Balancing market entry for RES, demand response by end of ’21

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is planning the balancing market entry of all energy sector players offering flexibility to the grid by the end of this year, a prospect seen as a key factor in lowering balancing market costs.

As a result, RES players, through green aggregators representing them, will participate in the balancing market by the end of 2021, along with the demand response mechanism.

The addition of RES producers promises to intensify competition in the balancing market, which, combined with the demand response mechanism’s participation, will contribute to a further de-escalation of balancing market surcharge costs.

Wind and solar energy farms will have a place in the balancing market. Other RES technologies, such as biogas units, are linked to operating aid contracts with fixed tariffs.

The demand response mechanism’s participation in the balancing market promises to enhance the system’s flexibility, in terms of demand, while the entry of RES producers will make electricity production even more flexible.

energy & meteo systems supplies Virtual Power Plant and power forecasts to Protergia

Oldenburg/Athens, 13 April 2021 – In preparation for the nascent Greek intraday and balancing market, MYTILINEOS S.A. has contracted energy & meteo systems. The German energy service provider supplies its Virtual Power Plant combined with accurate power forecasts to MYTILINEOS´ Power & Gas Business Unit Protergia. Equipped with this state-of-the-art digital technology, Protergia offers market access to renewable energy asset owners.

The Greek power market has shifted since November 2019 towards direct marketing of renewable energies, requiring solar, wind and hydro power asset owners to actively trade their energy production. Protergia, the Power & Gas Business Unit of the listed company MYTILINEOS, has taken the decision to participate in this new market and trade energy from its own and third parties’ assets. Being an energy provider, a power trader and the largest independent electricity producer in Greece with more than 1400 Megawatt capacity, Protergia bundles crucial competences for its aggregator unit.

Protergia relies on proven technology from energy & meteo systems for trading of wind and solar energy. With its Virtual Power Plant software and precise power forecasts for renewable energy, the German-based service provider supplies Protergia with two indispensable services. The Virtual Power Plant works as a control room which allows to monitor real-time production and power forecasts, remote-control the connected plants and trade their energy production on the Greek power market. As part of the service, energy & meteo systems delivers a customized application, including the connection of all solar, wind and hydro plants to a single smart power pool. The technology is provided as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to Protergia which does not have to invest in any IT infrastructure.

“Our goal is to become a leading aggregator in the Greek power market and to create value for solar, wind, hydro and biogas/biomass power plant owners. We are glad that energy & meteo systems provides us its Virtual Power Plant and power forecasts. It is not only an accredited but also a very promising turnkey solution that will help to efficiently manage our distributed power portfolio” stated Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Deputy General Manager Power & Gas Business Unit of MYTILINEOS/ Protergia.

“Protergia can count on our extensive experience in supporting leading aggregators in numerous European power markets.”, says Dr. Ulrich Focken, the Managing Director of energy & meteo systems. “With our Virtual Power Plant and power forecasts we offer a market-leading solution for trading renewable energy.”

This project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the Renewable Energy Solutions Programme of the German Energy Solutions Initiative.

MYTILINEOS S.A. is a leading Greek industrial company active in Metallurgy, Power & Natural Gas, Renewables & Storage Development and Sustainable Engineering Solutions. Established in Greece in 1990, the Company is listed on the Athens Exchange, has a consolidated turnover in excess of €1.9 billion and employs directly and indirectly more than 3,600 people in Greece and abroad.

Protergia is the Power & Gas Business Unit of MYTILINEOS, the largest private energy company in Greece. It manages the power plants and Renewable Energy Units of MYTILINEOS, while active in the trade and supply of electricity and gas, offering modern and reliable services and combined electricity and gas packages to almost 300,000 businesses, and households.

energy & meteo systems was founded in 2004 in Oldenburg, Germany, and offers cutting-edge services and software products which allow a smooth market and grid integration of variable renewable energies. The company is an international provider of accurate wind and solar power forecasts for grid operators, power traders and plant operators. The market-leading Virtual Power Plant software is used by numerous utilities and power traders to pool and manage distributed energy resources for different business purposes. energy & meteo systems employs about 120 experts and provides its services to more than 480 GW of installed wind and solar power in around 60 countries.

dena is the centre of expertise for energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and intelligent energy systems. As Agency for Applied Energy Transition we help achieve energy and climate policy objectives by developing solutions and putting them into practice, both nationally and internationally. In order to do this, we bring partners from politics and business together, across sectors. dena’s shareholders are the Federal Republic of Germany and the KfW Group.

The transfer of energy expertise, the promotion of foreign trade and the facilitation of international development cooperation are part of the German Energy Solutions Initiative, which is coordinated and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The initiative offers networking and business opportunities in Germany and abroad, it showcases reference projects and facilitates capacity building.

With the RES Programme, the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency – helps German renewable energy companies enter new markets. The installation of climate-friendly energy technology projects in attractive target markets is accompanied by comprehensive information dissemination, marketing and training programmes. These flagship projects, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the German Energy Solutions Initiative, aim to show-case high-quality German renewable energy technology and help participating companies gain a foot-hold in new markets.

Extra RES measures to simplify installation, operating permits

The energy ministry is preparing to include simplification measures it appears to have settled on for the second stage of RES licensing procedures, concerning installation and operating permits, into the one draft bill to also incorporate EU energy efficiency directives being adopted.

The draft bill is expected to be forwarded for public consultation within the next few weeks, prior to Greek Orthodox Easter, in early May.

Public consultation on the energy efficiency EU directives being adopted has already been completed.

The imminent draft bill is not expected to bring about any fundamental changes to the second stage of the RES licensing procedure, as had been the case with a major first-stage change abolishing production licenses, sources have informed.

Instead, a series of revisions will be introduced to remove various obstacles encountered by investors in the maturity process of their projects, the objective being to significantly reduce the time needed for project maturity.

The second-stage RES licensing simplification plan promises to lessen both the number of steps and supporting documents needed for RES installation and operating permits.

The energy ministry also intends to revisit the first stage to implement further improvements, needed to counter the flood of producer certificate applications being submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The government has declared its objective is to reduce the overall RES licensing procedure in Greece to two years, the EU average.

IPTO preparing new formula for grid capacity availability

Power grid operator IPTO is preparing revisions to a framework for incoming RES project applications, including, as the first major change, a new formula calculating available grid capacity, the operator’s deputy director Giannis Margaris (photo) has noted during an online update.

This new formula will factor in all offers made by the operator in the market as well as new RES projects, both in development and at the planning stage, Margaris pointed out.

IPTO expects to have finalized the formula within April, before presenting it to the energy ministry and then the market.

The operator is also preparing a tracking system that will enable investors to be updated, at any given moment, on the progress of their connection term applications, the IPTO deputy informed.

These upcoming changes come in the wake of a flood of group applications for small-scale RES projects, seeking direct links to the grid, as well as complaints by ABO Wind over IPTO’s delay in examining the company’s connection term applications.

Such objections serve as an opportunity for a reexamination of the grid entry framework, Margaris noted.

The problems that need to addressed concern the licensing and grid entry frameworks, not grid capacity, neither now nor until 2030, the IPTO deputy stressed.

DEPA Commercial pushing to mature RES licenses in time for auction

Gas company DEPA Commercial, currently placing emphasis on its alternative business interests, is making efforts to bring to maturity solar energy licenses in time for an upcoming RES auction. These PV licenses concern solar farm projects representing a total capacity of 499.61 MW.

Late in January, DEPA Commercial announced it had acquired a 49 percent stake in North Polar, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established on the basis of a portfolio carrying solar energy project certificates and production permits. These licenses concern projects in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region.

DEPA Commercial and its SPV partner have submitted environmental terms for these projects and are now expecting their connection terms.

The partners are striving to participate in the next RES auction to be staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the first to be held under new terms expected to soon be approved by the European Commission.

On another front, DEPA Commercial is closely monitoring developments regarding the Alexandroupoli FSRU in northeastern Greece, another of its project interests.

DEPA Commercial holds a 20 percent stake in Gastrade, a company established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition still needs to approve Greek gas grid operator DESFA’s entry into the consortium, also with a 20 percent stake, to be taken from the Copelouzos group’s current 40 percent share in the Alexandroupoli FSRU venture.

The Brussels authority’s endorsement of DESFA’s entry is seen as a formality following its recent approval of the entry of Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz as a fourth member of the consortium, also with a 20 percent stake. Gaslog is the other consortium member, also holding 20 percent.

The DESFA entry approval is anticipated within the second quarter. Gastrade’s partners are then expected to swiftly follow with an investment decision on the Alexandroupoli FSRU’s construction.

New energy communities framework to aid financing, loans

The energy ministry is working on a draft bill to completely reform the regulatory framework governing energy communities as part of a wider effort promoting RES growth in Greece.

The revisions will seek to align the country’s existing regulatory framework for energy communities with the respective EU framework through the adoption of a series of EU directives and also lift a number of obstacles and resolve problems that have arisen since its implementation in 2018.

These revisions will also aim to resolve the inability of energy communities to participate in financing support programs and help them overcome difficulties encountered when seeking to qualify for bank loans.

PPC’s 2020 results, out April 20, to reflect company ascent

Power utility PPC, planning to announce its financial results for 2020 on April 20, is expected to release robust figures confirming its positive course, including, according to analysts, an EBITDA level of approximately 900 million euros.

Given the corporation’s 618 percent EBITDA surge in this year’s nine-month period, up to 696 million euros from 96.9 million euros a year earlier, PPC should register operating profit well above the 2019 level, when its recurring EBITDA ended the year at 333.6 million euros.

Sharply declined fuel costs and wholesale electricity prices during the first three quarters, as well as the continual limitation of PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, now loss-incurring as a result of higher CO2 emission rights, have been the driving forces behind the 2020 EBITDA forecast of about 900 million euros.

An EBITDA objective of one billion euros by 2024 now appears achievable sooner, possibly as early as next year.

The company’s capitalization is currently at 2.11 billion euros.

PPC, needing to push ahead with RES investments, will require capital for the effort. An ongoing privatization offering a 49 percent stake in distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, a subsidiary, is expected to raise capital for PPC’s investment plans, including in renewable energy, and also lower the company’s debt level.

The shortlist of qualifiers into the second round of the DEDDIE/HEDNO sale is expected to be announced today.

Small-scale PVs, RES projects to be given deadline extensions

Investors behind small-scale solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs and RES projects that have secured their tariffs through auctions will be given more time to complete their projects,  with current tariffs intact, as a result of pandemic-related delays for which investors cannot be held accountable.

Investors have faced delays, both in delivery of equipment as well as project construction.

The energy ministry has prepared a related draft bill that will be submitted to parliament for ratification, ministry sources have informed.

Though it remains unclear when this could be, the ministry sources ascertained the bill would be ratified imminently, prior to an April 30 completion deadline for small-scale PVs.

Solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs are expected to be given six-month extensions, while RES projects that have secured tariffs at auction will be given an additional ten months for completion. Completion of projects by the new deadlines will certify the tariffs they currently hold.

A six-month extension for small-scale PVs would give this category until October 30 to begin operating, and, as a result, certify tariffs of 65.74 euros per MWh.

Also, small-scale PVs incorporated into energy communities will certify tariffs of 68.86 euros per MWh if they are completed by the October 30 date.

Motor Oil buys Fortress 240MW RES units, ELPE also a bidder

Petroleum company Motor Oil, a member of the Vardinogiannis group, has acquired a 240-MW wind energy portfolio from private equity fund Fortress for a sum estimated at 123.5 million euros, renewable energy market sources have informed.

The Vardinogiannis group yesterday announced this acquisition, comprised of 220 MW in existing wind energy units and a 20-MW wind energy project now under construction, without naming the seller.

Motor Oil was named the preferred bidder following a two-round tender staged by Fortress that included Canadian fund Cubico in the second round, the sources informed.

The majority of this portfolio’s wind farms are located in central and northern Greece.

Interestingly, fellow Greek petroleum company Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) also participated in the tender but did not make it past the first round, the sources said.

Both Motor Oil and ELPE have set ambitious goals for the addition of RES units to their respective production capacities.

Motor Oil, which had set an objective to build a RES portfolio of more than 300 MW over a two-year period, is already there given its existing installed capacity – prior to this acquisition – which exceeds 100 MW.

Had ELPE added the Fortress wind energy farms to its portfolio, it, too, would have taken a big step towards achieving its RES objective, set at 500-MW. The group is currently developing a 200-MW solar farm in the west Macedonia area, northern Greece.

Fortress, represented in Greece by local associate Nostira, had bought the aforementioned portfolio in September, 2018 from the Libra group, headed by shipowner George Logothetis.

 

Mytilineos extending global partnership with Huawei

Following the successful cooperation with the Renewables and Storage Development (RSD) Business Unit of MYTILINEOS (METKA EGN) in Greece, Huawei extends its business partnership with MYTILINEOS globally, signing a memorandum of cooperation regarding the supply of innovative and reliable Huawei string inverters, for PV plants including but not limited to the UK, Uzbekistan, Spain and Cyprus.

Huawei inverters, harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in digital information technology, rethink PV with regards to power generation, O&M, grid connection, and safety. Their robustness and reliability is based on Huawei’s mature string technology, coupled with built-in digital technologies, increased dynamic MPPT efficiency, as well as TUV verified >99.996% inverter availability. Therefore, making Huawei’s solution the best choice in terms of technological superiority and high efficiency at a low maintenance and service cost with a minimum failure rate.

Huawei’s innovative features such as MBUS communication running on AC-line and Smart IV Curve Diagnosis, have completely enhanced traditional manual inspection mode. By integrating advanced digital technologies, Huawei inverters can proactively identify the electrical features of the PV plant and automatically adjust grid connection algorithm to match the power grid, therefore proving Huawei to be the best fit for large-scale projects, meeting even the most demanding of grid connection requirements.

As Nikos Papapetrou, General Manager of the RSD Business Unit of MYTILINEOS stated: “We have decided to strengthen our cooperation further with Huawei in a large part of our portfolio globally, greatly based on the reliability of the inverters that ensure our plants’ performance even in harsh environments, as well as on their integrated advanced attributes that facilitate installation and reduce our operating cost.” Mr. Papapetrou added: “Huawei’s leading position worldwide, its comprehensive service offering as well as its customer-centric approach have convinced us that we made the secure choice”. 

As Jacky Chen, Managing Director Huawei Technologies South Balkan Region stated: “We are extremely delighted that MYTILINEOS, one of the most successful solar development and EPC companies globally, trusts us with the opportunity to be actively part of the largest PV plant portfolios worldwide. We are committed to providing increased performance, with smart devices that maximize efficiency and minimize operating costs, therefore ensuring a world-class photovoltaic installation and a long-term investment”.   

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – the company is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei’s end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, the company creates lasting value for its customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes. At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. The company invests heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. The company has more than 194,000 employees, and operates in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company wholly owned by its employees. For more information, visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com.

About Huawei FusionSolar

Huawei offers leading Smart PV solutions harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in digital information technology. By integrating AI and Cloud, Huawei further incorporates many latest ICT technologies with PV for optimal power generation, thus making the solar power plant to be Highly Efficient, Safe & Reliable with Smart O&M and Grid Supporting capabilities and builds the foundation for solar to become the main energy source. For solar energy users, Huawei launched advanced solution for C&I and residential customers based on the ‘Optimal Electricity Cost and Active Safety’ concept. By improving the utilization of solar power, Huawei has helped to power millions of residents and hundreds of industries globally.

Huawei will continue to innovate and enable renewable energy to empower each individual, home, and organization.

For more information, visit Huawei online at https://solar.huawei.com/ or follow us on:

 

Ellaktor adding €20.5m to RES portfolio for wind farms, PV units

Leading infrastructure group Ellaktor plans to inject a further 20.5 millions to its renewable energy portfolio through an anticipated 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase.

Ellaktor’s new administration is placing emphasis on the group’s financial rebound in the RES sector, chief executive Aris Xenofos (photo) told analysts during a virtual-conference presentation.

The 20.5 million-euro sum planned to be injected into the group’s RES portfolio will be used to accelerate a growth plan through wind farm acquisitions and investments in solar energy.

At present, Ellaktor possesses just one small solar farm in operation, a 2-MW facility in the central Peloponnese’s Arcadia region.

Ellaktor is Greece’s second biggest RES energy producer with a total installed capacity of 491 MW offered by 24 wind energy farms, a small-scale hydropower unit, and the aforementioned Arcadia PV facility.

The company, aiming to increase its total installed capacity to 579 MW by 2022, is currently developing a new 88.2-MW wind energy facility.

Ellaktor, according to the administration’s presentation to analysts, is also moving ahead with a one billion-euro agreement reached with Portugal’s EDPR for joint development of wind farms totaling 900 MW.

The Ellaktor group’s RES portfolio revenue rose to represent 9 percent of total turnover in the nine-month period of 2020, from 3 percent in 2018.

The listed group’s planned 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase will need to be approved at a general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for April 2. Responding to questions by analysts, Xenofos, the chief executive, noted he is confident shareholders will support the plan.

The group intends to use 100 million euros of the 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase to cover liquidity needs at its Aktor subsidiary, including 45 million euros for the company’s loss-incurring PV activity in Australia and 55 million euros to cover supplier costs.

 

 

New network expansion model to support PV investments

A new formula just introduced by the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for the expansion of medium-voltage transmission lines promises to restart the development of small-to-medium scale solar energy projects by providing a viable way for investors to cover the cost of network projects.

This new approach comes as an effort to end investment stagnancy in the RES sector by enabling RES producers to overcome local network saturation issues that have prevented the development of their project plans.

The new formula entails the issuance of connection terms for clusters of independent PV units, for which the operator will temporarily cover the cost of network expansion projects concerning units that will not pay immediately.

The plan was introduced by the operator last Friday, beginning with the issuance of connection terms for a first batch of three PV clusters.

It comes at a time when, according to data processed by SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, the percentage of RES applications rejected by DEDDIE/HEDNO has reached a level of 80 percent.

This heightened level of rejections has, more recently, prompted the intervention of sector agencies, highlighting the fact that investor interest in RES investments, especially small-and-medium sized photovoltaics, has come to a standstill.

 

National Energy completes acquisition of wind, solar portfolio

National Energy (NE) has completed the acquisition of C. 70MW of operational wind and solar assets in Greece from IBG Hellenic Fund III (HFIII), a private equity fund managed by Hellenic Capital Partners (HCP) for an undisclosed sum.

NE was launched two years ago to develop, construct, own and operate renewable power plants across Europe, starting from Greece.

It is understood that NE is actively looking for more opportunities to acquire operational wind and solar assets and currently has 161MW of additional solar PV assets under construction out of a portfolio of 270MW that has successfully participated in the auctions, and a development pipeline in the hundreds of MW.

George Lagios, Greek Country Manager of NE was pleased with the support NE received from HCP throughout the process. He pointed out that: “the acquisition comes with the added benefit of NE taking on an experienced development and engineering team which will further strengthen our firm’s positioning to operate as a full scale IPP, namely across the full value chain with capabilities from development, financing and construction to operations and asset management. This transaction is also testament of NE’s capability to pre-empt competitive processes and transact bilaterally in a transparent and reliable way”.

With the completion of this transaction with NE, HFIII has successfully divested the operating assets of its renewable energy portfolio. Having now liquidated most of its holdings, HFIII is heading for full divestment, being the 4th consecutive fund under HCP’s management to achieve significant returns for its investors.

Spiros Papadatos, CEO of HCP stated: “We would like to thank NE for their hard work and commitment towards closing this transaction. We also take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our investors, both institutional and private, for their cooperation and trust throughout our partnership. HFIII was the first Greek Private Equity Fund focusing purely on investments in the domestic renewable energy sector, capturing early its prospects. Today, there is a very strong demand for renewable assets, both by domestic and international investors, far exceeding the goals for renewable energy penetration set at national level”.

Akereos Capital acted as exclusive M&A and debt advisor to NE in the transaction while the debt package was provided by Piraeus Bank who were advised by Labadarios Law. KLC Law and Squire Patton Boggs advised NE while Seissoglou & Nikolaidis advised HCP. TUV Hellas were selected as technical advisors, Marsh & Co as insurance advisors and E&Y acted as financial and tax advisor to NE.

PPC bond issue aims for real-money investors, market clout

Power utility PPC, which has just issued a 500 million-euro bond expiring in 2026, is aiming to attract foreign institutional investors – or real-money investors placed in the real economy, not hedge funds – to the issue, which, the corporation hopes, will also enjoy a solid course in secondary-market trading and help establish the company’s clout in capital markets.

PPC began presenting this bond issue to institutional investors yesterday and will continue to do so over the next two days in an effort to maximize the level of participation in the issue, a Sustainability-Linked Bond, the first of its kind to be offered by a Greek company.

The power utility is committing to a 40 percent CO2 emissions reduction by 2022, which if not achieved, will add 50 basis points to the bond’s yield.

The issue’s order book closes on Thursday. A clear picture on the turnout and type of investors drawn to the issue should emerge today or tomorrow, the latest.

PPC’s push to reduce CO2 emissions, which the company has told investors will fall from 23.1 million tons in 2019 to 13.9 million tons in 2022, is based on two key factors, a planned withdrawal of lignite-fired units representing a total capacity of 3.4 GW by 2023 and a change of investment direction focusing on renewables.

Data shows that PPC managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 56 percent between 2005, when levels were 52.6 million tons, and 2019. A drop to the 2022 objective of 13.9 million tons would represent a 74 percent reduction, compared to 2005. If achieved, such a reduction would exceed the national target of 62 percent.

An improved BB- rating from Fitch late in December was a key factor in PPC’s decision to head to capital markets at this point in time.

Revisions to permit energy storage for households, industry

A special committee assembled by the energy ministry to deliver a plan, by May 15, tackling energy storage licensing and operation issues, is working on revising an existing framework to facilitate, and make financially beneficial, battery system installations at homes, businesses and industrial facilities, energypress sources have informed.

The existing framework, particularly restrictive and, as a result, subduing related investments, limits energy storage system installations to 30 KW and permits usage to roof-mounted PV panels for self-production.

The ministry’s special committee, which has been working intensively for more than two months, is striving to make revisions that would  broaden the usage of energy storage systems, the sources noted.

Energy storage system installations are expected to be permitted regardless of whether respective consumers have installed RES systems. This promises to enable battery charging through the network for utilization of stored energy at times chosen by consumers.

The use of energy storage systems is nowadays widely acknowledged as an important contributing factor for support of electricity networks and prevention of grid instability issues, especially during hours when PVs are disconnected as a result of a lack of sunlight.

RES spatial plan to be delivered within 2021, Action Plan notes

The completion of a RES sector spatial plan within the current year has been included in an energy ministry Action Plan for 2021, just published along with the respective action plans of all other ministries.

The energy ministry’s action plan lists interventions planned for 2021 in nine areas under its authority, including energy-sector privatizations, energy market reforms, support for decarbonization and recycling, adoption of circular economic principles, greenhouse gas emission reduction, the tackling of climate change effects, as well as green energy transition.

RES sector measures this year will help cut down the time needed by new RES projects for licensing procedures to two years, the ministry anticipates in its action plan.

It also expects the installation, by the end of the year, of at least 2,000 recharging units for electric vehicles in public areas, including along highways, and at private properties, including domestic and commercial.

On the privatization front, the energy ministry expects all seven energy privatization plans to have been completed or reached an advanced stage by the end of the year.

On energy market reforms, the adoption of a remuneration mechanism for grid sufficiency, to replace a transitional mechanism remunerating flexibility, is a standout feature.

The energy ministry also intends to adopt, as Greek law, an EU directive promoting energy storage and demand response systems.

The ministry’s action plan also anticipates the signing of agreements this year for distribution network development and RES penetration support. It also expects DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, to announce a tender for the installation of smart power meters within the current year.

Taking into account plans by DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO, the ministry expects investments in distribution and transmission networks to reach one billion euros this year.

Investments for gas network upgrades and expansion are expected to reach at least 300 million euros, primarily driven by projects planned by gas distributor DEDA, covering all areas around the country except for the wider Athens, Thessaloniki and Thessaly areas.

On international projects, the action plan notes that a Greek-Bulgarian gas pipeline project, the IGB, promising to significantly diversify Greece’s gas sources, will be completed by the end of 2021.

A latest edition of the Saving at Home program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades of properties, budgeted at one billion euros, will stimulate work on 80,000 buildings in 2021, according the energy ministry’s action plan.

This activity will contribute to a National Energy and Climate Plan objective for an improvement, by 2030, of energy efficiency at buildings by 38 percent, reducing energy consumption to levels below those registered in 2007, the action plan notes.

 

Over 30% of RES project bids show territorial overlap issues

Nearly one in three RES project plans submitted to December’s licensing round are problematic as they display territorial overlaps concerning envisaged project sites, energypress sources have informed.

More than 30 percent of 1,864 producer certification applications submitted to the December round claim overlapping territory for RES project development, especially in the solar energy sector.

This latest concern comes as yet another sign of an overheated market and this condition’s possible repercussions.

The territorial overlap problem makes clear that a significant number of project plan licensing applications were lodged in a haphazard fashion without any organized registration work for land claims, placing in doubt the feasibility of these project plans.

Licensing application numbers were also sizeable for an ensuing round last month. A total of 477 applications representing 8.8 GW were submitted, increasing the likelihood of the implementation of filters, currently being examined by the energy ministry, to block baseless applications from licensing procedures.

JinkoSolar PV module prices up 15%, further rises over next 6 months

Prices of solar energy modules produced by JinkoSolar, one of the largest PV panel manufacturers in the world, have risen by roughly 15 percent in the Chinese market over the past few weeks, Dany Qian, vice president of the China-based producer, has noted in a PV-Magazine interview.

The results of certain key tenders announced recently show a price increase of between 10 and 15 percent, while an even higher increase is being anticipated for upcoming sessions, the deputy chief pointed out in the interview.

The Chinese market is crucial as a solar module price indicator as it brings to the forefront a shortage of raw materials, Qian pointed out.

Increased PV module prices, according to Qian, can be attributed to shortages of module frames and raw materials such as polysilicon, glass and silver, as well as a lack of manufacturing capacity to meet strong demand at present.

Glass and polysilicon producers are making efforts to increase their production capacity, but establishing new factories and production lines will require more time.

Also taking into account the US dollar’s continuing slide, following stimulus measures to ease the pandemic-related hardship, PV panel prices are expected to rise further, Qian noted.

The strong demand, at present, will prompt further PV module price rises for at least another six months, the JinkoSolar deputy projected.

Electricity demand falls 9.5% in January amid stricter lockdown

Stricter lockdown measures in January and their impact on business activity prompted a big reduction in electricity demand, down 9.5 percent compared to the equivalent month a year earlier, when lockdown measures had yet to be imposed, according to power grid operator IPTO’s monthly report.

Most of the country’s retailers were forced to disrupt their business activities in January following a period of less stringent retail measures in the form of a click-away service, enabling customers to pre-order and pick up goods from shops by appointment or, this measure’s extension, click-in-shop, permitting customers to enter stores, see and even try products by appointment.

Electricity demand in the high-voltage category was down by 3.3 percent in January compared to the same month a year earlier, the IPTO data showed.

Interestingly, despite the plunge in electricity demand, electricity production increased by 12.9 percent in January, hydropower being the biggest mover with a 221 percent increase, following power utility PPC’s decision to use its hydropower units as a result of elevated water reserves.

The domestic production increase was attributed to a fall in electricity imports and rise in electricity exports, the greatest quantity going to Italy (43%), followed by North Macedonia (24%), Bulgaria (22%), Albania (9%) and Turkey (2%).

RES output was higher by 43 percent in January as a result of strong winds during the month, while, on the contrary, lignite-fired generation fell 43 percent. Natural gas-fueled power station output was also down, marginally, by 2 percent.

In terms of energy mix share, natural gas-fueled power stations held a 36 percent share, RES units captured 35 percent, hydropower’s contribution represented 16 percent, and lignite was responsible for 13 percent of total electricity generation in January, the IPTO figures showed.

PPC covered 66.6 percent of electricity demand in January, followed by Mytilineos (7.52%), Heron (5.89%), Elpedison (4.63%), NRG (3.49%) and Watt & Volt (2.74%).

Government determined to eliminate anti-RES movement

Government policy for renewable energy sources is focused on facilitating their development and regards the RES sector as a key source of economic growth, deputy minister for environmental protection Giorgos Amyras has stressed, during a virtual meeting, to regional authorities around the country, who have raised obstacles of varying degree, frustrating government officials and renewable energy investors.

Though the resistance by regional and municipal authorities opposing RES development is widespread, it has been especially strong in northern Greece’s west Macedonia area.

Officials representing this region have not just responded negatively to environmental studies submitted by investors, but also called for the suspension of all renewable energy licensing procedures until a national spatial plan is completed, still at least two years away, and a legal framework enabling regional and municipal authorities to block RES investments in their respective regions is established.

RES investors have expressed their frustration to the energy ministry, which will be determined to appease players, already annoyed by the imposition of an extraordinary fee on existing RES units.

The ministry’s leadership will be desperate to eliminate this destabilizing factor that could potentially undermine the country’s investment climate.

Given the large number of licensing applications, investors have indicated they are prepared to inject sizeable capital amounts for RES projects, as long as they are not caught up in misadventures and bureaucratic delays.

ELPE posting results amid strong pressure felt by petroleum industry

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), to post financial results today amid the pandemic’s adverse conditions, seen also impacting the global petroleum industry throughout 2021, is expected to announce adjusted losses of 14 million euros for 4Q in 2020, following a profit of 24 million euros in the equivalent period a year earlier, according to an Optima Bank estimate.

The petroleum group’s adjusted EBITDA for 4Q is expected to be 62 million euros, a 48 percent reduction from the previous year.

As for 2020, overall, ELPE’s adjusted EBITDA is expected to be 318 million euros, a 44 percent reduction. Adjusted losses are expected to be 1.5 million euros following a profit of 182 million euros in 2019.

The petroleum group intends to move ahead with a transformation plan and green-energy investment plans this year.

ELPE, as an initial goal, aims to develop a RES portfolio totaling 300 MW capacity in 2021 and 600 MW by 2025.

The corporate group has already begun work on a 204-MW project in Kozani, northern Greece, following a takeover deal.

Any prospect of a recovery by the global petroleum industry appears distant. Many facilities around the world have continued to restrict their operations.

A recent Wood Mackenzie report projected the European refining industry will register losses measuring 1.4 million barrels per day until 2023 as a result of the pandemic’s ongoing lockdown measures.

At least two refineries in the Mediterranean region are currently examining the prospect of closing down.

IPTO, Sunlight to sign MoU for energy storage unit in Thiva

Greek firm Sunlight, a member of the Olympia Group and one of the world’s leaders in the development and production of batteries for various commercial energy-storage applications, will partner with power grid operator IPTO for the installation of a pilot energy storage unit at a substation in Thiva, northwest of Athens.

The two sides are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the installation within the next few days. The energy storage facility is planned to have total power of 20 MW and a capacity of 20 MWh.

This project has been included in IPTO’s latest ten-year plan for the electricity transmission system’s development, covering 2022 to 2031.

IPTO has underlined the importance of exploring the prospects of central storage systems in order to manage localized congestion and offer support to the grid in view of the RES sector’s further penetration of the energy mix.

The operator’s chief executive Manos Manousakis had recently informed the operator would soon be signing an MoU with a major company active in energy storage.

Sunlight has distinguished itself for innovative, eco-friendly energy storage solutions, which it has marketed in more than 100 countries around the world over the past 30 years or so.

 

Three key factors pivotal for offshore wind farm development

Spatial planning-licensing, grid connectivity and the remuneration formula for investors are three key factors pivotal to the development of the country’s offshore wind farm industry, investors and authorities agree.

Speaking at an event staged yesterday by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou stressed that the right formula for the sector’s development needs to be based on these three factors.

This industry’s course abroad, so far, has shown that a variety of options can be adopted for each of these factors. Fellow European countries have followed a range of paths, often contradictory. Greece’s energy ministry will need to seek solutions that best suit local conditions.

The spatial planning-licensing options range from a liberal model adopted by the UK, offering offshore wind farm investors maximum freedom to develop their investment plans, as they deem best, including in choice of appropriate location for maximum commercial potential, and, at the other end, a state-regulated model, as practiced in countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands. In this latter case, state regulatory authorities are responsible for determining installation locations and capacities, through studies of their own, before staging auctions.

ELETAEN’s proposal favors a mixed approach, through which the state would initiate the process by allotting wider areas for offshore wind farm development.

The wind energy association also favors a mixed approach for network connectivity that would require power grid operator IPTO to develop main lines in areas designated by the state for offshore wind farm installations.

Local authorities and players still appear to disagree on whether non-auction fixed tariffs will need to be offered to investors as a catalyst for this industry during its early stage of development.

Sdoukou, the energy ministry’s secretary-general, did not rule out such an approach at yesterday’s ELETAEN event. But, regardless of whether a preliminary stage of non-auction fixed tariffs will be offered, all sides seem to agree that tariffs, later on, will be exclusively made available to offshore wind farm investors through auctions.

 

Offshore wind farm framework within first half, auction in ‘22

A legal framework for offshore wind farms will be ready within the next few months, no later than the end of the year’s first half, enabling investments in this sector to begin in Greece, the energy ministry has assured.

The energy ministry’s leadership is expected to reiterate this stance, without offering further scheduling details, at an event to be staged today by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association. Energy minister Kostas Skrekas and the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou will be participating.

Norway, a country with extensive offshore wind farm knowhow, will be strongly represented at the ELETAEN event. The Norwegian Ambassador to Greece, Frode Overland Andersen, and Daniel Willoch, a representative of NORWEA, the Norwegian Wind Energy Association, will take part.

So, too, will Giles Dickson, CEO at Brussels-based WindEurope, promoting the use of wind power in Europe.

If all goes as planned with efforts being made by the energy ministry, as well as ELETAEN, a first auction for offshore wind farms in Greece could be staged within the first half of 2022.

Considerable progress has been made in recent months, but pending issues on important details concerning spatial and licensing matters, connectivity with power grid operator IPTO’s network, as well as a remuneration formula for investors, all still need to be settled. The overall effort is complex and involves a number of ministries.

Investor interest in offshore wind farms is high as studies project electricity costs concerning floating units in Greece will experience a 40 percent decline by 2050. This cost, according to an older European Commission study, was estimated to drop from 76 euros per MWh in 2030 to 46 euros per MWh in 2050.

The same study estimated Greece’s offshore wind farm capacity would reach 263 GW, a prospect promising investors sustainability for the development of such projects.

Norway’s Equinor has already expressed the strongest interest for offshore wind energy development in Greece. Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners, also a major global player, has also shown some signs of interest.

As for Greek companies, TERNA Energy, the Copelouzos Group, and RF Energy have, in the past, submitted applications for offshore wind energy parks to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

 

Energy storage framework, support system in progress

A special committee assembled by the energy ministry to process proposals for a legal framework and support system covering the energy storage domain is making steady progress.

The committee, headed by Dr. Stavros Papathanasiou, a professor at the National Technical University of Athens’ School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and including representatives of operators, the energy exchange and the regulatory authority, has until May 15 to deliver its findings.

Its main task is to offer opinions on regulatory decisions, codes, market regulations, even legislative interventions that may be required, in the form of a thorough plan as guidance for the functioning and entrepreneurial running of energy storage facilities.

Licensing matters, energy market participation rules for energy storage units providing capacity, flexibility, balancing and other services are all being addressed by the special committee.

It is also examining whether a support framework will be needed to determine supplementary compensation for energy storage systems in addition to earnings that may be generated through the market.

Any resulting support system would need to be endorsed by the European Commission.

RES projects to be granted deadline extensions due to pandemic delays

The energy ministry is considering to extend RES project deadlines, by a considerable number of months, both for projects that have secured tariffs at auctions or through non-competitive procedures, as a result of difficulties encountered by investors amid the ongoing pandemic, sources have informed.

The ministry has acknowledged the far greater degree of difficulty entailed in developing RES projects during the pandemic, the sources said. Problems encountered by investors have ranged from delivery delays of equipment to construction difficulties.

The ministry, according to the sources, is planning to extend, by six months, an existing April 30 deadline for non-auction tariffs secured by PV project investors. This would effectively enable small-scale 500 KW PV projects being developed by private investors to adopt an existing reference tariff price of 65.74 euros per MWh until October 30, when ready to operate.

Also, an existing tariff price of 68.86 euros per MWh for energy communities appears headed for an extension.

The ministry also intends to offer a ten-month deadline extension for the launch of projects being developed through competitive procedures without the loss of tariff prices already secured.

In addition, the ministry appears likely to extend a June 30 deadline for connection agreements concerning energy communities, up to 18 MW, formed through non-competitive procedures. Though the additional time to be granted for this category has yet to be decided, an extension ranging from three to six months is being considered.

Lignite-unit grid input rises, re-electrification a challenge

Virtually all of the country’s power generating facilities will be called into action today, even if below full capacity, to help meet grid needs and cover greater demand anticipated as areas disconnected during heavy snowfall over the past couple of days are gradually re-electrified, putting the system to the test.

Officials are confident the country’s power generating facilities will not have problems covering the day’s electricity demand.

According to power grid operator IPTO’s grid schedule, a significant number of lignite-fired power stations – Agios Dimitrios III and IV, Kardia III and IV, and Meliti – will operate today.

Also, given heightened electricity demand levels, expected to reach 8,190 MW, natural gas-fired power stations will be on stand-by for grid entry.

Power utility PPC’s Aliveri V, Lavrio IV and V, Komotini and Megalopoli V, plus a number of independent gas-fuelled units, Heron III, Elpedison’s units in Thessaloniki and Thisvi, and Protergia and Korinthos Power units, will be ready to contribute if needed.

RES output is expected to reach 27.185 GWh, while hydropower output is planned to total 36.132 GWh.

Overall production for the day is expected to reach 166.685 GWh, a lower level compared to yesterday.

Network distribution operator DEDDIE/HEDNO crews are working overtime to repair transmission lines that were damaged by hundreds of collapsing trees during heavy snowfall around the country over the past couple of days. This repair effort could require days to complete.

Some 400 DEDDIE/HEDNO technicians in Athens, bolstered by colleagues brought in from other parts of Greece, are currently working to re-electrify affected areas in the capital.