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Greece Faces Solar Curtailment Woes

Greece added 1.59 GW of new solar capacity last year, and projections for the current year look strong. However, curtailment remains the sector’s thorniest issue,

Greece’s transmission system operator, IPTO, said that it had to halt electricity imports from neighboring countries from May 3 to May 7 to ensure the safe operation of the Greek electricity system. Specifically, IPTO said during this period that it did not import any electricity at all from Italy, Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey.

With regards to the electricity interconnection to Bulgaria, IPTO allowed no electricity import from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days and imposed caps at other times.

Separately, market sources said that on May 5, IPTO disconnected the entire renewable-energy fleet connected to the transmission lines for a number of hours. It also asked the Greek distribution operator, HEDNO, to disconnect an additional 1 GW of solar plants. The reason behind this was very low electricity demand when Greece celebrated the Orthodox Easter on May 5.

Renewable power curtailment for the remainder of the Easter holiday period, lasting from May 3 to May 7, were also very high. But Easter holiday curtailment did not come as a surprise. In April, Pantelis Biskas – a professor at Greece’s Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering – warned the annual assembly of the Thessaloniki-based Pospief association of solar producers in mid-April that curtailment would skyrocket on Easter, as well as from September to November.

Biskas told investors that from March 1 to April 13, IPTO had planned to curtail 220 GWh of renewable energy, corresponding to about 4% of the nation's domestic green electricity production for this period. This level of curtailment might sound low for some, but for Greece’s PV producers, this is in stark contrast to previous years. In 2023, for example, Greece curtailed a total of about 228 GWh.

Even more worrying was Biskas’ prediction that curtailment of renewable power in Greece might reach up to 15% of the country’s electricity generation in 2030. Participants at Pospief’s assembly also expressed concern about the different curtailment methods used by Greece’s transmission and distribution grid operators.


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