DEDDIE preparing 10-year plan for longer-term approach

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, headed for privatization, is preparing a new and ambitious 10-year business plan reflecting the lofty goals set of the National Energy and Climate Plan, energypress sources have informed.

The operator will seek a long-term WACC figure from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the body responsible for approving this constituent.

The operator’s multi-billion ten-year plan will include urgently needed  network upgrade projects, network expansions, digitization, as well as electric vehicle sector initiatives.

A favorable revision of the regulatory framework and the WACC level, set by RAE on an annual basis, will be a crucial factor for the operator’s plan. DEDDIE’s current WACC level is at 7 percent.

WACC level clarity over a ten-year period will be sought for the operator’s prospective new shareholders, as is the case with many other European network operators. This is crucial for planning and execution of projects.

Until now, DEDDIE’s business plans have had a five-year duration. The most recent of these, worth 1.37 billion euros, was approved by RAE just last November. However, the lofty demands of the new NECP require a longer-term approach.

The operator’s new business plan is expected to be ready for presentation in two months, the energypress sources informed.



Operator DESFA seeks role in Greek infrastructure projects

Greek gas grid operator DESFA, driven by the three-member consortium of Snam, Enagas and Fluxys now controlling the company with a 66 percent stake, appears determined to stretch beyond its operator role and become one of the biggest and most pivotal players in the domestic energy market, judging by its interest in major Greek-related natural gas projects now in progress.

According to energypress sources, DESFA’s administration is looking to acquire stakes in three key energy infrastructure projects: the prospective floating LNG terminal (FSRU) in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece; the planned underground gas storage facility at a depleted natural gas field in the offshore south Kavala region; and DEPA Infrastructure, one of gas utility DEPA’s two new corporate entities heading for privatization.

The chief executives of Snam, Enagas and Fluxys, major European operators also holding respective stakes in the TAP project, met yesterday with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The officials requested first-hand information on the government’s energy market decisions following the delivery of a new and more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan and the signing of a trilateral agreement between Greece, Cyprus and Israel for the East Med gas pipeline.

The Greek operator’s controlling consortium also presented investment plans supporting the country’s decarbonization strategy and aspirations to become a regional energy hub.

RES licensing simplification to face environmental resistance

The head official of a special committee assembled by the government to simplify RES licensing procedures is seeking bold steps leading to major progress but the body’s task could be troubled by firm resistance from environmental groups.

The energy and environment ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, who heads the special committee, is expected to push for decisive action and real results at the group’s second meeting, planned for next Monday.

Sdoukou wants more than just a reduction of supporting documents and digitization of existing procedures, her objective being to truly revolutionize licensing procedures for swift results and an increase in green energy investments.

Simpler RES licensing procedures are crucially important if ambitious targets included in the new National Energy and Climate Plan are to be achieved. A large number of RES projects will need to be developed over the next decade if NECP targets are to be met.

However, the path is not expected to be obstacle-free. Energy ministry officials are very much aware of the constant threat of amendments being legally challenged at the Council of State, Greece’s supreme administrative court, over environmental concerns.

Signs of resistance have already begun emerging within the ministry’s environmental division as a result of conflicting views on matters such as avifauna, biodiversity and NATURA-area protection.

The country’s new spatial plan for the renewable energy sector, currently being prepared, will play an instrumental role in generating sufficient RES growth for the achievement of NECP targets. Two leading figures at the ministry’s environmental section hold key positions for the spatial plan’s shaping.


Analytical lignite withdrawal plan among NECP revisions

Full details on the withdrawal schedule of power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations as well as slightly more ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions and renewable energy production represent some of the key changes included in the government’s finalized National Energy and Climate Plan, delivered to Brussels just days ago, energypress sources have informed.

More ambitious projections on cleaner electricity generation by 2030 through hydropower, wind and solar sources feature as the most significant changes compared to the initial NECP version forwarded for public consultation.

Projections for significant PV development cost reductions are included in the plan.

The environment and energy ministry has provided further details on its ambitious 38 percent energy savings target, primarily through energy efficiency improvements at buildings, after the initial NECP was criticized for lacking specifics in this domain.

Installed capacity increases for hydropower generation, including pumped storage, from 2025 onward, stand as the only change in renewable energy generation. Installed capacity targets for all other RES technologies remain the same.

RES electricity generation target increases for hydropower and wind facilities have been included, while PV generation targets have been lowered, keeping the overall total unchanged.

Challenges of revised NECP, sent to Brussels, ‘will be met’

The lofty challenges of Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan, delivered to the European Commission yesterday following its endorsement late last week by KYSOIP, the Government Council for Economic Policy, will be met, the government’s energy deputy has stressed.

“The preparation of the plan has been done and the challenge of achieving the ambitious goals it envisages stands before us,” noted Deputy Energy Minister Gerassimos Thomas. “We are ready to respond to this challenge and contribute to the extent needed for us to achieve European objectives for a major reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and their elimination by 2050,” he added.

New aspects related to matters including spatial, bioclimatic and urban planning, were incorporated to the finalized NECP version following 168 comments submitted to the website during public consultation as well as proposals and observations submitted to the energy ministry, it announced in a statement.

The NECP, establishing decarbonization as a top priority, includes a detailed schedule on the planned withdrawal of power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations. All existing lignite units are planned to be withdrawn by 2023.

In its renewable energy section, the NECP highlights the significant role to be played by hydropower energy and, especially, projects with reservoirs, as well as the importance of implementing pilot projects that will lead to RES sector coupling.

Hydropower objectives elevated slightly for finalized NECP

Greece’s finalized new National Energy and Climate Plan, whose final touches are being added today at the energy ministry ahead of an inspection tomorrow by KYSOIP, the Government Council for Economic Policy, will feature slightly increased objectives for the hydropower and pumped storage sectors, sources have informed.

Certain revisions to the NECP’s details on geothermal production, other RES technologies, the decarbonization plan, and networks will also be made, the sources added.

The mass withdrawal, by 2023, of all existing lignite-fired power stations, exclusively operated by the power utility PPC, is a key feature of the new NECP.

So, too, is a decision to offer investors a solid minority stake in distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, a PPC subsidiary, instead of a majority stake, as was previously contemplated.

On the hydropower target revisions, the NECP will set an installed capacity target of 3.4 GW by 2020 and 3.7 GW by 2030.

Once past KYSOIP tomorrow, Greece’s new NECP will immediately be forwarded to the European Commission.

Energy savings, primarily concerning a reduction of the environmental impact of buildings and vehicles, will be crucial if the NECP’s ambitious RES targets are to be achieved.


Local committees to discuss NECP ahead of its finalization

The new National Energy and Climate Plan will be presented to two parliamentary committees this Friday as part of wider consultation being staged by the energy ministry, including a recent presentation to energy sector officials at an event hosted by the Bank of Greece and ongoing public consultation, ending December 16.

The two committees, the Standing Committee on Production and Trade and the Special Permanent Committee on Environmental Protection, will discuss the NECP this Friday as part of preparations ahead of the plan’s upcoming delivery to the European Commission.

Certain interventions made so far have been deemed constructive by the energy ministry and will be incorporated into the plan.

A finalized NECP could be forwarded to the European Commission before Christmas. If not, Brussels will definitely receive the plan before the end of the year.

Last week, deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas presented the key objectives of Greece’s new NECP to peers in Brussels. He emphasized that many of the Greek plan’s goals will seek to exceed targets that will soon be announced by the European Commission’s new administration.

Gas supply for post-lignite west Macedonia added to grid plan

A natural gas outlet – stemming from the TAP project – for supply to Greece’s west Macedonian region intended to help cover the region’s energy needs in the post-lignite era is one of the few new features added to a gas grid operator DESFA ten-year development plan covering 2020 to 2029, slightly revised compared to its previous version.

The aim is to supply natural gas through pipelines to the region’s provincial cities of Kozani, Ptolemaida, Florina and Amynteo for use at telethermal facilities, currently operating through heat produced at power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations.

These PPC units, however, will soon be withdrawn as part of the government’s plan for a decarbonized Greece by 2028, incorporated into a new National Energy and Climate Plan.

The national gas grid’s 10-year development plan, prepared by DESFA, is undergoing public consultation for the second time since August for feedback on its minor changes, including the gas supply plan for west Macedonia.

The first round of public consultation was staged by DESFA while the second round is being held by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

A total of 49 projects budgeted at over 2.5 billion euros, overall, are included in the ten-year plan. Responses to the latest public consultation procedure face a January 10 deadline.

Energy deputy in Berlin Thursday for new round of bilateral talks

Moving on from his participation at this year’s Greek-themed Capital Link Forum in New York, deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas will be in Berlin Thursday for the third round of a Greek-German Action Plan on Bilateral Cooperation.

Greek and German officials will have an opportunity to discuss ensuing steps for energy-sector projects.

Germany’s energy minister is already familiar with Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), presented by the Greek energy deputy last week at an EU council of energy ministers.

The Greek government has already shown an interest to utilize German decarbonization know-how following the fellow EU member state’s initiatives taken in this domain. The matter was discussed in October by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with the head of RWE.

Germany’s investment interest, consistently firm, has grown even stronger following the Greek government’s recent announcement of a plan aiming for a swifter withdrawal of power utility PPC’s coal generators.

Bilateral energy-sector cooperation was also keenly discussed at a Berlin meeting in August between the Greek leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Strong German interest exists for all of Greece’s forthcoming energy-sector privatizations. E.on, for example, is among the firms interested in a sale, announced yesterday, offering 100 percent of DEPA Infrastructure, a new entity that has emerged from a split at gas utility DEPA.

Energy deputy presenting NECP in Brussels, Paris, NYC

The country’s newly unveiled National Energy and Climate Plan will also be presented in Brussels today by deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas at the council of EU energy ministers, the first stop in a series of presentations abroad.

Over the next few days, Thomas will also be taking the plan to Paris and New York for official presentations.

In Brussels, today, the Greek energy deputy will present the NECP’s ambitious targets to peers and intends to highlight that many of these goals will seek to exceed the expectations of the new European Commission.

The initial response to the NECP’s objectives, by Brussels and investors, has been extremely encouraging. The Greek plan is seen as far more ambitious than those of many other EU member states.

All EU member states will be presenting the key aspects of their respective NECPs at today’s council meeting.

The European Commission will then determine whether proposals made by Brussels last June have been adopted by member states for their NECPs, all revised.

The Greek energy deputy’s Paris sessions, later this week, include an International Energy Agency (IEA) event on the climate.

In New York, Thomas is scheduled to attend an annual Capital Link forum on Monday, whose latest edition is focused on Greece, for contact with investors, major investment banks and energy sector experts closely monitoring the Greek market’s developments.

Besides Thomas, a host of other Greek ministers and deputies, as well as leading officials of the country’s four main banks, are expected to participate at the New York event, titled “21st Annual Capital Link Invest in Greece Forum – Greece is Back”.


NECP lacks detail on network upgrade for RES penetration, producers note

The new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), presented yesterday at an energy ministry event hosted by the Bank of Greece, is not clear enough on details concerning the development of networks and interconnections for further RES penetration, electricity producers have noted.

Network upgrades will be pivotal in the country’s effort to achieve RES targets concerning the replacement of conventional power stations with clean-energy units, producers have stressed.

More details on technical matters and scheduling for network upgrades are necessary, industry officials believe.

Giorgos Peristeris, the chief official at ESIAPE, the Greek Association of Renewable Energy Source Electricity Producers, and Dinos Benroubi, president of ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, both noted procedures concerning the development of electricity transmission projects, especially licensing, need to be accelerated.

Greece’s installed RES capacity in 2030 has been set at 15 GW, up from approximately 6 GW at present.

Power grid operator IPTO has repeatedly assured it is pushing ahead with studies assessing the needs of the grid based on the NECP’s ambitious RES targets, noting all required projects will be included in its ten-year investment plan covering 2021 to 2030.

IPTO possesses both the technical and financial requirements to develop projects needed, the operator’s administration has stressed.

Major changes to RES licensing procedure sought by ministry

Ambitious renewable energy targets included in Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) have energy ministry officials looking to overhaul current RES licensing procedures for a swifter, simplified process, currently far too slow and detrimental for investors.

A big number of RES project installations will need to be made over the next decade if the lofty NECP targets are to be achieved.

The installed RES capacity will need to be more than doubled, meaning emphasis will need to be placed on simplifying current licensing procedures, slowed down by bureaucracy and excessive laws, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during yesterday’s presentation of the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The energy ministry is looking for radical solutions that stretch beyond just cutting back on the excessive number of documents and procedures now needed, or digitizing procedures.

On the contrary, the ministry believes the entire RES licensing process needs to be reexamined and revamped. Some sub-permits that are currently needed amid the overall procedure, taking years to cover, may be scrapped if their elimination would not cause any dangers.

Any revisions deemed extremely urgent could be rushed into an energy ministry draft bill on the environment, now being prepared for parliament in January.

Other ministry priorities include developing legal framework for energy storage; a pricing framework for hybrid stations on the islands; further support for RES installations at buildings through net metering; as well as the establishment of legal framework for alternative RES systems, such as offshore wind farms, Sdoukou told the NECP event.

PPC in talks with over 10 local, foreign firms for RES ventures

Power utility PPC is considering renewable energy joint venture proposals by over ten companies, domestic and foreign.

The pool of firms interested in doing business with PPC includes Germany’s RWE, Italian companies such as Enel, French enterprises associated with the Greek power utility in the past, among them EDF, scores of Chinese companies, as was confirmed at a Shanghai forum early November, as well as numerous Greek companies.

PPC’s involvement in RES joint ventures will have an important place in the power utility’s new business plan, to be announced within the next 10 to 15 days, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis told a National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) event yesterday.

The forthcoming business plan will officially signal the Greek power utility’s turn to the renewable energy sector, listing specific objectives.

Any partnership announcements should not be expected before the business plan’s presentation.

Plans for a PPC bond issue to finance the company’s expansion into the renewable energy sector are also in the making.

PPC’s favorable corporate image in Greece’s provincial areas, where renewable energy investments will be made, is a key factor drawing both local and foreign RES players towards prospective partnerships with the Greek power utility.


Energy savings a key factor for new NECP’s ambitious objectives

Energy savings, or, more specifically, a reduction of the environmental footprint of buildings and vehicles, will be a key factor in the government’s ambitious objectives included in the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The plan, to be presented to market officials today at a Bank of Greece event, reduces a 2030 energy consumption reduction target set in 2007 by 38.5 percent.

The country’s previous Syriza-led administration had initially set a reduction target of 27 percent before revising this figure to a more aggressive – yet non-binding – 30 percent and finally accepting a European Commission decision last year for 32.5 percent. This was the target officially adopted for the previous NECP by former energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

Seen, at the time, as highly ambitious for the standards of a country such as Greece, the NECP’s energy consumption reduction target has now been pushed even higher, by six percentage points.

Approximately 600,000 buildings will need to be made more energy efficient by 2030 if the target is to be achieved. Also, at least 82,000 new electric cars must enter the country’s fleet by 2030, from a mere 315 last year. Generous incentives will need to be offered if these numbers are to be reached.


Renewable energy investments, without grid projects, to reach €9bn by 2030

The country’s renewable energy sector investments until 2030 will reach a total of 9 billion euros, not including new grid interconnection projects, according to a projection included in the new National Energy and Climate Plan.

The RES sector’s share of Greece’s energy mix is expected to reach 65.7 percent in 2030 from 32.6 percent at present, in terms of overall electricity production, primarily through new investments in wind and solar energy, the NECP notes.

Installed wind energy capacity is projected to reach 7 GW in 2030 from 3.6 GW at present. This category’s total is seen increasing to 4.2 GW by 2022, 5.2 GW by 2025, and 6 GW by 2027 before hitting the projected level of 7 GW in 2030.

Similarly, installed solar energy capacity is seen rising to 7.7 GW from 3 GW at present. The total solar capacity is expected to reach 3.9 GW by 2022, 5.3 GW by 2025, 6.3 GW by 2027 and 7.7 GW by 2030, according to the NECP.

The plan also includes an initial schedule concerning power utility PPC’s withdrawal of coal generators. However, this road map does not specify which units will cease operating.

Coal generators with capacities totaling 1,000 MW are forecast to be withdrawn by the end of 2022, meaning the current lignite capacity total of 3.9 GW will be reduced to 2.9 GW over the next two years.

It is anticipated that the bulk of lignite unit withdrawals will be made between 2023 and 2025, when a capacity of 2.2 GW is expected to go. This will further reduce the power utility’s coal generator capacity to 0.7 GW, according to the NECP. This remainder in lignite units will then be withdrawn by 2028, it added.

The overall capacity of gas-fueled power stations stands to increase to 7 GW by 2030 from 5.2 GW at present, the NECP added.


Elvalhalcor power plant decision in first half of 2020, RES options considered

Elvalhalcor, the Hellenic Copper and Aluminium Industry, anticipating an imminent approval of its license application for gas-fueled electricity production, will decide whether it will develop a power plant during the first half of 2020, sources have informed.

This plan, however, could be put on hold if Elvalhalcor ends up deciding to pursue renewable energy options, either through acquisitions of existing units or development of its own.

Reduced RES installation and equipment costs have attracted the attention of Elvalhalcor officials, currently examining the company’s options.

Elvalhalcor’s application for a gas-fueled electricity production, submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, last July, caught the market by surprise, pundits, until then, believing the construction of new power plants would be limited to energy groups.

The Elvalhalcor power plant, if developed, would be constructed in Thisvi, Boetia, slightly northwest of Athens, as a 566-MW facility, to cover the industrial enterprise’s sizable energy needs.

Greece’s heavy industry has been driven towards electricity production as a result of high energy costs – wholesale energy in Greece is Europe’s most expensive – delays in the implementation of the target model, power utility PPC’s most recent failure to sell lignite units, and Europe’s political turn to cleaner energy sources.

PPC’s new strategic business plan, expected soon, as well as Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan, to shape the country’s energy-sector developments over the next decade, will both be pivotal factors in Elvalhalcor’s decisions.


New and ambitious NECP set for consultation procedure

Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan, expected this week for public consultation, will be aggressive in terms of decarbonization targets and principles, details discussed by the plan’s committee last Friday have indicated.

Besides total decarbonization by 2028 and a RES sector energy mix percentage of 35 percent by 2030, the new NECP also includes energy savings of at least 35 percent compared to 2007 consumption levels, energypress sources have informed.

The targets set for electric vehicle usage are also ambitious. Despite initial reservations, the maintenance of a target for a domestic electric car fleet of 10 percent by 2030 is being considered, the same sources noted.

The swift withdrawal of lignite-fired units during the NECP’s early stages, combined with the development of natural gas-fueled units will be pivotal for the new plan’s success.

Like its precursor, the new plan is also expected to feature targets aiming for reduced greenhouse emissions and energy dependence, the latter resulting from high-level usage of petroleum products and, to a lesser extent, natural gas. Combined, the two energy sources represent over 65 percent of the country’s gross energy consumption.

A longer second national plan with targets reaching 2050 is also expected to soon be delivered by the ministry for consultation, sources noted.

Ministry examining even swifter withdrawal of coal generators

The energy ministry is considering an even swifter course towards full decarbonization in Greece by 2028, an objective recently declared by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, despite feasibility and energy security concerns prompted by this announcement.

Ministry officials currently shaping the country’s new National Energy and Climate Plan, as well as power utility PPC’s road forward, are working on an even more ambitious procedure concerning the gradual withdrawal of coal generators towards 2028, sources informed.

The plan being looked at entails withdrawing virtually all of the country’s lignite-fired units by 2023 and maintaining just two such generators until 2028, Agios Dimitrios V, a 375-MW facility, and Ptolemaida V, still under construction and planned to offer 660 MW.

A swifter decarbonization procedure would reduce state-controlled PPC’s lignite-related losses over the coming years, when rising CO2 emission right costs are expecting to escalate further, and sharply, energy ministry officials believe.

Last year, PPC’s coal generators incurred losses totaling 200 million euros as a result of higher CO2 emission right costs. Even higher losses are expected this year.

Towards the post-lignite era through RES development

Panagiotis Papastamatiou, chief executive of HWEA/ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, who took part in a seminar held by the British Embassy of Athens this week, declared the following:

Greece is coming out of the financial crisis and presents significant investment opportunities for Greek and foreign investors. The macroeconomic stabilization achieved in the previous years, is combined with a period of political stability. This is an important window of opportunity, which we should take advantage of.

The Government must move towards the necessary structural and institutional reforms in order to create the environment for sustainable economic growth that will provide jobs and prosperity.

In the sector of energy, the future is challenging. We are all forced to face our responsibilities and we cannot avoid them. For over two decades, battles have been fought against the opening of the market. The political system had not been able to effectively promote liberalization. In my opinion, this is the main reason – along with others – that our energy system has remained bound to an anachronistic and expensive model, at the expense of consumers, entrepreneurship and the environment.  Abandoning this model is inevitable. Care should be taken to ensure that the transition to a new, clean and competitive energy model is as smooth as possible. This will not be an easy task, as we are already running late.

Τhe consumers must be our policy criterion; and how to offer them many good and low-priced choices. The policy tool for achieving that, is the free market and entrepreneurship.

We are pleased that the political will for the energy transition has been clearly expressed at the highest possible level. The Prime Minister has announced two major strategic choices:

  • The phase-out of all lignite units by 2028
  • The increase of the RES target by 2030 to 35%

These two parallel goals are of great importance.

Greece must abandon lignite without jeopardizing its energy security, the stability of its trade balance and the provision of low-priced energy.

De-lignification must be achieved through the development of renewable energy sources. And it must be accomplished by improving energy efficiency and energy-saving, if the targets and forecasts for savings are realistic.

What we are called upon to do is exploit our 100% proven renewable energy resource, which can be utilized immediately.

Many wonders if the RES market can deliver that target. The answer is YES.

Renewable companies operating in Greece, continued to invest even in the midst of the recent, deep financial crisis. They have vast experience, high level of human resources and a strong capital base. It is the responsibility of the state to release the healthy forces of entrepreneurship and the scientific world from bureaucracy and reaction. So, let’s not wonder if we can. We can and we have proven it. It is now up to the state to demonstrate the same.

What is needed, is to create the conditions, which will enable the Prime Minister’s two commitments to be fulfilled without delay. This can be achieved through a variety of policy actions:

  1. Radical and immediate simplification of the licensing procedures, in order to develop new projects, re-design already licensed ones and promote repowering.
  2. Promote large investments. Large onshore wind farms in the interconnected system. Wind parks with underwater interconnections. Offshore wind farms. Promotion of large projects with floating wind turbines.
  3. Energy storage. Centralized and decentralized units. Storage is the bridge that will bring us from today’s polluting model to the 100% green energy future.
  4. International interconnections with all neighboring countries and Europe. The strategic goal of these new interconnections should be to exclusively use them for electricity produced by renewable sources, in order to make Greece a green energy exporter.
  5. Domestic interconnections, emphasizing on interconnecting islands and overcoming local saturation.
  6. Secure the sustainability of the mechanism for payments to renewable producers.

All of this requires an overall National Energy and Climate Plan. The new NECP should be accompanied by a specific action plan, with intermediate measurable objectives, clear KPIs and monitoring mechanisms, a clear administrative structure.

But, above all, the new NECP must respond to the essence of the Prime Minister’s two commitments, it must be radical and ambitious.

We are optimistic that we will have such a NECP. A NECP that will base de-lignification on RES and Energy Saving.

IPTO delivers study needed for Greek demand response extension bid

A supportive study needed by the Greek government to submit an application to the European Commission for an extension of the country’s existing demand response mechanism (interruptability), a pivotal energy cost-saving tool for industry, has been delivered to the energy ministry by power grid operator IPTO, tasked with preparing the additional study, energypress sources have informed.

The existing demand response mechanism is valid until December 31, following an approval last February. Industry is looking for a three-year extension.

Industrialists fear the effort to extend the demand response mechanism’s validity risks being rejected if it does not precede or coincide with notification concerning the flexibility mechanism.

The demand response mechanism compensates major-scale electricity consumers such as industrial enterprises when the TSO (IPTO) asks them to shift their energy usage (lower or stop consumption) during high-demand peak hours, so as to balance the electricity system’s needs.

On another front, IPTO will have completed all studies related to Greece’s new decarbonization and RES targets before the end of the year, the operator’s deputy chief Yiannis Margaris noted during last week’s Renewable & Storage Forum in Athens, staged by energypress.

These studies will enable technical and financial assessments concerning the updated National Energy and Climate Plan for an estimate of the cost of infrastructure required to reach the new decarbonization and RES objectives, the IPTO deputy official explained.

CAT plan, outdated by changing energy strategy, to be reworked

A Greek plan for a fixed CAT mechanism that had been submitted to the European Commission by the previous energy ministry is now considered inadequate, primarily as a result of the country’s changing energy plan.

A new CAT mechanism plan will now be prepared early next year once Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan and the power utility PPC’s business plan and withdrawal schedule for its lignite units have both been finalized.

The CAT plan produced by the previous Syriza government’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis was based on factors no longer relevant as a result of these upcoming changes.

The previous government’s plan also included legislation designed to enable state-controlled PPC to seek CATs for its Ptolemaida V power station, a lignite-fired facility in development but with an indefinite future.

Power grid operator IPTO will conduct an extensive study identifying the system’s needs. This study will serve as the basis for Greece’s new permanent CAT plan, to be forwarded to Brussels ahead of negotiations.

Also, the energy ministry intends to apply to Brussels for extensions to Greece’s transitional CAT plan and the demand response mechanism, a vital energy cost-saving tool for industry.

Deputy to present more ambitious national energy plan at EU meeting

Deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas, an advocate of further RES penetration and complete decarbonization in Europe by 2050, will present a revised national package of cleaner energy proposals and more ambitious RES targets at a council of EU energy ministers in Finland on September 24, ministry associates have informed.

The ministers will meet to update National Energy and Climate Plan targets for 2030 at the Finnish meeting next week, in preparation for an EU summit in mid-October to focus on longer-term climate change targets between 2030 and 2050.

Thomas, until recently the Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, is expected to present a Greek package based on three key aspects in Finland next week.

One will concern swifter market decarbonization through the withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations. Another will call for a RES market share increase to 35 percent from a previous target of 31 percent. A brief summary on how this increase can be achieved will be presented at next week’s meeting. The plan’s third aspect entails energy efficiency improvement and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

It is believed the deputy minister will also present – as a wider and supportive fourth tool – a proposal for the establishment of an improved institutional framework in support of further energy storage and, by extension, more effective RES penetration of the energy mix.

Key energy ministry official holds first session with lender technocrats

The new energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou is expected to hold her first meeting today with technocrats representing the country’s lenders, currently in Athens.

Recent tariff hikes at power utility PPC, a campaign intended to improve the utility’s electricity bills collection record and a government plan for the gradual withdrawal of lignite units will all be presented by the energy ministry official.

Sdoukou also intends to present the government’s case supporting the need to end NOME auctions as well as details concerning the target model’s progress and finalized schedule.

NOME auctions have obligated PPC to offer below-cost wholesale electricity to rivals as a market share contraction measure over the past few years. The measure has affected the utility’s financial results and failed to produce results.

The ministry is seeking to establish a fresh setting for the country’s energy-sector negotiations with the country’s lenders, especially the European Commission, on Greece’s energy direction, the electricity market’s structure and PPC’s place in it.

The Greek bailout program includes objectives that have fallen too far behind to be achieved such as PPC’s market share contraction targets and disinvestment of lignite units.

The recently appointed energy minister Costis Hatzidakis is seeking a new overall solution for the country’s electricity market that would entail the adoption and implementation of EU strategic planning, as well as the eradication of any systemic threats, such as a possible collapse of PPC.

As part of this approach, the energy ministry has announced it will accelerate the withdrawal of lignite units and revise the National Energy and Climate Plan for even more ambitious RES targets.

The delay of a post-bailout appraisal of the Greek economy until mid-November, instead of October 31, should give the government additional time to prepare the details of its various energy sector plans, including lignite unit withdrawals, the termination of NOME auctions and privatization of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

NECP being revised for more ambitious RES targets

Deeper penetration of renewable energy sources into the country’s energy mix is figuring as a key policy for Greece’s newly appointed environment and energy ministry.

The ministry is working to revise the National Energy and Climate Plan following recent observations by the European Commission, which described the country’s RES targets as not ambitious enough, energypress sources informed.

Officials are currently moving to assemble a work group by October so that an updated plan, detailing Greece’s post-lignite era targets, can be completed by the end of this year.

Greater RES participation in the country’s energy mix will be facilitated by a swifter withdrawal of old lignite-fired power stations operated by the power utility PPC, officials have stressed.

The energy ministry has commenced talks with the European Commission for an acceleration of the transition period entailing the closure of old power stations.

PPC’s newly appointed administration has begun conducting a cost-benefit analysis on lignite-fired power stations before deciding which units will be withdrawn.

The imminent privatization of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, expected to bring in investments leading to an upgrade of the electricity grid, will also be pivotal in accelerating the RES sector’s penetration of the energy mix, the officials added.

The network infrastructure’s current state is one of the main obstacles stopping producers from investing, they added.

RAE aims for energy storage framework draft by end of year

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has begun work on regulatory framework concerning the installation, operation and pricing of energy storage stations at electricity transmission and distribution networks, whose initial draft it aims to have completed and delivered to the Greek government and European Commission authorities by the end of the year.

The authority has already assembled a team that is working intensively to meet this target, sources said.

The results of a related public consultation procedure, a National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) study on renewable energy sector growth in the years to come, as well as data emerging from equivalent efforts around Europe, are all being used by the RAE team for guidance.

The main question that needs to be resolved by RAE at this stage is whether additional framework concerning the financial support of energy storage units will be required. If so, details concerning the shape of this support mechanism, the level of earnings energy storage unit investors should expect, as well as the parties to be responsible for covering the resulting cost (i.e. consumers, electricity supply companies, RES producers) will need to determined.

The prospective installation of energy storage stations on non-interconnected islands and the mainland will be examined as separate cases by RAE.

As part of its National Energy and Climate Plan, Greece is aiming for renewable energy to have captured a share of at least 31 percent of overall energy consumption by 2030.


Norway’s Equinor eyeing Greek floating wind turbine potential

Norwegian energy giant Equinor, formerly named Statoil, is believed to be examining Greece’s market opportunities for floating wind turbine investments.

The Norwegian Embassy in Athens, which has taken initiatives in this direction, plans to co-organize a seminar here in April with ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, on floating wind turbines, offshore systems mounted on floating structures to generate electricity in water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible.

Through the event, the Norwegian Embassy will seek to highlight Norway’s experience in this domain and bring Greek renewable energy companies into contact with Norwegian experts. Greek government and energy sector officials are also expected to participate.

Despite the major potential offered by Greece, the local floating wind turbine market has remained stagnant since 2010. ELETAEN pointed out this lack of activity to the energy ministry in observations last December, during a public consultation procedure for Greece’s National Energy and Climate Plan.

The wind energy association called for renewed action on floating wind turbines, stressing the drastic cost reduction for this technology.


National Energy and Climate Plan until 2030 set for Brussels delivery

Greece’s National Energy and Climate Plan until 2030 could be submitted to the European Commission today, or, if not, will definitely be delivered to Brussels by the end of the month for approval, energy ministry sources have informed.

The plan, which presents investment plans exceeding 30 billion euros and envisioned for development over the next decade, embodies the country’s international commitments aimed at tackling climate change. It serves as road map for Greece’s green-energy future.

Greece’s National Energy and Climate Plan is based on three main components. It sets an energy savings objective that is expected to improve at an annual rate of 1.5 percent. Approximately 50,000 houses will need to be environmentally upgraded each year if such a rate is to be achieved, according to the plan.

The plan also envisions an increased RES energy role to 32 percent of total consumption and between 55 and 57 percent of electricity production, as well as an objective to restrict lignite for electricity generation to 17 percent. RES investments of 8.5 billion euros for electricity production are envisioned in the National Energy and Climate Plan.

The plan’s third main component focuses on combating energy poverty as a means of making energy accessible for all. Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has described this objective as a top priority for the government.

Privatizations, energy-climate plan the focus of technocrats

A team of technocrats representing the country’s lenders and currently in Athens for preliminary talks with local officials ahead of next week’s arrival of creditor representatives for work leading to a progress report have already made clear the issues of greatest concern for the lenders.

The visiting technocrats are focusing on the completion of energy market reforms; bailout-required privatizations, namely the main power utility PPC’s disinvestment of lignite units and the progress of gas utility DEPA’s sale; market liberalization and correction measures, such as the target model and NOME auctions; as well as the progress of RES auctions for new renewable energy facility installations.

In an unexpected development, the technocrats have also turned their attention to the delayed National Energy and Climate Plan until 2030. The plan has been criticized by various local market officials, including PPC, for possessing numerous contradictions, gaps and ambiguities.

Next week’s post-bailout meetings between Greek officials and lender representatives will play a crucial role in the preparation of a new progress report to be published next month.


Gaps, ambiguities in national energy and climate plan, association notes

The National Energy and Climate Plan until 2030 is marred by gaps and ambiguities according to ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, which took part in a public consultation procedure for the plan.

According to ESAI, the national plan needs to carry a dual objective which, on the one hand, must direct the country towards the attainment of EU objectives for greenhouse gas reductions, increased energy efficiency, and RES penetration of the energy mix, and, on the other, transform the national economy’s energy and environment sector into a key catalyst for high growth rates over the next few years, ESAI has pointed out.

The national energy and climate plan presents no change in electricity demand in 2030, compared to current levels, but, at the same time, projects a 30 percent GDP increase between 2016 and 2030 and a 7 percent energy consumption increase during this period, ESAI noted among its observations.



RES benefits for economy more than €12bn over next decade

Overall RES electricity production investments to be made between 2020 and 2030 are expected to add more than 12 billion euros to the value of the national economy, according to the National Energy and Climate Plan, forwarded yesterday by the energy ministry for public consultation.

The plan also projects the creation of over 15,000 full-time jobs for the ensuing 25-year period.

Wind energy installed capacity is seen almost tripling to 6.4 GW in 2030 from 2.4 GW in 2016, as is PV capacity, to 6.9 GW from 2.6 GW in 2016, while hydropower capacity, including the main power utility PPC’s big units, is forecast to achieve a milder increase to 3.9 GW from 3.4 GW in 2016.

The wind energy sub-sector’s production is expected to increase to 14,933 GWh in 2030 from 5,146 GWH in 2016, PV output is forecast to rise to 10,514 GWh from 3,930 GWh in 2016, and hydropower production should grow to 6,269 GWh from 5,603 GWh in 2016, according to the plan.