Athens Energy Forum focused on energy developments

The construction of TAP pipeline, which begins at the Greek-Turkish border and ends in Italy through Albania, is near completion, while its commercial operation is scheduled for 2020.

According to data submitted by the projects director in Greece, Katerina Papalexandri during the Athens Energy Forum, the opening of the work zone has been completed, while in more than 500km (of a total of 550) the pipeline has been covered and is now during the phase of ground restoration. At the end of 2018, the construction of the undersea segment commenced between Albania and Italy.

TAP’s operation will be significant for the Greek market, not only to provide another source of supply from Azerbaijan, but also to provide access to the Italian market through reverse flow, said M&M’s CEO, Panagiotis Kanelopoulos. He also underlined the role of the Revythousa LNG terminal for the energy security of the Greek market, especially after its recently completed upgrade.

Greece-Skopje pipeline, Alexandroupoli floating LNG terminal

DESFA’s director of operations, Nikos Katsis, announced that the prestudy for the Greek-Skopjan interconnection is complete. The next steps towards the pipeline’s realization is the market test, the signing of an intergovernmental agreement, its inclusion in the operator’s investment program and the taking of the final investment decision.

Gastrade’s vice chairman, Giannis Arapoglou, presented the progress towards the Alexandroupoli floating LNG terminal. As he said, its licensing is complete, while the first market test was concluded on December 31st with a claimed interest for quantities of 12.2 billion c.m. annually, a quantity that surpasses the plant’s capacity.

Stathakis: A radical energy transformation

Greek energy minister, George Stathakis (pictured), presented the basic points of energy policy during the conference.

At the beginning of the two day meeting, which this year had as its subject the complexities for peripheral stability, Mr. Stathakis spoke among other things, about the conclusion of the dialogue between seven countries (Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine) as part of the “East Med Forum”. The minister underlined the significance of peripheral cooperation and mentioned East Med as an indicative example of possible benefits. The intergovernmental agreement for the pipeline is expected to be signed within the next few months in Crete.

Mr. Stathakis also mentioned the actions taken by the Greek government in order to unite the national markets of the wider region. As he said, right now a series of projects are being forwarded which concern the European market as a whole, such as the TAP and IGB pipelines, but also others with a peripheral character, such as the Thessaloniki-Skopje pipeline. Additionally, infrastructure projects for LNG, the upgrade of Revythousa and the similar terminal in Alexandroupoli support the better interconnection of the Greek market.

According to the minister, the enhancement of the interconnections is a basic prerequisite for achieving the European Commission’s target model to create a unified European energy market. A second prerequisite, soon to be realized, is the operation of the Greek Energy Exchange that will bring new markets with the power market being the first.

Speaking about the sum of reforms during past years, Mr. Stathakis mentioned the liberalization of the power and gas markets, both retail and wholesale, as well as the restructuring of the sector’s large corporations, with the network segment remaining in public hands (ADMIE, DEPA). He also spoke about the “impressive results”” that reforms have brought to renewables investments. The new tenders have led to a 30% drop in cost, which means that “renewables are not only environmentally beneficial, but also financially, compared to fossil fuels””, said the minister.

As he noted, this development is especially positive for the realization of one of the central pylons of the Greek energy and climate plan that concerns the restructuring of the national fuel mix. As the minister explained, the plan is about the energy transition to a greener economy, but it also contains calculations about the necessary investment in order to achieve it. The sum of said investment is calculated at 35 billion Euros, of which 9 billion will be spent on power infrastructure, 8.5 billion on renewables, 4 billion on gas infrastructure and about 9 billion on energy efficiency.

The energy minister said that the plan emphasizes network development inside the country through the development of the gas network and the expansion of the power grid in islands. “We want islands to turn away from oil and to have better prospects environmentally and economically””, said Mr. Stathakis.

He also spoke about the two power interconnections of Crete, the Peloponnese-Crete segment which is expected to be completed within 18 months and Attica-Crete that is expected to be tendered during the next semester. He further spoke about the three phases of interconnecting the Cyclades islands, while he repeated the plan for non interconnected islands, where six of them are candidates for European programs and talks with foreign investors in order to be covered by renewables and storage plants.

The minister mentioned the radical transformation taking place in energy. “We have ambitious goals to achieve, we have concluded or concluding reforms, we have a large investment area, we have the interconnections and important processes for diversifying sources and enhancing energy security. The plan opens a clear path to achieve our targets”, added Mr. Stathakis.

Karakatsani: 20 technical methodologies for the new markets

RAE’s member, Nectaria Karakatsani spoke in Athens Energy Forum about the transformations that took place in terms of company founding (foundation of HENEX and Energy Clear), regulatory framework (approval of regulations by RAE) and information systems for the transition to the target model.

More specifically, she underscored the basic principles governing the design of the markets, while she said that RAE gives great significance to maintaining fluidity in short term markets, the limitation of abusive behavior and a smooth transition.

According to what Mrs. Karakatsani presented, RAE will shortly evaluate and approve 20 technical methodologies for the new markets and crucial parameters such as the maximum percentage of NOME products and the limits of offers in markets.

Among other things, she spoke about the following:

– Apart from actions concluded and underway in our country, one significant parameter is cooperation with neighboring countries. Bulgaria, for example, implements charges in exports that stand in the way of interconnection.

– Respectively, the availability of the interconnection to Italy raised concerns. The two countries’ regulators have analyzed data and expect a preventing plan from the Italian operator.

– Contrary to 4 years ago, when interconnection was available only for 50% of the time, in 2018 availability was limited to 28%.

– Reforms are continued and any delay can only be paralleled to the use of credit cards. It may be pleasant while it lasts, but disappointing when one sees the bill and discovers the damages.

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