RES license simplification proposals forwarded by RAE

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has delivered, for public consultation, a set of proposals aiming to simplify licensing procedures for renewable energy production.

The authority’s proposals focus on the simplification of assessment criteria used for RES production applications, primarily wind and solar energy facilities, as well as immediate processing of applications through transparent and objective means.

The recently elected conservative New Democracy government’s energy ministry has pledged it will take action to simplify licensing procedures in the RES sector. Current delays, which can take years, are affecting investment activity.

Deputy to present more ambitious national energy plan at EU meeting

Deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas, an advocate of further RES penetration and complete decarbonization in Europe by 2050, will present a revised national package of cleaner energy proposals and more ambitious RES targets at a council of EU energy ministers in Finland on September 24, ministry associates have informed.

The ministers will meet to update National Energy and Climate Plan targets for 2030 at the Finnish meeting next week, in preparation for an EU summit in mid-October to focus on longer-term climate change targets between 2030 and 2050.

Thomas, until recently the Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, is expected to present a Greek package based on three key aspects in Finland next week.

One will concern swifter market decarbonization through the withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations. Another will call for a RES market share increase to 35 percent from a previous target of 31 percent. A brief summary on how this increase can be achieved will be presented at next week’s meeting. The plan’s third aspect entails energy efficiency improvement and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

It is believed the deputy minister will also present – as a wider and supportive fourth tool – a proposal for the establishment of an improved institutional framework in support of further energy storage and, by extension, more effective RES penetration of the energy mix.

Ministry seeking fresh setting for energy sector negotiations

The energy ministry is seeking radical changes to the setting amid which imminent energy-sector negotiations with the country’s lenders, especially the European Commission, will take place.

The talks will focus on Greece’s energy direction, the electricity market’s structure and power utility PPC’s place in it.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis will be hoping to avoid discussion on the extent of Greece’s adherence to bailout program obligations concerning the energy sector as, quite clearly, there is much catching up to do. For example, state-controlled PPC is well behind on its retail market share contraction targets, while the utility’s disinvestment plan for lignite assets has not produced results.

Instead, Hatzidakis will seek a new overall solution for the country’s electricity market to entail the adoption and implementation of EU strategic planning and the eradication of any systemic threats, such as a possible collapse of PPC.

According to sources, the energy minister has already presented his position to EU officials ahead of the imminent arrival to Athens of European Commission technocrats, as have ministerial assistants on a recent visit to Brussels.

The recently elected Greek government’s new plan for the energy sector is not only aligned with European Commission demands concerning the market’s decarbonization, but also exceeds Brussels targets, officials have contended.

The new plan is completely different to those of preceding governments, which sought lignite production extensions and continued CAT remuneration mechanism support, amongst other things, a highly ranked energy official informed.

The new focus is on greater RES penetration as well as electricity and natural gas network upgrades and investments, the official added.

The delivery of a Greek post-bailout assessment will be delayed until mid-November, instead of the end of October. This slight extension gives Athens some additional time to work on its desired energy plan revisions.




Committee decides on debate for pending energy issues

A parliamentary committee meeting of presidents, also including  opposition party representatives, will meet today to decide whether a legislative amendment concerning pending energy sector revisions will be discussed and ratified this week.

The energy ministry submitted a draft bill to parliament last Friday but it remains unclear if this draft bill will make progress ahead of the snap elections, scheduled for July 7. The main opposition New Democracy party has yet to take a stance on the matter.

The bill’s core subject concerns the implementation of a capacity sufficiency mechanism and CAT remuneration for power utility PPC’s prospective Ptolemaida V power station, crucial for this unit’s sustainability. Scheduled for a launch in 2022, Ptolemaida V could emerge as Europe’s last lignite-fired power station addition.

Plans for YKO (Public Service Compensation) refunds concerning 2011 to PPC and a new payment system for RES output have also been incorporated into the bill.

A decision will also be reached at today’s meeting as to whether a second draft bill for a new RES penal code will be discussed in parliament. It was drafted some time ago. The governing Syriza party and ND appear to have agreed on this specific amendment.

Also today, the parliamentary presidents will also decide on whether the government will be permitted to table a multi-bill carrying pending emergency issues of all ministries for debate and ratification ahead of July’s general elections.


Strong US interest can be expected in local RES market, ambassador tells

American investor interest can be expected to be strong for opportunities in Greece’s renewable energy market, the US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, has told an American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce event, at its Thessaloniki branch, for the New Year.

Though the ambassador did not elaborate, he presumably had a number of companies in mind.

Tesla has already revealed its interest in the Greek market through a microgrid proposal for the country’s non-interconnected islands dubbed Powerpack. It is based on solar panels and large-capacity batteries. Tesla officials met with Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis early last month to discuss the issue.

Another highly-ranked US diplomat, speaking on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki event, informed that beyond Tesla, further American interest in Greece’s RES market should also be expected from a major Chicago-based company active in wind energy production and storage. An additional one or two US companies could also enter the picture, according to this diplomat.

Three major companies active in wind energy production and storage are based in Chicago. Acciona, one of the three, has operated two wind energy parks with a total installed capacity of 48.45 MW at the Panachaic mountain range in Greece’s northern Peloponnese since 2006.

Akuo Energy, a French-American venture operating 44 projects in various parts of Europe, is believed to have renewed its interest in Greece’s RES market following activity here in the past.

Invenergy, the third Chicago-based firm, has maintained an office in Athens but shown no signs of any local activity since 2007. Pyatt, the US Ambassador of Greece, recently mentioned visiting the Invenergy headquarters in Chicago last October.

Peloponnese, Epirus capacity boosts for RES installations

Two Greek regions, the Peloponnese and Epirus’ Ioannina and Arachthos areas in the northwest, are soon expected to be given power production capacity increases, enabling the installation of small-scale RES units.

The capacities of both regions, currently saturated, for different reasons, will be mildly increased.

As part of the lead-up to this capacity boost, DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, is set to finalize a related study to be submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy. Some power stations have been stretched to their limits.

Certain criteria could be reevaluated. Regardless of the result, the aforementioned areas will be given capacity boosts permitting the use of technologies such as roof-mounted solar panels for net metering, biomass-biogas installations as well as energy community project development.

According to current regulations, RES installations in the Peloponnese are restricted to photovoltaic systems with capacites of no more than 20 KW for net metering. This limit is expected to soon be increased, according to sources, which will offer professionals greater capacity. Current limits imposed on biomass-biogas projects and energy community projects are also expected to be mildly boosted.

RAE will make final decisions based on an IPTO (power grid operator) study.

Two sub-stations in the Ioannina and Arachthos areas are currently saturated, as is also the case with a number of others around the country. However, interest for new RES installations has grown, which prompted DEDDIE/HEDNO to consider upgrading station transformers.

Operator sources informed that similar upgrade projects could also be carried out at other saturated substations in the future if investor interest for installations ensures the sustainability of related projects.


RES units past 20-year mark to be paid SMP levels for output

RES facilities operating for over 20 years will be compensated for output absorbed by the grid at System Marginal Prices, according to a ministerial decision signed by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

The SMP-level payment term will also apply for RES units past longer 27-year supply contracts offered as a result of tariff reductions they were subjected to through the new deal.

These units will need to hold new and valid licenses for the SMP-level payements.

According to sources, a legislative revision will soon be made specifying new licensing procedures for RES facilities past these 20 and 27 year periods.

The country’s first wind energy park, a 10-MW facility installed on Crete by the firm Rokas, was launched in May, 1998 on a 20-year supply contract. Its supply agreement is set to expire next month.


Renewables cover nearly 70% of needs April 1, a historic day

Renewable energy covered nearly 70 percent of the country’s electricity demand on April 1, providing a total of 78.98 GWh of 116.8 GWh required for the day.

Just three of the country’s lignite-fired power stations, Kardia IV, Amynteo I and Megalopoli IV needed to contribute on the day, all operating below full capacity.

Of the system’s gas-fueled power stations, the main power utility PPC’s Komotini, and Megalopoli V facilities, as well as two units belonging to independent producers, Enthes, operated by Elpedison, and Korinthos Power, a joint venture run by Protergia and Motor Oil Hellas, needed to deliver on this day, a historic one for the grid given the RES sector’s level of input.

The System Marginal Price (SMP) regisistered at 29.82 euros per MWh and would have dropped to an even lower level had electricity imports been more limited. These reached 21.59 GWh.

The SMP was at 8.8 euros per MWh at 10am, slipped to 7.8 euros per MWh at 3pm and slipped to 3.86 euros per MWh at 6pm before rising to over 60 euros per MWh later in the evening.

The mandatory use of hydropower facilities, prompted by overfilled reservoirs, dropped to 27.52 GWh, well below levels of previous days.

The RES sector’s contribution for the day peaked at 2pm, providing 3,447 MW of 5,568 MW, or 61.9 percent of demand at that given time.


PM, EBRD chief discuss increasing bank’s RES sector involvement

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Suma Chakrabarti discussed the prospect of the bank’s increased involvement in the country’s RES sector, among various issues, at a meeting in Athens yesterday.

The Greek prime minister made note of the country’s economic recovery in progress and the objective to swiften growth rates of small and medium-sized enterprises. Tsipras also highlighted the Greek economy’s benefits as a result of the EBRD’s activities in Greece, noting the bank’s presence will contribute to an acceleration of economic growth.

Chakrabarti, the EBRD head, commended the government for putting the economy back into growth territory and boosting employment, while adding that the bank is determined to continue offering support.

The bank’s involvement will be stretched to 2025 for financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises, the sectors of tourism, real estate, green energy, agricultural food production, as well as investments for improved municipal services.

EBRD financial investments in Greece have reached 2.5 billion euros, making Greece Europe’s fifth highest recipient. A total of 600 million euros of EBRD financial investments are expected to be made in 2018.

During his visit to Greece, the EBRD president also noted the bank intends to establish a branch in Thessaloniki for business services to small and medium-sized enterprises.

High hydropower, RES output, exports prompt SMP swings

The Greek electricity wholesale market’s System Marginal Price (SMP) has fluctuated wildly over the past three days, ranging from zero to 75 euros per MWh, key driving factors being the need to lower overfilled water reservoirs at hydropower facilities, increased RES sector output, as well as elevated electricity prices in Italy, which has spurred exports to the neighboring market.

Hydropower facilities have steadily provided 30,000 MWh over the past three days, while, during this period, RES output has risen to as much as 41,000 MWh, meaning the two sources have covered over half the country’s daily electricity needs.

Electricity imports rose to levels ranging from approximately 10,000 to 16,000 MWh over the past three days, while high prices in Italy have prompted electricity exports of roughly 9,000 MWh per day. This export activity has impacted Greece’s SMP during certain hours.

Last Sunday, for nine hours in total, the SMP was down to zero, whch lowered the day’s average SMP to just 29.41 euros per MWh. The increased contributions to the system by the hydropower and RES sectors left no room for imports, leading to the day’s zero-level SMP.

A day later, on Monday, the SMP rose sharply to 53.7 euros per MWh, and, for two hours, climbed even higher to over 75 euros per MWh, a level shaped by high-priced electricity exports to Italy.

A similar picture has prevailed today with the average SMP level positioned at slightly below 51 euros per MWh, as well as high-priced exports to Italy, which took the SMP to 71 euros per MWh for an hour.

The higher average SMP registered yesterday and today led to an increase in thermal production, reaching 52,000 MWh.

SMP plunges amid need to lower hydropower reservoirs

The oversupply of water at the main power utility PPC’s hydropower facilities, resulting from recent periods of heavy rainfall, is significantly impacting the market as a subsequent need to increase the use of these hydropower facilities, the intention being to lower water reserve levels and avoid any overflow-related threats, is drastically limiting contributions to the system by thermal units (lignite and gas-fired power stations).

Wholesale electricity prices have plunged as a result of these unusual conditions. Water reserves at PPC’s hydropower facilities now exceed the maximum level by 15 percent and offer a capacity of 2,835 GWh. The maximum level permitted, for this time of the year, is 2,460 GWh.

As a result, PPC will need to generate 375 GWh of electricity with its hydropower facilities to bring water levels at reservoirs back down to normal. A further influx of water into the power utility’s reservoirs is soon expected once snow coverage begins to melt.

The duration of PPC’s water reservoir emptying period remains unknown. Future rainfall and snow melting rates will obviously play a role.

This excess water supply, along with renewable energy output, has priority dispatch rights. The current conditions are subsequently limiting contributions to the system by thermal units.

Day-ahead market data released for today by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, noted that hydropower and RES facilities would cover 55 percent of total electricity demand. Hydropower facilities were planned to provide 33,508 MWh of the 136,596 MWh total, while RES facilities would dispatch 41,674 MWh. A further 10,000 MWh was planned to be imported, bringing the total to just over 85,000 MWh. This left about 51,000 MWh for the thermal units to cover.

The impact on the market is immense. According to the LAGIE data, the System Marginal Price (wholesale price) was set at 2 euros per MWh early in the day and later in the evening, and at 5 euros per MWh for a further three hours during the day. All this resulted in an extremely low SMP average for the day, at 32.18 euros per MWh. The maximum price for the day reached 50.46 euros per MWh.

Four of the five PPC Agios Dimitrios lignite-fired power station units, as well as the power utility’s Kardia IV, Megalopoli III, Amynteo II and Meliti were called into action for the lignite-fired electricity supply to the grid.

As for the natural gas-fueled units, PPC’s Aliveri V and Megalopoli V were called into action along with private-sector units, for limited periods, operated by ENTHES, Elpedison, Protergia and Korinthos Power.




Key speakers at Smart Islands and Small Cities event in Athens Feb 22-23

Prominent speakers from Greece and other parts of Europe will take part in Smart Islands and Small Cities, a conference organized by the Aegean Energy & Environment Agency, the Network of Sustainable Greek Islands (DAFNI) and energypress for February 22 and 23 at the Ionic Center (11 Lysiou, Plaka, Athens).

The conference is being held under the auspices of the energy ministry, to be represented by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and secretary general Mihalis Veriopoulos.

Speakers include Wioletta Dunin-Majewska, European Commission Policy Coordinator, Retail Markets, Directorate General for Energy; Willebrordus Sluijters, DG for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission; Eugenia Kazamaki Ottersten, Head of Smart Development Division, JASPERS, European Investment Bank; Lada Strelnikova, Director, Deutsche Asset Management, Investment Advisor, European Energy Efficiency Fund; and Marc Pons Pons, Regional Minister for Land Use, Energy and Mobility, Regional Government of Balearic Islands.

A speech by Panayiotis Tournavitis, General Manager at Cooperative Bank of Karditsa, arguably Greece’s most active cooperative bank with an extensive track record in supporting local green project development investments, is being eagerly anticipated.

So, too, are speeches by the mayors of Rethymno, Kalamata, Halkida, Elefsina, Velestino and Katerini, representing provincial Greek cities that have taken pioneering “urban innovation” initiatives in the fields of energy, transportation, public lighting, use of electric cars, as well as other public services.

Last but not least, announcements expected from Nikolaos Hatziargyriou, President and CEO at the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO/DEDDIE), to focus on the Smart Islands program, and Konstantinos Varlamitis, President at the Consignment Deposits and Loans Fund, to discuss subsidies and loans extended by the fund for local government projects and studies, should be interesting.


Building frenzy in wind energy sector spearheaded by Kafirea investment

Construction activity in the country’s wind energy sector has reached lofty levels in recent times, as highlighted by a capacity of more than 500 MW now being installed.

This heightened activity includes a major 300 million-euro investment in Kafirea, southern Evia, being developed by Enel’s Greek subsidiary, Enel Green Power Hellas. Development of this facility, a complex of eight wind farms to offer an overall capacity of 167 MW, is now moving ahead at full speed after the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, cleared the business plan as lawful in a verdict delivered last month.

All of the country’s major wind energy players are currently developing projects, which has boosted the sector’s construction activity to its current heights. Numerous medium and small-scale investors are also contributing to the RES sub-sector’s current development frenzy.

Projects now being developed have managed to keep steady feed-in premiums. Once these wind energy investments have been completed, the baton will be passed on to investments to emerge from the next round of auctions.

Proposals made by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for the wind energy sector include auctioning a maximum capacity of 300 MW this year, a further 300 MW in 2019 plus any leftover capacities from this year’s auctions, and an additional 300 MW in 2020 with any 2019 leftovers intact.



IPTO: The day after the ownership unbundling

The following speech, published in its entirety, was delivered by Manos Manousakis, chief executive at IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, at the Athens Energy Forum yesterday. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor and a pleasure to be one of the speakers of this year’s Athens Energy Forum, which is taking place against the backdrop of the radical transformation of the Greek energy market, which is being liberalized.

At the same time, the Greek market is gearing up to meet the main challenges arising from the implementation of the EU Energy Policy, namely:

  1. The increased penetration of Renewable Energy Sources in the Transmission System and Distribution Grid
  2. The de-carbonization of electricity production and
  3. The integration of the wholesale electricity markets of the EU member states through the introduction of the target model

I will start by briefly explaining the new ownership status and the benefits that stem from it.

As most of you probably know, in June 2017 the ownership unbundling of IPTO [locally acronymed ADMIE] took place.

The Greek State owns a controlling shareholding stake of 51%.

State Grid of China, the world’s largest utility company, is IPTO’s second biggest investor with a 24% stake and active participation in its management.

The company further diversified its investor base following the listing of its affiliate company IPTO Holding in the Athens Stock Exchange.

The strategic partnership between the Greek State and State Grid has already started to show results, through the improvement of the financial and operational ability.

With this structure, IPTO aims to exemplify the way a company under state control can modernize itself and improve its efficiency, in order to play a leading role in the new energy landscape.

In this context, the company has set two main objectives for 2018:

First, faster project delivery.

Second, successful implementation of the target model and specifically of the balancing market, which falls under IPTO’s responsibility.

The new administrative model of the company will facilitate the achievement of these objectives.

One milestone of the restructuring process, which took place at the end of 2017, was a voluntary exit scheme which was successfully completed a few days ago. The participation far exceeded management’s expectations.

Through this scheme, IPTO aimed to make room for younger, highly skilled employees who are sorely needed.

Another important element is that the active management of IPTO’s assets has been placed at the heart of its new organizational model.

The ambitious targets for RES penetration into the energy mix require the upgrade of the infrastructures for the electricity transmission and the ‘smartening’ of the grids.

All the modern TSOs in Europe (RTE from France, ELIA from Belgium, 50 Hertz from Germany etc.) consider asset management as one of their main functions.

IPTO is now following their example with the creation of a new Asset Management Unit.

The main mission of this Unit is the optimal exploitation of the company’s assets, the extraction of maximum value from their use.

In this regard, I would like to point out that IPTO is implementing a broad asset renovation program and the first tenders will be published in the near future.

With this new improved administrative structure, IPTO will be better prepared to pursue its first objective, which is the timely execution of the major interconnection projects that are foreseen in the company’s business plan.

We are talking about investments of 1 billion euros until 2021.

The company is prioritizing the Cyclades and Crete Interconnections.

The first phase of the Cyclades interconnection, which entails the interconnection of Syros, Paros and Mykonos to the mainland transmission system, is already in the test phase of electrification.

As a result, both the security of electricity supply and the environmental footprint of those islands will be upgraded.

The dated, fuel oil power plants [on islands] will soon cease to operate.

IPTO is also placing great emphasis on the Crete Interconnections which are of pivotal importance to the Greek economy.

Why? Because they will secure the energy supply of the country’s largest island and drastically reduce the cost of electricity for all Greek consumers.

In the course of the implementation of these projects, the company will benefit from the technical expertise of State Grid, which is spearheading China’s effort to transition to clean energy.

State Grid is a world leader in developing Ultra High Voltage Transmission Lines and building smart grids that promote the utilization of RES.

It boasts the largest installed capacity of wind and solar production in the world.

It is obvious that IPTO has a lot to earn from its know-how.

At a recent international conference, a State Grid executive stated that the company’s goal is to turn Greece into an electricity hub via interconnections to the Balkans, Africa and Asia.

It should be noted that according to a recent study of an Expert Group the development of new transnational electricity interconnections is becoming an EU priority, as the current interconnection target of 10% is not considered ambitious enough and it will be increased to 15% by 2030.

Europe is heading towards a well-integrated energy market.

Electricity interconnections are the physical component of making this market truly European by connecting Member States’ networks, thus offering:

-capacity for electricity trade

-improved security of supply

-integration of the growing share of renewable electricity production.

In this direction, IPTO is prioritizing the development of a second electricity transmission line between Greece and Bulgaria. This project has already been included in the list of Projects of Common Interest for the European Union.

Having mentioned the integration of the EU energy market, I would like to move on to the second objective of IPTO for this year, which is the setting up of the Balancing Market, the part of the target model for which the company is responsible.

I will try not to go into the highly technical details.

Let me just say that the Balancing Market is the last of the four Target Model markets.

However, its role is very important since it reflects the actual cost of balancing electricity supply and demand, close to real time.

A well designed Balancing Market is not only important to provide the TSO with sufficient Balancing Services at all times in order to safeguard secure system operation.

It is also essential to ensure an efficient functioning of the overall electricity market.

Consequently, they affect Participants’ decisions in the forward market timeline.

The basic principles of the Balancing Market design are:

-Central Dispatch System

-Unit based participation in the market

The Balancing Market consists of:

A Balancing Energy Market,

Balancing Reserve Market

Imbalances Market, which is an ex post market for settlement of imbalances

IPTO performed a Public Consultation on the Balancing Market Code between December 2017 and January 2018.

Participants’ comments were received and the most recent update is that a second version of the Code was sent to the Regulatory Authority for Energy for the subsequent phase two of the Public Consultation, which is going to be performed by the Authority.

I hope I gave you an oversight of the day after the ownership unbundling of IPTO.

Let me conclude my speech by saying that the future will be electric, de-carbonized and interconnected. IPTO will play an important role in this process.

Thank you

RES units maintain priority dispatch rights, Council decides

Priority dispatch rights for existing RES units will be maintained, the Council of the EU has ruled. Even so, the renewable energy sector’s response to RES sector amendments was mixed.

WindEurope, the wind energy association, warned that existing RES units could be exposed to system balancing responsibilities before acquiring rights to related balancing markets.

The council also decided to require three-year forecasts from EU member states on volumes and budgets concerning RES support mechanisms. In another decision, member states may continue staging RES auctions for specific technologies.

As for the 2030 energy mix target, the council backed a European Commission objective for at least 27 percent of the EU’s energy to be sourced by renewables.

RAE boosting RES project monitoring ability, license revoking efficiency

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, yesterday approved expenditure to reinforce its monitoring ability of RES project development as well as to heighten its efficiency in license revoking procedures.

RAE, as part of the new Brussels-endorsed RES support mechanism, requires an up-to-date picture of all licensed RES projects in order to be able to organise and stage RES auctions, the authority noted.

RES capacity licenses that have been valid for years but never utilized, consequently binding capacity that could be used for new RES auctions, require urgent examination. As a result, all RES project licenses need to be processed by RAE to determine their stage of development.

Greece losing climate change ground, academic warns

Greece’s effort to remain an active participant in international developments concerning climate change has lost momentum in more recent times, leaving the country behind, a leading academic in Greece has stressed in an interview with energypress ahead of a UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) conference scheduled to take place in Athens on September 7 and 8.

“Of course, there have been times when greater efforts were made. At one point in the past, environmental diplomacy did enjoy foreign ministry backing and there has been a period during which a governmental effort for greater support and participation at UN and EU discussions for more advanced climate change policies was made,” noted Andreas Papandreou, an Associate Professor in the Economics Department of the University of Athens. “This effort has subsided in more recent times amid the influence of the crisis. I would say that, at this stage, political emphasis is not been placed on the issue.”

Papandreou also pointed out that economists of all political leanings now consider absolutely necessary a strong political reaction with the aim of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The academic spoke about various forces obstructing the implementation of political decisions in this domain and also urged fellow academics to raise their voices and relay their specialized knowledge in a form that may allow citizens to gain a better understanding of climate change dangers.

Energy cooperatives bill to be presented as key RES initiative

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis plans to officially present a draft bill envisioning legal framework for the establishment of energy cooperatives, offering energy consumers the right to become shareholders in ventures, in September, a deliberate timing choice planned to coincide with a wider communication campaign planned by the government to trumpet its work in progress.

Stathakis is expected to present the energy cooperatives draft bill in Crete as part of an official visit also involving Brussels authorities.

The minister sees the bill, which underwent public consultation procedures in June, as a tool possessing potential to generate a new round of major investments in the country’s renewable energy sector.

More generally, the government intends to include it envisioned prospects of this draft bill to its wider socially-oriented production plan, aiming to offer production opportunities to common people for a stronger social economy as a key pillar of its economic growth plan.

As part of the government’s energy cooperatives plan, local energy communities will be able to develop and lease distribution networks, while renewable energy communities will be able to produce, consume, store and sell renewable energy without being subject to disproportionate charges that do not reflect actual costs.

The draft bill’s place in the parliamentary queue for prospective debate and ratification will be determined within the next few days, when Greek Parliament resumes its activities at full pace following the summer recess.



PPC, facing local contractions, eyes hydropower, RES units in Turkey

Facing bailout requirements leading to electricity market share contractions, at production and retail levels, the main power utility PPC is seeking to increase its presence abroad, including in Turkey, a market possessing particular interest for the utility, especially its hydropower and RES sub-sectors.

The efforts of PPC Elektrik Tedarik ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi, PPC’s wholly owned subsidiary in Turkey, will be pivotal in the utility’s Turkish market aspirations.

The recent appointment of PPC Renewables managing director Ilias Monaholias as the Turkish subsidiary’s deputy chief reflects PPC’s intentions in the neighboring market.

PPC is moving fast in its effort to gain a presence in the Turkish market. Earlier this week, the Greek power utility’s board endorsed PPC Elektrik’s business plan for 2017 to 2019, including its participation in a tender concerning Turkey’s Manyas hydropower facility (photo).

The 20-MW capacity Manyas facility is one of ten Turkish hydropower plants EUAS, the state power utility, plans to privatize. Their overall capacity amounts to 256.4 MW. Bidders face an August 21 deadline for the tender offering the Manyas hydropower unit, located in the Marmara region.

It remains to be seen whether PPC will submit new bids for the Menzelet and Kilavuzlu units, possessing respective capacities of 124 MW and 54 MW and included in Turkey’s sale package of ten hydropower units.

Both these facilities were also put up for sale through unfinalized tenders last year. PPC had taken part in both sale prodecures. No reasons were announced for their interruption.

PPC is also exploring investments in Turkey’s RES sector, currently experiencing robust growth. “Our objective is not only the exchange of knowhow, but, primarily, the penetration of PPC Renewables into new emerging markets,” noted Monaholias, the PPC Renewables chief, adding that an extremely ambitious investment plan has also been prepared for the Greek market.



Green bonds, just arrived here, enjoying strong global growth

The overwhelming investor turnout for a climate bond issued by Terna Energy, Greece’s first environmental bond, has turned the domestic market’s attention to this financing tool, introduced to Greece for the first time with this Terna issue but already experiencing rapid growth on an international scale.

Green bonds were introduced as financial tools to support RES projects developed by governments and private-sector enterprises.

Indicative of the emphasis on climate bonds being placed elsewhere, China’s seven major regulatory authorities recently announced a series of common guidelines for the establishment of a “green” financial system, the objective being to transform the country’s economy into an eco-friendly economy.

Climate bonds emerged in 2007 and have since experienced rapid growth. Green bond issues are expected to reach a total of approximately 150 billion dollars this year, up from 81 billion dollars last year and 3 billion dollars in 2012.

The USA stands is the biggest issuer of climate bonds ($29.2bn, based on data until 2016), followed by India ($23.6bn), China ($19.5bn), France ($19.4bn), Germany ($12.5bn), Sweden ($6.1bn), Mexico ($2.6bn), Canada ($2.4bn), Japan ($1.8bn) and Australia ($1.67bn).

Operator lists RES energy storage requirements for the islands

A proposal by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a revision of renewable energy production licenses on non-interconnected island units, the objective being to increase energy storage levels, has been been met favorably by HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator.

Such a development would increase RES penetration on the Greek islands but needs to be carefully designed, the operator noted in a public consultation procedure staged by RAE on the matter.

HEDNO also noted that a new study will need to be conducted to examine capacity limits for all RES technologies based on new market data.

In addition, the operator pointed out that adequate infrastructure to service monitoring and management issues, currently being developed, will need to be completed by 2020.



Greater supplier input wiping out RES special account deficit

The increased RES-supporting surcharge contributions by electricity suppliers, prompted by legislative action last summer, is expected to eliminate the RES special account’s deficit and probably produce a modest surplus figure by the end of 2017, according to energypress sources.

Latest data released in November forecast a surplus of roughly 16 million euros for the end of 2017.

The upward trajectory will enable RES special account authorities to return a sum of 90 million euros owed to the main power utility PPC as a result of the latter’s overcontribution for 2014 and 2015 as a result of its overestimation of electricity demand for the two-year period. This discrepancy, disclosed just recently, is expected to be returned through offsetting measures as PPC also owes an amount to the operator.

LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, due to release its latest RES special account report within the next few days, is expected to present an account surplus forecast in excess of 90 million euros, which would be sufficient to cover the aforementioned amount owed to PPC.

In its previous report, released in October, LAGIE forecast a RES special account surplus of 71.8 million euros for the end of 2017, without factoring in the 90 million-euro amount that needs to be returned to PPC.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has reached a decision to hike the RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge for industrial enterprises by an estimated one percent and reduce the surcharge for households by around the same rate. An official announcement is expected from the authority within the next few days.

The favorable outlook for the RES special account has been attributed to an overperformance of electricity supplier contributions into the RES special account.

Electricity suppliers contributed over 20 million euros into the account in November, well over an amount of 10 million euros expected by authorities.

A greater-than-expected contribution by electricity suppliers is also seen for December. In the first week of the month, electricity suppliers contributed approximately 13 million euros into the RES special account, exceeding the 10 million-euro amount estimated for the entire month.