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Highlights

Gas, renewables dominate output

Demand up 6% year on year

PPC to convert Ptolemaida to gas

London —
Gas-fired generation responded to strong electricity demand in Greece during March, climbing 41% month on month to 1.52 TWh, data from market operator Hellenic Energy Exchange SA showed April 23.

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Power demand of 4.10 TWh was up 4% on the month and 6% on the year, with the low voltage customer segment showing the clearest year on year recovery.

Renewable energy output in March did not quite match that of gas, but these two sources together accounted for almost 88% of total production as the decarbonization of Greek power continued.

While lignite generation of 619 GWh was up 30% from low levels in February, the source is accelerating towards phase-out in 2023, leaving just one new unit, Ptolemaida V, to burn the fuel thereafter.

On April 20, state utility PPC said the 660 MW power station, still in construction, would be converted to natural gas by 2025, three years earlier than planned. The asset is due online in late 2022, meaning it may only burn lignite for two years.

Imports in March, meanwhile, were significantly down on year, deriving mainly from Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania, while exports to Italy remained strong.

Stronger electricity demand saw average system spot baseload prices climb 14% on month to Eur57.64/MWh, consolidating the market’s recovery from a COVID-hit average of Eur43.62/MWh seen in March, 2020.

In terms of market players, PPC cornered a 43% generation market share in March and a 66% domestic load (supply market) share.

In generation, after PPC came DAPEEP, the system operator’s renewable energy single buyer subsidiary, with a share of 26%, followed by Greece’s leading independent combined-cycle gas turbine operators Mytilineos and Elpedison (8.9% and 8.5% respectively).

Renewable asset manager Optimus Energy again grew its position with a market share of 5.14%, up from 3.66% last October.

On March 16, the European Commission opened a formal investigation into PPC’s behavior in the Greek wholesale power market.

The EC said PPC “may have adopted predatory bidding strategies,” hindering the ability of rivals to compete. The investigation is ongoing.

GREECE: ENERGY BALANCE MARCH 2021 (GWh)

Natural gas

1,519

1,180

4,509

Renewables

1,334

1,131

4,048

Total production

3,669

2,753

11,902

Import/export balance

529

1,107

865

Low voltage customers

2,605

2,355

8,059

Medium voltage customers

801

867

2,343

High voltage customers

702

604

2,054

Total demand

4,108

3,860

12,456

Figures rounded to nearest integer. Nov-20 data derived from new DAM-IDM report. Nov-19 data derived from DAS report

Source: Hellenic Energy Exchange SA

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