PPC tender ‘soon’ for procurement of 1,000 electric car recharging units

Power utility PPC intends to soon announce a tender for the procurement of an initial lot of 1,000 electric vehicle recharging units the corporation intends to install for public use, PPC electromobility director Kyriakos Kofinas has noted.

PPC will ultimately aim to install a total of 10,000 recharging stations around the country, the official pointed added. 

The installation of recharging stations represents part of a wider PPC electromobility business plan to also feature various other related services.

Research conducted by PPC has shown network availability for recharging stations is not an issue at this embryonic stage, Kofinas supported, adding that such an issue could arise in the future and need to be resolved, given the extent of the power utility’s installation program.

Cabinet reshuffle may slightly delay electromobility subsidies

Greece’s subsidy plan for electromobility purchases may face slight delays as a result of a limited government reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis earlier this week to improve performance on health and EU fund management.

Theodoros Skylakakis, who was upgraded to Alternate Finance Minister from Deputy Finance Minister as part of the cabinet reshuffle, had previously co-signed, under his preceding government role, a joint ministerial decision for the publication of the subsidy plan’s implementation guide in the government gazette.

However, Skylakakis will now need to re-sign the joint ministerial decision as alternate finance minister, his new post, to ensure this document’s absolute legality. In addition, the new alternate minister’s responsibilities will first need to be published in the government gazette before he re-signs the joint ministerial decision.

The joint ministerial decision was planned to be published in the government gazette tomorrow but this could now be rescheduled for August 10. Efforts are still being made to stick to the original schedule and have the joint ministerial decision for the electromobility subsidies published tomorrow.

The date of publication is important as electromobility purchases made as of this date will be eligible for subsidies.

For the time being, the starting date for subsidy applications, via an online platform, has remained unchanged and is scheduled for August 24.

Motorbikes, bicycles dominate early queries for electric vehicle subsidies

A new online platform offering information on the government’s forthcoming subsidy program supporting electromobility purchases, and a related help desk, both launched yesterday, have already begun drawing solid interest.

Interested parties made some 130 telephone calls and sent about 60 emails seeking subsidy information on the first day, according to sources.  Approximately 85 percent of queries concerned subsidies for electric motorbike and bicycle purchases.

Information on the upcoming electromobility subsidy package may be obtained by calling 2131513139, 2131513128, 2131513640, 2131513643 or 2131513797; or writing to the email address support.kinoumeilektrika@prv.ypeka.gr; or visiting the website kinoumeilektrika.ypen.gr, which includes a FAQ section. Information on this website will be constantly updated in accordance with the subsidy program’s developments.

An August 24 launch date has been scheduled for subsidy applications to the platform.

The subsidy program, budgeted at 100 million euros, is expected to provide support for 27,500 electric vehicle, motorbike and bicycle purchases.

Corporate buyers to lead way in electromobility subsidies offer

Companies appear likeliest to be the first to embrace the government’s forthcoming subsidy package supporting electromobility purchases, corporate feedback has indicated.

Private buyers, too, are expected to express early interest in the electromobility subsidy package, but their focus will be on electric bicycle and motorbike purchases, not electric car purchases, as a result of the technical simplicity linked to these favored options.

Bicycles and motorbikes require just a battery to operate, whereas electric cars depend on the existence of an extensive recharging network, not yet available, for wider mobility.

Private buyers of electric cars are expected to emerge at a latter stage, once a sufficient recharging network has been developed.

Besides the lure of subsidies, additional tax and depreciation incentives will also drive companies towards making early-bird electric car purchases.

Companies will be offered subsidies of 5,500 euros for each of up to three electric car purchases, and up to six cars if based on islands.

Car dealers have, so far, reportedly been contacted by pharmaceutical companies, supermarket chains, telecommunication groups, IT companies, as well as smaller enterprises, all interested in replacing older vehicles with electric models.

The subsidy package includes bonus payments for new electric vehicle purchases if these are combined with withdrawals of older models.

Electromobility subsidies platform expected after mid-August break

The energy ministry is working on launching an online platform for electromobility subsidies following the mid-August break, definitely before the beginning of September.

The ministry is expected to announce details on the electromobility subsidy package later today.

As a result, buyers of electric cars, motorbikes, scooters and bicycles, as well as recharging equipment, should expect to be able to lodge subsidy applications to the platform a little before September.

Invoices for electromobility purchases made in the lead-up to the platform’s launch will also be valid for subsidies, if all criteria are met, as a result of a related joint ministerial decision to be published in the government gazette  early August.

All moves being made by officials are aiming to save time and generate wider electromobility interest as soon as possible.

The package will offer subsidies of up to 6,000 euros for electric car purchases by private owners, plus bonuses of up to 1,000 euros if these purchases are combined with the withdrawal of older vehicles.

Subsidies for fully electric cars, or battery electric vehicles (BEV), worth up to 30,000 euros will reach 20 percent, 6,000 euros being the limit. Lower subsidy rates of 15 percent will be offered for BEV models costing over 30,000 euros. The 6,000-euro subsidy limit and bonus for withdrawals of old cars will also apply for this category. In addition, 500-euro subsidies will be made available for purchases of recharging units.

Electric motorbike purchases by private owners will be entitled to subsidies worth 20 percent of the purchase cost, the upper limit for subsidies in this category being 800 euros. Bonuses of 400 euros will be offered if these purchases are combined with withdrawals of older motorbikes. Electric bicycle purchases will be subsidized by up to 40 percent, the subsidy limit being 800 euros.

Companies will be offered subsidies of 5,500 euros for each of up to three electric car purchases.

Taxi drivers will be offered subsidies of up to 8,000 euros plus 2,500 euros for compulsory withdrawals of old taxis. BEV purchases will be subsidized by 25 percent of the purchase price with a subsidy limit of 10,500 euros. Also in the taxi category, plug-in hybrid electric cars (PHEV) with CO2 emissions of up to 50g CO2/km will be entitled to subsidies worth 15 percent of the pre-tax retail price. Withdrawals of old taxis will be compulsory in exchange for 2,500-euro bonuses.


Electric cars subsidy fund soon, recharge unit support to follow

The energy ministry is working on launching a subsidy program supporting electric car and bicycle purchases, 11,700 in total, by the end of this month, ministry officials have informed.

A related draft bill is scheduled to be discussed by parliamentary committees over the next few days ahead of its ratification and a required ministerial decision for the subsidy package.

The energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, spearheading the government’s electromobility effort, intends to also seek funding through the EU’s recovery fund, when this fund is made available, to put together an equivalent subsidy support program for the development of recharging facilities.

The electromobility subsidy package, worth 100 million euros, will remain available until the end of the year. It will offer support to individuals and companies for the purchase of 1,700 electric cars, 3,000 electric bikes (1,500 bicycles and 1,500 scooters), 1,000 electric or hybrid taxis and 6,000 company cars.

Interested parties will need to submit applications to the effort’s online platform, Kinoumai Ilektrika, to be launched once the draft bill is ratified.

The program will also offer bonus payments for withdrawals of older vehicles.


Electromobility creating various opportunities, players preparing

Besides the auto industry and recharging network investments, the country’s push towards electromobility, strongly supported by a draft bill delivered by the government yesterday for consultation, is also creating various other new business opportunities.

Enterprises active in battery and recharging technology, spare parts for electric cars and e-bikes, for example, can expect production opportunities.

Business opportunities are emerging for electricity companies, fuel companies, network owners and operators, recharging technology manufacturers and technology firms.

The government’s draft bill includes provisions enabling fuel stations, shopping centers, super markets, parking lots, as well as municipalities and prefectures to install recharging stations. An extensive, widely accessible recharging network will be pivotal to the country’s overall electromobility effort.

The draft bill also includes a provision for the establishment of electric vehicle charging operators, expected to primarily develop their own recharging stations, at locations either owned by them or prospective partners.

The operators will also be able to collaborate with shopping centers, super markets, municipalities and any other entities wanting to install recharging stations but lacking the size or interest to get too involved with more complex procedures.

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) has already announced the establishment of a subsidiary to focus on the energy group’s electromobility interests. Also, Motor Oil has taken its first steps, mainly through NRG, the group’s supply firm.

Both these major energy groups have already installed some recharging stations along highways and at other points. All major fuel companies plan to follow suit.

The country’s major independent electricity suppliers, Heron, Elpedison and Protergia, plus smaller players, have all incorporated electromobility into their strategic plans.

Power utility PPC, aspiring to dominate this sector, has already announced three MoUs, with the AB Vasilopoulos supermarket chain, Beat taxi service, and airport operator Fraport Greece. PPC aims to have installed 1,000 recharging stations around Greece over the next two to three years.

Some electricity suppliers have formed partnerships with car industries. Elpedison has teamed up with Mercedes Benz Hellas, Motor Oil’s NRG with BMW, and Protergia with Kosmocar-Volkswagen.


PPC: Less than 3 yrs for 1,000 electric car recharge stations

Power utility PPC expects the installation of 1,000 electric vehicle recharging points around Greece to be achieved in less than three years, sources have informed.

Related MoUs signed by PPC with the AB Vassilopoulos supermarket chain, airport operator Fraport and the taxi service company Beat this goal were announced yesterday.

PPC is also ambitious on the installation of 10,000 recharging stations,  a target expected to be achieved between 2024 and 2025.

The current PPC administration’s objectives for recharging-point installations are far more ambitious than those of the corporation’s previous leadership, whose installation plan was limited to highways and fuel stations.

Aiming for far more extensive coverage that will increase the availability of recharging points for drivers, PPC chief executive Giorgos Stassis wants swift action and decisions to establish the corporation as a leading player in this fast-developing market.

PPC also plans to create a new division focused on the electric vehicles sector to help the company achieve its goals in this market.

A growing number of major European energy companies, both vertically integrated and not, have entered the electric vehicles market over the past three years.


PPC, seeking key electric car market role, to announce MoUs

Power utility PPC is expected to soon announce two MoUs signed with private-sector companies for collaboration in the nascent electric vehicles market, a domain the utility is looking to dominate in the years ahead.

The power utility’s MoUs, believed to have been signed with Greek companies, concern recharging station installations and a range of electric vehicle services, as foreseen in a PPC business plan presented last December.

According to the plan, PPC intends to install 1,000 recharging stations around Greece over the next two to three years as well as a further 10,000 stations in the medium term.

The company is now assembling a new electric vehicles division in the lead-up to its latest business endeavor.

PPC’s wider plan could even entail collaboration with a specialized partner for production of electric vehicle parts at new plants in west Macedonia and Megalopoli, both lignite-dependent local economies in the country’s north and the Peloponnese, respectively, now being decarbonized.

A related draft bill being prepared by the government will feature incentives for the establishment of new production units at these locations.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is scheduled to present the government’s ambitious plan for electric vehicle market growth this Friday. The development of a recharging network is crucial for this plan.

New EU support plan to boost energy-sector investments

The decarbonization plan, a third round of the Saving at Home subsidy program for energy efficiency upgrades at buildings, the electric vehicle market growth effort and renewable energy-hydrogen development are seen capturing the lion’s share of energy-sector funds expected to be made available to the country through a wider European Commission support package proposal entitling Greece to 32 billion euros, plus funds from the new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) covering 2021 to 2027.

Over ten billion euros could end up being absorbed for investments in these four sub-sectors, according to enerypress sources.

The energy ministry, taking this prospective influx into account, is now shaping preliminary energy-sector plans to comprise part of a wider government plan.

An upcoming series of energy-sector privatizations are being attached to these plans as the increasing importance of energy as a growth tool promises to intensify Greek and foreign investment interest.

According to latest estimates, the amount Greece will be entitled to through the European Commission’s Just Transition Fund, designed to support regions impacted by the EU’s decarbonization policy, now stands at 1.7 billion euros. The new Brussels support package could more-than-triple this amount, according to some early estimates.

Also, the third round of the Saving at Home energy efficiency upgrade program, estimated at 350 billion euros, could now end up reaching a level of about one billion euros as a result of the new Brussels support plan.


Electric vehicles bill to include production line incentives

A draft bill being prepared by the government to promote growth for Greece’s embryonic electric vehicle sector will not only include incentives for buyers and users but also producers, energypress has been informed.

Producers establishing production lines for electric vehicle parts, including batteries, transformers and recharging units, will be offered incentives in the form of lower tax rates and reduced social security system contributions for employees, the sources said.

However, eligibility for these incentives will be conditional and require producers to establish their production facilities in either northern Greece’s west Macedonia region or Megalopoli in the Peloponnese, both lignite-dependent local economies headed for decarbonization.

The incentives are expected to include subsidies of between 4,500 and 5,000 euros for purchases of zero or low-emission electric cars, approximately 1,000 euros for electric scooters and 800 euros for electric bicycles.

Government officials plan to submit the draft bill on electric vehicles to Parliament in June.

Besides seeking to promote industrial development in current lignite areas, the master plan will also aim to make the most of early interest expressed by foreign investors.

One of these, Tesla, has, for months now, expressed interest to the Greek government for development of a fast-recharge network at Greece’s highways, a project budgeted at 10 million euros. This project is envisioned as part of a wider plan stretching from Portugal to Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Electric vehicles market growth plan includes €5,000 subsidies

A draft bill promoting electric vehicle market growth is close to being finalized for consultation following preparations and processing by related ministries over the past six months.

The plan’s details include 5,000-euro subsidies for electric car purchases as well as financial support, as a percentage of the buying price, for electric bicycle and scooter purchases, according to sources.

More crucially, besides subsidies, the government plan also includes a strategy for this technology’s increased share of the auto market.

Tax incentives as well as other motives, including free-parking rights for electric vehicles, are also believed to be included in the package of measures.

Support for increased usage of electric vehicles was a key item on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ pre-election agenda and has since developed into a priority in the government’s new green energy plan.

The plan will be forwarded for consultation next month, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has announced.

Electric vehicle market growth also represents an important part of the new National Energy and Climate Plan.

The NECP includes a target for one in every three vehicles to be electric by 2030. If achieved, this target would introduce a total of 350,000 electric vehicles to Greek roads within the next decade and subsequently increase electricity consumption by 4 percent.

DEDDIE investments boosted to reach €350m, annually

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s investment amounts concerning its business plan from 2020 to 2028 will be gradually boosted to reach annual levels of 300-350 million euros, up from 150-170 million euros, the operator has decided.

DEDDIE chief executive Anastassios Manos has presented the operator’s upgraded investment plan to board members.

It incorporates and fine tunes the distribution network strategy included in the business plan for power utility PPC, the operator’s parent company.

The upgraded DEDDIE business plan will be finalized once RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has cemented its regulatory framework.

DEDDIE’s investments have continuously dwindled in recent years.  Contrary to other EU operators, the company’s Regulatory Asset Base (RAB) value has subsequently diminished during this period of contraction as new investments each year have been outweighed by the depreciation levels of previous projects.

The operator’s new investments will focus on upgrading and expanding the network to facilitate the RES sector’s growing needs and broadened network presence, as well as ambitious electric vehicle targets.

The overall upgrade will include network digitization projects for advanced grid management and smart meter installations.

Lower-cost oil, gas an obstacle for RES growth, electric cars

Lower-cost oil and gas, as well as solar module supply chain irregularities caused by the coronovarirus spread in China, the world’s dominant supplier of solar energy systems, have emerged as obstacles for RES sector growth and investments.

Numerous solar energy projects around the world are being delayed or postponed as a result of the solar module supply problems in China.

The recent plunge of oil and gas prices, prompted by the impact of the coronavirus spread on economies and a simultaneous oil-price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, has suddenly made RES investments less competitive against conventional technologies in terms of electricity generation, energy efficiency or electrification of sectors such as transportation or shipping.

The duration of lower oil prices remains unknown.

Natural gas prices have fallen as a result of idle LNG shipments in China and forecasts for weaker demand worldwide.

Under the current conditions, market forces will turn against green energy technologies, which had just begun establishing themselves as competitive options against conventional technologies.

Questions are also being raised about the growth prospects of the electric vehicle market, still at an embryonic stage.


Italian energy firms eyeing array of local investments, PM in Italy

Italian investors are displaying widespread interest for energy investments in the Greek market, including possible stakes in distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, power grid operator IPTO, gas utility DEPA’s two new entities DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, as well as joint ventures in wind energy stations, electric vehicle projects and smart grids.

Deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas, joining Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on an official visit to Rome today, is expected to be informed of this Italian investment interest. Thomas is scheduled to meet with Italian economic development minister Stefano Patuanelli.

The Greek Prime Minister, to meet with his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte, can also expect to hear of this Italian investment interest during talks which, besides the refugee crisis, will also address cross-border energy projects such as TAP and East Med.

Snam maintains the most emblematic of Italian investments in the Greek market at present with a 66 percent stake in gas grid operator DESFA, including control of the country’s natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure.

Italian firms are regarded as pioneers in a number of green-energy domains, including smart grids, electric vehicle recharging station installations along highways, even wave power projects.

Just days ago, a consortium comprising Eni, Fincantieri and Terna announced it would commercially develop its pilot project Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC) for wave energy generation, initially at small Italian islands, followed by projects abroad.

The Greek Prime Minister and his energy deputy will also meet with Italian entrepreneurs, including Eni gas e luce chief executive Alberto Chiarini.

Italy’s Terna, one of Europe’s biggest transmission system operators, is believed to be interested in acquiring a stake of IPTO and its Ariadne subsidiary, project promoter of the submarine Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

Enel is considering moves into networks, renewable energy investments and the electric vehicles sector.

Italgas, Italy’s biggest gas distributor and the continent’s third biggest, appears interested in DEPA Infrastructure. Italgas is believed to have reached a preliminary agreement to acquire fellow Italian company Eni gas e luce’s 49 percent stake and management rights in EDA Thess, covering the Thessaloniki and Thessaly areas.

Eni, increasing its involvement in pioneering projects, including wave energy, is believed to be looking to increase its Greek market presence, possibly through acquisitions.



PPC to delay gas, electric car plans for after auditor report

Though the newly appointed administration at struggling power utility PPC agrees on the previous leadership’s plan for market diversification into the retail natural gas market as a revenue-boosting measure through combined power-and-gas packages, it has decided to delay this effort’s launch, preferring instead to currently focus on passing a crucial report to be delivered by certified auditor Ernst & Young on September 24.

PPC’s previous administration had planned to launch its gas market campaign at the Thessaloniki International Fair, beginning tomorrow.

In view of the auditor’s report, PPC’s new board, led by chief executive Giorgos Stassis, has also decided to delay its preparations for an entry into the electric vehicles market.

Stassis and his associates intend to look at PPC’s forays into the gas and electric vehicle markets as part of a new business plan following the Ernst & Young report and the establishment of agreements with the country’s lenders and the European Commission on electricity market reforms.

PPC believes its prospective gas market revenues have the potential to offset part or all of the utility’s bailout-required market share contractions in the electricity market.

In a study for PPC, consulting firm McKinsey noted the power utility’s gas market activities could end up representing 70 percent of business.

As for the electric vehicles market, PPC signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Polish company Solaris in 2017. An older PPC business plan also includes partnerships with regional authorities around the country.  

PPC gearing up for key role in auto sector electricity sales

The power utility PPC aims to have captured a 40 percent market share of electricity sales for electric vehicles by 2040 through the installation of over 600 recharging stations at various points – including alongside highways, at petrol stations, shopping centers, parking lots and hotels – as well as through sales of more than 58,000 charging systems to households, professionals and companies, according to a business plan prepared by the power utility for 2019 to 2040.

Total electricity sales in the auto market are expected to exceed two billion euros by 2040, while turnover, for the entire sector, is projected to reach 4 billion euros in 20 years’ time.

Over the next two decades, the country’s fleet of electric cars is seen growing to 500,000 from just 580 registered in 2018, the PPC business plan notes.

This drastic rise in numbers promises to generate new business opportunities as the trend combines a rise in electricity demand, recharging infrastructure development and greater utilization of renewable energy sources.

Investments of 2.5 million euros will need to be made between 2019 and 2025 for the installation of 275 recharging systems, according to the PPC business plan.


Eurelectric: Electric vehicles growth effort lacks local support

Domestic political support for the EU’s ambitious electric vehicle growth objectives over the next decade is clearly lacking, officials at Eurelectric, a sector association representing the electricity industry’s common interests at a European level, have warned, while also doubting Greece’s ability to meet these objectives amid the current climate, seen as unfavorable.

The EU’s auto-related CO2 emission reduction targets will require the introduction of approximately 40 million electric cars, vans and trucks on European roads by 2030, Eurelectric officials explained.

The continent’s fleet of electric vehicles will need to grow 40 times over the next 11 years, compared to figures registered in 2018.

Eurelectric admits this is a difficult target but believes it is achievable through appropriate investments and support.

Put into a local context, the target sets a big challenge for Greece as the country’s fleet of electric vehicles will need to grow from about 600 at present to 23,200.

Sector changes are urgently needed in Greece otherwise the country risks being left behind in the wider effort to electrify transportation, the Eurelectric sources stressed.

Big investments in recharging infrastructure are necessary, while swift action must be taken at governmental and regulatory levels, the sources added.

Eurelectric remains pessimistic about the prospects in Greece given the lack of initiatives taken so far in the electricity vehicles domain.

EU regulations have set a limit of ten cars per recharging unit but the number has reached 15 in Greece, the Eurelectric sources noted.


Plans for new Tesla base in Greece ‘making progress’

Not long after the news of a plan by US giant Tesla, specializing in electric cars, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing, to establish an R&D center in Greece, the technological firm’s co-founder and CEO Elon Musk is believed to be staging advanced talks for a Greek base.

These talks are focusing on investments by the US giant’s energy-sector arm, Tesla Energy, according to energypress sources.

The firm specializes in developing combined photovoltaic and energy accumulator storage systems for household, business and large-scale applications.

Ongoing talks between Greek government and Tesla officials have made significant progress and an agreement may not be too far away, government sources have suggested.

From early on, the Greek government has shown a willingness to facilitate Tesla’s plans for the establishment of a local subsidiary, Tesla Greece. The US firm is believed to be keen to utilize the country’s qualified human resources for further development of its business plan, while the government sees prospective political gains from local investments by the global giant.

Meanwhile, Giorgos Apostolopoulos, head of Athens Medical Group and president of the Hellenic Entrepreneurs Association (EENE), speaking at a recent conference in Delphi, central Greece, announced that he has offered Musk, the Tesla chief, free use, for ten years, of a facility owned by the medical group in Corinth.

The government took note and a meeting soon followed between Apostolopoulos and deputy education minister Kostas Fotakis, responsible for the research and innovation portfolio. The Athens Medical Group chief indicated that he wants to establish Greece on the frontline of global innovation, research and technology developments.

Tesla’s plans for the Greek market are believed to also include a plan concerning further expansion of its Tesla Supercharger Network with five electric car recharging stations in Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Lamia and Sparti.

Tesla began developing this network in 2012. The firm currently operates 1,130 such recharge stations around the world, offering a capacity for 8,496 electric cars.


Key speakers at upcoming ‘Smart Islands and Small Cities’ conference

Smart Islands and Small Cities – Policies, Technologies, Financing Solutions & Good Practices, a conference organized by the Aegean Energy & Environment Agency, the Network of Sustainable Greek Islands (DAFNI) and energypress for February 22 and 23 at the Ionic Center (11 Lysiou, Plaka, Athens) will feature many prominent speakers from Greece and other parts of Europe.

Held under the auspices of the energy ministry, to be represented by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and secretary general Mihalis Veriopoulos, the event will focus on smart technology development and support (technical and financial) for the country’s islands and small cities through national and European financing solutions and programs.

Visiting speakers include: Wioletta Dunin-Majewska, European Commission Policy Coordinator, Retail Markets, Directorate General for Energy; Willebrordus Sluijters, DG for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission; Eugenia Kazamaki Ottersten, Head of Smart Development Division, JASPERS, European Investment Bank; Lada Strelnikova, Director, Deutsche Asset Management, Investment Advisor, European Energy Efficiency Fund; and Marc Pons Pons, Regional Minister for Land Use, Energy and Mobility, Regional Government of Balearic Islands.

A speech by Panayiotis Tournavitis, General Manager at Cooperative Bank of Karditsa, perhaps Greece’s most active cooperative bank with an extensive track record in supporting local green project development investments, should be interesting.

The mayors of Rethymno, Kalamata, Halkida, Elefsina, Velestino and Katerini, representing provincial Greek cities that have taken pioneering “urban innovation” initiatives in the fields of energy, transportation, public lighting, and use of electric cars, will also deliver speeches.

Other local participants will include Kostas Komninos, Director, Network of Sustainable Greek Islands DAFNI; Nikolaos Hatziargyriou, President & CEO, Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator; and Vassilis Nikolopoulos, CEO, INTELEN Inc., Greece.

US giant Tesla looking to establish R&D base in Greece

US giant Tesla, specializing in electric cars, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing, is examining the prospect of establishing an R&D center in Greece, energypress sources have informed.

The Silicon Valley company, one of the world’s biggest technological firms, has been engaged in talks with Greek government officials over the past few months, the sources said.

Tesla is said to be considering beginning with a modest investment. However, investment decisions have yet to be taken as the US firm is seeking to secure the best possible operating conditions before pursuing any plans. The US firm, striving for a high-yield arrangement carrying minimal risk, is expecting the Greek government to take action and shape appropriate conditions. The ball is now believed to be in the Greek government’s court.

A highly-ranked Tesla official contacted by energypress refused to make any comments on the matter.

In an interview with local newspaper Avgi tis Kyriakis, Research and Innovation Deputy Minister Costas Fotakis, who is spearheading the Greek government’s effort to lure the Elon Tusk-led US firm to Greece, noted that establishing local R&D departments of rapidly growing foreign firms stands as a key short-term objective. This suggests the government will strive to establish an agreement with Tesla.

The US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, has often referred to the prospects of Greek-American collaboration in the R&D domain. Last summer, Fotakis, the deputy minister, was among the guests at a Fourth of July function organized by the American diplomat at his Athens residence.

Tesla’s Chief Motor Designer, Kostis Laskaris, a Greek national who gained a PhD in electrical engineering systems at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), has been employed at the Silicon Valley firm since 2012.

Greece’s R&D sector has been subdued in recent years as a result of a lack of funding and mass exodus of young scientists.

Alternative car fuel infrastructure development lacking support

Just 3.5 percent of vehicles in Greece, including hybrid models, run on alternative fuels, according to data concerning 2016, released by the country’s infrastructure, transport and networks ministry.

As for electric vehicles, at least 395 were used in 2016, while just three approved and publically accessible electric vehicle charging stations existed last year.

According to ELINHO, the Hellenic Institute of Electric Vehicles, at least 43 electric vehicle charging stations have been installed, primarily for private use, at parking facilities.

Authorities have forecast that at least 3,500 electric vehicles will circulate in Greece in 2020, while the figure is expected to increase to 8,000 in 2025 and 15,000 in 2030.

The ministry report noted that 11 fuel stations offer both CNG and gasoline, while a further five are expected to soon open in Athens and Thessaloniki. Licensing and construction procedures are current in progress for these.

The number of conventional fuel stations selling gasoline and diesel has contracted to 5,500 amid the extended recession. Of these, 800 also offer LPG.

Authorities forecast that the number of CNG-fuled vehicles in Greece will grow ten-fold by 2020, while, by 2025, this category is expected to represent 0.5 percent of the country’s total fleet, the average level on an international scale.

The ministry pointed out that a considerable number of new publically accessible electric vehicle charging stations will need to be developed by the end of 2020 to facilitate the expected growth.

The number of CNG stations – private and public – in Greece is expected to grow to 25 in 2020, 41 in 2025 and 65 in 2030, which is regarded as insufficient. LNG station growth forecasts are even more subdued.

No investment support plans exist at present for the development of private-sector alternative fuel infrastructure as the ministry is operating on a limited budget.

Big decisions for Larco this fall, Glencore seems reinterested

Swiss-based multinational Glencore, a commodity trading and mining powerhouse with corporate interests around the world, appears to be reexamining the prospect of buying into Larco, Greece’s state-controlled general mining and nickel producer, recent reports have suggested.

Glencore’s alleged reinvigorated interest in Larco, a troubled enterprise, has been primarily attributed to rebounding nickel prices, internationally, and forecasts of their maintainenance at higher levels.

Over just a few weeks, Nickel prices rose sharply from 9,600 dollars per ton, an eight-year low, to 10,300 dollars per ton for immediate delivery and over 10,800 dollars per ton for December futures contracts.

Larco has been placed on Greece’s privatizations list. The company’s shares have been transferred to TAIPED, the state privatization fund. The recent rise in nickel prices may help the troubled Greek nickel company improve its difficult financial position, analysts believe. This prospect has drawn the attention of Glencore.

Offering insight into the multinational’s investment plans, Gllencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg, speaking at a recent industry conference, recently declared that a potential large-scale rise of electric cars and development of energy storage systems will significantly boost demand for minerals, including copper, cobalt, zinc and nickel, in the coming decades.

Almost all car-makers are increasing investment in electric vehicles as governments adopt tighter emissions targets, he added.

Electric vehicles require more copper wiring than standard internal combustion engines. For example, the battery in an electric car contains about 38kg of copper, 11kg of cobalt and 11kg of nickel, according to Glencore. These materials, along with manganese, stand to benefit from more demand for electric cars, Glasenberg said.

Demand is growing for battery-powered vehicles. European sales of alternative-fuel models, which include fully electric cars as well as hybrid vehicles, jumped 36% in the first quarter to 235,438 units, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

Glencore appears to be maneuvering to acquire Larco as a reshaped unit without burdens. If this is to be achieved, the mining and nickel producer would need to be shut down and its assets auctioned off.

A loss-incurring enterprise that stands as the country’s second-biggest electricity consumer, Larco currently owes the main power utility PPC an amount estimated at 210 million euros.

Big decisions will certainly need to be taken on Larco’s future this comng autumn, as was recently pointed out by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis to Greek Parliament’s Production and Trade Committee.

To date, the government has gone no further than to make note of the need for a short-term plan aiming to resolve Larco’s cashflow problem as well as a long-term strategy to bolster the company’s standing in the future. It remains to be seen what all this actually means.



Electric car growth in Greece lagging behind, authority notes

Greece is currently lagging behind in electric vehicle sector development, both in terms of policies and infrastructure, Giorgos Ageridis, president of the Hellenic Institute of Electric Vehicles (HELIEV), locally acronymed ELINHO, has told energypress in an exclusive interview.

Current economic conditions in Greece do not allow for ambitious planning, which is subduing the electric car market’s development as well as a switch by drivers from conventional models to electric vehicles, the HELIEV chied pointed out.

Moves to help spur electric vehicle market grow could include a series of incentives such as financial support, tax deductions, higher taxes on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels, access to restricted traffic areas, parking priveledges and wider recharging station development, Ageridis said.

The ongoing support for electric vehicle market growth being offered in other countries is aimed at achieving a series of environmental, energy and economic growth targets, the HELIEV president explained, adding that such an approach was not being adopted in Greece. Instead, economic and tax incentives are the focus in Greece, he said.

The lack of a national strategy for electric vehicle market growth, electric car disadvantages, including the lack of recharging stations, have kept sales of new electric cars at extremely low levels, Ageridis pointed out.




Diesel auto technology fading as focus turns to electric cars

The global automotive industry faces the challenge of moving on from the fossil fuels era to electric cars, despite the existence of various hurdles. At the same time, diesel is beginning to lose its competitive edge over gasoline, prompting auto industries to declare their disengagement from investments concerning the further development of diesel-fueled vehicles.

In Greece, diesel fuel, as an auto energy choice, made a delayed entry into the market. Its wider use in major cities here was only permited five years ago. Two years later, in 2013, diesel-powered vehicle sales captured first place in the Greek market. Diesel was lower-priced, offered greater mileage and less emissions. This was good news for drivers in recession-struck Greece.

In response, car makers of models running on gasoline took measures to significantly reduce consumption levels by focusing on the development of smaller engines combined with the adoption of turbo technology. Lower fuel consumption levels in this auto category have virtually wiped out the advantage enjoyed by diesel cars in recent years.

Though diesel vehicle models emit less greenhouse gases, the nitrogen oxides they release are more hazardous for human health. Or, as put by British broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson, diesel cars are good news for polar bears but bad news for the health of people living in cities.

The European Commision has set specific limits for such emissions and is expected to follow up with new, even stricter limits next spring.

A recent study showed that many car producers have been providing false information on the nitrogen oxide emission levels of their car models. In some cases, emissions were as much as fifteen times over the limit. The recent VW diesel emissions cover-up scandal, just the tip of the iceberg, as things have turned out, has also affected the public’s perception of diesel technology.

VW has sought to rectify its corporate image by announcing major investment plans for the development of new eco-friendly vehicles. Though the move has been widely received as a mere PR gimmick, there must be some truth in it if the amount of money being spent by the German car producer on new models is taken into account. VW’s product range objective includes 30 electric car models by 2025.

Without a doubt, this reflects a wider auto industry trend. Car producers are now discouraged to invest in cleaner diesel technology as they concurrently face the challenge of adapting to electric cars, viewed as the industry’s future. Auto makers believe they cannot take on three fronts at once and, as a result, are opting to focus on gasoline and electric car technology.

There is a long way to go in the development of electric car technology, still at an embryonic stage. The high cost of electric car models and, to a lesser extent, the lack of refueling station infrastructure, especially in countries such as Greece, where drivers generally do not posses private garages, act as deterrents. On the other hand, some technological progress has been made, allowing electric cars to run for about 300 kilometers based on a single charge. Also, the battery recharging time needed is now far swifter.

Electric car producers and governments around the world anticipate this developing technology will make electric cars far more affordable for drivers between 2020 and 2025, making them competitive against conventional models.

Wider Athens prefecture to install 30 electric car stations

The wider Athens prefecture plans to install thirty electric car recharging stations at selected public spaces as part of a drive to promote the use of eco-friendly fuels on roads and contribute to the fight against climate change.

The plan will be launched in the wider Athens area’s north as a pilot program.

“Our intention is to increase the use of eco-friendly vehicles for transportation needs within the wider Athens area and remove technical barriers acting as a deterrent,” noted Giorgos Karameros, the Athens prefecture’s head official for the northern zone. “Many fellow citizens as well as tourists choose eco-friendly cars for transportation but are unable to find recharging stations. As a prefectural authority, we are overcoming this by proceeding with the installation of 30 stations at selected areas of our responsibility, such as public parks and state-run car roadworthy inspection centers,” the official added.

Karameros called on public and private sector players to join the initiative for partnerships supporting the use of electric cars as a “tool to fight against the adverse effects of climate change.”

Unchanged ‘disruption’ plan, temporary CAT model signed

Greece’s energy minister Panos Skourletis signed ministerial decisions on Friday for the adoption of a “disruption management” plan – to enable energy cost savings for major-scale industry in exchange for shifting energy usage to off-peak hours whenever required by IPTO, the power grid operator – as well as a new CAT mechanism, according to energypress sources.

The “disruption management” plan will be implemented without changes to an older format that had been prepared by the pre-Syriza coalition, despite efforts for revisions by Skourletis and his team during negotiations with the country’s creditor representatives, the sources informed.

This means that all photovoltaic system producers, except for the household sub-category, will contribute 3.6 percent of their total turnover to the “disruption management” plan, wind-energy facility operators will contribute 1.8 percent of turnover, and small-scale hydropower stations 0.8 percent of turnover. This plan had been endorsed by the European Commission during the pre-Syriza coalition’s tenure.

The planned contributions to the “disruption management” plan by renewable energy source (RES) producers have  been the cause of protest by the sector, which has contended it is being burdened to support the industrial sector.

Based on the aforementioned percentage figures, a total of about 48 million euros will be raised annually for the “disruption management” plan, although it is believed that no more than 30 million euros is required.

RES sector producers have suggested they should register to fund the plan but only contribute amounts gradually, based on real needs.

As for the new CAT mechanism, the energy ministry and creditor representatives agreed to implement a temporary mechanism until the end of 2016 as there is insufficient time to make required revisions to the wholesale market for the introduction of a permanent model.

Independent RES producers will not receive any CAT-related payments for production in 2015 as a result of the European Commission’s prohibition of retroactive payments through the temporary CAT plan.



Preoccupied ministry delaying electric car market progress

The local effort to promote electric cars in the Greek market has slown down as a result of bureaucratic complications and the Finance Ministry’s focus on negotiations with the country’s creditors following last January’s snap elections.

Over the past few months, importing activity of electric cars has grinded to a halt as sector traders await a Finance Ministry decision determining the types of models to be considered electric cars, which, subsequently, would exempt them from a hefty luxury goods tax.

At present, only B.E.V. (Battery Electric Vehicles) type models are classified as  electric vehicles by the ministry. As a result, P.H.E.V. (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Cars) and E.R.E.V. (Extended Range Electric Vehicles) have been left out of the category and, consequently, are subject to the luxury goods tax. The tax adds between 10,000 euros and 20,000 euros to the market price of each vehicle.

Lawmakers have agreed that the aforementioned categories will need to be exempted from the luxury goods tax to spur growth in this new market, currently trapped amid the doldrums as a result of slow bureaucratic progress, despite an objective set by PPC, the power utility, to play an active role in the sector, and the intention of auto manufacturers to supply electric cars to the Greek market.

Greek-German chamber calls for revised RES plan to boost investment

The Greek-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce has called for Greece’s renewable energy sources policy (RES) plan to be reworked through public consultation procedures involving the participation of the State and all parties with interests in the sctor as a means of reinvigorating investor interest and drawing new capital to the sector.

Greece’s energy market was the focus of attention at the latest meeting held by the chamber’s RES committee, during which the subject matter included discussions on the RES sector’s objectives for 2030, the country’s new legal framework for net metering and the photovoltaics sector, as well as topics concerning the emerging electric auto industry.

The country’s plan for net metering, whose legal framework was recently ratified, appears set to deliver constructive changes to the sector for enterprises interested in investing. Net metering will enable electricity consumers who generate their own power from an eligible on-site facility and deliver it to local distribution facilities to offset the electric energy provided by the utility during an applicable billing period.

As for the nascent electric auto industry, a special committee comprised of State and market officials has been established, following a ministerial decision, with the objective of developing and implementing needed infrastructure to promote the use of electric vehicles in Greece.

Although this emerging industry is developing rapidly at an international level, progress has been far slower in Greece. The establishment of domestic legal framework has lagged behind.

Participants at the recent Greek-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce meeting on RES issues included representatives of the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES); the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (HELAPCO); the Greek Wind Energy Association (ELETAEN); legal officials of a law firm specializing in RES matters; the chamber’s general director, Dr. Athanasios Kelemis; as well as the chamber’s RES committee president and board member, Emmanouil Kastanakis.



Emmissions-free vehicle study results presented

The successful results of research work conducted by a local team on emission-free hybrid transportation technology were presented at a recent workshop in Athens.

Entitled “Development and Trial Operation of an Innovative, Emmissions-free Hybrid Transportation Vehicle”, the research work, backed by EU funding programs, was conducted by a team of researchers from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Hellenic Vehicle Industry (ELVO), Miltech Hellas – active in the field of high technology electronic systems, telecommunication accessories, aircraft harnesses and other special purpose electronics applications – green technologies company Tropical SA, and consulting firm Opus SA.

The study’s results were applied to a converted conventional mini bus and presented at the event.

Also at the event, Hellenic Institute of Electric Vehicles (HELIEV) – ELINHO locally – president Giorgos Ageridis presented details of research conducted on the potential of electric vehicles in the Greek market.