The European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) is glad to extend a warm welcome to its newest member Public Power Corporation (PPC) who joined EASE in May 2019. Mr Ioannis Kopanakis, Chief Development Officer, accepted to discuss with us PPC’s expertise in energy storage and expectations from this collaboration with EASE.
EASE: Mr Kopanakis thank you very much for accepting this interview. We are very really happy to have PPC among our members and we would like to know more about your activities in the sector. Could you summarise the most interesting insights from PPC’s work for energy storage in Europe?
Mr Kopanakis: Thank you very much for your warm welcoming. It’s exciting for us to join Europe’s most competent team of storage enthusiasts. Even though PPC has only recently created a dedicated structure for storage as part of its development activities, our company’s involvement in storage dates back to 1985 with the installation of the first pumped hydro storage unit of 315 MW capacity in Greek mainland, followed in 1998 by a second such unit of 381 MW capacity. Recently, PPC has put in operation at the non-interconnected island of Ikaria, the second in Europe hybrid station which combines, at a utility scale, wind generation with pumped hydro storage.
EASE: We look forward to a very fruitful collaboration with you and to receive PPC’s inputs for our Working Groups and Task Forces. What created the interest from your company to join EASE?
Mr Kopanakis: As I explained in my previous answer, PPC has a long hands-on technical experience on pumped hydro storage installations. Furthermore, PPC, being the largest utility in Greece, holds a broad portfolio of activities, ranging from conventional generation and mining to renewables generation (from hydro, wind and solar power plants), up to the 75% of the retail electricity market in Greece. In Greek islands, in particular, PPC has been for many decades the major electricity generator, while at the same time operating the electricity networks in most of the islands on behalf of the DSO. Storage, being the “Swiss Army knife” of the energy sector, could be integrated with various components of these activities, thus playing an important role in the on-going transformation of our company from a traditional utility to an energy products and services based company. Towards this approach, we value as very positive our participation within EASE bodies and our collaboration with some of the most proactive in Europe fellow-members from the whole value chain of storage.
EASE: What is your vision for how storage can contribute to the energy transition?
Mr Kopanakis: PPC, being the oldest and most important player in the electricity sector in Greece, knows very well the challenges which the industry faces for the transformation from a carbon-intensive practice to a carbon-neutral approach, according to the EU set goals. While we consider that storage and renewables will be the two major pillars of the future electricity sector, the exact ingredients of this mix are unknown at the moment and we consider that, to a large extent, they will be defined during the energy transition period. We value the security of supply as the utmost important parameter in the design and implementation of this transition, with storage offering the necessary buffer needed in the mix of the supply from conventional and renewables units and the demand from all types of consumers.