Energy regulators and administrators are on full alert regarding the state of the country’s energy system at the beginning of winter, given the extension of the rates crisis in Europe, with growing concerns over sufficiency.
Following an order by Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas, the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) has called an emergency meeting of the Crisis Management Committee for Monday with the participation of power and gas grid managers (ADMIE, DEDDIE and DESFA), Public Power Corporation and private electricity producers. The meeting will reassess the situation in the electricity system under the new conditions created by the ongoing supply problems in Europe and the rallying of natural gas rates.
A key issue on the table will be PPC’s lignite-fired plants, as their availability and reliability will largely determine the sufficiency of the system in conditions of high demand, such as during very cold weather. PPC will be asked to supply full data on those units’ availability, in terms of maintenance and fuel sufficiency, as ADMIE, the Independent Power Transmission Operator, had requested in a letter on October 15. ADMIE believes that after the recent developments in the gas market the imports that normally support the system at peak times are now an unknown factor, as in the case of cold weather there may well be simultaneous demand from other countries too.
Worse, the water reserves for PPC’s hydroelectric plants are now at a decade-low after extensive use last February and August, while freezing conditions are typically accompanied by a drop in the production of energy from renewable sources.
As a result the burden will be on the gas and lignite-powered units that will have to be in full operation; this is why ADMIE has decided not to allow any units to undergo scheduled maintenance from mid-December till February. Still, the lignite-powered capacity will not be fully available due to restrictions on operating hours for environmental purposes.
PPC sources assure Kathimerini that the lignite units will be fully available with an adequate supply of fuel for their operation. DESFA officials confirm there is no sufficiency concern, as supply from the northern borders and the Revythousa reserves has been smooth.