Athanasios Dagoumas

PRESIDENT OF THE REGULATORY AUTHORITY FOR ENERGY

Greece 2022  I  Energy & Industry  I  Leader

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_BIOGRAPHY He is an Associate Professor in Energy and Resource Economics and Director of the Energy and Environmental Policy laboratory at the University of Piraeus. He holds a Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, where he elaborated his PhD in Energy Economics. He is Member of the Board of the Cambridge Trust for New Thinking in Economics.

“THE PRIORITY FOR 2022/23 IS THE ACCELERATION OF ENERGY TRANSITION AND STRENGTHENING CONSUMERS PROTECTION.”

GREECE CAN SERVE AS AN LNG HUB AND GATEWAY FOR SOUTHEAST AND CENTRAL EUROPE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE GREEK ENERGY SECTOR?

 

The war on Ukraine and the energy crisis have demonstrated the importance of energy independence for Europe. From this point of view, the energy transition is the correct strategy and Europe should remain committed in this, as well as to increase its efforts to accelerate the transition. Therefore, there is no doubt that renewables and energy efficiency is the future of the Greek Energy sector, along with storage and new interconnections.

 

Within the intermediate period, the policy should be flexible and able to be adapted in the actual situation each time. As an example, the Energy Crisis Management Team identified the need for enhancing lignite extraction and production towards eliminating energy security vulnerability and the impact of extremely high prices of imported gas. Within the same context, increasing gas facilities is also important. This, together with the implementation of critical interconnections among countries, will permit Greece to serve as an LNG hub and gateway for Southeast and Central Europe. The critical issue is the proper development and design of these infrastructure in order to be compatible with the strategy for the energy transition and the green energy future.

 

SINCE YOUR APPOINTMENT, THE ENERGY SECTOR HAS GONE THROUGH A SERIES OF LEGISLATIVE REFORM AND TRANSFORMATIONS. WHAT IS YET TO BE DONE TO FULFILL GREECE'S POTENTIAL?

 

Independent Authorities are the cornerstones of modern Public Administration. And the Greek Energy Regulator firmly believes in this. From the beginning of assuming the office of RAE’s President, I set a goal to strengthen the role of the Authority. We are exploring of expanding our responsibilities in water and waste management as modern Regulatory authorities do. Concerning the electricity market, 2020 was a milestone year in the history of RAE, as a historic reform took place in the electricity market (November 1, 2020), that being the launch of the European Target Model in Greece (four new electricity markets: Day Ahead market, Intraday market, Balancing market, Forward products), presenting the Greek market with new opportunities and having the market coupling with Italy and Bulgaria also completed in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

 

We have also developed in mid-2021 a Market Reform Plan with 16 reforms in wholesale markets, submitted to European Commission, aiming to further increase the maturity of Greek markets, including the active participation of demand side and the participation of RES in the market by taking full responsibility for balancing. We aim to cover the gap with other European markets and why not to incorporate regulatory reforms before other countries. For this reason, we plan to have an active role within CEER and ACER, towards affecting European policy through the experience and knowledge of our excellent staff.

 

The stable legislation framework for RES, both the support mechanism (SA 44666) and the RES auction plan (SA48143, 2018-2020) approved by DG Comp, the monitoring of the viability of Special RES Account and the simplification of the RES licensing procedure via the RES digital transformation makes a transparent and safe environment for the investors. In this environment it’s important to highlight that already €2,5 billion new investments are under construction and a total capacity of 3,06 GW of Solar and Wind projects - succeeded at the 17 RES Auctions in the period 2018-2021 - will be connected to the grid within the next 1-2 years.

 

Our country is one of the most advantageous concerning RES, particularly about wind and solar energy. The digital transformation in all the authorities, the implementation of the new RES auction plan 2022-2025 for a total capacity of 3,1-4,1GW RES projects, will increase the penetration of RES in the energy mix. In addition, the implementation of the long-term planning of the interconnection of the islands will increase the penetration of RES in these areas, decrease the cost of electricity for the consumers and open the road for the development of offshore wind parks. The energy transition and the current energy crisis highlight the importance of having a regulator with prestige and an active role in overseeing markets and launching the necessary reforms.

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MAIN PRIORITIES AND OBJECTIVES FOR 2022/23?

 

The priority for 2022/23 is the acceleration of energy transition and strengthening consumers protection. Moreover, we are aiming to further enhancing our capabilities to become an active influencer of the European Regulatory policy through our participation in ACER. Renewable energy is the permanent solution to the current energy crisis, together of course with the energy efficiency. Renewables, apart from tackling climate crisis, provide cheap electricity to the consumers at stable prices, which are not affected by the geopolitical balances.

 

Moreover, renewable energy is an important pylon for energy independence. In order to promote renewables, there are some prerequisites. Development of storage systems and ambitious local and international interconnections are among them. Greece should target to become a net exporter of green energy and, therefore, it needs to fully exploit its renewable’s potential. Priority will be given to the simplification of the licensing procedures. Greece needs to reduce the total licensing time to 2 years according to the EU Directive. Specific targets will be set and clarified in the National Energy and Climate Plan, including the main high-level actions. The exploitation of domestic resources, energy saving, and energy efficiency should be the main priorities in national energy policy, due also to their high domestic added value and the creation of numerous of jobs.