PPC seeks IPTO support for EC lignite compensation request

Power utility PPC wants power grid operator IPTO to provide a statement declaring whether the power utility’s lignite-fired power stations, nowadays loss-incurring units as a result of elevated carbon emission right costs, are still necessary for the achievement of grid sufficiency, the utility’s objective being to gain support for a lignite compensation request submitted to the European Commission, not to immediately shut down its lignite units, sources have informed.

Brussels has been examining the PPC compensation request for months, initially as part of a package incorporating the European Commission’s lignite antitrust case against Greece, and more recently, following settlement of the latter, as a separate issue that has dragged on.

Throughout the entire period, officials in Greece have needed to respond to extensive Brussels questioning over PPC’s compensation request. Most recently, the European Commission is reported to have informed PPC, by email, that it would deliver a decision as soon as possible, once all information has been processed.

PPC, in its letter to IPTO, informs that it would be prepared to shut down the lignite units now if the operator considers them unnecessary for grid sufficiency as they are the cause of losses on a daily basis.

The power utility has planned a phaseout of its lignite facilities over the next three years, as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

IPTO, in a grid-sufficiency study covering 2020 to 2030, conducted within the framework of the National Energy and Climate Plan, has stressed the period between 2021 and 2024 will be crucial as a result of PPC’s planned phaseout of lignite-fired power stations.

Subsequently, the grid’s sufficiency will depend on how soon three new gas-fueled power stations with a capacity totaling 2,150 MW – PPC’s Ptolemaida V, and units being developed by Mytilineos and TERNA – will be ready for launch, IPTO’s NECP-linked study noted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grid sufficiency ensured despite today’s heightened demand

Virtually all of the country’s power generating facilities, including RES units, have been called into action today by power grid operator IPTO to cover heightened demand, expected to peak at 8,978 MW at 6.30pm, as a result of the sharp temperature drop around the country.

Power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations Agios Dimitrios III and IV, Kardia III and IV, and Meliti, will operate as the fundamental generation facilities.

Natural gas-fired power stations – PPC’s Aliveri V and Megalopoli V; Elpedison’s units in Thessaloniki and Thisvi; as well as Protergia and Korinthos Power units – will be on stand-by to contribute if demand fluctuations require their grid input.

RES output, expected to reach 58.135 GWh, will cover approximately 34 percent of the day’s overall demand.

As for prices, the grid entry of many lignite-fired power stations has pushed up clearing prices at the energy exchange, anticipated to reach €62.24/MWh today from €53.58/MWh yesterday and €41.70/MWh two days ago.

IPTO has asked energy-intensive producers to limit their energy consumption until the extreme weather conditions have elapsed, unofficially bringing into play the demand response mechanism. Cement and steel producers are among the energy-intensive producers voluntarily cutting back on energy consumption to help prevent any grid insufficiencies.

Fast-track procedures for Crete energy shortage threat

The government is preparing fast-track procedures for the installation of electricity production facilities on Crete by  2020, needed to avoid an energy shortage following an EU-required withdrawal of old units at the end of 2019.

Installations of wind turbines as well as power generators that may be hired or transferred from Rhodes are among the solutions being considered by authorities to ensure the island’s energy sufficiency.

Building permit demands are expected to be omitted to make the fast-track procedures as swift as possible.

The plan’s new electricity generation solutions will be crucial until the completion of a small-scale grid interconnection linking Crete with the Peloponnese, expected during 2020. Even then, Crete will still face a 200-MW capacity deficit until a major-scale grid interconnection, linking Crete with Athens, is completed in 2022.

Three old, high-polluting units with a total capacity of 728 MW will need to stop operating on Crete as a result of strict EU environmental regulations, Miguel Arias Canete, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, has made clear to the Greek government.

Electricity demand on Crete, one of the country’s biggest tourism destinations, currently stands at 630 MW and is expected to exceed 700 MW in 2020.

 

Expired Amynteo, RES units, imports vital for grid sufficiency

Renewable energy output, electricity imports and the main power utility PPC’s lignite-fired Amynteo power station, still operating despite the expiration of a European Commission time limit, are all proving crucial for the system’s sufficiency amid the high demand prompted by freezing weather conditions around Greece over the past few days.

All available energy sources are being resorted to in an effort to cover the  elevated demand. Hydropower output, electricity imports and RES production are providing vital energy injections during peak hours, which once again, once again highlighting the fact that the Greek system is stretched to its limits under such conditions.

The situation validates a recent IPTO power grid operator study noting grid sufficiency is presently not achievable without grid contributions from PPC’s Amynteo unit as well as the power utility’s Kardia facility, headed for closure.

Virtually all the country’s thermal power stations will be operating to meet a demand peak of 9,024 MW at 1pm today, according to the energy exchange’s day-ahead market figures. State-controlled PPC’s Agios Dimitrios IV and V, the Kardia unit, two Megalopoli units, two Amynteo units, Meliti, as well as private-sector gas-fired power stations operated by Heron, Enthes, Thisvi, Protergia and Korinthos Power will all be called into action.

Even so, 1,914 MW in RES production, 44 MW in net imports as well as 140 MW of hydropower production will also be needed to meet demand.

The System Marginal Price (SMP), or wholesale electricity price, is set to reach 82.52 euros per MWh during peak demand.