Wholesale electricity prices down considerably in first half

The System Marginal Price, or wholesale electricity price, has fallen considerably and consistently throughout the first half of the year, driven down by lower natural gas prices and a dramatic contraction of lignite-fired generation, now a costly option.

Official data released by the energy exchange shows lignite’s energy mix dominance is fading and renewable energy sources are gaining ground, while natural gas-fueled generation is consistently at the helm. 

The SMP fell throughout the first-half period, falling 22.45 percent to 59.68 euros per MWh in January, compared to the equivalent month a year earlier; 28.55 percent to 49.23 euros per MWh in February; 43.65 percent to 43.65 euros per MWh in March; 54.31 percent to 28.51 euros per MWh in April; 48 percent to 34.27 euros per MWh in May; and 50.04 percent to 34.04 euros per MWh in June.

The SMP is primarily determined by natural gas-fueled power stations, their price-setting involvement measuring 60 percent in June, the energy exchange data showed.

Also in June, natural gas was responsible for 48.06 percent of overall generation, the RES sector generated 34.74 percent of total production, hydropower contributed 9.77 percent, while lignite-fired generation was limited to 7.42 percent.

JinkoPower, EDF Renewables land UAE PV project, world’s biggest

JinkoPower and its bidding partner EDF Renewables have been awarded the Al Dhafra Project, the world’s largest standalone Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Plant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, JinkoPower has announced in a statement.

A 30-year Power Purchase Agreement was been signed by the consortium this week with Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), a leading company in the coordination of planning, purchasing and providing of water and electricity across the UAE, the statement noted.

With an expected production capacity of 2 GW, the Al Dhafra Solar PV Project will almost double the size of the approximately 1.2 GW Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant – amongst the largest operational solar PV plants in the world. The Noor Abu Dhabi project, which was awarded to Marubeni Corp and Jinko Consortium in 2017, commenced commercial operations in April 2019.

Once operational, the Al Dhafra Solar PV Project will lift Abu Dhabi’s total solar power generation capacity to approximately 3.2 GW. This will reduce the overall Emirate’s CO2 emissions by more than 3.6 million metric tons per year, which is equivalent to removal of the combustion output of approximately 720,000 vehicles.

In June 2019, EWEC, a part of ADQ, launched a call for tenders. The winning consortium formed by China’s JinkoPower and France’s EDF Renewables submitted the most cost-competitive tariff of USD 1.35 cent per kilowatt-hour on a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) basis, which is approximately 44% lower than tariff set by Jinko Consortium three years ago on the Noor Abu Dhabi project – Abu Dhabi’s first large-scale solar PV project and a world record tariff-setter at the time.

With the collaborative effort and consensus with the partners, JinkoPower-EDF Renewables is committed to begin the development of the Al Dhafra Solar PV Project by delivering diligently the latest world-class technology and construction methods in order to reach its commissioning by 2022.

Charles Bai, President of Jinko Power International Business, commented: “Jinko, once again, is privileged to take on the unforeseen challenge of building the largest PV generation plant in the world, following our success of Noor Abu Dhabi project. Utmost fairness, transparency, and an attractive environment for investors underpin our long-term desire to keep developing renewable energy projects in Abu Dhabi. The Al Dhafra Solar Project raises the bar for international infrastructure investment and creates the avenue for an elite group of competitions to demonstrate how records can be made. Today Jinko undertakes within our capacity to deliver this technology and construction benchmark in two years to come. We are proud to have the chance to break our own world record and Jinko will diligently execute this project with our partners.”

Speaking about the milestone, Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, said: “We are delighted to work with our partners and sign a PPA with a record-low tariff for solar power. We are working to secure long-term energy supply and reinforce solar power’s integral role in meeting current and future energy needs. Combined with key technological advances, the Al Dhafra Solar PV project will have a significant impact on diversifying the approach to our current electricity supply, and drive our strategic plan to further contribute towards the sector’s transformation in water and electricity production, as we develop a low-carbon grid in the UAE.”

Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables added:

“We are very proud to be awarded the largest solar project in the world at Al Dhafra. This success reflects the quality of our competitive bid submitted to EWEC in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with Jinko Power.

After the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park 1 GWp Phase 3 with DEWA and Masdar as partners, and the implication in the built of the Hatta hydroelectric with storage power plant, near Dubai, this new ambitious project represents a major step forward in EDF group’s renewable energies development in the UAE. These solar projects, along with the Dumat Al Jandal 400 MW wind farm under construction in Saudi Arabia, clearly demonstrate our commitment to actively participate to the energy transition of the Middle East. The region with its great ambitions in low carbon energies is strategic for EDF. Al Dhafra new project greatly contributes to meet the EDF Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which aims to double its renewable installed energy capacity from 2015 to 2030 worldwide to 50 GW nets.”

Tariff clarity for private PVs, energy communities up to 1MW

Tariff levels at which photovoltaic energy producers not participating in auctions sell output will, as of May 1 next year, be fixed and not adjusted in accordance with average prices of preceding auctions, as has been the case until now, as a result of a number of legislative acts and related ministerial decisions.

This new system concerns private owners of photovoltaics with capacities up to 500 KW and photovoltaic energy communities with total capacities up to 1 MW.

However, until May 1, 2021, numerous photovoltaic projects will have secured tariffs determined by the results of a recent RES auction on July 27.

Tariff prices until November 26, 2020 will be 70.3 euros per MWh for private owners of photovoltaics up to 500 KW and 73.64 euros per MWh for energy communities up to 1 MW.

Between November 27 and a four-month period following a RES auction announced by the energy ministry for December – in other words, until April, 2021 – private owners of photovoltaics up to 500 KW will be able to sell output for 65.73 euros per MWh and energy communities up to 1 MW for 68.86 euros per MWh.

Further ahead, between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022, private owners of photovoltaics up to 500 KW will be able to sell output for 63 euros per MWh and energy communities up to 1 MW for 65 euros per MWh

Barring unexpected changes, tariff levels have been set all the way to  April 30, 2022, offering investors clarity for their business plans.

PHAOS: Sungrow inverter orders over 100 MW since last August

PHAOS Renewables, a Greek company with extensive experience in the PV sector and the official distributor in Greece and Cyprus of SUNGROW, the global leader in solar inverters, has announced SUNGROW inverter orders have exceeded 100 MW since August, 2019.

More specifically, PHAOS Renewables has undertaken the supply of  SUNGROW’s solar inverters concerning the new Commercial Extreme (CX) and High Extreme (HX) lines, PHAOS Renewables announced in a statement.

SG110CX, SG50CX and SG250HX inverters along with the appropriate telecommunication systems, COM100E, were ordered for and are supplied to 135 projects of 500KW to 1MW nominal power, adding up to the impressive figure of 103 MW in less than a year, the company noted. The projects are owned by various energy communities and private investors in Greece, it added.

The company estimates this achievement would have been even greater had global market activity not been suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.  The company is set for plenty of Q3/2020 action with a significant pipeline of projects in line.

PHAOS Renewables remains committed to continuing in the same manner so as to preserve the achievement of more than 100MW in less than a year, without any impact in terms of the quality of the services that it provides to its clients. For this reason, it continues to invest in people by hiring experienced solar experts and looks towards the future with greater confidence, the company noted.

PHAOS Renewables has already achieved partnerships and cooperation with global solar leaders and guarantees the provision of high-quality solutions regarding solar inverters, PV modules and mounting structures, both fixed and moving (solar trackers).

Moreover, it has successfully participated in the supply of PV modules and mounting structures for various projects in Greece.

Aiming to exclusively provide absolutely reliable products, and also committed to serve its partners’ and clients’ needs with products and services of the highest possible value, its portfolio consists of PV equipment coming from the leaders of the industry, it noted.

Germany’s ABO Wind dominates RES auction’s PV category

Germany’s ABO Wind was the most dominant bidder at Greece’s latest RES auction, earlier this week, securing approximately one third of the photovoltaic section’s total capacity for five 10-MW projects in Igoumenitsa, northwestern Greece, according to a PV-Magazine report.

The German energy group submitted the auction’s lowest bids, 0.04586, 0.04587 and 0.04883 euros per KWh.

Wind energy projects secured a far greater total capacity than photovoltaics at the auction, 481 MW compared to 142 MW. Also, photovoltaics registered new record-low tariff prices for the Greek market.

Heliotherma secured tariffs for two solar energy parks of 11.9 MW each in Thiva, northwest of Athens at prices of 0.053 euros per KWh. Metka secured tariffs for four projects representing a total capacity of 11 MW.

Other successful bidders included PPC Renewables, securing tariffs for an 11-MW solar park, part of a planned 50-MW complex, in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

The auction’s highest tariff price was 0.06245 euros per KWh, while the average was 0.04981 euros per KWh. A total of 39 projects secured tariffs at the auction.

Tariff prices for the auction’s wind energy section ranged from 0.05386 euros per KWh to 0.0577 euros per KWh.

Gas, renewables cover 76% of electricity demand in June

Natural gas and renewable energy sources covered 76 percent of electricity demand in June, limiting lignite’s contribution to a mere 5 percent, latest figures provided by power grid operator IPTO have shown.

The development highlights the fast-approaching end of the lignite era in Greece, currently in transition towards green energy.

Natural gas-fueled generation in June covered 37 percent of electricity demand, plus 2 percent contributed by cooling, heating and power (CCHP) generation, while renewables contributed 37 percent, including hydropower input of 9 percent.

Highlighting lignite’s severely diminished role in generation, PPC restricted its lignite-fired generation last month by 75 percent compared to the equivalent month a year earlier.

During this same one-year period, renewable energy source generation increased by 7.6 percent, while natural gas-based electricity production was up by a milder 1.2 percent, the IPTO data showed.

In another noteworthy statistic, all of the country’s lignite units were switched off for 40 hours, continuously, for the first time in June.

RES auction prices down in both wind, solar categories

Wind-energy capacity bids at a RES auction staged this morning fell as low as 53.86 euros per MWh, while, in the photovoltaic category, bids dropped to a level of between 45 and 46 euros per MWh, sources informed.

Levels were lower than those registered at the most recent RES auction, last December.

A capacity of about 10 MW was left over for wind energy installations while the entire capacity on offer for photovoltaics was taken up.

Successful bidders included PPC Renewables, for an 11-MW solar energy facility, part of a 50-MW solar park in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

A total of 52 projects representing an overall capacity of 199.43 MW took part in Category 1, for solar energy projects of up to 20 MW. Investors behind these projects competed for 142.45 MW.

Category 2, for wind energy projects of up to 50 MW, drew 25 projects representing a total capacity of 748.37 MW. Investors competed for 481.45 MW.

At the most recent RE auction, last December, the average price for solar energy projects of up to 20 MW ranged between 65.99 euros per MWh and 53.82 euros per MWh, averaging 59.98 euros per MWh.

Prices, last December, for wind energy projects of up to 50 MW ranged between 61.94 euros per MWh and 55.77 euros per MWh, averaging 57.74 euros per MWh.

Low-cost gas driving down wholesale electricity prices

The abundance of low-cost natural gas, enabling electricity producers operating gas-fired power stations to offer extremely competitive prices, is reshaping the wholesale electricity market.

Highlighting this development, the average level of the System Marginal Price, or wholesale electricity price, today, a day of strong demand, is expected to be contained below 40 euros per MWh, at 39.551 €/MWh.

Today’s electricity demand is expected to peak over 8.3 GW with total consumption reaching 168,674 MWh. The wholesale price during the peak hours will not exceed 38.850 €/MWh.

The market conditions for today are not an isolated incident but part of a wider trend that has developed during the week.

Yesterday’s average SMP was just 35.961 €/MWh despite a peak of 8,105 MW and total electricity consumption of 162,777 MWh.

On Wednesday, when demand peaked at 8,072 MW and overall consumption totaled 162,492 MWh, the SMP was 39.243 €/MWh.

The SMP exceeded the 40 €/MWh level just once this week, on Tuesday, reaching 40.689 €/MWh, a day whose peak was below 8000 MW.

The week started with Monday’s SMP average at 39.277 €/MWh, a lower peak of 7,649 MW, and total consumption for the day of 152,716 MWh.

SMP prices have been falling to even lower levels during weekends. Last Sunday, the average SMP was just 30.629 €/MWh with the peak down to 6,370 MW and the day’s consumption at 134,563 MWh.

The grid relied on just one lignite-fired power station, Agios Dimitris III, last Sunday. Demand was primarily covered by gas-fired generation, as well as renewable energy sources, hydropower units and electricity imports.

JinkoSolar silicon cell breaks solar conversion efficiency record

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, has announced that the maximum solar conversion efficiency of its large-area N-type monocrystalline silicon solar cells reached 24.79%, and have set a world record for large-size contact-passivated solar cells. This result was independently confirmed by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH), Germany.

JinkoSolar’s R&D teams of experts in silicon wafer, solar cells and solar modules have made significant breakthroughs in the field of high efficiency and high power of cells and modules for many years, the company noted.

The record-breaking mono-crystalline silicon solar cell was fabricated on a high quality CZ mono-Si substrate, with a practical size of 267.72cm2, and several advanced technologies have been implemented to achieve this new record of 24.79%, including passivating contact technologies, advanced diffusion system, surface passivation and advanced anti-reflection technologies, and a series of material upgrade were integrated into the cell process. The record-breaking mono-crystalline silicon solar cell will be gradually applied to product production.

“JinkoSolar has reached a key R&D milestone and our commitment towards technological innovation in silicon material, cell fabrication and module processing technologies has led to multiple world records for the efficiency of solar cells and modules. We are very proud to break the world record with advanced large-area N-type cell in the world, and this innovative cell technology also holds the world record for PV module efficiency,” commented Dr. Jin Hao, CTO of JinkoSolar . “We will constantly invest in upgrading technologies to achieve mass production, and to lead the way by providing high efficiency and competitive industrial products for our global customers.”


Power demand dives 14.61% in June as tourism slumps

Electricity demand slumped 14.61 percent in June, compared to a year earlier, despite the month’s lifting of lockdown measures, latest Greek energy exchange figures have shown.

June’s drop in power demand, attributed to the unprecedented decline in tourism activity, was even bigger than the declines registered in April and May, 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Numerous hotels and other tourism industry units have not opened for business. Also, flight bans were essentially not lifted until the beginning of this month.

Responding to the drop in electricity demand, energy producers have restricted output by 16 percent.

Natural gas and renewables dominated electricity generation in June. Natural gas-fueled generation covered 36.56 percent of demand, while RES production covered 26.43 percent, the energy exchange’s June report showed. Electricity imports covered 23.93 percent, hydropower 7.43 percent and lignite-fired production 5.64 percent.



Solar energy sector country’s biggest RES player since 2014

Solar energy systems have played a key part in the RES sector’s increased share of the country’s energy mix since 2014, data provided by power grid operator IPTO has shown.

RES and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) units in operation at the end of 2019 totaled 6,373 MW, of which 3,301 MW concern wind energy parks and 2,640 MW concern photovoltaic systems.

The number of RES licenses granted until the end of 2019 totaled a capacity of 30.3 GW, according to IPTO data included in the operator’s ten-year development plan covering 2020 to 2029, forwarded for consultation.

These licenses mainly concern wind and solar energy projects, with hydropower stations as well as biomass and biogas units playing a smaller role.


Jinko Tiger Pro series promises major module efficiency boost

Dimitris Varlamis, Jinko’s head of sales for southeast Europe, elaborates on the advanced technology offered by the Tiger Pro module series.  

Compared to a traditional module, what is unique about Jinko’s Tiger PRO module?

Jinko Tiger Pro series combines some of the most advanced technologies currently available in mass-production to increase module power up to 585Wp480Wp module efficiency above 21.4% based on monocrystalline PERC cells and available in both mono and bifacial versions.

Tiling Ribbon technology eliminates the inter-cell gap and increases the efficiency, together with the half-cut cell design which reduces cell current mismatch and ribbon power losses.

In addition to that, the MBB technology shrinks the distance between the main busbar and the finger grid line which decreases the resistance loss and increases both power output and efficiency especially in low irradiance environment.

The module uses a tiling ribbon solution. What is the difference between that and a shingled module and paving technology?

Shingling is very advanced technology and very similar to TR for the cell overlapping concept. The key difference is that everything is based on the metal glue for the overlap and therefore it’s not really reliable if you don’t have a special structure of the cells, which however makes them not cost-effective. However, Shingling is not the mainstream production process so the cells could be too fragile. You risk the disconnection of the cells. Metal wire is still the most reliable with the standard, mono-PERC high efficiency.

Paving doesn’t really increase the density compared to TR or shingling because cells do not overlap hence that increases complexity in the cell interconnection and there can be shunts or possible damages of the cells.

Tiling ultimately is a light overlap of cells to increase power density which gives the highest possible packing factor for cells into a module, without changing dramatically the module production methods and basis technology. This is the advantage of the Tiger Pro series, using a consolidated, established technology with an add on technology, tiling and multi-busbar, which increase module efficiency and Wp.

The MBB interconnection gives the electrical connection. There is no metal glue that makes the interconnection between cells. The overlap is purely aimed to increase the packing factor of cells into the module. The interconnection is made by the wire and that is still now the most reliable cell interconnection method.

Is the tiling ribbon solution a proven technology? For example, what about its performance in process stability, material reliability and yield?

The mature and reliable mono PERC  HC technology, which was successfully used in Cheetah & Swan series, is used also for Tiger and Tiger Pro series to significantly increase the module power, and to increase module reliability, by mitigating  for instance the hot spot effect significantly compared to the previous full-cell technology.

Materials used for the production are standard module materials and Tiger Pro module is manufactured almost as a normal Half Cell module, except the welding process and TR technology, which flattens the ribbon to ensure reliability at the cell overlapping area.

The cross section of the wire, at the overlap it becomes squeezed and takes this z-like shape, which is the trick that we implemented to reduce the mechanical stress you have on the cells due to the overlap – which could be a crack trigger, but it is solved by the special shape of the wire, to limit the mechanical stress. For reliability that is important.

Jinko has also upgraded the performance warranty for the monofacial series by offering 2% degradation in the first year and a 0.55% linear warranty for the remaining 25 24 years and for the bifacial series by offering 0.45% linear warranty for the remaining 30 years.

Are there any changes in size for the Tiger PRO module? For example, what is the wafer size?

The modules are larger than our previous series because we use larger cells for production, we can’t disclose precise details at the moment but we believe it is the most advantageous  solution for both module performance and compatibility for the optimal PV system integration and profitability.

Tiger Pro module was designed with the support of inverter manufacturers such as Huawei, Sungrow, SMA, Fimer and SolarEdge. Solar trackers providers such as Soltec, Arctech Solar, Nextracker, and Array Technologies also provided input to assure compatibility of their products with Tiger Pro modules and the best possible overall cost structure.

What are the advantages in system cost and LCOE for the Tiger PRO module?How do you calculate cost reduction?

PV projects yield and profitability significantly increase thanks to the reduced LCOE and increased IRR achieved with the higher module efficiency and power density of Tiger Pro modules. In fact the improved low irradiance performance of Tiger series enables an average of 1.57% higher energy generation compared with 5BB module and thanks to the TR technologies. Moreover Tiger Pro series in particular, thanks to its higher efficiency compared to similar power class products available in the market  allows to reduce  by around 2% the BOS cost, saving 1.4% land cost,  1.3% EPC cost, 9% string number, 2% clamps/structure costs therefore reducing further the overall LCOE.

There is also a broad range of adaptive inverters and mounting solutions that enable Tiger Pro panel to realize its full potential to the best; we are able in this way to reduce the LCOE at a very competitive level, making solar power plants much more competitive than in the past. We also reduced the logistics cost for modules transport, which represents about 5% to 7% of its total cost.

What are, besides the use of solar energy, additional benefits for the environment and society of the Tiger PRO module?

The Tiger module has reached 450 (kg eq CO2/kWc) and is currently going through the CFT Certification process; we expect comparable results for the Tiger Pro series.

The high module efficiency allows to use less amount of mounting structure, combiner box and cable, leading to low BOS cost which helps to decrease the LCOE and improve the IRR of PV project, promoting the grid parity in different countries.

Higher efficiency and power density of Tiger effectively enables to optimize the usage of space to generate more clean energy; it can also save up to 8.2% transportation resource, which decrease carbon emission significantly. Finally, the round shaped MBB reflects the light to cell reducing light pollution and glare effect.

What about the ramped production of the Tiger PRO module and its efficiency? What’s your capacity forecast for next year?

As the production processes are roughly the same, we can virtually convert almost all production capacity to Tiger, however it does take some time to convert the stringer machines from 5 BB to MBB.

We are anyway planning at least half annual module production, so roughly 9-10 GW, for Tiger only planning to begin mass-production of the new series in the fourth quarter of this year, but will begin accepting the first orders already from now.

What are Jinko’s target markets for this module?

We developed these products based on our long experience in big power plants out of the necessity to combine the increasing customer demand for higher efficiency and class power modules for both utility scale plants and C&I rooftop installation applications.

Tiger Pro is the upgrade from current mainstream production Cheetah version, allowing also to produce both monofacial and bifacial modules, thus making it suitable for either utility and C&I projects, also compatible with the cutting-edge transparent backsheet technology based on Dupont’s Clear Tedlar film to endow backsheet with excellent corrosion resistance, anti-UV capability and resistance to water vapor permeation. Because of the intrinsic features of the Tedlar, the transparent backsheet is also easier to clean requiring less maintenance.

What about the market response to this new product up till now?

Tiger PRO is still in launch phase so it is too early to assess the market response with precise figures, however the interest from our customers in our current Tiger series is already pretty high and we have already filled the order book with almost 2GW shipments worldwide already, so we expect that our new Tiger Pro version with foster even more the success of this innovative technology taking more market share going ahead thanks to its additional benefits for our customers PV project investments.

Jinko is currently the largest company in the PV industry in terms of module shipments. Could you talk a little about your product development strategy?

All Jinko products are always developed out of the necessity to combine the increasing customer demand for solutions that can effectively increase the IRR and profitability of their PV project investments with the most advanced technology innovations compatible with the current industrial production processes to supply higher performance and class power modules for each specific segment, either large utility scale projects, commercial and industrial installations, rooftop and residential applications.

This is the advantage also of the new Tiger Pro series, which is an upgrade our current mainstream Cheetah product using a mature and reliable technology, with more advanced add-on technology like Tiling-Ribbons and multi-wire, to improve the power density and module performance thus addressing the needs of the market for higher efficiency and higher Wp modules for both commercial and industrial rooftop installation applications.

Terna Energy sells Idaho wind farm for profit of more than $30m

Greece’s Terna Energy has announced the sale of its 138-MW Mountain Energy wind energy park in the US state of Idaho to Innergex Renewable Energy for a sum of 215 million dollars, securing a profit of more than 30 million euros.

This facility’s operating profit in 2019 reached 17.6 million dollars.

Following the sale of its Idaho unit, Terna Energy, which entered the American green energy market in 2011, now owns and operates three wind energy parks with a total capacity of approximately 512 MW, all in the state of Texas.

“Approximately ten years ago, we took a strategic decision to expand our investment program into the US market. This decision has proven to be extremely beneficial for the group and its shareholders as, besides the significant increase in group profitability, it has also offered major gains and capital for our new investment program,” noted Giorgos Peristeris, CEO at Terna Energy. “We have already planned 1.7 billion euros of investments in Greece for the green energy, pumped storage and waste management sectors,” he added.

Terna Energy will continue to bolster its growth in the US green energy market, Peristeris noted.

The company is focused on investment opportunities that promise big gains for shareholders, he said.

Terna Energy’s portfolio is now comprised of facilities – operational, under construction or at the pre-construction stage – with a total capacity in excess of 1,800 MW in Greece, the US, central and eastern Europe.

The group aims to increase its total installed capacity to 2,800 MW over the next five years.


REN21 chief: RES policies must also look beyond electricity

Renewable energy sources are gaining greater presence but their growth rate is insufficient to cover gaps in sectors beyond electricity generation, professor Arthuros Zervos, president of REN21, a global energy policy network supporting a rapid transition to renewable energy, has made clear in an interview with energypress.

The main focus is still on electricity generation but it is vitally important that the attention is also turned to other domains such as heating, cooling and transportation, as these fields represent more than 80 percent of energy consumption, Zervos noted, reiterating positions included in REN21’s Renewables 2020 Global Status Report, just presented.

A total of 143 countries implemented decarbonization policies between 2004 and 2019, while green policies for transportation and heating/cooling during the same period were limited to 70 and 23 countries, respectively, the report showed.

Taking a look at the bigger picture of the global energy mix shows that renewable energy sources represented a mere 11 percent of total energy consumption in 2018, the REN21 chief noted.

The RES sector’s share of total energy consumption has increased by just 1.4 percent between 2013 and 2018, from 9.6 to 11 percent, he pointed out.

Fossil fuels maintained a dominant share of total energy consumption, at 79.9 percent, while the biomass sector registered 6.9 percent and nuclear energy 2.2 percent, the REN21 chief noted.

An anemic investment growth rate in green energy and renewables, worldwide, during the age of energy transition is another cause for concern, Zervos underlined.

RES investments grew by just 1 percent between 2018 and 2019 to reach 282 billion dollars, the REN21 head noted.

“The objective should be to accelerate RES growth and not slow it down,” Zervos explained, adding that policies supporting RES growth need to be shaped and supported.


Five bidders vying for PPC Renewables’ Kozani giant solar park

Five bidding teams, including Greek and foreign partnerships, are vying for the construction contract of PPC Renewables’ 200-MW solar energy park in Kozani, northern Greece, one of Europe’s biggest, energypress sources have informed.

A tender has been completed but the announcement of the winning bidder is expected to take some time.

The 200-MW solar park represents the biggest section of a three-part complex with a total capacity of 230 MW planned by PPC Renewables for the Kozani area.

PPC Renewables is scheduled to sign a contract tomorrow with Metka, a member of the Mytilineos group, concerning the construction of the first of these three units, a 15-MW facility.

Terna Energy, the winning bidder of the overall project’s other smaller-scale unit, also 15 MW, is expected to sign its contract with PPC Renewables by the end of this month.

The total budget for the project’s three sections amounts to 130 million euros, of which 110 million euros concern the 200-MW facility.

On another front, PPC Renewables plans to launch another tender by July 28 for a 50-MW solar park in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

For this facility, PPC Renewables will not seek fixed tariffs through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, but, instead, operate the unit based on target model rules, through two-party power purchase agreements (PPAs) with electricity buyers.

US wants Greece as partner for pumped storage projects

Recognizing the importance of pumped storage hydropower technology as a means for energy storage, the US is promoting the establishment of a related international forum to bring together countries and companies for co-development of such projects.

According to sources, Greek deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas has received an invitation from the US department of energy and the International Hydropower Association requesting Greece’s participation in a US-headed multidisciplinary platform that will seek to reinforce the role of pumped-storage technology in current and future energy systems.

Pumped storage hydropower supply during the pandemic has provided vital energy support for US households, hospitals and schools, American experts have determined.

Washington believes pumped storage hydropower projects are capable of enhancing the reliability of grids and supporting further renewable energy penetration. This technology, regarded as tried and tested, can be further developed in the energy transition era, US experts support.

Pumped storage hydropower currently represents about 94 percent of global energy storage capacity, latest data has shown.

A pumped storage hydropower project planned by Greece’s GEK TERNA in Amfilohia, western Greece, is regarded as a pioneering initiative in Europe.

The country’s energy ministry has approached the European Commission for special funding support for this project, budgeted at over 500 million euros.


ENTSO-E pledges for climate-neutral, resilient, innovative European recovery

The Green Deal represents an unprecedented energy and societal transition with a massive deployment of large-scale renewable sources, innovative low carbon technologies, deeper electrification, new electrical uses, and energy system integration. ENTSO-E welcomes the European Commission’s strategy to gear all policies towards achieving a climate-neutral, resilient and innovative EU. The European TSOs stand ready to do their part to help the green recovery.

During the COVID-19 crisis, TSOs have demonstrated their unfailing solidarity and entire commitment to deliver electricity to all EU consumers and vital services. This unprecedented crisis should not deter EU and national Governments to deliver on the Green Deal as it is core to the European economic recovery. For the green recovery to be a success, ENTSO-E recommends EU policy makers to:

1/ recognize the key-enabling role of electricity TSOs in the energy system integration. As system operators, grid planners & developers, and as market facilitators, TSOs can drive Europe’s energy ecosystem towards a “system of interconnected systems” starting with the development of a multi-sectorial approach to grid planning and anticipatory investment for both onshore and offshore networks.

2/ put electrification at the heart of EU decarbonization policies. Electricity is the dominant vector for clean energy and the electricity transmission network will play a central role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

3/ invest in low-carbon and fit-for-purpose infrastructures and their digital “twins”. Investing in the adequate extension of the transmission network and in the “cyber physical” power system delivers value for the whole society in terms of competitiveness, resilience and sustainability. Innovation is essential and especially in areas that will help most the transformation materialize.

4/ ensure a smooth recovery of the whole electricity value chain. The lockdown measures impacted the whole electricity sector. Risk of shortage in strategic value chains and of critical materials should be monitored and addressed. This is also about strengthening Europe’s industrial and strategic autonomy.

Investing in the transmission grid helps move the energy transition forward and concretely supports Europe’s economic recovery by generating direct and indirect revenues throughout the planning and building phase, and by reducing price differentials between regions and the overall energy costs. Policy makers’ and stakeholders’ support is needed to overcome barriers to the needed extension and upgrading of the transmission power network, notably when it comes to facilitating the permitting process.

ENTSO-E and its members are committed to put their expertise at the service of decision makers to turn the EU Green Deal into reality and believe that these recommendations will contribute to the climate-neutral, resilient and innovative recovery of the European economy.

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.

VW considers Astypalaia island as electromobility testing site

German automaker Volkswagen, preparing to conduct real-condition tests on a range of new electric vehicles, including self-driving models, is considering the Greek island Astypalaia as a testing site.

Astypalaia is one of the Greek islands the government is looking to convert into a green island with self-sufficient RES generation.

VW is now considering to proceed with investments needed on Astypalaia for its planned electromobility and self-driving car tests. The island was proposed by the Greek government as an appropriate testing site.

A team of VW officials were in Athens in February for a related meeting with Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis, responsible for economic diplomacy and extroversion.

This Dodecanese island is among the Greek islands capable of hosting RES and energy storage systems as well as electric vehicle recharging infrastructure required by VW for its testing, Greek authorities support.

DEPA Commerce 5-year business plan includes turn to RES sector

Gas company DEPA Commerce’s five-year business plan for 2020-2024, containing investments estimated at 200 million euros, aspires to broaden the company’s interests by also incorporating renewable energy projects totaling 200 MW, either through independent development or acquisitions of mature plans.

Privatization fund TAIPED and the energy ministry are expected to approve the DEPA Commerce business plan within July.

DEPA Commerce was formed by gas utility DEPA as a new entity for its privatization procedure.

Besides RES projects, the DEPA Commerce business plan also includes hydrogen and biomethane projects, as well as electromobility initiatives.

The company’s expansion of business activities is expected to lead to greatly increased EBITDA and profit figures.

Once finalized and approved, the DEPA Commerce five-year business plan will be included in the due diligence package for prospective bidders.

DEDDIE not coping with RES connection term applications

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO is struggling to keep up with an increasing inflow of applications for connection terms by investors behind solar energy projects, while, in many cases, many applications, when finally processed, are not being approved as a result of network saturation.

This problem mainly concerns smaller-scale investments whose capacity is not enough to warrant grid connections via the power grid operator IPTO. DEDDIE is not able to upgrade the network with substations, wherever this is technically possible.

Though the distribution operator has made considerable administrative progress it has not been enough to cope with the increased number of applications.

In the first half of 2020, DEDDIE responded, either positively or negatively, to a total of 1,500 connection term applications by RES investors representing a total of 580 MW, energypress sources informed.

This is almost double the inflow processed by DEDDIE in the second half of 2019 (730 applications, 245 MW), and triple the number the distribution operator processed in the first half of 2019 (520 applications, 165 MW).

Highlighting the scale of the problem faced by DEDDIE, some 7,000 applications arriving from various parts of the the country currently remain pending. Even at its currently faster pace, DEDDIE will require at least two years to get through these applications, joined constantly be new arrivals, many of these concerning energy communities, which are given priority.


Hydrocarbons can push RES sector to next stage, new EDEY official says

The hydrocarbons industry will continue to play an important role in the energy mix until 2050, despite a shift in policies turning to renewable energy, and could also serve as a lever of support propelling the RES sector to its next stage, according to Aristofanis Stefatos, the newly appointed chief executive of EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company.

Stefatos and Rikard Skoufias, concurrently named new president of EDEY, offered their views on the upstream sector during questioning by Greek Parliament’s permanent committee on institutions and transparency.

The two men, both proposed by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis for the top EDEY jobs, officially assumed their roles following approval by the committee.

During questioning, committee members asked about the future of the hydrocarbons sector and licenses in Greece given the major decline in crude oil prices, as well as climate change policies being adopted.

Stefatos described the dip in crude oil prices as a temporary condition, noting the sector has experienced such situations in the past before rebounding. “It is only a matter of time before the same thing happens again,” he noted.

The two officials were also asked to comment on environmental protection issues, while Stefatos, the new chief executive, was asked to clarify on his position as shareholder of a Norwegian upstream company.

An offshore corridor running down from Albania into Greece’s EEZ has potential, while signs of a deposit in the area are encouraging, Stefatos told the committee. However, further 3D seismic surveys must soon be conducted in the area, he stressed.

Expanded energy efficiency upgrade program planned

A new subsidy program for domestic energy efficiency upgrades, to replace a preceding Saving at Home model in autumn, will feature more ambitious objectives than those set in the National Energy and Climate Plan, be constantly open for applicants, carry greater capital, and apply for a wider range of energy efficiency interventions, including smart home technology installations, deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas has pointed out in an interview with Greek daily to Ethnos.

Over the past decade, some 130,000 homes were upgraded at a cost of 1.3 billion euros, but a swifter rate will be sought through the new subsidy program, the minister noted.

The achievement of national energy policy objectives will require some 60,000 domestic energy efficiency upgrades per year and approximately 8 billion euros in funds until 2030, Thomas explained, adding that Greece will seek greater capital amounts through the EU recovery fund.

“Due to the requirements created in the context of the recent macroeconomic conditions and forecasts, we are working on a modern and much more ambitious framework to reinforce household energy upgrades for a transition to a support system offering energy upgrades and autonomy,” Thomas noted. “The new program is a direct government response to the post-pandemic era, the aim being to boost economic activity in domestic value-added sectors such as construction, manufacturing of building materials and solar systems, and also strengthen households by reducing energy costs.”

An even wider base of households will be eligible for the new subsidy program, while increased subsidy rates will be offered if predetermined energy efficiency targets are achieved by interventions, he added.


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.

PPC, Copelouzos end idle joint venture, grounded for years by unions

Power utility PPC and the Copelouzos group have agreed to dissolve a joint venture, PPC Solar Solutions, formed eight years ago for development of retail outlets around Greece for electricity sales, energy services and domestic solar panel installations, but never able to get off the ground.

Fierce and adamant opposition by PPC union groups against the joint venture, formed in January, 2012 as an innovative move – for its time – stifled the business plan.

The Copelouzos group’s Damco held a 51 percent stake in this joint venture, PPC holding the other 49 percent.

In 2017, the power utility’s then-CEO, Manolis Panagiotakis made an effort to revive the idle business plan, but his initiative also sparked a heated response and resistance from PPC unions.

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.

One PPC rate for consumption above, below 2,000 kWh

Power utility PPC will continue offering a single tariff rate for consumption levels above and below 2,000 kWh per four-month billing period once the utility’s lockdown-related support package expires on June 26, sources have informed.

During lockdown, PPC offered an 8 percent tariff discount for consumption levels of more than 2,000 kWh per four-month billion period. This offer’s resulting tariff rate, 0.11058 euros per kWh, is being kept.

Prior to the lockdown package’s introduction, lasting three months, PPC customers were charge 0.11936 euros per kWh for consumption over 2,000 kWh. The lower rate also applies for consumption levels below 2,000 kWh.

PPC’s new pricing policy, still undisclosed, is also expected to offer benefits to customers paying their electricity bills on time.

The power utility’s independent rivals are offering like-minded packages. For at least one month now, independent suppliers have offered considerable tariff discounts at par with lower nighttime rates. These offers are valid for new customers as long as payment punctuality is maintained.

Energy costs – natural gas and wholesale electricity prices – fell considerably during the lockdown period, providing suppliers leeway for lower-price offers to customers.

According to the Greek energy exchange, the System Marginal Price (wholesale electricity price) ended May at 34.27 euros per MWh, down from 65.91 euros per MWh in the equivalent month a year earlier, a 48 percent year-on-year drop.

In May, natural gas-fueled power stations were responsible for 50.1 percent of Greece’s overall electricity generation, and RES facilities contributed 38.54 percent.

PPC’s high-cost lignite-fired power stations, once the country’s dominant generating source, contributed just 3.46 percent in May, an 87 percent year-on-year drop.


Natural gas provides half of domestic generation in May, RES also on the rise

Natural gas’ share of overall electricity generation in Greece reached 50.1 percent in May, a 29 percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, highlighting that the country’s energy transition is well and truly in motion.

Renewable energy output is also on the rise, increasing by 30 percent between May this year and last May.

On the contrary, lignite-fired electricity production plummeted 87 percent year on year.

Gas-fueled power station generation covered 38.5 percent of the grid’s needs in May, RES production captured a 29.62 percent share, electricity imports contributed 23.14 percent, hydropower output provided 6.07 percent and lignite units just 2.66 percent.

In the RES sector, wind energy led the way with a 49.82 percent share of this sector’s grid contribution in May, solar energy followed with 40 percent, small-scale hydropower facilities were next with 4.68 percent, biomass-biogas was represented with a 3.68 percent share, and CCHP (combined cooling, heat and power) with 1.81 percent.

Electricity imports and exports are an emerging sector with an increasingly important role in balancing national grids, a prospect that is attracting market players, data covering the year’s first five months has shown.

Electricity imports into Greece via the interconnection shared with Italy captured a 42.38 percent share of overall imports in May, a sharp rise from the previous month’s 32.35 percent share through this link.

Electricity imports from Bulgaria fell to 8.38 percent of the overall amount in May from 23.1 percent in April. Minor changes, between April and May, were registered for Greek imports from interconnections with Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey.

Greek electricity exports to Italy fell sharply to 7.56 percent of the overall total in May from 49.51 percent in April.

The country’s electricity exports to Turkey and Bulgaria rose significantly. Exports to Turkey represented 39.47 percent of Greek power exports in May, up from 17.38 percent a month earlier. Electricity exports to Bulgaria represented 25.69 percent of Greece’s total in May, much higher than April’s 6.17 percent through this interconnection.