Fast-track procedures pursued for green island pilot project

Fast-track licensing procedures deviating current regulations will be pursued by authorities to transform Agios Efstatios, colloquially referred to as Ai Stratis, a small island in the northeast Aegean, into a green island with RES production systems covering 85 percent of local energy needs for a population of less than 300.

This renewable energy pilot project, organized and developed by KAPE, Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES), with the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou is expected to be completed in two years.

A RES hybrid station, telethermal unit converting excess RES output into thermal energy stored in hot water tanks, and a telethermal network fully covering local needs will all be developed.

 

DESFA 10-year plan approved, virtual pipelines not included

Gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year development plan has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a lengthy procedure, including consultation, that lasted several months.

A virtual pipeline proposal envisioning LNG supply to Crete, the north Aegean islands and the Dodecanese via tankers from the operator’s Revythoussa terminal just off Athens was left out of the approved plan. This is the ten-year plan’s only notable change compared to the draft forwarded for consultation.

LNG virtual pipelines serve as a substitute for conventional gas pipelines to enable the transport of LNG to points of use by sea, road or a combination of these.

The virtual pipeline proposal was removed from the DESFA ten-year plan following concerns expressed by consultation participants over higher surcharge costs for consumers that could have been imposed as part of the project’s cost recovery procedure.

The gas grid operator’s ten-year plan includes, for the first time, a natural gas outlet along the TAP route for the west Macedonia region in Greece’s north.

This TAP outlet, a project budgeted at 3 million euros and expected to be launched late in 2022, is intended to supply natural gas to the area’s provincial cities of Kozani, Ptolemaida, Florina and Amynteo for use at telethermal facilities as well as other energy needs in the post-lignite era.

The area’s telethermal system currently relies on energy produced by power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, soon set for withdrawal as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

 

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.

 

Investors keen on offshore wind energy parks, framework absent

A growing number of major renewable energy companies from abroad appear keen to develop offshore wind energy parks in Greece but the absence of legal framework covering this RES sub-sector is preventing any progress.

Representatives of at least two such foreign energy companies have spent time in Athens over the past few days for meetings with local authorities to explore the country’s offshore wind project prospects, energypress understands.

One of these, Copenhagen Offshore Partners, a Danish enterprise specializing in offshore wind projects, is believed to be eyeing the north Aegean area.

The other, US firm Invenergy, has been involved in recent meetings here to discuss the development of offshore wind projects in the south Aegean.

The RES sub-sector’s prospects in Greece were also explored last year by Norway’s Equinor. An undisclosed Spanish company is also believed to have looked into offshore wind project prospects.

Strong and dry seasonal winds appearing in the Aegean Sea in the summer, known as meltemia, are a major advantage for offshore wind projects in the area as they could provide support to the grid during summer, when electricity generation levels at onshore parks are lower.

Greek power grid operator IPTO is particularly interested in this prospect as it promises to reinforce grid security.

Also, the development of offshore wind energy facilities could play a key role in helping the country achieve ambitious renewable energy targets included in a revised National Energy and Climate Plan.

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.

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.

Gas fueled power units proposed for north Aegean

The use of natural gas-fueled power stations on Greece’s islands in the north Aegean represents the lowest-cost option for their upgraded electrification, while certain sustainable underwater power cable connection alternatives cannot be ruled out, a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) study has noted.

A prospective project to replace high-cost diesel-fired power stations for electrification on the north Aegean islands is planned to begin this year.

However, authorities have yet to decide on the most optimal solution. RAE is currently seeking to forge a plan before making related decisions.

The aforementioned study highlights the need to develop interconnections for the remainder of Cyclades – interconnections here are in progress – as well as the Dodecanese.

RAE is further examining the north Aegean electrification upgrade plan in a study being conducted with the National Technical University of Athens seeking the most sustainable replacement of the existing diesel-fired power stations. The university team is expected to deliver its findings within the next three months. RAE will then start making decisions.

 

Natural gas-fueled electricity generation in north Aegean examined

The feasibility of a plan entailing natural gas supply to the non-interconnected islands in the north Agean for the purpose of electricity generation is being examined by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Officials at the authority are considering the development of small-scale facilities that could run on LNG or CNG.

RAE established a committee in 2015, based on an EU directive, to study the feasibility of such a plan. The interest expressed appears to be growing.

Both the main power utility PPC and gas utility DEPA have previously jointly examined the possibility of using CNG for electricity generation on the islands with the prospect of a partnership in mind.

RAE has endorsed a sum of 42,000 euros to support a related study’s completion, expected to be delivered in three months.