineos group and is expected to be completed by September, 2023, according to an IPTO announcement.

PPC-Aluminium of Greece agreement paves way for other major consumers

The forthcoming end of a long-lasting business association between Aluminium of Greece, a member of the Mytilineos group, and power utility PPC, announced at the former’s general shareholders’ meeting yesterday, marks the end of an era in the energy ties between the country’s biggest electricity consumer and the Greek market’s dominant supplier.

In 2023, Aluminium of Greece will no longer depend on PPC’s supply, a development concurrently marking the beginning of its goal to become the first eco-friendly aluminium producer.

The latest PPC-Aluminium of Greece agreement promises to pave the way for solutions in negotiations currently in progress between the power utility and other energy-intensive industrial producers.

Other than the fact that the duration of Aluminium of Greece’s new supply agreement with PPC will run until 2023, no other details have been disclosed. Its expiration in two years’ time will mark the end of a 60-year association between the two companies.

One thing already clear is that Aluminium of Greece, beyond 2023, will receive electricity from the Mytilineos group’s new natural gas-fired power plant being developed in the Agios Nikolaos industrial zone in Viotia’s Agios Nikolaos area, northwest of Athens, to be direct cable-linked to the Aluminium of Greece facility, as well as through RES production.

The combination of these two electricity sources will offer Aluminium of Greece greater energy-source flexibility, the group’s chairman and CEO Evangelos Mytilineos noted yesterday.

PPC’s administration, headed by chief executive Giorgos Stassis, displayed realism that will “help industry, as a whole, move ahead with the energy transition that is inevitably approaching,” Mytilineos acknowledged. “We can establish PPAs at good price levels, and we will play a significant role in this domain,” he added.