Hybrid RES station support for non-interconnected islands

The energy ministry is preparing to legislate a framework approved by the  offering operational support for hybrid RES stations on non-interconnected islands. The initiative is planned to provide support for the development of hybrid stations representing a total capacity of 264 MW by the end of 2026.

Hybrid stations on non-interconnected islands will be divided into three sub-categories, based on how they will secure tariffs, energypress sources informed. One category will exclusively carry projects based on Crete, a second category will group together small islands not planned to be linked to the mainland grid through power grid operator IPTO’s grid interconnection projects, while a third category will concern islands being interconnected.

Regardless of category, all hybrid stations eligible for the new operational support system will receive support for 20-year periods. The support system will offer funds totaling 1.4 billion euros.

On Crete, the support system is expected to provide support for the development of hybrid power stations representing a total of 120 MW, including 84 MW in hybrid RES projects already at advanced licensing stages.

These specific projects have been granted priority status, a move endorsed by the Directorate-General for Competition, to help cover Crete’s energy insufficiency issues until a grid link from the island to Athens is completed.


Solid investment interest for hybrid RES systems on islands

Greece’s non-interconnected islands, not including Crete, require hybrid RES systems with a total capacity of between 80 MW and 100 MW, according to a distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO estimate, announced by an operator official at an energy storage event.

Theodora Patsaka, head of DEDDIE/HEDNO’s Island Management Division, also told the event that investment interest is high for such green projects on non-interconnected islands. Investor applications submitted to the operator – before licensing framework revisions – represent a total of 80 MW, she noted.

Hybrid RES systems promise to resolve a series of issues encountered by DEDDIE/HEDNO as operator of the non-interconnected islands, the official noted. Besides offering energy storage solutions, hybrid RES systems will enable full utilization.

A total of 28 electricity systems on the islands have disparities, such as varying electricity demand levels, Patsaka pointed out, while demand levels on the islands differ greatly in winter and summer, increasing the difficulty and cost of ensuring energy sufficiency all year round, she added.

The energy ministry, as a next step to the European Commission’s approval of an operational support scheme for hybrid RES systems, must now complete a related pricing framework, which will unlock the selection process concerning projects to be installed on respective islands, Patsaka added.

PPC Renewables requests geothermal units on islands

PPC Renewables, through a consultation procedure, has requested RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to include planned geothermal units in its RES development plan for the non-interconnected islands Lesvos, Milos, Kimolos and Nisyros.

PPC Renewables called for the installation of geothermal stations with a capacity of 8 MW on Lesvos, which would fully cover capacity planned through biomass-biogas stations, difficult to develop on islands, as well part of the capacity that had been planned through hybrid stations.

In addition, PPC Renewables has requested a geothermal unit of at least 5 MW for Milos and Kimolos, as well as a geothermal unit with a 5-MW on Nisyros.

According to the National Energy and Climate Plan, geothermal units offering a total capacity of approximately 100 MW are envisioned for installation and operation by 2030. The aforementioned islands, offering geothermal potential, are expected to partially cover this geothermal capacity.

PPC Renewables plans to begin developing geothermal stations on Lesvos and Milos within the next two years.

Consultation for non-interconnected island RES capacities

Studies conducted by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO on RES station and hybrid unit capacities for non-interconnected islands have just been forwarded for consultation by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

These studies are necessary for the development of a new RES support framework for hybrid units on islands, now being prepared by the government.

Auctions to be held will cover separate regions, while capacities offered will be based on new RES penetration levels.

Maintenance of current capacity figures has been recommended for Samos (7 MW), Lesvos (16 MW) and Chios (10 MW). Elsewhere, new capacity levels have been proposed for Santorini (4.6 MW), Serifos (240 kW) and Patmos (748 kW).

RES auctions for hybrid units on non-interconnected islands in 2022

Details for RES auctions concerning hybrid power stations at the country’s 47 non-interconnected islands are expected to be finalized within the first few weeks of the new year by sector officials.

The European Commission has approved support for hybrid power stations producing and storing electricity through wind energy facilities and solar parks.

Following Brussels’ approval, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, will now finalize auction terms for such facilities, as well as the capacities of projects eligible for these tariffs.

The intention, at present, is to launch this category of RES auctions in 2022 to help the 47 non-interconnected islands using high-cost, high-polluting diesel-run generators achieve energy self-sufficiency through eco-friendly means.

Brussels close to approving hybrid RES support system for islands

The European Commission is close to approving a support system for hybrid RES auctions concerning new projects on non-interconnected islands, as minor adjustments are now being made to the existing proposal before the green light is given by Brussels, the energy ministry has informed.

The support system will offer prospective investors tariffs for new projects, while the capacities to be offered at these sessions will be determined by connection terms set by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Besides taking into account the number of hybrid RES stations each non-interconnected island will be able to host, the operator will also consider the period during which respective islands are planned to be linked with the mainland grid, as it would be pointless to install too many RES units on islands in the present, for greener energy mixes, it they are to be interconnected in the near future.


Cable development obligations for island RES projects dropped

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

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



Ministry bill for small-scale PVs without competition procedure

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

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

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

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

Public service compensation account deficit of €36m in 2020

The public service compensation account ended 2020 with a deficit of 35.96 million euros, according to latest data provided by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

The account’s deficit was greatly restricted by the settlement of transactions concerning 2017, which led to an additional influx of 72 million euros.

At the other end, a settlement of payments concerning 2012-2016, plus an additional settlement for 2014-2016, led to respective account outflow of 21.9 and 21.7 million euros.

The public service compensation account received a 116.7 million-euro injection from the state budget in 2020.

An extensive investment plan being carried out by power grid operator IPTO will greatly reduce the public service compensation account’s financial needs over the next few years, according to Thanassis Dagoumas, chief executive of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Public service compensation account (YKO) surcharges included on electricity bills are used to primarily subsidize high-cost electricity generation on Greece’s non-interconnected islands.

RAE is expected to soon reach a decision on YKO surcharges concerning 2019.

Mechanisms, competition on Vestager agenda, here May 13

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas intends to present his case for the introduction of five support mechanisms encouraging energy-sector investments in Greece’s ongoing transition towards carbon neutrality to the European Commission’s Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, also Brussel’s Commissioner for Competition, on the occasion of the official’s upcoming visit to Athens, scheduled for May 13.

Vestager will be in the Greek capital with an agenda featuring two pending competition issues concerning state-controlled power utility PPC.

Greece has faced charges for PPC’s monopoly of the country’s lignite sources but an agreement was reached to end the case by introducing a mechanism offering the power utility’s rivals access to lignite-generated electricity.

A market test for this mechanism was completed some time ago but failed to attract any real interest from rival suppliers.

The percentage of lignite-based electricity made available by PPC, initially set at 50 percent of total lignite-fired output and then lowered to 40 percent, is viewed, by third parties, as too small for any real gains.

The second PPC-related matter to be discussed during Vestager’s visit concerns a recently initiated investigation by Brussels seeking to determine whether the power utility has engaged in activities impeding market competition.

Private-sector investors are pushing for a capacity remuneration mechanism (CRM) in order to go ahead with the development of natural gas-fueled power stations, needed as Greece heads towards a post-lignite era. Skrekas, the energy minister, has repeatedly said a CRM will be launched in June.

The minister also supports a strategic reserve mechanism to compensate PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, still needed for back-up services but nowadays loss-incurring as a result of higher CO2 emission right costs.

In addition, the government is seeking compensation for the premature closure of PPC’s lignite-fired power stations and related mines, being phased out until 2023.

The minister also supports a support framework for hybrid units on non-interconnected islands combining RES electricity generation and energy storage.

Skrekas is also striving to establish a mechanism that would subsidize RES producers for power purchase agreements (PPAs) with energy-intensive industrial enterprises as well as suppliers selling to major-scale consumers.


DEDDIE seen assuming Crete network responsibility

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appears to have reached a decision requiring distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO to assume management responsibility of Crete’s network when a small-scale grid interconnection linking the island with the Peloponnese is soon launched.

Subsequently, power grid operator IPTO will not need to take on this responsibility until it becomes the owner of the island’s network, RAE appears to have decided.

Just days ago, IPTO made clear it should not assume responsibility for Crete’s electricity network until it acquires this asset from power utility PPC, the current owner. RAE appears to have agreed with this IPTO argument.

The authority held a virtual meeting yesterday with the two operators in search of a solution following the unwillingness, at present, of both to assume management responsibility of the Cretan network.

Normally, when grid interconnection projects for non-interconnected islands are completed, IPTO assumes responsibility of their electricity networks. However, Crete, Greece’s biggest and most populous island, represents a much bigger interconnection project that is being developed over two stages. The project’s second stage, anticipated in 2023, will reach Athens.

It remains unclear how Crete’s electricity system will participate in the target model’s new energy markets once the island’s small-scale interconnection is launched.

The Crete-Peloponnese line will not fully cover Crete’s load, meaning the island may not lose its non-interconnected island status. On the other hand, a considerable 30 percent share of the island’s energy needs will be transmitted through the small-scale interconnection.

An older recommendation by RAE to the energy ministry noted that Crete’s non-interconnected island status should be ended once the small-scale interconnection begins operating for a connection with the mainland grid.

Operators disagree on Crete network responsibility shift

Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE are locked in a dispute over the point in time at which management responsibility of Crete’s small-scale grid interconnection, to reach the Peloponnese, should be transferred from DEDDIE, currently responsible for Crete’s network as the island is classified as a non-interconnected island, to IPTO.

DEDDIE contends that IPTO must take on the responsibility of managing the island’s network with the launch of the small-scale interconnection, anticipated in March, and not in 2023, when Crete’s full-scale interconnection, all the way to Athens, is expected to begin operating.

Crete should be considered an interconnected island as soon as the small-scale grid interconnection to the Peloponnese is launched, even though this infrastructure’s capacity will be able to cover about 30 percent of the island’s energy needs, DEDDIE contends.

Normally, the grid status of islands is automatically revised from non-interconnected to interconnected when grid interconnections serving their energy needs are launched. However, Crete, Greece’s biggest and most populous island, represents a much bigger interconnection project that is being developed over two stages.

DEDDIE, backing its case, has cited an older opinion forwarded by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to the energy ministry, through which the authority supported that Crete’s network must be considered a part of the national grid, ending its non-interconnected island status, once the small-scale interconnection begins operating.

Also citing technical reasons to support its view, DEDDIE has pointed out that IPTO will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the small-scale grid link, infrastructure directly influencing the Cretan network’s performance. Therefore, the island’s high-voltage network and the Crete-Peloponnese interconnection must be managed by the one operator, DEDDIE contends.

IPTO does not reject the prospect of eventually becoming responsible for Crete’s network, but the power grid operator does oppose the idea of assuming responsibility for a fixed asset that does not belong to the company. Crete’s high-voltage network is owned by power utility PPC.

At present, PPC does not appear ready to sell. As a result, IPTO believes DEDDIE must be responsible for the network’s management until this asset is transferred to the power grid operator.

Santorini-Naxos grid link tender set to be announced by IPTO

Power grid operator IPTO’s plan for a subsea cable interconnection to link Santorini’s grid with Naxos, and, by extension, the mainland system, a project promising to resolve Santorini’s electricity supply shortages confronted every summer as a result of the island’s immense tourism appeal, has just been published, as a preliminary announcement, in the Official Journal of the EU.

The tender for this project, part of the fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnection, will most probably be officially announced within the first few days of January.

The fourth phase of the project will also include ensuing interconnections with the islands Folegandros, Milos and Serifos. Respective tenders for these projects are scheduled to be announced within the first half of 2021, energypress sources have informed.

The Naxos-Santorini grid interconnection, a project valued at 100 million euros (plus 24% VAT), is scheduled to be completed in 2023, while the links for the three other islands are planned for delivery in 2024.

The tender for the Naxos-Santorini grid link is scheduled to take place on January 29 as an online procedure through the company cosmoONE’s sourceONE digital auction system.

Bids submitted will be opened on the same day.

IPTO moves to develop links for private RES projects on islands

Power grid operator IPTO has submitted a request to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a grid management rule revision that would enable the operator to take on the planning and development of new subsea interconnections for private RES projects whose licenses include cable installations.

The operator’s proposal includes a formula through which IPTO would assume the entire cost of subsea cable installations for private projects and recover these costs via network surcharges.

This formula mainly concerns bigger projects, over 250 MW, while the cable interconnections could, according to the operator’s proposal, remain independent or serve as capacity boosts for projects already included in IPTO’s ten-year development plan. They include the fourth stage of the Cyclades interconnection and links in the northern Aegean and the Dodecanese.

This is, after all, one of the advantages possessed by the operator, able to offer a complete plan, ensure equal treatment of investment plans, and utilize projects in a uniform way to achieve economies of scale and ultimately provide benefits for the electricity market as a whole.

In addition, IPTO, like other European operators, is seeking a key role in the development of offshore energy transmission infrastructure, promising  links for offshore wind farms, either floating or fixed.

JTF aid for 6 islands closing polluting local power stations

The government plans to provide financial support to six Greek islands through the Just Transition Fund in order to tackle issues expected following planned withdrawals of local petrol-fueled power stations.

JTF support for these islands will be used to tackle sector unemployment, retrain personnel and also offer other support.

Further RES installations on islands, plus the completion of grid interconnection projects, will enable the closure of local petrol-fueled power stations in four parts of Crete – Heraklion, Lasithi, Hania, Rethymnos – plus Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Rhodes and Mykonos.

This step will help align Greece with clean-energy EU initiatives for European islands. The RES potential of Crete and the Aegean islands is extremely high.

Greece produces greenhouse gas emissions of 9.2 tons per capita, annually, compared to the EU average of 8.8 tons, according to an official JTF report.

This has been mainly attributed to Greece’s dependence on fossil fuels, still providing over 30 percent of overall electricity generation through production at the country’s two lignite mining centers of west Macedonia, in the country’s north, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese; and close to 10 percent through diesel-based generation on the islands.

The government has committed to closing high-polluting diesel-fueled power stations, the JTF report noted.

The production of every KWh on non-interconnected islands costs the Greek power utility PPC between 1.5 and 16 times more than the utility’s average generation cost nationwide, according to recent company data.


Competitive procedures for island hybrid stations, EC says

The European Commission is demanding competitive procedures for the installation of energy storage units or hybrid stations on the Greek islands as a condition for the establishment and approval of a thorough support framework covering such investments, energypress sources have informed.

Energy ministry officials are currently engaged in talks with the European Commission on energy storage and hybrid station installations for the islands.

A universal pricing framework offering investors specific tariffs for all the islands will not be possible if the European Commission condition for competitive procedures is to prevail.

Greek officials are pushing for a universal pricing framework for non-interconnected networks, hybrid units with RES facilities, and energy storage units, on the grounds that these greatly contribute to grid sufficiency and security and can also offer major cost savings by eliminating the need for high-cost, high-polluting diesel-fueled power stations that operate on non-interconnected islands.

In particular, the energy ministry is seeking Brussels’ approval for a transitional framework to support hybrid units on islands with mature investment proposals and production licenses.

Speaking at an Economist conference yesterday, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou said a plan for such a support mechanism has been submitted to the European Commission.

“We hope to have a response from the European Commission by the end of the year so that we can soon complete the pricing framework and make possible the actualization of these projects,” Sdoukou noted.

Initiatives are also being taken for the development of offshore solar farms and hydrogen-run unit, she added.

“We will continue to shape policies that promote renewables and guarantee that we will be at the forefront of the European energy transition,” Sdoukou concluded.

IPTO in talks with investors, operators for Crete interconnection

Investors – funds and major operators – are believed to be expressing strong interest for a minority stake in power grid operator IPTO’s subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection, the project developer of the Athens-Crete electricity grid interconnection.

Talks with parties interested in an Ariadne Interconnection stake have commenced, the power grid operator’s deputy chief Yiannis Margaris informed media during a press call for a presentation of the company’s annual financial results.

Prospective Ariadne shareholders must be financially robust, well acquainted with energy-sector matters, and focused on long-term investments, Margaris pointed out, setting terms and conditions.

The operator is focusing its search on big groups with portfolios carrying major investments, the deputy said.

IPTO’s administration is already engaged in talks with European operators such as Belgium’s Elia and French operator RTE, Margaris indicated.

IPTO expects to sign a bank loan agreement this month for an amount between 400 and 500 million euros to help finance the Athens-Crete interconnection. A sum stemming from Ariadne’s cash reserves worth 200 million euros and National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds of between 300 and 400 million euros are also expected to contribute.

The Athens-Crete link project is set to start and all the funds must be in place, IPTO officials said.

The possible involvement in Ariadne of investors will help achieve better borrowing terms, the officials added, while stressing the two procedures – search for a minority shareholder and capital – are moving ahead independently of each other.

Talks are also in progress with investors for island interconnections to facilitate RES projects, Margaris said.

IPTO island links over next 10 years to offer 2.6 GW capacity

Power grid operator IPTO’s interconnections planned for the next decade will prepare the ground for new island-based RES projects representing a total capacity of 2.6 GW.

The operator’s ten-year national electricity grid development plan for 2021 to 2030, forwarded to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for approval, offers major investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

Wind and solar energy farms operating on islands will be able to transmit their output to the mainland via underwater cables.

The IPTO ten-year plan offers a RES project installation capacity of 2,442 MW for Crete, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and the northeast Aegean islands. This capacity represents potential investments estimated at 2.6 billion euros.

The completion of all four phases of the Cyclades interconnections, scheduled for the second half of 2024, will offer 332 MW for this region. Andros and Tinos will have a RES installation capacity of 72 MW, the capacity for Syros, Paros, Mykonos and Naxos will total 160 MW, while Santorini, Folegandros, Milos and Serifos will be offered a 100-MW installation capacity.

The completion of Crete’s small-scale mainland interconnection to the Peloponnese, scheduled for the second half this year, will offer a RES installation capacity of 160 MW. A further 600 MW will be added once the island’s major-scale interconnection to Athens is completed in 2023, when Crete’s wind and solar energy capacity total of new and existing RES projects is expected to reach 1,080 MW.

The RES expansion capacity on the Dodecanese and northeast Aegean islands will reach 1,030 MW, according to the IPTO ten-year plan. Samos, Chios and Lesvos will be offered a 360-MW share of this total; Limnos, Kos, Rhodes and Karpathos will get 570 MW, while Skyros will be offered the remaining 100 MW.

The grid interconnections in the island regions will be developed over three phases to be respectively completed in 2027, 2028 and 2029, according to the IPTO plan.


Cash-flow relief measures in the making for electricity suppliers

Two cash-flow relief measures for electricity suppliers, one offering installment-based payments of regulated charges, the other, reduced guarantee costs for the right to operate on non-interconnected islands, are currently being prepared by the energy ministry.

Electricity suppliers collecting reduced customer payments will be able to service about 30 percent of their regulated charges through interest-free installments over a limited period of time.

Also, the level of guarantees provided by electricity suppliers to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for the right to operate on 29 non-interconnected islands will be reduced for the six-month period running from April to September.

In other measures, the government yesterday announced a support framework for trade and distribution companies operating in the electricity and gas markets. Employees in these sectors will each be entitled to 800-euro allowances covering a 45-day period if their job contracts have been temporarily suspended. In addition, tax debt payments for these employees will be suspended for four months.

The establishment of a support fund for energy companies is also being examined.

Big RES projects on islands to be given IPTO cable access

Investors behind major-scale RES project plans for non-interconnected islands and island complexes, previously granted licenses incorporating the installation of cable interconnections, will now be able to develop their renewable energy facilities and reserve capacities through interconnection infrastructure developed by power grid operator IPTO.

The energy ministry intends to attach a related amendment to a draft bill concerning environmental permits.

Licenses granted to investors in the past for major-scale wind energy farms on non-interconnected islands and island complexes expected investors to install related cable infrastructure for energy distribution.

Such licenses have been granted to the Copelouzos group and Terna for projects on Crete and Iberdrola Rokas for investment plans in the North Aegean.

The new legal framework being prepared by the ministry promises to offer investors greater flexibility as development of interconnection infrastructure will no longer be set as a condition for related RES project licenses.

Instead, investors will be able to reserve capacities through cable interconnections being developed by IPTO. However, investors will need to contribute to the cost of this infrastructure in accordance with their reserved share of the overall capacity.

Lower-cost gas may save PPC an estimated €100m this year

The sharp drop in energy product prices, pressured by the coronavirus outbreak and an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, promises major and unexpected financial relief for power utility PPC.

The plunge of gas prices, alone, should benefit the Greek power utility by an estimated 100 million euros this year – assuming this drop is not ephemeral.

In the first half of 2019, PPC’s total purchasing cost for natural gas reached 222.5 million euros, a 57.1 percent increase.

In the liquid fuels category, PPC’s purchase expenses were also elevated, reaching 319.7 million euros, as a result of higher prices paid for mazut and diesel used by the utility at power stations on non-interconnected islands. To the delight of PPC, mazut and diesel prices are also tumbling.

Electricity tariff hikes made by PPC last September as well as a revised payback plan offering consumers greater incentive to service electricity-bill arrears through monthly installments are both producing favorable results.

A series of memorandums of cooperation, such as an agreement signed this week with Germany’s RWE, all promising dynamic penetration into Greece’s renewable energy market, offer further potential for PPC.

However, the power utility still faces an uphill struggle along its road to recovery. PPC’s financial results for 2019 will be announced in April.


Island hybrid station remuneration level and method recalculated

The energy ministry is currently preparing a new remuneration system for hybrid stations on non-interconnected islands, as well as revised payment levels.

Though the ministry’s proposal is expected to take into account the recommendations of a related RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) study, it should differ greatly.

The proposal, as promised by the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, will undergo public consultation before a new pricing framework for hybrid stations is approved. The European Commission will also need to endorse any new system.

Besides helping recoup investment costs, the new framework is intended to secure the lowest possible costs for consumers.

The new system will not feature any capacity or technology restrictions and will concern all non-interconnected islands, regardless of whether these will remain autonomous or be interconnected.

Figures are being recalculated at the energy ministry as the remuneration levels of investments will represent a key part of the proposal.

The consultation process could take place before the end of this year, according to sources.

Meanwhile, RAE has tasked the National Technical University of Athens with updating an older study on energy storage needs for the Greek grid ahead of the government’s ambitious 2030 RES targets and decision to strongly promote RES installations.


RAE energy storage support framework plan by end of year

A new energy storage support framework aiming to foster renewable energy growth is being prepared by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and should be completed by the end of the year, the authority’s chief executive Nikos Boulaxis has told the Thessaloniki International Fair.

“The future of renewable energy is linked to the ability to store it. RES growth and  decarbonization cannot be achieved without storage and strong interconnections,” Boulaxis noted.

The RAE boss underlined storage system development is vital for the non-interconnected islands as this would encourage RES installations prior to the completion of grid interconnection projects and also offer support to the interconnections.

The energy storage plan has already undergone public consultation. RAE is now working on shaping its proposal in collaboration with the energy ministry, responsible for any legislative revisions to be needed.

Also, the plan will soon be discussed with the European Commission for approval details concerning state aid as well as its target model compatibility.

DEDDIE summoned to hearing over island wind energy limits

Administrative and legal officials at DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, have been summoned to a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) hearing to offer explanations for complaints over the operator’s alleged mismanagement of electricity grids on non-interconnected islands, sources have informed. This is believed to have restricted the input of wind-energy production into local grids.

Though DEDDIE is responsible for operating local grids on the non-interconnected islands, where diesel-fueled power units run by the power utility PPC continue to play a key role, the operator is not directly represented by an office and staff on most of these islands. Instead, grid management duties have been left to the discretion of PPC employees, meaning they ultimately decide on whether wind energy, generated by rival companies, will enter the system.

The RAE hearing comes following repeated complaints by companies operating wind-energy farms on non-interconnected islands over substantial RES electricity restrictions imposed through non-transparent practices.

It has been a common occurrence for local PPC staff, acting on behalf of DEDDIE, to order wind energy farms to stop operating at times of heightened production potential, RES companies have reported.

DEDDIE insists it maintains control over grid management decisions on non-interconnected islands.


RAE opts for north Aegean grid link over LNG alternative

Power grid operator IPTO has included a grid interconnection project linking the north Aegean islands with the mainland to its ten-year development plan covering 2019 to 2028 following a recommendation from RAE, Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The authority was driven towards supporting the interconnection  plan by the results of a comparative study pitting the project against an LNG supply alternative for electricity generation on the islands Lesvos, Chios, Limnos and Samos.

RAE commissioned a team of experts at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) to conduct feasibility studies and was convinced by the results of a second report.

According to sources, the study recommends a grid interconnection from either Thrace, northeastern Greece, or Evia, Greece’s second-largest island slightly northeast of Athens.

RAE still needs to endorse the study so that procedures concerning the project’s plan and scheduling can commence.

Crete link national development ‘will not burden consumers’

A separation of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project from the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection, appearing highly likely, will not financially burden Greek consumers but instead offer surcharge-related benefits, leading energy ministry officials told energypress on the sidelines of the just-completed Delphi Economic Forum.

Swift development of the Crete-Athens link, as a national project, promises to spare consumers of public service compensation (YKO) surcharges costing approximately 400 million euros per year, energy ministry officials stressed.

These YKO surcharges are added to electricity bills to cover high-cost electricity production at power facilities maintained on non-interconnected islands.

The Crete-Athens grid will cost the country roughly one billion euros to develop, regardless of the development option chosen, the energy ministry officials supported.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli project, has claimed a withdrawal of the Crete-Athens grid project from the consortium for development as a national project would deprive Greece of EU funding worth 355 million euros from the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility).

Electricity consumers in Greece will need to cover this amount through increased network surcharges over the long term, the Euroasia Interconnector consortium has warned.

The Delphi Economic Forum was held to identify and assess global trends and their impact on decision makers of the wider eastern Mediterranean region.

North Aegean electricity options estimated between €600m-1bn

The cost of developing various project alternatives for the electricity needs of the country’s islands in the North Aegean, currently non-interconnected, ranges between 600 million and one billion euros, according to a study conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) for RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The study presents ten electrification proposals for the North Aegean islands, including floating and land-based facilities. The costliest alternative, budgeted at one billion euros, envisions an LNG gasification facility combined with a power plant.

The cost of converting existing units in the region so that they may run on natural gas is comparable to the cost of interconnecting the islands, the NTUA study indicated.

Islands examined in the study include Ikaria, Agathonisi, Samos, Lesvos, Limnos, Chios and Skyros.

The interconnection of the North Aegean islands has, for the time being, not been included in power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year plan. However, the operator is believed to be extremely interested in becoming involved.

Meanwhile, the gas utility DEPA, in conjunction with the main power utility PPC, is looking at a plan entailing the transportation of small LNG shipments from large terminals to regional terminals and storage stations in areas detached from the country’s gas network.

Spain’s Enagás, whose Greek market interests have grown since its recent acquisition of a stake in the natural gas grid operator DESFA, is also eyeing projects in the North Aegean.

Limnos favored as pilot project location for microgrid proposed by Tesla

A microgrid proposal for Greece’s non-interconnected islands presented by US energy company Tesla officials at the energy ministry yesterday appears likely to be developed on Limnos, in the northern Aegean, regarded as suitably sized and populated for this pilot project.

DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, intends to stage an international tender in spring for the development an energy self-sufficient island. At yesterday’s meeting, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis invited Tesla to take part in the anticipated tender.

Tesla’s microgrid presentation yesterday was made with Rhodes in mind but energy ministry officials described this island as an inappropriate choice for the pilot project given its heavy summer tourism. This brought Limnos, a quieter yet sizable island, into the picture.

Limnos is Greece’s eighth largest island, measuring 476 square kilometers, while its coastline is the country’s fourth longest.

These dimensions, along with the island’s relatively lower electricity demand in the summer, make Limnos a more suitable location for the installation of a microgrid system, Greek officials noted.

Tesla’s microgrid solution, dubbed Powerpack and based on solar panels and large-capacity batteries, has already been developed on American Samoa, unincorporated US territory including five main islands in the South Pacific Ocean, as a replacement for inefficient diesel-fueled generators consuming 1,400 liters of diesel per day.

RAE calls for island grid link delay penalties of up to 10%

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has forwarded a proposal to the energy ministry detailing the terms and formula of a delay clause for the grid interconnection projects concerning the country’s non-interconnected islands, which, if triggered, would lead to annual penalties for promoters of as much as 10 percent of each project’s budget.

If, however, project promoters manage to gradually catch up on construction delays and their interconnections end up being electrified on time, then any penalty amounts paid during the intermediate period would be returned, according to the RAE proposal.

The proposed penalty amounts have been calculated to represent percentages of public service compensation (YKO) costs concerning islands being affected by grid interconnection project delays.

This penalty system is also seen as a warning to the project promoters of Crete’s major-scale interconnection, to link the island with Athens. Swift action and work will be needed if its 2022 completion date is to be achieved.

Previous island interconnection projects in Greece have moved at a notoriously slow pace, prompting RAE and the energy ministry to seek increased protection against any further delays for prospective projects.