Volterra, making gains in retail market, plans RES production

Independent electricity supplier Volterra, a joint venture established by two major corporate groups, local J&P-Avax and Italian energy company Sorgenia, has developed into a quiet achiever in the Greek market.

Pushed along by a steady growth rate, Volterra is establishing its place in the electricity supply company, proceeding with a major investment plan in the wind-energy field, and also expanding its transboundary electricity trading activity in the Balkan and wider European markets.

“We have entered the Greek energy market with the intention to stay. We are an emerging company, possess a serious and realistic growth plan that stands firmly on its feet, and have the support of two powerful partners,” Volterra’s general manager, Panos Nikou, told energypress. “We respect the competition and, naturally, expect the competition to respect us,” he continued.

To date, Volterra has almost entirely focused on the medium-voltage category in the electricity supply sector, but the firm plans to soon broaden its range and include professionals and households in its target market.

“This, of course, will be pursued under the condition that market regulations are stabilized and market mechanisms – such as the NOME-type auctions – established, which will offer opportunities and facilitate our  business plan,” Nikou pointed out.

The NOME-type auction plan, believed to be nearly ready for introduction, is intended to provide third parties with access to main power utility PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as part of the bailout-related obligation to help break the utility’s virtual monopoly.

Nikou said Volterra’s major corporate backing offers security to consumers, adding that the level of awareness of the supplier’s consumer-focused principles is gradually increasing.

“We will continue this way, with studied moves and the basic aim for a stable and robust growth rate, not a spectacular market share increase,” Nikou remarked.

A previous bad experience in Greece’s electricity market several years ago, when the retail market entries of two now-defunct suppliers, Energa and Hellas Power, both ended in financial scandal, has made consumers suspicious and hesitant to leave PPC, depite the fact that transferring to an alternate power supplier is a simple, safe, and beneficial procedure, Nikou noted.

Besides its activity in electricity supply, Volterra is currently implementing an investment decision for the establishment of a strong portfolio in electricity production, especially in the wind energy sector.

Volterra plans to develop wind-energy facilities with a total capacity of 120 MW as soon as Greece’s institutional framework for the renewable energy (RES) sector is clarified, Nikou said, adding that the enterprise aims to be operating company-owned wind-energy facilities with a total capacity of 250 MW by 2020.

The official noted Greece possesses excellent wind-energy potential but has fallen behind on obligations taken on to achieve EU climate change objectives.

“If investments such as ours and those of other major corporate groups are to be actualized, the institutional framework needs to be clarified and the Greek State must offer assistance by eliminating disincentives and difficulties,” Nikou said. “A sense of uncertainty, caused by the country’s economic condition and the distress in the banking system, is always lurking. Although these factors are crucial, they do not only affect our field,” he continued.

Besides the need for greater clarity in the RES sector, the Volterra official stressed licensing procedures also need to be swiftened, adding that the Greek State should intervene to offer solutions, not create new problems.