Licensing delays, bureaucracy ruining RES investment plans

Renewable energy sector players may have been able to absorb the cost of bureaucratic delays in the past, but market changes, shaped by auctions, no longer allow for such latency, meaning investments plans could well be cancelled amid the new conditions if license applications continue being delayed, sector officials have stressed at an investment conference staged by SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists.

Highlighting the bureaucratic obstacles in the sector, major energy groups such as Mytilineos and Terna Energy are currently developing or completing wind energy project investments licensed about 15 years ago as a result of various delays prompted by authorities.

“Two months have gone by since we submitted an application for a production license to RAE [Regulatory Authority for Energy] and we have yet to receive a response. I would have expected a quicker reaction for a 350 million-euro investment,” remarked Dinos Benroubi, the energy division head at the Mytilineos corporate group.

Greek licensing procedures for wind energy projects appear to be even more complicated than those concerning thermal facilities, or natural gas fueled power stations, it was noted at the SEV conference.

Participants explained that, amid the current conditions, energy groups aiming to concurrently strive for multiple licenses concerning many RES projects would need to maintain oversized teams just for RES sector matters.

Employees at forestry and archaeological services are capable of severely holding up RES investment plans, despite the availability of funds, conference participants noted.

Though the Greek State assumed the responsibility of developing offshore wind energy farms nearly a decade ago, not a single such project has been developed, despite the wider investor interest, participants reminded.

All too often, renewable energy investment plans are blocked by cases filed at the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, even by non residents, it was also pointed out.