Renewables

Renewable energy curtailments already surpassed 2023 levels in Greece

Renewable energy curtailments already surpassed 2023 levels in Greece

Photo: andreas160578 on Pixabay

Published

April 30, 2024

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Published:

April 30, 2024

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An unusually hot spring has weakened electricity demand and prices in Greece, while also increasing curtailments.

Combined with high solar power production, the current situation hurts the country’s renewable energy producers, who are exposed to more curtailments than ever.

It is indicative that in the first four months of 2024, curtailments have already surpassed the total levels from 2023.

One very interesting day was Sunday, April 28, when 11 consecutive hours of zero, near zero or negative prices were recorded, from 8:00 to 18:00.

Prices were negative for seven hours in total. They went to as low as EUR 1.02 per MWh under zero.

The average marginal clearing price (MCP) for the day was just EUR 26.53 per MWh, with demand at only 134 GWh.

Renewables covered 62%, with large hydropower plants contributing another 4%. Imports accounted for 18.4%, compared to the share of natural gas units of 13.7% and only 0.13% from lignite-fired thermal power plants.

According to official data from the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO), the energy surplus on the grid reached 4 GW at noon and persisted to a smaller degree until 18:30 that day. The reading represents curtailments of production of solar and wind power plants connected to the transmission grid.

It remains to be seen what the picture will be like at Easter, when traditionally there are consecutive days of very low demand. Meteorological forecasts speak of cloudy days in a large part of the country. It could provide some balance to the system, but it is still too early to tell.

On Tuesday, April 29, renewables amounted to about 70% of Greece’s production mix, while natural gas fell to just 21%.

Greece is no longer among the most expensive countries

Since the beginning of this year, Greece’s wholesale power price has dropped compared to the rest of Europe, partly as a result of higher renewable production.

During the previous years of the energy crisis, the Greek marginal clearing price was among the top three of the continent, but it is no longer the case.

Data from the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) show that the average price so far in 2024 is EUR 73.79 in Greece, while Italy has EUR 90.74 and Eastern European countries such as Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia are all above EUR 80, as is Ireland.

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