21 more islands in the Cyclades, Dodekanissa and NE Aegean are now included in electric connections plans.
The target is to reduce the high cost of their supply, which stands at between 500 and 800 million Euros annually and is covered by consumers through their “common good services” in their bills. The scientific committee of the regulatory authority proposes the interconnection of most islands after the project for the first islands in Cyclades is already underway.
Through interconnections, 80% of the energy produced today through expensive and polluting diesel plants in the islands will be passed to the main system. That means that the annual profit for consumers will be between 400-650 million Euros annually, according to RAE president, Dr. Nikos Boulaxis.
More specifically, the planning for interconnections is as follows;
The first phase of the Cyclades interconnection is underway, which includes the connection of Syros with Lavrio and Tinos, Paros and Mykonos (already connected through Evoia or Andros and/or Tinos). The project is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2018.
The second phase of Cyclades interconnection, already ratified, includes the connections Paros-Naxos and Naxos-Mykonos, as well as the upgrade of the Andros-S. Evoia connection. It is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2019.
The third phase for Cyclades, also ratified, foresees the installation of a subsea cable between Lavrio and Syros and its operation in 2022.
Furthermore, a decision has been made to connect Crete, which because of size, will take a heavy burden off consumers’ shoulders. The first part is the so called “small” connection of 2×140 MW through Peloponnese, to be concluded by 2020 and afterwards, the “big” interconnection of 2x500MW through Attica, for which RAE has set a completion target of 2021-22, earlier than ADMIE’s own planning. The big interconnection is also related to the Euro Asia Interconnector with Cyprus.
New projects that the committee suggested as mature and viable include the following;
The fourth phase of Cyclades interconnection, which includes:
Naxos-Donousa, Naxos-Schinousa-Amorgos and Koufonisi-Schinousa-Heraclia,
Also under review are alternative scenarios such as the connection Syros-Serifos-Milos instead of Syros-Sifnos-Milos, at which case Sifnos will be connected to Serifos and Serifos with Lavrio.
For Dodekanisa, proposals include the connection Lavrio-Ko and its expansion from Ko to Kalymnos and Rhodes. Alternatively, the connection to Crete is considered.
For the N. Aegean islands, there are two connection under consideration, although the construction of new natural gas plants is thought to be cheaper;
Aliveri-Skyros-Mitilini, Mitilini-Chios-Samod and Mitilini-Lemnos-Ag. Eystratios or alternatively direct connection Aliveri-Mitilini and separately Aliveri-Skyros.
According to RAE, island interconnections will bring multiple benefits that include;
Reducing “common good charges” for consumers.
Reducing pollution through the ending of diesel plants operation.
Reducing the country’s dependence on fuel imports.
Take advantage of the high wind and solar potential of the islands for power production.
Energy security for the islands and development boost.
Huge cost of power in the islands
The supply of non connected islands continues to rely on a completely unviable, dangerous and polluting system, that burdens Greek consumers with 600-800 million Euros annually – a sum that in high oil price periods exceeds 1 billion Euros – three decades after the first plans for their connection to the main grid.
Consumers pay the price through their bills as the “common good” charge, which during the last five years reached 3.5 billion Euros according to RAE’s estimations and could completely cover the cost of connecting every island. Instead, the supply of 32 non connected islands depends today on autonomous diesel plants of low efficiency that were installed in the 60s and 70s. The result is that they cannot cover the extra needs for supply during summer months due to tourism.
The average cost of production of these autonomous plants in August 2017 reached 336,96 Euros/MWh according to DEDDIE, which is over seven times the price in the main system (50 E/MWh).
To cover demand during the summer, local power plants work at their limit, increasing the chances for an accident, like the black out in Santorini in 2013, while PPC has to rent mobile units from private companies at prices which multiply the already high production cost. In this way, a market has been setup which includes fuel, parts and mobile units, the maintenance of which explains to a great degree delays in interconnections. However, time has begun to run out since in order to realize the European law for emissions, PPC will have to withdraw polluting plants by 2020 and put them in reserve. This means that until 2020 interconnections will have to take place where possible and in the rest of the islands the plants will have to be substituted with cleaner ones that do not give rise to the cost of production. This transition is a commitment under the deal with the EU and relative planning and decisions have been undertaken by RAE according to the law of 2014.
Connecting the islands to the main grid will lead to their energy security, to bills reduction for consumers and to investment opportunities in renewables, since there will be the option to transfer energy to the main consumption centers of Greece, but also in supply since from 1/1/2018 consumers in the islands will be able to choose their supplier. This already occurs in Crete, where from August 2017 17% of consumers have changed supplier, and Rhodes where since January 2017 6% of them have done so. Energy minister Stathakis’ new law for the installment of hybrid plants in some islands despite of existing law, also speaks to new investment opportunities through the transition of these closed autonomous markets