Authority issues new wave of RES licenses for 27 projects, 491 MW

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has just issued 27 RES producer certificates for as many projects, taking the tally of this new certificate, part of the government’s RES licensing simplification process, to 33.

The authority issued a first wave of new producer certificates towards the end of last month.

The 27 new producer certificates, issued by RAE yesterday, concern eight wind energy parks offering a total capacity of 171.15 MW, 17 solar energy projects with a total capacity of 318.48 MW, and two small-scale hydropower projects offering 2.1 MW, their overall capacity being 491.73 MW.

Four photovoltaic facilities planned by Consortium Solar Power in central Greece’s Fthiotida and Larissa areas, totaling 284 MW, are standout projects in terms of scale.

Enel Green Power was also well presented in this licensing round with a total of six projects, all solar, three of these in Xanthi, northeastern Greece, totaling 7.07 MW, and one each in Rodopi (2.72 MW), Kozani (3.6 MW) and Ioannina (1.99 MW).

As for the two small-scale hydropower projects just issued licenses, one, offering a capacity of 1.54 MW, belongs to the Koryfi K2 Energiaki company, the other, 0.6 MW, to Hydroilektriki.

Tesla managerial job posts for Greece signal market entry plan

Job classifieds for Greece recently posted by Tesla on the company website, including for the position of a sales and delivery manager, confirm the US hi-tech giant is planning to establish a local trading network for electric vehicles.

This prospect highlights the significant electromobility growth potential Tesla sees in the Greek market.

Tesla’s preparations for a trading division in Greece represent the third step in the company’s overall plan for Greek market entry following initiatives to establish an R&D department and develop a national recharging network.

Tesla has already established a Tesla Greece R&D division, expected to employ up to 50 specialized engineers once in full gear. This division’s current workforce figure remains well below the target, raising questions in the R&D community.

Tesla, since the beginning of the year, has been involved in talks with Greek government officials as well as representatives of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for the installation of recharging units on Greek highways.

However, speculation that Tesla could be seeking to develop a recharging network that would be compatible only for its electric vehicle models has raised concerns. It should be pointed out that the Tesla plan for Greece is still in the making. Clarity will be offered once the Tesla plan for Greece is finalized.

The energy ministry has introduced an electromobility law designed to attract investment in the sector.

PPC triggers options for 2021 gas orders from DEPA, Prometheus Gas

Power utility PPC has activated options to extend, by an additional year, its 2020 gas supply contracts with gas utility DEPA and Prometheus Gas, a joint venture involving the Copelouzos group and Russia’s Gazprom, for respective gas orders of 2 million MWh and 2.5 million MWh, according to sources.

PPC expects to require a total gas amount of between 17 million and 18 million MWh for its electricity generation needs in 2021, unchanged compared to the estimate for this year.

A nine-year gas supply agreement between PPC and DEPA securing the power utility approximately 11 million MWh of gas, annually, expires at the end of this year. As a result, PPC will need to reshape its gas supply policy from scratch.

The gas supply prices secured by PPC through its aforementioned one-year contract extensions with DEPA and Prometheus Gas are roughly 8 to 9 percent lower compared to the prices of the power utility’s long-term agreement with DEPA.

The cost of PPC’s additional one-year gas order from DEPA is believed to be about 30 million euros, while the 2021 order from Prometheus Gas is estimated to be worth 36 million euros, sources said.

Early this year, PPC purchased additional gas amounts totaling 4.5 million MWh from DEPA and the Copelouzos group, through a competitive procedure, to primarily cover needs at its Aliveri and Megalopoli power stations.

PPC is also covering this year’s gas needs through supplementary LNG orders. The power utility has so far brought in three shipments of 2 million MW each, and may order a further 2 million MWh in the second half.

Natural gas market forecasts for 2021 remain hazy. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has yet to determine the manner in which slots will be distributed at gas grid operator DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens. In addition, the sale of DEPA Commerce, a new DEPA entity established for the gas utility’s privatization, is expected next year.

 

IPTO, Ariadne agreement details partnership for Crete link

Power grid operator IPTO has signed a concession agreement with its fully owned subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection detailing their relationship for the Athens-Crete grid interconnection project, energypress sources have informed.

The agreement was prepared with assistance from legal and consulting firms to overcome concerns raised by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a decision by Greek authorities to develop this interconnection as a national project and not as part of the wider EuroAsia project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids.

RAE will now assess the concession agreement’s details and make observations, if needed, before procedures commence to bring investors into Ariadne Interconnection for a minority share.

The details of this entry procedure still remain unclear but the energy minister is expected to clarify through related legislation.

One of the ambiguities concerns whether large-scale RES projects on islands will be able to reserve IPTO interconnection capacities.

The Copelouzos group and Terna, for instance, maintain investment plans for Crete. If given the green light by the energy ministry, they will reserve capacities for the Athens-Crete interconnection, provide funds accordingly and be given corresponding stakes in Ariadne Interconnection.

Investors are expected to acquire up to 40 percent of Ariadne Interconnection, according to the IPTO board.

Chinese company SGCC, IPTO’s strategic partner with a 24 percent, has already expressed an interest to acquire a 20 percent stake in Ariadne Interconnection. Other interested parties include European operators, among them Belgium’s Elia and France’s RTE, as well as prominent financial groups possessing major investment portfolios.

Suppliers resort to legal action against RAE over price clauses

Electricity suppliers may have adjusted price-related clauses included in their electricity bills following a request by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, seeking greater price-comparing clarity for consumers, but some of these suppliers, who consider the authority’s initiative to be an intrusion into corporate pricing policy matters, have chosen to take legal action against the authority.

RAE had asked for a standardized adjustment from electricity suppliers by June 14, but they responded with loose individual interpretations of the guidelines before many resorted to legal action.

When forwarding its clause-adjustment request to suppliers, RAE also asked the energy ministry to adopt its guidelines for official incorporation into the electricity market’s regulations.

According to sources, the energy ministry does not intend to adopt RAE’s recommendations and, instead, has asked the authority to reconsider its guidelines.

Electricity suppliers include clauses in their supply agreements with consumers that enable price revisions to cover cost increases.

Many consumers have complained about the price-related clauses, noting they are included in fine print and confusing.

 

 

Most older bids for RES certificates reconfirmed

RES project investors seeking producer certificates through applications submitted between September, 2018 and December, 2019 have turned up in big numbers to update and reconfirm their investment plans since the recent establishment of  new electronic platform established for this purpose, Dionyssis Papachristou, the PR head at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has told a virtual conference titled “Overcoming the Pandemic”.

A total of 1,415 of 1,500 original applications have been updated and confirmed by investors, the RAE official specified.

A major joint effort needed to be made by RAE with AADE, the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, and GSIS, the General Secteratriat for Information Systems, for the establishment of the online platform enabling updates of RES investment plan applications, the official pointed out.

A separate platform co-developed with Cosmo One for updates and reconfirmation of even older RES investment plans submitted until June, 2018 drew over 300 applications, Papachristou noted.

Overall, a large number of RES project applications are being submitted as a result of heightened investment interest, meaning that an explosion in the number of RES installations and project connections with networks should be anticipated over the next two to three years, the official said.

Role adjustment needed at RAE, former chief notes

The original purpose of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to regulate networks and facilitate robust competition, needs to be restored, while adjustments are needed so that the authority can promote technological advancements and investments, Pantelis Capros, Professor of Energy Economics at the National Technical University of Athens, who served as RAE’s very first president, has noted, timing his comments with a change of leadership at the authority.

The government is in the process of filling three vacant positions on RAE’s seven-member board, including chief executive and deputy.

Over the 20 years that have elapsed since RAE’s launch, the authority has changed considerably, taken on many duties, but also become more bureaucratic, possibly more conservative and less independent, Capros pointed out, adding that technological and political developments concerning the energy sector have been enormous during this time.

“I am in favor of a cold restart, in a groundbreaking way,” Capros noted, adding that a new regulatory strategy that may support the transition to carbon neutrality is necessary.

The terms of Nikos Boulaxis, the former chief, his deputy Sotiris Manolkidis, and board member Nektaria Karakatsani have all just ended.

New RAE officials imminent, gov’t seeks upgraded RAE role

The government’s intention to upgrade the role of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is expected to be reflected by imminent appointments to fill three vacant positions on the authority’s seven-member board, including a new chief executive and deputy.

Decisions on the new recruits are expected any day now before the new RAE board is presented, by law, to Greek Parliament’s permanent committee on institutions and transparency, probably next week.

A large number of top-credential resumes have been submitted by applicants for the three positions, sources informed.

The terms of Nikos Boulaxis, the former chief, his deputy Sotiris Manolkidis, and board member Nektaria Karakatsani have all ended.

The government wants their replacements appointed as soon as possible to avoid dead time as pending issues await to be resolved.

The administration will push for closer cooperation between RAE and other independent bodies, including the telecommunication and postal authority as well as the competition committee, as the number of issues with common concerns is growing.

Consumer groups testing RAE price-comparison tool, ready for launch

Consumer groups are testing a price-comparison platform for electricity and gas supply that has been prepared by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and is now ready for public use after much delay as a result of various difficulties, including technical issues.

The authority’s platform, Paratiritirio, or observatory, aiming to offer consumers easy access to supplier offers and other useful information, appears set for launch, according to Ekpoizo, one of the country’s main consumer groups.

RAE’s platform will offer price comparisons for electricity and gas supply packages concerning household and business categories.

Over the past two or so years, RAE and various consumer groups have received numerous complaints concerning billing information as presented by energy suppliers. Details in fine print have led to higher-than-expected energy supply charges, consumers have complained.

Cyprus wants unchanged cost agreement for link with Crete

Though a new application submitted by EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, to the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility for funding support concerning an electricity grid interconnection project to link the Greek and Cypriot systems has yet to be examined or reciprocated by the European Commission, Greece and Cyprus have already begun talks on how to divide the remainder of the project’s costs not covered by the CEF.

The Cypriot side, which took the initiative for these talks, appears determined to ensure that Greece will stick to its share of the cost under the terms agreed to when the project also included the Athens-Crete link as part of a wider plan to interconnect the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems.

EuroAsia Interconnector head the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli plan. Greek power grid operator IPTO withdrew the Athens-Crete segment and is now working on it as a national project. IPTO is aiming for swifter progress on this section, urgently needed to resolve Crete’s pressing energy sufficiency issues.

Cyprus’ Regulatory Authority for Energy, RAEK, has forwarded to its Greek counterpart RAE a text presenting its cost-related views. RAEK wants to ensure that a Cross Border Cost Allocation agreement signed by the two sides late in 2017 for the Greek-Cypriot link, running from Crete to Cyprus, remains valid, despite Greece’s withdrawal of the Athens-Crete section.

According to the CBCA agreement, Cyprus will take on 63 percent of the cost of the Crete-Cyprus link and Greece will be responsible for the other 37 percent, under the condition that 50 percent of the total cost will be covered by EU funds, through the CEF.

The Crete-Cyprus interconnection is budgeted at 1.5 billion euros, meaning Greece’s share will be approximately 280 million euros.

This amount will be incorporated into IPTO’s accounts and need to be recovered through network surcharges included in consumer electricity bills, seen as a delicate matter by the Greek government.

Greek authorities have yet to respond to RAEK’s initiative as they await news from the European Commission on the CEF request.

New Peloponnese RES project applications deferred to 2021

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO have written off any possibility of accepting new RES connection applications in 2020 for new solar and wind energy projects, as well as other technologies, but application procedures could recommence in 2021, energypress has been informed.

Authorities face the challenging task of managing an enormous level of RES investment interest, especially for solar energy projects, before procedures for new-project applications can restart.

In the Peloponnese, where RES development has been held back by system saturation for seven years, a new IPTO study is still needed on the capacity to become available once two transmission networks, the west and east corridors, are completed.

Once IPTO has delivered this study, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, should lift its saturation-related ban on new RES projects in the Peloponnese and also set capacities available for each technology – wind, solar, small-scale hydropower, biomass-biogas.

However, IPTO’s delivery of the west and east corridors in the Peloponnese does not promise a complete solution as these lines, limited to 400-KV capacities, are well below capacities represented by the level of investment interest.

A fair and effective competitive procedure serving as a selection process will need to be established.

New RAE board members soon, candidacies due today

Candidates seeking three vacant board positions, of seven in total, at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, have until today to submit their applications.

The authority has been left with four board members since Tuesday as the terms of three officials, Nikos Boulaxis (photo), the former chief, his deputy Sotiris Manolkidis and board member Nektaria Karakatsani, have all ended.

The government is expected to move swiftly to decide on its proposal for new director at RAE, energypress sources informed. Boulaxis is not running for an additional term.

Talks have already begun in search of a date when the new RAE board will be presented, by law, to Greek Parliament’s permanent committee on institutions and transparency.

RAE’s board members are selected by the energy minister before proposed to this committee for appointment. The committee is usually given a 30-day period to discuss the proposals, but, in this case, procedures are expected to be swift.

Decisions on the RAE board’s new faces could be reached as soon as this weekend, sources informed.

IPTO handed RAE fine for target model’s balancing market delay

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has imposed a fine on power grid operator IPTO as a result of its failure to maintain a schedule concerning the establishment of an energy exchange  balancing market, an obligation included in a ministerial decision for the target model, energypress sources have informed.

RAE took this decision at a recent board meeting after summoning the operator to offer explanations for its delay in the delivery of an online platform needed for the balancing market.

The information-system delay prevented trial runs of the energy exchange’s three markets, initially scheduled to begin April 10. These trial runs ended up being launched earlier this week, on Monday.

IPTO’s defending case was deemed insufficient by RAE, even though the sudden departure from Greece, early in the pandemic, by a General Electric team working on the balancing market’s information system was pivotal and beyond the operator’s control.

The first stage of testing, involving virtual tests of all energy exchange and IPTO systems, is scheduled to last until July 10. An initial assessment of the trial period will then follow.

A second testing stage, a dry run, or continual simulated testing of all new wholesale markets, is scheduled to start August 3.

The launch date for the energy exchange’s markets has been rescheduled for September 17. The energy ministry is expected to soon sign a related ministerial decision.

RAE’s WACC reduction for operators ultimately neutralized

A recent decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, reducing the WACC rate amid a fixed four-year period for energy market operators, as a result of the government’s corporate tax reduction from 29 to 24 percent, is ultimately expected to be neutralized as the authority has asked operators to submit updated data based on latest market conditions, including borrowing costs, all factors applied by the authority to its WACC formula.

Gas grid operator DESFA, power grid operator IPTO, as well as the country’s gas distributors EDA Attiki, EDA Thess and DEDA, initially reacted against RAE’s intention to reduce the WACC rate, determining earnings, within the preset four-year period. It is supposed to be adjusted every four years.

However, RAE’s latest call for updated data from operators and distributors, effectively promising to offset any WACC rate adjustment, has been well received.

 

DEDA wants review of decision dropping 8 cities from 5-year development plan

Gas distributor DEDA wants RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to review its recent decision removing the entire Peloponnese and provincial cities Veria and Giannitsa from the distributor’s five-year development plan covering 2020 to 2024. DEDA has lodged a review request to RAE, sources informed.

In addition, the gas distributor has also delivered an upgraded 2020-2024 development program to the authority that envisions swifter development of natural gas distribution networks in Veria and Giannitsa.

Completion of these two network projects faced an 18-month delay, according to the previous schedule, prompting the authority to drop both from the DEDA five-year plan.

As for DEDA’s network development plan in the Peloponnese, covering six provincial cities, Tripoli, Corinthos, Argos, Nafplio, Sparti and Kalamata, the distributor intends to resubmit a revised and expanded five-year plan in September.

Regional Peloponnese authorities expect NSRF support to become available by September.

Gas grid operator DESFA is also planning to develop related projects needed for the Peloponnese grid.

Also, DESFA’s new business plan includes LNG truck-loading supply plans for Sparti and Kalamata, from the Revythoussa islet terminal off Athens.

Meanwhile, tenders offering construction contracts for gas networks covering northern Greece’s east Macedonia, Thrace and central Macedonia regions, as well as central Greece, are expected be launched in early July.

RAE launches reconfirmation process for RES project applications

Investors who applied for RES project production licenses between September 2018 and December, 2019, and have yet to be issued these licenses, have been given until July 6 to reconfirm their interest and provide updated data to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The authority launched a related procedure through an online platform on Friday. Traffic has been extremely heavy but no technical issues have arisen.

Investment plans still supported by investors will be examined under the terms of a new law for the sector.

Applicants whose plans meet the new law’s criteria will be informed via email and requested to pay a related fee within three months.

A week earlier, on June 12, RAE also launched a procedure requesting investors to reconfirm their interest in RES project plans for which license applications were submitted up until June, 2018. RAE has set a July 13 reconfirmation deadline for applicants in this category, without demanding an extra fee.

PPC, majors face 20% sale limit on output for bilateral contracts

Vertically integrated electricity producers will be permitted to sell up to 20 percent of production through mutual agreements once the target model is launched, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has decided, ultimately doubling a 10 percent limited proposed by the Greek stock exchange, energypress sources have informed.

RAE reached its decision to set the limit at 20 percent after considering arguments presented by producers and sector authorities during consultation.

The limit takes into effect power utility PPC, dominating the retail market, as well as all integrated producers with retail market shares of more than 4 percent – namely, as things stand, Protergia, Heron and Elpedison, all with over 4 percent for quite some time now.

This decision by RAE is one of the last pending issues concerning energy exchange markets, recently rescheduled to begin operating on September 17, if all goes according to plan from here on.

ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, had proposed a limit of between 5 and 10 percent for PPC’s mutual agreements and forward contracts, and proportional limits for vertically integrated electricity producers with market shares of more than 4 percent.

PPC, which, from the outset, pushed for a 20 percent limit, based its argument on a study by global energy consulting company ECCO International, according to which the sale limit on output should range between 10 and 20 percent.

 

Suppliers seen loosely interpreting RAE clause adjustment request

Electricity suppliers, set to disclose adjustments to price-related clauses included in electricity bills, are expected to offer loose interpretations rather than strictly comply with  related guidelines offered by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Suppliers, who were given a June 14 deadline to make clause adjustments as a means of simplifying electricity-bill cost analysis and offer comparisons for consumers, have been highly critical of the authority’s guidelines, describing them as an intrusion and restriction on pricing policy.

Some suppliers have even threatened to take legal action against RAE, but this is not possible as the authority’s initiative is a proposal not an order.

Even so, suppliers need to present revisions, based on their respective interpretations of the RAE guidelines that will somehow reflect the proposals. Otherwise, consumers who are aware of the authority’s guidelines could turn against suppliers and file official complaints.

Suppliers, through their interpretations, will, without a doubt, seek leeway that could enable their commercial departments to attract customers.

RAE has asked suppliers to adopt standardized price-related clauses.

Suppliers have reassured they will deliver adjustments in accordance with the RAE recommendations but do not believe the overall effort will improve the ability of consumers to compare competing offers.

RES auction for Crete wind, solar installations at end of year

A RES auction to offer respective 100-MW capacities for new wind and solar energy installations on Crete is still quite a long way off and will, at best, be staged towards the end of this year or early in 2021, energypress sources have informed.

Crete’s network for wind and solar energy facilities is currently saturated, according to technical standards provided in an older decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

However, studies conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and power grid operator IPTO both support that RES station output of between 180 and 200 MW can be safely absorbed by the Cretan network once the island’s grid is interconnected with that of the Peloponnese.

The island’s overall capacity boost is expected to reach between 2,000 and 2,500 MW once the major-scale grid interconnection, linking Crete with Athens, is completed.

A RAE proposal forwarded to the energy ministry has called for wind and solar energy auctions offering respective installation capacities of 100 MW, the aim being to cover investment demand and also boost power capacity on the island, still using diesel and pressed hard to resolve energy-sufficiency issues in the summers.

Broader offsetting eligibility for operator, energy firm accounts

The energy ministry intends to maximize the eligibility and coverage of an imminent plan designed to offset unsettled accounts between market operators and energy producers or suppliers.

A related ministerial decision is expected to be delivered by the energy ministry within the next fortnight.

The energy ministry’s upcoming measure, seen as crucial cash-flow support for energy-sector companies amid extraordinary times, will seek to make eligible – for offsetting – as many categories as is legally possible.

This essentially means that the offsetting plan’s terms to be included in the ministerial decision will be far more relaxed than those of a proposal delivered just days ago by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The energy ministry accepts a number of the observations made by RAE but is proceeding with its own appraisal and terms, sources informed.

Top five taking on universal supply service, tender futile

A tender staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, offering electricity suppliers a two-year contract for universal supply service covering the needs of consumers who have been shunned for not being punctual with payments, has failed to produce a result.

Though the outcome of this procedure remains consistent with results of equivalent tenders in previous years, an imminent change of rules will require the electricity market’s top five suppliers, based on market share, to assume the universal supply service.  Higher tariffs are charged.

Until now, power utility PPC, as market leader, was forced to take on the job alone.

A ministerial decision on the rule change is expected to be delivered by deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas within the next few days.

The universal electricity supply service’s two-year contract starts on June 23.

Based on market data for April, the Greek retail electricity market’s top five suppliers are: PPC, Protergia, Heron, Elpedison and Watt+Volt. NRG trails slightly behind in sixth place.

Unlike other European markets, where the universal electricity supply service is a desirable venture, and, as a result, warrants competitive procedures, the equivalent service in Greece is typically neglected by suppliers as it has been abused by non-punctual electricity consumers exploiting the service as a safe haven.

RAE wants HEDNO incentives for combating electricity theft

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has proposed financial incentives for distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO as a means of clamping down on electricity theft.

The regulatory authority estimates the annual cost of electricity theft at 139 million euros, based on data concerning 2018, or 4.1 percent of the grid electricity inflow total.

According to the data, electricity thefts are stealing electricity amounts of approximately 1.7 TWh per year, whose resulting cost is burdening consumers.

Adoption of the RAE proposal through its incorporation into a new regulatory framework would offer the operator greater incentive to counter electricity theft, the authority believes.

RAE forwarded its proposal as part of current consultation on a new formula for DEDDIE/HEDNO’s revenues between 2021 and 2024.

Power utility PPC’s administration has requested a new regulatory framework for the distribution operator, a PPC-owned subsidiary, ahead of its privatization to offer investors a 49 percent stake.

A new regulatory framework, seen as promising security for investors, would complete DEDDIE/HEDNO’s business plan for 2020-2028.

 

RAE close to launching first stage of RES online registry

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is nearing the launch of the first stage of an online system appraising RES production license applications lodged up to June, 2018.

This step represents the first of three stages towards the establishment of a fully developed online platform for license application appraisals.

Applications grouped into the first category (dated up to June, 2018) will be appraised on the basis of an older regulation awarding production licenses, not producer certificates as foreseen by a new law ratified to help simplify RES licensing procedures.

This dividing line has been drawn to keep conditions fair for all as applicants as appraisals of license applications lodged up to June, 2018 had already commenced prior to the new law’s introduction.

The online tool’s imminent first step will offer a basic version of a system that will be upgraded into a more sophisticated tool for appraisals of a second group of applications submitted between September, 2018 and December, 2019.

Applications grouped into this second category will be appraised in accordance with  new and simpler rules offering producer certificates via an instant – if all requirements are met – online process.

Overall, the task of examining all older RES license applications (first and second category) is challenging as 1,750 applications with a total capacity of 29 GW will need to be appraised by September, when a new round of applications is set to commence under the new system.

A third stage of the online tool will be developed at a latter date for a fully developed online RES registry offering automatic processing of newer applications and issuance of producer certificates.

 

Authorities, market players to discuss LNG terminal’s slot reservation rules

The latest developments of a plan aiming to revise slot reservation rules at gas grid operator DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa just off Athens will be discussed between authorities and market players at a one-day conference planned by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for this Thursday.

A latest proposal delivered by DESFA to RAE as part of consultation will serve as the basis of the discussion.

The new slot-reservation formula being worked on for the Revythoussa terminal will aim to maximize LNG shipments to the facility while also restricting time slots registrations made by traders purely for the sake of protecting gas market shares.

Power utility PPC and Motor Oil were both left off the Revythoussa facility’s unloading plan for 2020 after failing to secure slots amid conditions of heightened demand.

Authorities want to avoid a repeat of such a situation. PPC and Motor Oil had used the LNG terminal a year earlier.

Participants at this Thursday’s event will be offered the opportunity to present observations before Revythoussa rules are revised and implemented for next winter.

The event should offer LNG importers a clearer indication of the terminal’s new rules before ordering plans for 2021 are pursued. As has been the case this year, LNG demand is also expected to be elevated in 2021.

Target model, energy exchange plans shaped by meeting today

The energy ministry intends to set new launch dates for the target model and energy exchange markets once it has drawn conclusions from a crucial meeting today with representatives of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the Greek energy exchange, and power grid operator IPTO.

A previous June 30 target model launch date will definitely be missed as a result of various delays, including a pandemic-related hold up in the delivery of a balancing market platform by General Electric to IPTO.

The revised target model schedule, to be included in a related ministerial decision, will be based on the new feasible launch date for energy exchange markets.

No pending issues remain concerning the operating regulations to apply for the new markets. All rules have been approved.

Certain formula details, including a much-debated formula concerning the percentage of production each producer will be able to secure through contracts, are expected imminently, prior to June 22, when the tenure of RAE’s head official is set to expire.

A GE team that was stationed in Athens for the balancing market platform project left the country without notice, citing the possibility of greater pandemic danger ahead.

IPTO is now closely coordinating with GE for a specific delivery date, following the relaxation of lockdown measures.

Well-informed authorities insist that the energy exchange’s spot markets cannot be launched before mid-September.

 

Mixed RES auctions extension sought, ‘vital for grid stability’

The energy ministry is preparing to seek approval from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition for an extension of at least two years for current RES auction regulations enabling separate auctions for wind and solar unit installations, as well as mixed sessions.

The current format is valid until the end of this year. If the DG-Comp rejects the ministry’s bid, then Greece will only be permitted to stage mixed RES auctions, until 2024.

Officials at the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, agree that RES auctions for separate technologies have been particularly effective and fruitful and should be given more time.

Energy ministry officials are currently preparing Greece’s application with supporting arguments.

In its extension bid, the ministry will stress that both major-scale wind and solar energy installations are necessary for grid stability.

It will also note that the characteristics of Greece’s landscape offer solar projects a competitive advantage, meaning that staging mixed RES auctions, only, would result in solar-project dominance and little capacity for wind energy tariffs.

Also, the ministry, in its quest, will insist that grid stability requires the development of smaller RES units at various network points and close to consumption centers. This, it will contend, cannot be achieved through mixed auctions, typically dominated by large-scale projects.

 

Monitoring mechanism ‘needed prior to target model markets’

A monitoring mechanism enabling RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to protect target model electricity markets from abusive, non-competitive behavior by electricity producers, must be ready before target model markets are launched, the European Commission has stressed in its latest post-bailout report on the Greek economy.

Legislation ratified by the Greek government late in 2019 strengthened RAE’s powers by giving it authority to raid company offices and impose fines for abusive behavior.

The crucial role of the monitoring mechanism has also been pointed out in Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan.

The monitoring mechanism, to collect data from power grid operator IPTO and the Greek stock exchange, will be able to identify wholesale trade irregularities.

The European Commission report projects Greece’s target model will be launched in the third quarter of this year, beyond a June 30 target date. The pandemic has negatively impacted the delivery date of a trading platform by General Electric.

Earlier this week, market officials contended that a launch of spot markets at the Greek energy exchange is not possible until September, rejecting IPTO claims of an earlier target model start within August.

Brussels recognizes EVIKEN case on excess distribution surcharges

An ongoing effort by EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, calling for natural gas distribution operators to return excess surcharges to industrial consumers has – for the first time since the case’s launch four years ago – been recognized by the European Commission and included in its latest report on the Greek economy.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will reach a decision imminently, within May, according to the Brussels report.

EVIKEN launched its case in June, 2016. Industrial consumers were charged excess gas distribution surcharges for a 16-month period beginning in August, 2015.

EU law was breached by legislation ratified to enable the excess surcharge, upped to 4 euros per MWh, universally, regardless of company profile. This placed major-scale industrial producers under pressure.

A decision on this overcharging case has remained pending since 2016 despite wide recognition of the violation authorities at all levels, from RAE to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy.

RAE, over an extended period, has needed to respond to rigorous questioning from the DG-Energy on various aspects concerning the matter.

RAE is now expected to calculate the precise excess surcharge amount that needs to be returned by operators to industrial consumers through an offsetting of accounts.

“Our case may have been forgotten if it weren’t for the DG-Energy leadership’s decisive intervention that prompted RAE to overturn all the unsubstantiated legal interpretations by natural gas distribution operators,” noted Antonis Kontoleon, the head official at EVIKEN.

August launch of target model not possible, pundits insist

A launch of spot markets at the Greek energy exchange is not possible until September, well-informed market officials insist, rejecting recent claims by power grid operator IPTO deputy chief Yiannis Margaris of an earlier target model start within August.

The energy ministry is currently coordinating with IPTO, the Hellenic Energy Exchange (HENEX) and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for clarity as to when the launch of the target model’s energy exchange markets is feasible.

A June 30 launch date will inevitably be missed, a key problem behind the delay being the absence of a specific date for the delivery of a balancing market platform to IPTO by General Electric, commissioned this project.

A GE team that was stationed in Athens for this project left the country without notice, citing the possibility of greater pandemic danger ahead, in reaction to its outbreak. This has delayed the delivery of the platform.

IPTO is now closely coordinating with GE for a specific delivery date, following the relaxation of lockdown measures.

Trial runs of all market systems linking IPTO, HENEX and EnexClear were scheduled to begin April 10. Dry-run testing, or continual simulation, of market systems was scheduled for May 15, ahead of the June 30 launch date for the target model’s day-ahead, intraday and balancing market launches, now all out of the question.

 

 

PPC picks Goldman Sachs as consultant for DEDDIE sale

The board at power utility PPC has reached a decision to hire US financial services company Goldman Sachs as privatization consultant for the sale of a 49 percent stake in distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, a subsidiary, sources have informed.

This appointment is seen as the first step in preparations leading to the partial privatization, while the choice of a heavyweight consultant reflects the importance of the sale for both the government and state-controlled PPC.

The prospective entry of an investor with a 49 stake raises hopes for a major network upgrade, including digitization. Modernized infrastructure will help intensify competition in the domestic electricity market. However, enormous sums are needed.  A project entailing the installation of smart meters, alone, is budgeted at one billion euros.

European operators as well as foreign funds investing in energy networks and infrastructure expressed strong interest in DEDDIE prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

The operator’s regulated earnings and steady yield serve as a safe and profitable haven for capital investment, while DEDDIE’s tremendous asset base expansion potential adds to the appeal for investors.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and DEDDIE are currently working together to further modernize the operator’s regulatory framework.

Also, DEDDIE is currently finalizing a new business plan, covering 2020 to 2028. It envisions a gradual increase of annual investments to 350 million euros, more-than-double the current level of 150 million euros.