Diesel totaling 500,000 cubic meters part of emergency plan

A total of approximately 500,000 cubic meters of diesel will be required by five natural gas-fueled power stations to run on diesel should Russian gas supply be totally disrupted, authorities involved in the country’s emergency energy plan have estimated.

The turn to diesel, along with lignite, is part of the country’s wider emergency plan. The strategy’s diesel refueling effort at the five power stations, a procedure to last 16 hours a day over a period of between 100 and 120 days, is feasible, officials representing the Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Motor Oil refineries informed an energy ministry meeting yesterday that also involved RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The refinery officials believe the emergency plan’s additional capacity required for a three-month period from January through March, 2023, seen is a crucial period, is feasible, despite heightened diesel demand expected in the industrial sector.

Logistical issues stand as the plan’s biggest challenge as the refineries will need to ensure uninterrupted overland diesel supply to power utility PPC’s power station in Komotini, northeastern Greece, and Elpedison’s facility in Thisvi, northwest of Athens, both geographically demanding as a fleet of fuel trucks will need to be assembled for overland supply to the two units. The number of trucks and this supply plan’s cost remain undetermined.

PPC’s power station in Lavrio, southeast of Athens, and Elpedison’s power station in Thessaloniki do not face such issues as both these facilities are situated close to ports.

 

 

 

Decarbonization plan delayed by 2 years, greater lignite focus

The government has asked power utility PPC to extend its lignite-fired electricity generation by two to three years, as a means of cutting back on the use of natural gas, now a high-cost energy source as a result of Russia’s greatly reduced supply to Europe.

The government request, representing one of several energy-crisis measures it has put forth, will delay the country’s decarbonization plan by at least two years.

Lignite currently represents over 10 percent of the country’s energy mix, double its 5 percent share not too long ago, which resulted in annual production of 2.5 TWH. The government is aiming for a lignite energy mix representation of between 17 and 20 percent, or 9 TWH of electricity production, annually.

Increasing lignite-fired generation by approximately 6 TWH will require a natural gas reduction of 12 TWH, which is double the gas cut requested by the European Commission.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas believes lignite’s 20 percent energy-mix target can be achieved within the first half of 2023.

 

Power prices for August set at near 50 cents/KWh, over 1 billion Euros in subsidies to cover 90% of the rise

(upd: 12:00) PPC announced its new electricity bill at 0.486 euros/MWh, while other suppliers set their own bills higher.

The minister, Kostas Skrekas, announced that subsidies for energy consumers are going to reach 1.13 billion Euros in August. The goal is to cover up to 90% of the price increase for households, through subsidizing the price with 337 euros/MWh.

Earlier, energypress wrote: 

The country’s electricity suppliers are expected to announce today their respective electricity prices for August, power utility PPC’s price level expected to be slightly below 50 cents per KWh and those of all other players slightly above this level, which, in some cases, could exceed 60 cents per KWh, sources have informed.

Suppliers are expected to post their price levels for August on their company websites from 11am onwards. Suppliers had initially been given a 9am deadline but were then offered a two-hour extension to establish greater clarity on the day’s gas prices at the Dutch TTF index.

The level of the government’s electricity subsidies, expected to be announced imminently, is a crucial factor as it will determine the eventual prices to be paid by consumers.

The government has announced it intends to offer subsidies that will lower electricity prices for consumers to pre-crisis levels of around 20 cents per KWh, meaning subsidies are likely to be worth approximately 30 cents per KWh.

Based on new market rules, suppliers must announce, on a monthly basis, their prices for the next month by the 20th day of the preceding month.

 

Siemens Gamesa signs its first two contracts with PPC Renewables for a total of 40 MW

Siemens Gamesa has signed for the first time two contracts with PPC Renewables, subsidiary of PPC, the largest energy company in Greece. One of them is a 25 MW agreement to supply five SG5.0-145 model turbines at 5.2MWs operation rating for Doukas wind farm that will be installed in Kastoria, Makedonia. The second one consists of a 15 MW contract to supply three SG5.0-145 model turbines for Koukouli wind farm, in Kozani, also Makedonia. 

The two wind farms are scheduled to be commissioned in Spring 2024. The contracts for both wind farms include a full scope service agreement for a period of 20 years.

The energy that these two wind farms will produce will provide enough electricity to power 35,000 households and help to avoid the emission of 105,000 tons of CO2 a year, the equivalent of the emissions of around 60,000 vehicles. To achieve this CO2 saving, 1.7 million trees would need to be planted. 

Siemens Gamesa has 992 MWs installed or under construction in Greece. The service fleet will account for 680 MW in the country including services provided to other OEM wind turbines. Like in other projects in the region of Makedonia, the installation of these two wind farms will offer significant logistics challenges. 

“The two contracts we have signed are very important. These will be the first two wind farms we will install for PPCR, the largest energy company in Greece, with an incredible growth potential in the wind sector. We believe these two contracts will strengthen our partnership with PPCR and will also be the first of many more to come. We are happy to work together with PPCR to support the energy transition in Greece,” said Spyros Rozis, Managing Director of Siemens Gamesa in Greece. 

Konstantinos Mavros, CEO of PPC Renewables said: “PPC is committed in leading the energy transition in the country. Together with strong partners we are on track to meet our ambitious targets and our own green deal. Collaborations like the one with Siemens Gamesa are essential for the company’s growth and the group’s transformation. We look forward working together”. 

Greece offers one of the highest rates of expected renewable energy growth. The goal set by the government national quantitative targets are set for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, by 80% by 2040, with the ultimate goal of climate neutrality by 2050. New renewable energy auctions in Greece are among the measures that will play a key role in achieving the goal of increasing the share of RES by 70% in final energy consumption by 2030.

Lignite-fired output to double, PPC sets conditions for return

State-controlled power utility PPC will double its lignite-fired electricity generation over the next 12 months for annual production of 10 TWh, from 5 TWh at present, an increase covering 20 percent of Greece’s annual electricity needs, energy authorities have agreed at an emergency meeting chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The overall effort, reversing the country’s decarbonization plan in order to make up for dwindling Russian natural gas exports and help counter skyrocketing gas costs, will include the development of new lignite mines.

The government’s recently introduced price caps for power generation, set at different levels for respective production technologies, will be applied to this emergency lignite plan.

A price cap of 208 euros per MWh has been imposed on lignite-fired electricity production, meaning the additional 5-TWh amount to be generated by PPC will be worth roughly one billion euros. This additional 5-TWh in production would have been worth 1.8 billion euros if current energy exchange price levels were applied. The wholesale cost of lignite-generated electricity at present is 341.17 euros per MWh.

PPC, controlling all the country’s lignite facilities, has set a series of conditions for the return of lignite-fired power stations, including the abolishment of a rule requiring the company to commit 50 percent of the previous year’s lignite-based output to the futures market.

The power utility has also demanded a 150 million-euro guarantee from the government  should Russia’s war on Ukraine end and energy prices deescalate, which would end the need for the emergency lignite-fired production boost. In setting this condition, PPC has taken into account investments it will need to make to double its lignite-fired generation over the next year.

The government appears to be willing to satisfy the conditions set by PPC, which has disinvested in lignite over the past couple of years.

 

PM office emergency meeting over Nord Stream I fears

The country’s leading energy authorities have been summoned to an emergency meeting today at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office following yesterday’s troubling announcement by Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom, which noted it could not guarantee the safe operation of the Nord Steam I gas pipeline because of doubt over the return of a turbine from Canada.

At today’s meeting, top officials representing RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the market operators, power utility PPC, and gas company DEPA will seek emergency solutions amid fears Russia’s dwindling gas supply cuts to Europe could worsen.

Nord Stream I, a subsea pipeline linking Russia with Germany through the North Sea, was shut down on July 11 for a 10-day period of maintenance work, according to Gazprom.

Should the pipeline not reopen next Thursday, turmoil in European energy markets would also impact the Greek market, both in terms of prices and supply sufficiency, as the development would prompt a drastic increase in electricity exports from Greece to interconnected neighboring countries.

Windfall profit tax worth €270m, PPC covering 70%

The government will collect approximately 270 million euros from a windfall profit tax imposed on electricity producers for a six-month period covering October, 2021 to March, 2022, sources have informed. A 70 percent share of this tax sum concerns power utility PPC.

The tax payments to be provided by electricity producers are based on a formula ratified by the government. It was applied in a study conducted by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, whose results have been handed over to the government.

All discounts offered by electricity consumers to customers were deducted before the extraordinary tax, at a rate of 90 percent, was applied to windfall profits for the six-month period.

These deductions have more-than-halved an initial 590 million-euro tax revenue forecast that had been made by RAE to 270 million euros. PPC, covering 70 percent of the total, will pay a tax sum of approximately 190 million euros, while all other producers will pay further amounts totaling roughly 80 million euros, according to sources.

 

Electricity producer price cap mechanism launched Friday

A price-cap mechanism for electricity producer payments is set to be launched this Friday and is expected to generate approximately 580 million euros for the Energy Transition Fund in July, a sum to be utilized for subsidizing consumer electricity bills.

Of this sum, 150 million euros will be derived from natural gas and lignite-fired power stations as well as power utility PPC’s hydropower facilities, while the other 380 million euros will stem from the RES sector.

Most of July’s funds to be provided by the RES sector will not be newly generated money as RES units had already refunded money to the RES special account and its surpluses were then injected into the Energy Transition Fund. Under the new system, these amounts will be directly injected into the Energy Transition Fund.

Through the new mechanism, PPC’s hydropower facilities will be paid 112 euros per MWh and all RES units will be remunerated at a rate of 85 euros per MWh. The remuneration rates for natural gas and lignite-fueled power stations will be determined every month based on a series of factors. For the mechanism’s first month, natural gas-fueled power stations will receive 253.99 euros per MWh for their output and lignite-fired power stations will receive 206.72 euros per MWh.

 

Strategic reserve mechanism application to be withdrawn

The energy ministry intends to withdraw its application submitted to the European Commission for a strategic reserve mechanism as a result of the government’s recent decision to revise its withdrawal plan for the country’s lignite-fired power stations in order to permit operations until 2028 instead of 2025, as was planned.

Under the original plan, the strategic reserve mechanism would have been introduced to maintain lignite-fired power stations under the control of power grid operator IPTO for energy contributions during periods of high demand.

Within the framework of these developments, the government is also considering to withdraw a compensation application for power utility PPC’s premature withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations.

PPC’s plan entailed shutting down all existing lignite-fired power stations by the end of 2023.

However, the government is being forced to delay its decarbonization strategy as a result of the steep rise in gas prices prompted by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

New electricity market model launched, PPC role pivotal

A new model for the country’s electricity market, intended to contain soaring prices brought about by the energy crisis, comes into effect today with the introduction, as a first step, of price caps in the wholesale market, setting remuneration upper limits for electricity producers of all categories.

A ministerial decision expected imminently, possibly today, will set upper limits of 112 euros per MWh for hydropower facilities, 85 euros per MWh for renewables, 253.98 euros per MWh for natural gas-fueled power stations and 206.71 euros per MWh for lignite-fired power stations. These limits will remain valid for the first one-month period, starting today.

Any discrepancy between these upper limits and the average price of the day-ahead market will be transferred to the Energy Transition Fund for subsidy support.

The government hopes its plan will subdue electricity prices to levels of between 20 and 30 percent higher than last summer.

Calculations for a finalized electricity price per KWh, following the deduction of subsidies, will be based on state-controlled power utility PPC’s new price list. The government, guided by the utility’s new price list, will set a single price for all suppliers. The level at which PPC will set the bar remains to be seen. The company’s market dominance will set a standard for the entire market.

Though not yet confirmed, it is believed PPC will announce, by July 10, a nominal price of between 460 and 490 euros per MWh, meaning 46-49 cents per KWh.

PPC and all other players are abandoning a 30 percent discount offered to customers. PPC’s subsidies for hydropower and lignite units will now end up with the State, which is assuming the discount-policy role.

Households cut back on power use, overall demand higher

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

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

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

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

PPC seeking big-name offshore wind farm partnerships

Power utility PPC is seeking to establish a strategic partnership with a major international partner or partners for co-development of offshore wind farms in Greek territory as a follow-up to its partial acquisition of energy firm Volterra’s renewable energy portfolio, namely 112 MW in wind and solar energy projects, both already operating and under construction.

PPC is looking at offshore wind farm collaborations with the likes of Norway’s Aker, France’s Total and EDF, as well as Germany’s RWE. The Greek power utility has already held discussions with some of these companies, according to sources. Partnerships could be established with one company or even two, offering 33.3 percent shares to each.

According to the sources, PPC aims to have reached an agreement for offshore wind farm collaborations within the summer, concurrent to the energy ministry’s establishment of a legal framework for an offshore wind farm sector in Greek sea territory.

The ministry’s framework for the sector is nearing completion and could be forwarded for consultation as soon as mid-June.

This explains why PPC is currently giving preference to offshore wind farm projects in Greece over wind and PV project acquisitions in the Balkans, which the company has kept a close watch on for investment opportunities since the end of 2021.

PPC Renewables agrees to buy Volterra 112-MW RES projects

PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, appears to have finalized details for a partial acquisition of energy firm Volterra’s renewable energy portfolio, namely 112 MW in wind and solar energy projects, both already operating and under construction. An official announcement on the agreement is expected to be announced today.

The anticipated acquisition by PPC Renewables, which does not include any of Volterra’s retail electricity market interests, currently pressured, promises to bolster the market presence of the buyer.

PPC Renewables is pursuing a plan aiming for 7.2 GW in installed RES capacity by 2024 and 9.1 GW by 2026, an investment initiative worth 8.4 billion euros.

In addition to its agreement with Volterra, a member of the AVAX construction group, one of Greece’s largest, PPC is also examining other RES sector opportunities in Greece and other Balkans markets, the focus on Bulgaria and Romania.

Volterra, holding a retail electricity market share of nearly 2.1 percent, has faced relentless cash-flow pressure, a key factor behind the parent company’s decision for electricity market disinvestment.

PPC awaits Brussels energy strategy to decide on Ptolemaida V

Power utility PPC will wait for the European Commission’s finalized decisions on a strategic plan intended to end the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels before it decides on the operating and conversion details of its prospective Ptolemaida V power station in northern Greece, to be launched as a lignite-fired facility before being converted to natural gas.

The PPC board is now expected to decide on Ptolemaida V’s conversion date towards the end of this year, according to sources.

Ptolemaida V, expected to undergo a trial run in the second half of the year before being launched late in the year or early in 2023, will be introduced as Greece’s last lignite-fired power station.

Early in April, prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced extensions to withdrawal dates for older lignite-fired power stations that were originally headed for closure prior to 2025. At the time, the prime minister also informed that Ptolemaida V could now operate as a lignite-fired unit until 2028.

Revisions to the country’s decarbonization plan have been prompted by energy security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the exacerbation of the preceding energy crisis as a result of this war.

The Greek government has decided to increase lignite mining output as a safety measure should Russia interrupt its natural gas supply.

A year ago, PPC had announced it intended to convert Ptolemaida V into a natural gas-fired facility as of 2025, but the latest energy security concerns froze this plan.

 

Shipping sector developing offshore wind farm interest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wholesale-price clause verdict quells energy-bill rebellion hopes

An Athens Court of First Instance decision delivered yesterday, temporarily exempting only vulnerable households from electricity-bill increases triggered by a power utility PPC wholesale-price clause included in the company’s bills, comes as a firm warning that subdues the hopes of consumers believing they could get away with unpaid energy bills.

Two consumer protection groups, Ekpoizo and Inka, had filed a case requesting a temporary suspension of electricity supply cut orders in cases concerning consumers who refuse to pay increased energy costs resulting from PPC’s wholesale-price clause in electricity bills.

According to the Athens court’s decision, vulnerable households will not face electricity supply cuts until the issue has been finalized through a Supreme Court decision at a latter date.

Individuals with serious health issues, households under the energy-poverty line, as well as elderly citizens aged 70 and above were already treated with greater tolerance prior to yesterday’s court decision.

The verdict eases authority fears of a rise in a movement of consumers not willing to cooperate, or fully cooperate, on energy-bill costs, a danger that could eventually create systemic problems in the energy market.

Court deciding on disputed wholesale-price clause payments

An Athens Court of First Instance is expected to deliver a decision today on a request made by two consumer protection groups, Ekpoizo and Inka, for a temporary suspension of electricity supply cut orders in the case of consumers refusing to pay increased energy costs resulting from a wholesale-price clause included in power utility PPC’s electricity bills.

The consumer groups have asked for a suspension of electricity supply cuts until July 6, when a new hearing over the dispute is scheduled to take place.

If the Court of First Instance approves the request made by the two consumer protection groups, then the plaintiffs, who took collective legal action through the consumer groups, will not need to pay additional amounts triggered by the clause.

If the court rules in favor of PPC, consumers refusing to cover the additional amount resulting from the wholesale-price clause will be responsible for paying an accumulated amount plus interest.

Electricity producer tax for windfall profits in parliament

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAE finalized windfall profit figures soon, producers react

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Customers shifting suppliers at higher rate, PPC share steady

The number of consumers and small businesses switching electricity suppliers in search of more affordable energy deals reached 3.1 percent in March, nearly double the 1.62 percent who did so during the equivalent month a year earlier.

Power utility PPC captured 30.6 percent of these shifting consumers, a record figure for the company.

Consumers are returning to PPC at a growing rate, an influx offsetting the number of the company’s exiting customers. PPC’s net loss of customers was virtually wiped out in March, limited to 1,400 low-voltage connections from approximately five million in total represented by the company.

PPC lost between 20,000 and 25,000 customers per month from September to December last year, while, earlier in 2021, the company was losing between 40,000 and 45,000 low-voltage customers each month.

Customer shifts during the first quarter of 2022 have not altered the rankings of independent suppliers, based on market share.

The top five remained unchanged with the country’s three vertically integrated suppliers, Protergia, Elpedison and Heron, occupying the first three places, respectively, followed by Zenith and Watt+Volt.

Among the independent players, Zenith registered the biggest number of new customer additions, closely followed by NRG.

PPC’s pricing policy during the energy crisis has created a sense of greater safety, attracting customers. The impact of the company’s new charges on fixed tariffs remains to be seen.

Sector officials believe the retail electricity market is essentially no longer open to  competition, warning of a return to a market lacking competition.

Applications for installment-based electricity bill payments doubled

The number of electricity consumers applying for installment-based settlement of electricity bills has doubled over the past four months, market officials have informed.

Households are now needing to deal with electricity bills representing the late-winter period of what was a long winter. Low temperatures persisted throughout March, prompting high electricity consumption levels amid a market of exorbitant tariff levels.

Independent electricity suppliers are reported to be offering troubled consumers installment-based payback arrangements of between three to five monthly installments.

Power utility PPC is offering customers monthly installment payback plans over as many as 24 months, depending on the amount owed.

 

EVIKEN: Wholesale market price control urgently needed

Regulatory intervention is urgently needed to control prices in the wholesale electricity market, EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, has noted in a letter forwarded to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Price-control intervention in Greece’s electricity market is needed as, besides the extraordinary conditions, the market is also pressured by a series of pending revisions, EVIKEN noted.

Balancing market redistribution has yet to be carried out, while the RES sector must still take on full balancing responsibility and, in addition, bilateral contracts need to be established with natural gas-fueled power stations, the association noted.

EVIKEN reiterated that specific strategies being pursued in the supply market are resulting in a full transfer of wholesale market price risk to retail tariffs.

This, combined with the absence of a futures market and the reluctance of producers, including power utility PPC, to offer a minimum percentage of their production portfolio through bilateral contracts – all in the absence of basic competition – results in all energy production being traded through the energy exchange, whose prices are now being formed by producers without any risk entailed, EVIKEN noted.

 

PPC low-voltage customer loss continues slowdown in 4Q ’21

Power utility PPC’s number of departing household and business consumers slowed down in the fourth quarter of 2021 to a total of 37,000, from 47,000 in the previous quarter, market data released by DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, has shown.

PPC’s decreased number of departing customers in the low-voltage category, a trend that was sustained throughout 2021, especially since the beginning of the energy crisis, highlights the power utility’s pricing policy, which includes discounts.

During the second quarter of 2021, PPC lost 70,000 low-voltage customers, while the company’s customer loss in the first quarter of last year was approximately 100,000.

As a result, independent electricity suppliers attracted a diminishing number of new customers from quarter to quarter last year.

The country’s independent electricity suppliers attracted a total of 67,500 low-voltage customers in the third quarter of 2021, down from 85,000 in the second quarter and 103,000 in the first quarter.

PPC’s low-voltage customers totaled 5.02 million at the end of 2021, down from 5.06 million at the end of the third quarter. Independent suppliers represented 1.66 million suppliers at the end of 2021, up from 1.61 million at the end of the third quarter.

Supreme Court ruling vindicates IPTO in €120m payment dispute

The Supreme Court of Greece has issued a verdict in favor of power grid operator IPTO, sparing the operator of the need to proceed with a delayed payment of a 120 million-euro sum concerning older clearances, made by the operator and sought by independent electricity suppliers, who have not been able to receive this money as power utility PPC, the market’s biggest player and contributor, has yet to deliver its related share to the operator.

IPTO is neither a buyer nor seller of electricity and cannot be embroiled in financial differences involving energy companies, according to the court decision. This legal development promises to trigger new cases pitting energy-company creditors and debtors against each other.

The country’s three independent electricity producers, Elpedison, Mytilineos and Heron, stand to receive the majority of the pending 120 million-euro sum, while smaller non-vertically integrated suppliers are also entitled to smaller shares.

Paradoxically, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has been pressuring electricity suppliers and issuing fines for amounts they owe to the operators, even though IPTO has not been able to deliver the 120 million-euro amount to suppliers as a result of PPC’s failure to contribute its share.

Lignite extraction boosted as part of emergency plan

Power utility PPC has boosted its lignite mining output by an additional 5,000 to 6,000 tons a day for its Meliti and Agios Dimitrios power stations in northern Greece and by an extra 7,000 to 8,000 tons a day for its Megalopoli power station in the Peloponnese, in response to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ call, early in April, for increased lignite reserves should Russia disrupt its natural gas supply to Europe.

The objective is to increase lignite extraction by 45 to 50 percent over a two-year period for reserves amounting to more than 15 million tons, up from the present quantity of 10.5 million tons, which would enable lignite-fired production to reach 6.5 TWh annually, up from 4.5 TWh projected in the current energy plan.

The majority of PPC’s seven lignite-fired power stations will need to be temporarily withdrawn if increased lignite quantities are to be accumulated at the yards of these power stations.

Of the country’s seven lignite-fired power stations, just one, Agios Dimitrios IV, is scheduled to operate today.

The additional 2 TWh of electricity generation that could be produced annually as a result of this initiative would still not suffice if Russia were to stop supplying natural gas to Europe.

Greece’s annual electricity consumption is estimated at 55 TWh. Last year, natural gas-fueled electricity generation covered 20 TWh of the country’s overall electricity demand, with 40 percent of the natural gas used supplied by Russia.

This means Russia’s natural gas was responsible for 8 TWh of Greece’s electricity generation last year. The Greek plan for an additional 2 TWh in generation through greater lignite production would only cover 25 percent of electricity currently produced using Russian natural gas.

Additional LNG shipments, accelerated development of RES projects, and an energy-saving policy for households, businesses and industry will also be needed to cover the gap.

Lignite re-emphasis temporary measure for security, PM says

A government decision for an increased lignite share of the country’s energy mix is purely temporary and driven by energy security concerns, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis clarified during a speech yesterday in Kozani, northern Greece.

The same goes for Athens’ thoughts about extending the lives of state-controlled power utility PPC’s two lignite-fired power stations, Meliti and Agios Dimitrios V. PPC plans to withdraw these units by the end of 2023, as part of the country’s decarbonization strategy, but this exit date may now be delayed.

The technical future of PPC’s Ptolemaida V, a new convertible power station, is unclear. During yesterday’s speech, the Greek prime minister informed that, if needed, this facility would operate as a lignite-fired facility until 2028, before switching to natural gas. This switch could be made at an earlier date if the war ends and natural gas prices fall significantly, seen as unlikely at present.

This overall change in direction is directly linked to the European Commission’s decision to significantly revise the EU’s Fit for 55 plan, originally setting a target for a 55 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Details of the Fit for 55 revisions, prompted by the impact on markets of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and the EU’s resulting decision to drastically reduce its reliance on Russian natural gas, are expected to be announced by the European Commission in May.

The EU’s new energy strategy is expected to lead to an increase in the use of biomethane and green hydrogen, as well as reduced gas consumption, regardless of the supplier, be it Russia, the USA, Qatar or Algeria.

Authorities admit the international LNG market cannot increase production to a level that would fully replace Russian gas supply.

PPC capable of boosting lignite extraction by 43%, utility tells

Power utility PPC has the capacity to increase its lignite extraction to as much as 15 million tons annually, from 10.5 million tons at present, for a 43 percent increase to full-capacity lignite-fired generation, in the event of a Russian disruption of natural gas supply to Europe, according to an updated annual mining plan submitted by the utility to the energy ministry.

Even so, this increased production could still not be enough to fill the enormous gap that would be left by a Russian cut in natural gas supply.

The country’s lignite-fired electricity generation can increase to 6.5 TWh annually from the present plan of 4.5 TWh, according to the utility plan. However, PPC would need to hasten the development of a series of projects to boost productivity at its lignite mines and increase the amounts of lignite stocks at the yards of its seven lignite-fired power stations – five Agios Dimitrios units, as well as Meliti and Megalopoli.

The annual plan’s objective is to increase lignite stocks at each of the five Agios Dimitrios facilities to 1.75 million tons from 1.2 million, while also increasing the amount at Meliti to 300,000 tons from 220,000 tons this month, as well as the lignite stock at Megalopoli to 500,000 tons from 270,000 tons.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to comment on Greece’s lignite alternative, given the Russian threat, at the official launch, tomorrow, of a major-scale solar energy farm developed by Hellenic Petroleum ELPE at Livera, close to Kozani, northern Greece. Offering a 204-MW capacity, this facility is one of Europe’s biggest.

FSRU at LNG terminal, Italy storage, lignite use decided

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has staged an emergency meeting with the country’s crisis management team to establish measures that would need to be implemented should Russia decide to disrupt its natural gas supply to Europe.

Gas grid operator DESFA will need to deliver a cost-benefit analysis to the ministry by tomorrow on a plan entailing the addition of an FSRU at the Revythoussa islet LNG terminal, just off Athens, as a capacity-boosting move.

In addition, the operator has until Tuesday to report back to the ministry on the progress of its talks with Italy’s SNAM aiming to reserve storage capacity at the neighboring country’s underground gas storage (UGS) facilities.

DESFA must also update its estimate on additional LNG shipments that would be required in Greece if Russia disrupts its natural gas supply to Europe.

Gas company DEPA Commercial, Greece’s biggest gas importer, is closely monitoring the availability of LNG shipments in international markets in order to secure additional shipments, if this is deemed necessary.

Furthermore, power utility PPC will forward, by Tuesday, to the energy ministry, its annual lignite extraction plan for continual operation of its available lignite-fired power stations.

 

 

 

 

Gas-fired generation up 72.3% in February, PPC holds ground

Natural gas-fueled electricity generation rose sharply, by 72.3 percent, or 622 GWh, in February compared to the equivalent month a year earlier, according to power grid operator IPTO’s monthly report.

This increased generation essentially filled a gap created by lower hydropower production, which dropped by 76.3 percent, or 659 GWh, during the aforementioned period.

Lignite-fired electricity generation fell by 20.3 percent, or 105 GWh, in February compared to the same month in 2021, the IPTO report showed.

These changes highlight the importance of natural gas-fueled power stations for the country’s energy mix, supply security, and grid flexibility, market authorities told energypress.

Overall electricity generation in February reached 3,506 GWh, down 2.61 percent compared to the equivalent month a year earlier.

Natural gas-fueled generation represented a 54.13 percent share of this total production, renewable energy sources generated 40.02 percent, while hydropower units contributed 5.85 percent of the month’s total.

Market shares in the country’s retail electricity market remained virtually unchanged in February, the IPTO report showed.

Power utility PPC did not give away any ground, capturing a 64.23 percent share of the retail electricity market in February, marginally up from January’s 64.1 percent.

Mytilineos was ranked second with a 6.92 percent share, followed by Heron (6.48%), Elpedison (5.78%), NRG (4.19%), Watt & Volt (2.35%), Fysiko Aerio (2.04%), Volterra (2.01%), Zenith (1.89%) and Volton (1.49%).

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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