Shipping sector developing offshore wind farm interest

The shipping industry, domestic and foreign, is expressing growing investment interest for offshore wind farms and is awaiting the emerging sector’s regulatory framework to develop such projects in Greek sea territory, energypress sources have informed.

Though plans are still nascent, a considerable number of shipping companies and shipowners are already in talks with consultants for related feasibility studies.

Conditions for shipping industry players are favorable. Their earnings have skyrocketed amid abnormal market conditions, worldwide, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020. These higher earnings have generated additional capital for investment, prompting shipowners to consider the potential of offshore wind farms.

Anticipating strong growth in this emerging sector, metals production group Viohalco plans to proceed with an investment estimated to be worth 70 and 100 million euros, which, through subsidiary Cenergy Holdings, will merge the knowhow of group members Hellenic Cables and Corinth Pipeworks for the establishment of the world’s first industrialized unit for floating wind turbines.

Norway’s Equinor, the world’s biggest developer of offshore wind farms, has already expressed interest to develop projects in Greece, proposing an area between the Cyclades islands of Tinos, Syros and Mykonos.

In addition, TERNA Energy has reached an agreement with Ocean Winds, a partnership between EDP Renewables and Engie, for co-development of offshore wind farms offering a 1.5-GW capacity. Also, Mytilineos has reached an agreement with Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners. Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is currently engaged in talks with a major foreign company and Motor Oil has signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).

Power utility PPC is currently involved in talks with at least five foreign companies, including Australia’s Macquarie, which recently acquired a 49 percent stake in PPC subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s distribution network operator. PPC is also believed to be in talks with American fund Quadum.

The Copelouzos group has joined forces with RF Energy to establish Aegean Offshore Wind Farms, a company planning to develop offshore parks offering an 850-MW capacity.

Greek shipowners own 5,514 ships, controlling 32 percent of the world’s tankers, 25 percent of bulk carriers and 22 percent of LNG carriers, the latter category being crucial for Europe’s effort to end its reliance on Russian natural gas.


Ellaktor, EDPR form alliance seeking greater RES market penetration

The Ellaktor group and EDP Renewables, both aiming for swifter and deeper RES market penetration, have established a strategic partnership following talks that began last summer.

The two companies plan to invest one billion euros over the next four to five years for the development of wind farms with a total capacity of 900 MW, sources have informed.

EDP Renewables was driven towards forming this partnership by the belief that its existing Greek portfolio of licenses, offering a capacity of 152 MW accumulated through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, would be insufficient to secure investment opportunities in the country.

The Ellaktor group, holding a RES portfolio of 460 MW, is looking to further bolster its position in the renewable energy market.

By uniting their portfolios, the two companies believe they will be better positioned for anticipated market changes and opportunities.

Ellaktor stands to also benefit from resulting access into lower-cost capital markets.

The plans of the two partners include development of two wind farms with a total capacity of 436.8 MW in central and southern parts of the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens. The two firms have acquired licenses for these projects from other companies.

A further 460 MW will be developed from a portfolio of existing licenses. These licenses are not linked with Ellaktor’s portfolio of wind parks already operating.

Ellaktor already holds a total of 26 RES projects, all operating. They are comprised of 24 wind energy farms with a total capacity of 484 MW, one small-scale hydropower plant (5 MW) and one solar energy farm (2 MW), offering a total installed capacity of 491 MW.

Floating solar panel installations rising, Greek market considered

Companies headquartered in Europe’s north are looking for opportunities to invest in floating solar panel installations over lake, sea and reservoir surfaces around Greece, sources have informed.

Conditions at Greek lakes and seas locations are considered ideal to host such projects, capturing an increasing share of global renewable energy generation as their related technology continues to mature.

Key players are developing floating solar panels projects at various locations around the world, including European and Asian regions.

Germany’s BayWa r.e., developing floating solar panel projects with a total capacity of 52 MW at shallow waters in the Netherlands, is believed to be eyeing the Greek market.

Another major player, Norway’s Statkraft, is currently installing floating solar panels with a 2-MW capacity at a hydropower facility reservoir in Albania.

Portugal’s EDP, which has signed a memorandum of cooperation for renewable energy projects with Greek power utility PPC, and France’s Akuo, present in the Greek market, are both active in the floating solar panel sector.

Floating solar panel solutions are proving to be increasingly popular as their development avoids costs and complications encountered by investors behind  conventional solar projects on land.

The overall capacity of floating solar panel projects soared from 10 MW in 2014 to 1.1 GW in 2018 and is continuing to increase at a rapid rate.


Three bids submitted for crucial RES spatial framework tender

Three technical firms have submitted bids to an energy minister tender offering a contract for the development of a national spatial framework concerning the renewable energy sector, a project budgeted at 120,000 euros.

The framework’s content of incentives and restrictions will be crucial for investors when deciding whether to pursue investment plans, said to be worth billions, or hold back.

EDP (Environmental Design Partnership); an alliance involving the Stelios Tsakiris and Geohoros firms; and Theorema Development Consultants are the tender’s three bidding teams. All three are collaborating with various specialists in the spatial, environmental, legal and engineering domains for this project’s tender.

Energy ministry officials estimate a preferred bidder will be announced before summer. Should the winner be announced in May, the new RES spatial framework should be ready towards the end of 2020, as it is scheduled to require 18 months to complete.

Market officials have expressed fears that spatial restrictions being promoted overtly and covertly could undermine investment plans estimated to be worth at least 9 billion euros over the next few years.

This ambitious projection has been made by ESEK, the National Council for Research and Innovation, the country’s supreme advisory body for the formulation and implementation of the national policy for research, technology and innovation.

Various restrictions could prevent Greece from achieving RES targets set for 2030, wind energy market officials have warned.


Foreign players new to Greek market apply for upcoming RES auction

A number of foreign players new to the Greek market have submitted applications for wind and solar energy capacities to be offered at a RES auction on July 2.

Interested foreign players who met a June 5 deadline for applications include EDP Renovaveis, a subsidiary of Portugal’s EDP, among Europe’s major electricity operators.

According to energypress sources, EDP Renovaveis submitted applications for two wind energy projects with respective capacities of 45 MW and 15 MW. The company has purchased licenses from firms already active in the Greek market for these projects.

In another noteworthy development, Rokas Iberdrola, which had essentially stopped making investments over the past six years, also submitted an application.

China Three Gorges (CTG) holds a 23 percent stake of EDP, the parent company of EDP Renovaveis.

The Chinese firm recently made a 9.1 billion-euro offer to takeover EDP in its entirety. However, this offer, made on May 15, was rejected by the EDP board. CTG will need to make an improved offer if it is to stand a chance of buying out EDP.

Besides its role in the Portuguese market, EDP is also active in the natural gas and electricity markets of 14 countries, including the US (wind energy), Brazil (hydropower), France, Italy and Poland (wind energy markets of all three), as well as electricity generation and distribution in Spain.