An energy ministry draft bill for a second round of RES licensing simplification measures will freeze, throughout Greece, RES grid connection applications accepted as well as connection terms that would otherwise be offered by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for pending new RES projects until RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved the operator’s plan for a grid capacity increase.
However, even when this grid capacity boost is approved by RAE, very few RES projects will be able to make progress as a minimal number of existing substations currently have minimum capacities of 10 MW, a draft bill prerequisite for distribution of capacity percentages concerning grid connections of small and medium-sized projects.
RAE does not face any time limits for its approval of the grid capacity boost. Officials fear the delay could last months. Until RAE’s approval, DEDDIE/HEDNO will only accept RES project applications and offer connection terms for net-metering systems, virtual net-metering as well as roof-mounted solar panels.
RES project investors granted connection terms, old and new, for projects are likely to be required to pay guarantees within a two-month period, a shortened period that is expected to filter out idle, undeveloped project plans occupying capacity.
The details of this revision will be finalized once consultation on a related draft bill prepared by the energy ministry has been completed.
The draft bill will cover the next round of RES licensing simplification measures and a framework for the development of energy storage units.
Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO have begun coordinating by exchanging information on available grid transmission and distribution network capacities, respectively, in an effort to accelerate connection terms offered to RES facilities.
At present, IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO are struggling to keep up with a flood of applications submitted by RES investors for connection terms.
The two operators have formed a working group which has already held one session involving the participation of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.
It was agreed that the two operators need to establish better pictures of available capacities concerning the grid transmission and distribution networks.
Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030. RES investor applications submitted so far are estimated to already exceed this sum by 10 GW.
RES investor applications submitted to power grid operator IPTO for connection terms concerning wind and solar energy facilities already greatly exceed the grid’s planned capacity for 2030, by 10 GW, taking into account prospective grid infrastructure upgrades.
This excess capacity has prompted the energy ministry to consider suspending the submission of any new applications until authorities have found solutions to manage the accumulation of project applications already submitted.
IPTO has completed its assessment of applications concerning 2020 and has offered connection terms to successfully applicants.
The operator is now preparing to process applications lodged in 2021 and during the first quarter of 2022.
The current total capacity of RES projects, either already operating or which have received connection terms up until the end of 2020, is 19.6 GW.
Applications submitted in 2021 and so far in 2022, all of which need to be evaluated, represent a total capacity of 19 GW.
Greece’s updated National Energy and Climate Plan has projected an installed RES capacity of 25 GW by 2030.
Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030.
Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO have agreed to form a working group, with participation from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a meeting initiated by the authority to seek solutions for further acceleration of connection terms offered to new RES stations through better coordination between the operators.
The three entities agreed that each operator must have a clearer picture of total available network capacity, both for transmission and distribution.
At the meeting, both IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO stressed that they have been working at a faster pace over recent years, in response to an increased inflow of RES connection applications.
In 2021, IPTO offered connection terms to 1,346 prospective RES projects representing a total capacity of 3,046 MW, five times more the total capacity of 620 MW it offered for RES connection terms concerning 43 RES projects in 2015.
Also, RES stations given the green light to enter the transmission network in 2021 increased by 310 percent, compared to the previous year.
Between 2015 and 2021, 1,673 RES stations representing a total capacity of 7.86 GW have secured access to the grid, data has shown.
Group applications for small-scale solar energy systems have remained high in 2021, the number of group requests so far submitted to power grid operator IPTO for finalized connection terms reaching 70 for a total of 2,696 units representing a capacity of 2,260 MW, energypress sources have informed.
These figures essentially mean that applications representing approximately 25 percent of the capacity planned to be installed in Greece by 2030 were submitted during the first ten months or so of the current year.
IPTO is currently offering finalized connection terms for successful group RES applications made until December 31, 2020. To date, the operator has offered connection terms for 20 group applications submitted in 2020, representing a capacity of approximately 705 MW.
Power grid operator IPTO has begun offering connection terms to group applicants behind small-scale solar energy projects, a development that enables direct transmission system access for these groups, sparing them of the need to enter via the distribution network.
According to sources, a first group application received connection terms from IPTO about three weeks ago, while a further two groups of small-scale PV units had secured their direct access to the transmission system by the end of last week.
More small-scale group applicants are expected to soon be given their connection terms.
Power grid operator IPTO has released a list of pending finalized connection terms for RES and combined heat and power (CHP) projects, prioritizing strategic investments and RES projects planned for lignite-dependent areas being phased out as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.
At the top of the list is an application for a 40-MW solar energy park project in Larissa, central Greece, listed under the strategic investments category.
It is followed by applications submitted by PPC Renewables for RES units planned in northern Greece’s west Macedonia area, until now a lignite-based local economy.
These applications submitted by PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, concern 19 projects promising a capacity of approximately 1.9 GW, planned for the provincial cities Kozani and Florina. They include a 550-MW solar energy park in lignite-dependent Ptolemaida.
Also on the list are a further 76 connection-term applications for RES projects representing a total capacity of approximately 2.5 GW.
Overall, the list includes 96 applications for projects totaling 4.5 GW. Of these, 92 are PV projects, 2 are wind-energy projects, one is a combined PV and wind energy project, while the remaining application is for a small-scale hydropower station.