High renewable energy penetration in the electricity production mix combined with low demand brought challenges for Greek network operators.
The share of renewables in the daily production mix has surpassed 50% in the last few days, while power demand has fallen, especially on the weekends.
Wholesale power prices in Greece have plunged below EUR 100 per ΜWh, a level not seen since before the start of the energy crisis. On the other hand, it could lead to an overload in the grid from abnormally high voltage, resulting in blackouts.
According to the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO or Admie), its network is expected to face a severe issue during Easter holidays, when demand is expected to fall further, with output from renewables staying high. The company is at its limits, its Vice Chairman Ioannis Margaris said,
According to data from the day-ahead electricity market, 56.5% of power consumption in the country is being covered today from renewables, 16.6% is coming from imports and 11.4% from gas plants while lignite-fired plants have a share of 10.5%. Power demand came in at 131 GWh compared to just 105 GWh on Sunday, October 26.
Based on IPTO’s projections, a second test will come next weekend, when demand is expected to drop, similar to what happened on Sunday.
Few solutions available
Given the fact that there are no storage plants yet operating in Greece, the operator is left with few solutions to face the issue. One of them is to curtail renewable electricity production. But 6 GW out of 10 GW of total capacity in the segment is connected to the distribution grid, therefore it is not easy to monitor and control.
Another possible solution is to restrict power imports from neighboring countries.
In any case, the phenomenon is characteristic of an immature energy system with high renewables and no storage. The introduction of batteries and pumped hydropower plants is expected to normalize the situation and reduce the need to switch off renewable electricity facilities.