Incentive boost for company electromobility upgrades

A series of energy ministry revisions made to boost the appeal of a program subsidizing electromobility purchases is expected to soon be implemented.

To date, subsidies absorbed through the support program, dubbed ‘Moving Electrically’, have reached 13.9 million euros, 31 percent of its total amount.

Under the revised subsidy terms, companies will be entitled to apply for the purchase or lease of up to 10 vehicles, up from three, or six for island regions, at present.

Companies will be entitled to withdraw, with incentives attached, as many vehicles as the number of electric vehicle purchases for which they have submitted subsidy applications.

Also, companies will have the right to submit applications for recharging station purchase and installation subsidies representing unit quantities of up to 50 percent of the number of electric vehicle subsidy applications lodged, under the conditions that these recharging units are exclusively used to cover company needs and not commercial interests.

Furthermore, companies active in the tourism sector, as well as businesses offering home deliveries and courier services will be entitled to subsidies for the purchase of up to ten electric bicycles.

An amount offered as an incentive for the withdrawal of older taxis will be raised to 5,500 euros per vehicle.

Up until early August, a total of 14,990 applications were submitted to the ‘Moving Electrically’ subsidy program, of which 14,005 were processed and 78.5 percent of these, or 11,002, approved, according to energy ministry data.

New energy efficiency subsidies exclude PVs, vehicle rechargers

The latest edition of the “Saving at Home – Becoming Autonomous” program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades, expected to be announced on Thursday by the energy and environment ministry, will focus on domestic energy efficiency upgrades and not offer subsidy support for domestic installations of photovoltaic systems and electric vehicle recharging units.

Applicants with income levels below the poverty line, deemed, by the ministry, as personal incomes of up to 5,000 euros per annum and family incomes of up to 12,000 euros per annum, will be given priority.

Also, low-income applicants will be entitled to greater subsidy amounts representing 65 percent of efficiency upgrade expenses.

The new subsidy program, planned to be launched in September, is expected to be worth 500 million euros. Successful applicants will each be entitled to subsidy support of up to 50,000 euros, unchanged from the program’s previous edition.

Applications will not be processed on a first-come, first-served basis but, instead, priority will be determined by a combination of the following factors: applicant income level and number of people living in each household; age of building; and regional climate conditions.

Applicants who present plans promising to maximize energy efficiency levels with lower investment amounts will also be given priority.

 

Municipal solar parks to help low-income household energy needs

Municipalities and prefectures will be offered 100 million euros in subsidies, through the recovery fund, for the development of solar energy farms whose resulting earnings will be used exclusively to cover the energy needs of approximately 30,000 low-income household around the country, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has announced in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini.

These solar parks will offer a total capacity of 120 MW, the minister noted.

The minister also noted, in the interview, that a further 40 million euros from the recovery fund will be used to subsidize the replacement of 2,000 conventional taxis with electric-powered models.

Taxi owners will be entitled to 22,500 euros in subsidies for each vehicle replaced, the minister said, while adding that a variety of criteria, including car age, will be taken into account.

Support is also planned for energy communities, according to the minister.

“Energy communities are important when they serve their purpose and not merely promote capital-intensive investment. That is why we will support energy communities that will benefit those in need,” Skrekas explained.

Responding to a question regarding widespread resistance of local communities against wind energy installations and criticism faced by the ministry for being too cooperative with investor plans in this domain, the minister remarked: “We don’t license everything. Investor proposals currently exceed 100 GW, but we, through the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), estimate that, realistically, approximately 10 GW will be installed – in other words, one in ten.”

Revisions to a revised, and stricter, RES spatial plan will be completed by the end of the year, the minister told.

Subsidy plan for electric vehicle recharging units in the making

The energy ministry has begun preparing a support facility, as part of the country’s recovery plan, for the development of electric vehicle recharging infrastructure.

A total of 220 million euros in recovery fund subsidies will be made available for the development of electric vehicle recharging infrastructure and replacement of public transportation buses covering the Athens and Thessaloniki areas.

The ministry’s subsidy plan for recharging stations will apply throughout Greece, covering locations such as airports, highways, as well as petrol stations.

The ministry has already agreed to receive support from JASPERS, a technical assistance facility prepared by the European Commission to help with preparations for major infrastructure projects.

According to sources, the ministry intends to announce the subsidy program in the second half of the year.

Legislative priority for energy storage, offshore wind farms

Legislative action will soon be taken by the energy ministry for the RES sector and energy storage systems, as well as offshore wind farm development, the key pillars of the country’s energy transition plan, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has told an online event staged by research and policy institute diaNEOsis on “The Energy Sector in Greece and the Climate Crisis”.

“We are preparing an institutional framework for energy storage. RES units cannot operate without storage,” the minister told the event, referring, once again, to a plan for power purchase agreements (PPAs) between industrial enterprises and RES producers.

An institutional framework for offshore wind farms, the energy transition’s second main component, is also being prepared to cover spatial matters and utilization of sea areas as an energy source, Skrekas noted.

Energy efficiency project support programs worth between 4 and 4.5 billion euros are planned to be offered over the next few years for building upgrades, the minister also told the event.

Commenting on electromobility, Skrekas praised the success of recent incentives offered for electric vehicle purchases, noting that 10 percent of new vehicle registrations in 2021 concern electric and hybrid models.

Recovery plan eyes €270m for e-car part facilities, rechargers

National recovery plan features will aim to lay the foundations for an electric vehicle industry in Greece through 200 million euros in subsidies for the establishment of production facilities making batteries and parts for electric vehicles, sources have informed.

The national plan, to be fed by the European Commission’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, once approved in Brussels, is designed to create jobs where they are needed most, including in parts of west Macedonia, in Greece’s north, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, whose lignite-dependent economies require restructuring as a result of the country’s decarbonization strategy.

The national recovery plan will also seek to offer a further 70 million euros in subsidies for the installation of approximately 8,500 recharging posts for electric vehicles, both regular and fast chargers, much higher in cost. Regular recharging units cost between 3,000 and 5,000 euros while fast chargers cost about 20,000 euros each.

Given the aforementioned subsidy plans, Greece’s electromobility effort could enjoy financial backing totaling more than 300 million euros, as, besides the 270 million euros being anticipated through the national recovery plan, an amount of between 30 and 40 million euros has already been secured through other financing programs.

The government plan aims for one in three vehicles circulating in Greece by 2030 to be electric.

 

RES spatial plan to be delivered within 2021, Action Plan notes

The completion of a RES sector spatial plan within the current year has been included in an energy ministry Action Plan for 2021, just published along with the respective action plans of all other ministries.

The energy ministry’s action plan lists interventions planned for 2021 in nine areas under its authority, including energy-sector privatizations, energy market reforms, support for decarbonization and recycling, adoption of circular economic principles, greenhouse gas emission reduction, the tackling of climate change effects, as well as green energy transition.

RES sector measures this year will help cut down the time needed by new RES projects for licensing procedures to two years, the ministry anticipates in its action plan.

It also expects the installation, by the end of the year, of at least 2,000 recharging units for electric vehicles in public areas, including along highways, and at private properties, including domestic and commercial.

On the privatization front, the energy ministry expects all seven energy privatization plans to have been completed or reached an advanced stage by the end of the year.

On energy market reforms, the adoption of a remuneration mechanism for grid sufficiency, to replace a transitional mechanism remunerating flexibility, is a standout feature.

The energy ministry also intends to adopt, as Greek law, an EU directive promoting energy storage and demand response systems.

The ministry’s action plan also anticipates the signing of agreements this year for distribution network development and RES penetration support. It also expects DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, to announce a tender for the installation of smart power meters within the current year.

Taking into account plans by DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO, the ministry expects investments in distribution and transmission networks to reach one billion euros this year.

Investments for gas network upgrades and expansion are expected to reach at least 300 million euros, primarily driven by projects planned by gas distributor DEDA, covering all areas around the country except for the wider Athens, Thessaloniki and Thessaly areas.

On international projects, the action plan notes that a Greek-Bulgarian gas pipeline project, the IGB, promising to significantly diversify Greece’s gas sources, will be completed by the end of 2021.

A latest edition of the Saving at Home program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades of properties, budgeted at one billion euros, will stimulate work on 80,000 buildings in 2021, according the energy ministry’s action plan.

This activity will contribute to a National Energy and Climate Plan objective for an improvement, by 2030, of energy efficiency at buildings by 38 percent, reducing energy consumption to levels below those registered in 2007, the action plan notes.

 

Suppliers target electromobility, smart home and city markets

Domestic energy suppliers, targeting the electromobility, smart home and smart city markets, are closely following rapid technological developments, internationally, company executives told an industry event, the 4th Ecomobility conference, held yesterday.

Elpedison, anticipating electromobility market growth, is offering related services for homes and businesses through its DriveGreen package, which includes electricity tariffs below night rates on a 24-hour basis and free-of-charge kilowatt hours every month for electric vehicle usage, the company’s chief executive, Nikos Zahariadis told the event.

A National Energy and Climate Plan projection on the auto market penetration of electric vehicles by 2030 is too ambitious as a result of high price tags on electric vehicles, lack of infrastructure and lofty taxes, Zahariadis noted. Revisions are needed if the NECP’s electromobility objective is to be achieved, he added.

Aristidis Grammatikopoulos, product development manager at energy supplier Fysiko Aerio, informed of the company’s participation in the development of recharging infrastructure. Fysiko Aerios has also prepared special packages and services for supply and installation of smart recharging units for domestic use, he added.

The Fysiko Aerio official also announced new smart-tech services, via mobile phone, offering customers optimal energy packages though an algorithm linked to individual energy consumption patterns.

Greek market data in 2020 show potential for the electromobility sector, despite difficulties, energy supplier NRG’s strategic manager Ilias Petris asserted.

The development of recharging infrastructure is the most pivotal factor for electromobility market growth, the NRG official stressed, adding that a current focus on the wider Athens area requires adjustment for a widespread approach.

The Motor Oil group, owner of NRG, has been a pioneer in electromobility through the installation of recharging networks along national highways as far back as two years ago, Petris noted.

 

EBRD reports close to €800 million investment in Greece in 2020

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stepped up its investments in Greece in 2020 to address immediate needs caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to create the foundations for a recovery with a focus on building back better economies.

Continuing its support for the Greek economy in 2020, the Bank made €797 million new investments in 17 projects, compared to €571 million in 13 projects in 2019, putting Greece in the EBRD’s top five countries of investment last year. 

Andreea Moraru, EBRD Director for Greece, said: “We are very proud to contribute to the robust response of the Greek economy to the crisis, supporting the recovery, helping local businesses with their needs and facilitating the transition to greener economic activities.” 

The Bank provided a senior unsecured loan of up to €160 million power utility PPC. The facility will support PPC’s working capital needs at a time of customer payment volatility following the outbreak of the crisis. It will also strengthen the resilience of the electricity sector as a whole by ensuring the stability of essential utility supplies and maintaining the momentum towards decarbonization. 

The EBRD also stepped up its efforts to help the Greek private sector by investing €57.5 euros in GEK TERNA’s successful issuance of a seven-year €500 million bond. GEK TERNA S.A. is the holding company for a group active in concessions, renewable energy, thermal energy and construction, incorporated in Greece. 

This issuance was the largest bond transaction to be listed to date on the Athens Stock Exchange and the first corporate issuance in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic. The proceeds will be used to refinance secured commercial loans with longer tenors and reduced financing costs, enabling a corporate transformation that will optimize the capital structure of GEK TERNA. 

Facilitating the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, EBRD launched its just transition initiative linking the transition to a low-carbon economy with inclusive economic development. One of the first projects under this approach was the Bank’s €75 million investment in the successful Eurobond tap issuance by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), in support of a new solar photovoltaic plant in Greece, the largest solar energy project in south-eastern Europe to date. 

The total funds of €100 million raised will enable ELPE to finance the construction of 18 solar photovoltaic (PV) plants with a total installed capacity of 204 MW in Kozani, western Macedonia, the country’s most coal-dependent region. The solar park will be built close to existing coal-fired power plants that are being phased out and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 320,000 tons annually.

In addition, the EBRD invested €50 million in the first senior preferred (SP) green bond issuance by the National Bank of Greece (NBG), combining support for capital market development and for the green economy in Greece. It was the first green bond issuance by a Greek bank and the first SP instrument to be issued by a Greek financial institution. 

Together with other investors, the EBRD invested in a €186.4 million securitization transaction of automotive leases, originated by Olympic Commercial and Tourist Enterprises S.A. (Avis), the leading car leasing company in Greece and master franchisee of the global car rental company Avis Budget Group.  

The transaction was an important milestone for the Greek securitization market as it was the largest issuance by a non-bank originator and the first auto lease asset-backed security transaction in the country with a sustainable and green element. 

Part of the proceeds will be used by Avis for the replacement of its existing fleet with lower CO2 emissions, electric and hybrid vehicles, helping the company to reduce its diesel footprint.

In late 2020, the EBRD joined forces with the Ministry of Development and Investments of Greece to establish a new public-private partnership (PPP) preparation facility cooperation account, following a request from the Greek authorities. 

The EBRD will manage the facility, which will provide high-quality, client-oriented project preparation, training and advisory services, policy support and institutional strengthening activities related to the infrastructure sector in Greece. The Ministry will fund the activities of the facility with €20 million. The project pipeline will mostly be in the social infrastructure sector (education and health), sustainable urban infrastructure, and water and waste management.

Keeping vital trade flows going, the Bank provided a €20 million factoring facility to ABC Factors under its Trade Facilitation Program (TTP). Building on the EBRD’s cooperation with Alpha Bank, the parent company of ABC Factors, the facility will enable the factoring subsidiary to further expand its portfolio of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local corporate clients by providing funding for domestic and international factoring transactions. Greece remains the EBRD’s most active country under TFP, with close to €320 million trade transactions in 2020.  

In 2020, the EBRD started 41 new advisory projects with Greek SMEs in various areas, such as strategic and business planning, marketing and e-commerce, operational efficiency, financial management and digitalization, and delivered five online export training seminars to more than 100 participants. Donor funding from Greece, as well as from the European Union through the European Investment Advisory Hub of the European Investment Bank, has been crucial. 

Papoutsanis, a leading Greek manufacturer of soap and liquid cosmetics, became the first Greek firm to join the EBRD’s Blue Ribbon program, which combines business advice and finance for companies that stand out for their market leadership and high-growth potential. 

Furthermore, the Board of Directors of the EBRD approved a new strategy for Greece, which will guide the bank’s investment and policy engagement in the country during the next five years. 

The EBRD responded to the coronavirus pandemic with record investment of €11 billion in 2020 through 410 projects. This represents a 10 per cent increase in annual business investment relative to 2019, when the bank provided €10.1 billion to finance 452 projects.

PPC, RWE agreement near, aiming for RES joint venture by summer

PPC Renewables, a power utility PPC subsidiary, and RWE, Germany’s biggest power producer, are striving to launch a joint venture by next summer for RES investments in Greece.

The two companies, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding last March in Berlin for exchange of technical knowhow and RES development in Greece, are looking to equally contribute for the establishment of a joint RES portfolio totaling 2 GW.

State-controlled PPC is expected to offer its approval of the agreement between the two companies within the next few days, development and investment minister Adonis Georgiadis told an online New Year event staged yesterday by the Hellenic-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

However, the details of the PPC Renewables-RWE joint venture deal are not expected to be finalized until early February, according to sources.

The two sides have already agreed on the fundamentals of their partnership agreement, RWE’s local representative Giorgos Paterakis confirmed at the aforementioned event, adding that the two companies will soon have further, and more specific, details to announce.

Georgiadis, the development and investment minister, described the forthcoming partnership as one of the country’s two biggest green-energy developments, also naming a pilot electromobility investment planned by another German company, VW, on the Greek island Astypalea.

The two companies are also looking to collaborate on decarbonization.

Enel X signs deal with Weltmeister for electric car export boost

Enel X, the Enel Group’s business line dedicated to advanced energy services and products, has signed an agreement with Weltmeister, the electric vehicle (EV) brand part of WM Motor Technology Co Ltd, a Shanghai-based automotive company specialized in the creation of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the company announced in a statement.

Following the earlier launch of its first commercial office dedicated to e-Mobility in China, Enel X will support the development of Weltmeister’s charging infrastructure at global level, thus promoting the export of EVs as well as accelerating the development of overseas markets.

The two companies will work together in order to promote high quality and sustainable development of the EV market and the first project is scheduled to be launched in China in the first quarter of 2021.

Thanks to Enel X’s market expertise and extensive ecosystem of electric mobility solutions, Weltmeister will be able to meet the needs of international customers alongside continuously deepening its internationalization process based on the accumulated experience in promoting smart electric car products in overseas markets and on its profound insight into the needs of users as well as the application of big data.

The two sides will carry out multi-dimensional and in-depth strategic cooperation in areas such as smart electric car export and after-sales service, charging infrastructure matching and charging experience improvement as well as V2G technology application. They will work together to promote the high quality and sustainable development of the smart new energy car industry and build a new ecology of green, smart travel.

“This partnership is yet another confirmation for Enel X’s transition towards a fully sustainable business model, as the company is constantly seeking to collaborate globally with companies that promote long-lasting development and that are mutually creating shared value for all stakeholders,” said Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X. “The cooperation between the two companies in charging equipment, software and hardware, V2G and other aspects is a powerful alliance, which will accelerate the e-Mobility revolution.”

Under the agreement, Enel X and Weltmeister will carry out an in-depth electric mobility cooperation as Enel X will be providing smart charging solutions and one-stop after-sales services for Weltmeister Auto products exported to overseas markets, such as the European Union and Southeast Asia, as well as ensuring that relevant charging facilities meet the requirements of local charging standards, policies, and regulations. Furthermore, the two companies will explore the integration of V2G technology in Europe, allowing customers to lower the cost of ownership of an electric vehicle while offering a potential backup power source.

Enel X is a leading provider of electric mobility infrastructure and network solutions, with more than 170,000 public and private smart EV charging points available around the globe and is committed to participating in the energy transition through decarbonization of electricity generation and the electrification of energy consumption. Through this strategic partnership, the company continues to increase value creation and to contribute positively to more rapid achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, placing SDG 13 for the fight against climate change at the center of its strategy.

 

 

Enel X is Enel’s global business line dedicated to the development of innovative products and digital solutions in sectors where energy is showing the greatest potential for transformation: cities, homes, industries, and electric mobility. The company is a global leader in the advanced energy solution sector, managing services such as demand response for over 6 GW of total capacity at global level and around 116 MW of storage capacity installed worldwide, as well as a leading player in the electric mobility sector, with more than 170,000 public and private EV charging points made available around the globe. Innovation and sustainability are at the heart of Enel X’s strategy since its inception, with circular economy being the perfect combination of these two elements, applied in many of Enel X’s products and services.

Vestas signs deal with Enel X for electrification of corporate fleet

Vestas Wind Systems A/S, a world leader in sustainable energy solutions, has signed a partnership with Enel X, the Enel Group’s advanced energy services business line, to accelerate the electrification of its company fleet, the companies have announced in a statement.

Through the agreement, Enel X will be providing Vestas with the required charging infrastructure to electrify its corporate fleet across its most prominent service markets.

“This new agreement marks another fruitful step in the collaboration between Vestas and the Enel Group,” said Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X. “Enel X’s key role as a technology leader in the electric mobility sector keeps on boosting the e-Mobility Revolution, and will support Vestas on the journey towards its ambitious sustainability goals, as well as further promoting electric mobility as one of the true enablers of the zero-emission future towards which the two companies have been working together for a long time.” 

“If we are to succeed with the energy transition across a global scale, industry leaders have a duty to implement the change we want to see,” said Anders Nielsen, Chief Technology Officer at Vestas. “One of our key goals at Vestas is to enable more sustainable energy systems by supporting the increased deployment of renewable energy beyond power and into the transport sector. By joining forces with Enel X, we can proudly demonstrate this process of deployment across our own global footprint, and help pave the way for a more sustainable future.”

Enel X will provide Vestas with a cloud-based charging platform solution, and 370 charging stations. The charging stations will be comprised of JuiceBoxes, enabling mobile e-vehicle charging, and JuicePoles, enabling the charging of two vehicles at the same time through an RFI card or App.

The charging network will support Vestas’ service and benefit car fleets across workplace locations in 15 of Vestas’ largest markets, spanning Europe and the Americas.

The collaboration marks a key step in Vestas’ journey towards retiring conventional vehicles by 2025, and forms part of Vestas’ commitment to becoming carbon neutral, without the use of offsets by 2030, as part of its broader sustainability ambitions.

Once the transition to electric vehicles is complete, Vestas anticipates more than one third of its scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions to be displaced. 

In addition, Vestas and Enel X have committed to leveraging their extensive resources as industry leaders in a joint effort to explore new innovations that will advance the energy transition. Both companies will begin an effort to identify opportunities to collaborate on developing innovations across e-mobility, grid integration and sector coupling.

 

 

 

Conditions set for new energy efficiency category subsidies

Four new categories included in the latest Saving at Home program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades at existing properties (photovoltaic systems with net metering; energy storage systems; vehicle recharging units; energy management systems) will only be made available for program applicants if older energy-saving categories (window frame replacement; external wall insulation; heating-cooling systems; hot water supply) are incorporated into applications and, in addition, elevate the energy status of residencies by at least three categories, according to a guide just released by the energy ministry.

The new program will feature offer energy efficiency upgrade subsidies of up to 85 percent and will be made available to virtually all property owners as income-related criteria will be relaxed. For example, families with annual income totals of as much as 120,000 euros will be eligible.

Greater subsidy amounts will also be made available for applicants following an increase of a previous 25,000-euro upper limit to 50,000 euros.

VW to develop Astypalea €30m green-energy transformation

German auto industry Volkswagen has agreed to develop a 30 million-euro investment plan on the Greek island Astypalea, in the southeast Aegean, that will transform the location into a green-energy island capable of fully covering its energy needs.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the VW chief executive Herbert Diess are scheduled to stage a teleconference tomorrow, possibly with the participation of the Astypalea municipality’s leadership, during which they are expected to officially announce the investment plan.

Astypalea promises to become the country’s second self-sufficient green-energy island following Agios Efstratios, a small island close to Limnos in the northeast Aegean. A tender was recently completed for necessary RES and telethermal projects on Agios Efstratios.

Besides the installation of RES systems and energy storage facilities, the VW plan for Astypalea will also incorporate testing of autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles.

VW is investing heavily in self-driving vehicles, particularly buses and trucks, as part of its effort to compete against rival car manufacturers in the electromobility sector and also achieve ambitious green-energy company goals set to help counter climate change.

Greece’s deputy foreign minister Kostas Fragogiannis, who has maintained close contact with VW over the past year in an effort to convince the German car maker to pursue its investment plan on a Greek island, will coordinate all necessary interministerial actions.

VW officials had visited the island Thassos, in the north Aegean, early this year before opting to pursue their plan on Astypalea.

The German company plans to replace the island’s existing fleet of municipal vehicles, including public transport buses and trucks, with equivalent electric models and also install recharging facilities.

Enel X Financial Services launches Enel X Pay

Enel X Financial Services, an Enel Group company that is fully owned by Enel X, has entered the digital financial services and mobile banking sector with Enel X Pay, an online banking account which, through a partnership with Mastercard, enables users to make fully secure payments and transfers in real time directly via smartphone app, to have a digital or physical card and monitor the transactions and spending of the whole family.

Enel X Pay was presented yesterday through a web press conference attended by Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X, Giulio Carone, CEO of Enel X Financial Services and Matteo Concas, Head of Financial Solutions of Enel X.

“Through Enel X Pay, we are expanding our platform of offers and products to financial services; a digital tool to easily manage financial transactions by relying on an innovative and trusted partner like Enel X,” said Francesco Venturini, Enel X CEO. “The disintermediation from traditional financial services give us the option of entering a highly competitive sector, bringing our ability to innovate and develop new solutions, from advisory and financial management services to insurance services.”

“With the launch of Enel X Pay we are bolstering our position in the fintech sector, contributing to the dissemination of digital payments and the development of financial services integrated with Enel’s ecosystem,” said Giulio Carone, CEO of Enel X Financial Services. “The business model we are looking at is that of a Big Tech firm, which makes available to customers its ability to innovate, counting on strategic partnerships with leading technology players, in order to offer high value-added solutions.”

Enel X Pay is a native digital account, involving a card and an Italian IBAN, which allows users to perform multiple types of transactions: from payment of bills, taxes and duties of the Public Administrations signed up to Italy’s pagoPA circuit, to SEPA transfers, from the peer-to-peer transfer of money with no additional costs, to donations aimed at solidarity initiatives to third sector associations like Save the Children, Food for Soul and Doctors without Borders.

With Enel X Pay, users can pay for the charging of electric cars in the infrastructures within the Hubject circuit. Hubject is the e-mobility joint venture involving the BMW Group, Bosch, EnBW, Enel X, Innogy, Mercedes Benz AG, Siemens and the Volkswagen Group, which boasts over 750 business partners and 250,000 interoperable charging points all over the world.

Users can manage the Enel X Pay banking account directly from the app bundled with a digital and physical card. The card is made out of plant-based bio-plastic and is linked to Mastercard, the key international payment circuit with over 52 million points of acceptance around the world.

In addition, courtesy of the Enel X Pay “family” option, a dedicated account can be activated for children between the ages of 11 and 18, providing them with a prepaid card while allowing them to make peer-to-peer transfers, withdrawals from ATMs as well as payments on e-commerce sites. Parents can rely on a useful tool which, on the one hand, offers children the freedom to manage their own funds and, on the other, allows the monitoring of their balance and transactions, while setting spending limits and fixing the amount of the prepaid card’s automatic top-ups.

The launch of Enel X Pay is a milestone in a process that the Enel Group has been engaged in for the last two years, accomplishing a series of strategic transactions. These include: the purchase of a majority stake in Paytipper, an institution with which the initial offering of online and offline payment services was created as well as the recent agreements with partners SIA and Tink which, through their highly secure and reliable technology platforms, will enable all Enel X Pay services, allowing for the development of additional open banking solutions tailored to customer needs.

Enel X Pay is available on the Google Play Store (Android) and, in the coming days, on the Apple App Store.

 

Energy ministry seeks recovery fund support for many domains

The energy ministry, seeking to ensure EU recovery-fund support for mature projects in key energy-related domains, has proposed their inclusion in a national plan whose first draft will be submitted by the government to the European Commission this month.

Greece is entitled to approximately 32 billion euros from the EU recovery fund, worth a total of 750 billion euros (390bn in subsidies and 360bn in loans) and established to counter the impact of the global pandemic.

Approximately 37 percent of the recovery funds will be used for green-energy development.

Energy efficiency upgrades of buildings; grid interconnections and RES initiatives, including energy storage; electromobility; nature protection; decarbonization; spatial planning for RES development; solid and liquid waste management; and smart power meter installations, a severely delayed project in Greece, are among the domains the energy ministry wants included in the national plan for EU recovery funds.

The energy ministry has previously sought support for some of these domains through the National Strategic Reference Framework.

A total of 130,000 efficiency upgrades of buildings have so far received subsidy support over a decade-long period through Greece’s Saving at Home program. The ministry is looking to significantly increase this rate to 60,000 upgrades per year through the recovery funds program.

Greece’s energy ministry will also seek recovery fund support for two major electricity interconnections – Crete’s major-scale interconnection,  to link the island’s grid with Athens; and the fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnection – both being developed by power grid operator IPTO.

 

First look at new ‘Saving at Home’ program imminent, launch long way off

A first impression of the latest Saving at Home subsidy program, supporting energy efficiency upgrades of existing properties, is expected within the next few days, possibly by the end of this week.

The energy ministry is preparing to announce details on categories eligible for the subsidy program, sources said.

Even so, the finalized plan is still be a long way off, the sources added, as numerous details need to be resolved before the subsidy platform can be launched.

Roof-mounted PVs, energy storage systems, smart home systems and electric vehicle recharging facilities will be added to the new program.

It will offer energy efficiency upgrade subsidies of up to 85 percent and be made available to virtually all property owners as income-related criteria will be relaxed. For example, families with annual income totals of as much as 120,000 euros will be eligible.

Greater subsidy amounts will also be made available for applicants following an increase of a previous 25,000-euro upper limit to 50,000 euros.

In addition, home owners with more than one property will be able to submit multiple subsidy applications. In such cases, a subsidy limit of 100,000 euros is expected to be imposed.

The new subsidy package will also include bonus amounts of 10 percent as COVID-19 premiums.

 

Gov’t plans 11 decarbonization investments worth €2.5bn

The government plans to facilitate the post-lignite transition of Greece’s west Macedonia and Megalopoli areas by promoting 11 big investments totaling 2.5 billion euros and also making available, through a six-year plan, national and EU support funds in excess of three billion euros.

This plan, already presented to west Macedonia working groups earlier this week, will be discussed today by a government committee before being presented to media by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis.

Besides the 11 major-scale investments, the plan, intended to reshape the production models of both regions, will also feature tax and financing incentives.

For decades, both the west Macedonia and Megolopoli areas have depended on lignite for economic growth.

The new plan will be based on five key pillars – clean energy; industry, small-scale industry, commerce; smart agricultural production; sustainable tourism; technology and education – for growth and utilization of comparative advantages.

Investment plans include the development of solar farms in west Macedonia and Megalopoli with a total capacity of 2.3 GW; a state-of-the-art gas-fueled power station in west Macedonia; as well as the establishment of electromobility industrial parks in both areas.

The government’s decarbonization plan for the two areas is expected to create 5,100 jobs, directly, and a further 6,400, indirectly.

The government expects to deploy national and EU support funds worth 3.2 billion euros for the overall effort over six years, with the majority of this total, 2 billion euros, to be made available over the first three years (2021-2023).

The plan is expected to be forwarded for public consultation in mid-September.

 

PPC business plan to include more ambitious RES goals

Power utility PPC’s new business plan, to be announced towards the end of the year, will feature a more ambitious transition towards the corporation’s RES objective of between 2,000 and 3,000 MW, as well as bolder steps concerning digital products, the retail electricity market, electromobility and the decarbonization schedule.

PPC, undergoing strategic changes, has decided to present three-year business plans that will be revised annually instead of its customary five-year plans.

This reflects the corporation’s determination to remain connected with rapid developments in the energy sector, capable of outdating business plans announced just a year earlier.

The new PPC business plan, expected in December, will aim for a RES portfolio of 2,000-3,000 MW within two years; swifter digitalization; increased collaboration with the private sector for electromobility development; greater emphasis on cost-reduction synergies; as well as revenue reinforcement through the application of new technologies in all fields.

The business plan will be complemented by a new regulatory framework for PPC’s privatization-headed subsidiary HEDNO, the distribution network operator, as well as European Commission negotiations, crucial for the new generation of retail products.

The new PPC business plan will offer fundamentals for the establishment of a corporation delivering annual operating profit of between 750 and 900 million euros between 2021 and 2023.

A smooth ride is not guaranteed. Fluctuations are possible. Gas and petroleum prices, currently low, will most likely rise over the next few months, PPC’s decarbonization plan represents an enormous challenge, while difficulties and delays in the absorption of amounts from the recovery fund are feared.

For the time being, the market is approving PPC’s approach. The company share has risen 187 percent over the past six months, up from 1.55 euros in March to 4.45 euros yesterday.

 

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.

 

Electromobility, home energy efficiency upgrade subsidies in pipeline

The environment, transport and finance ministries are scheduled to sign a joint ministerial decision tomorrow for a subsidy program supporting electromobility purchases.

Once the joint ministerial decision is published in the government gazette, interested parties will be able to proceed with electric vehicle purchases and apply for subsidies by lodging related invoice information onto an online platform as soon as it is launched, approximately in mid-August.

Tomorrow’s joint ministerial decision will provide the program’s full details, including the procedure and eligibility criteria.

The program is expected to be divided into three categories for private owners, taxi drivers and companies. 

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

Taxi drivers will be offered subsidies of up to 8,000 euros plus 2,500 euros for compulsory withdrawals of old taxis.

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

Besides the electromobility subsidy support program, the energy ministry is also preparing an updated Saving at Home package for energy efficiency upgrades of existing buildings. An initial guide is expected to be released next week.

The new Saving at Home program will offer subsidies for RES generation and storage, electric vehicle recharging stations, as well as smart home energy management systems.

Plans submitted will need to promise property energy efficiency lifts by at least three categories in order to be eligible.

Previous Saving at Home subsidy programs were limited to casing, doors, windows and heating-cooling systems, including insulation.

Launch of electromobility subsidy program now imminent

A draft bill for subsidies supporting purchases of electric cars, scooters, bicycles and recharging units is set for publication in the government gazette today ahead of a needed ministerial decision, probably next week, and the launch of a related platform for applicants, expected in August.

Prospective buyers of electric vehicles and rechargers do not need to wait until the platform is launched. If all criteria are met, buyers can proceed with purchases whose outlay will be deemed valid for subsidy support, energy ministry sources told energypress.

However, buyers will need to promptly lodge their subsidy applications to the platform once it is launched, probably within August, to secure their subsidies.

Just like the “Saving at Home” subsidy program for domestic energy efficiency upgrades, electromobility subsidy applications lodged to the platform will be processed in chronological order until the program’s budget, totaling 100 million euros for one and a half years, has been fully absorbed.

Some 16,000 to 17,000 applications – for electric cars, exclusively – would be enough to fully cover the 100 million-euro amount offered.

A big response and swift absorption of funds is likely to lead to the release of further subsidies supporting the electromobility sector.

The government announced a series of incentives early in June with the aim of invigorating the electric car, scooter and bicycle market. The public’s response to the platform will serve as a crucial indicator on the appeal of these incentives.

Electric car purchases of up to 30,000 euros are expected to be subidized by 20 percent, while a lower subsidy rate of 15 percent is planned for purchases exceeding 30,000 euros.

Solar energy association wants net metering rule revisions for boost

The Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (SEF/HELAPCO) has called for a series of net metering rule revisions by the government to stimulate growth for the sector.

Proposals forwarded by the association include making possible the amortization of net metering investment costs directly through electricity bills.

At present, electricity suppliers offer net metering system installations through bank financing packages that cover between 70 and 80 percent of the net metering investment cost, ranging between 5,000 and 12,000 euros.

As a result, consumers are responsible for paying initial sums of between 1,000 and 1,500 euros for net metering system installations concerning small homes and between 2,400 and 3,600 euros for larger-scale projects.

Under current conditions, amortization requires eight years. This effectively means consumers opting to install net metering systems stand to benefit from reduced electricity bill costs for a period of 17 years as net metering agreements are offered for 25-year periods.

Authorities anticipate the gradual rise of the electromobility sector will boost demand for net metering as increased domestic consumption will make installations for self-production more attractive.

Tesla managerial job posts for Greece signal market entry plan

Job classifieds for Greece recently posted by Tesla on the company website, including for the position of a sales and delivery manager, confirm the US hi-tech giant is planning to establish a local trading network for electric vehicles.

This prospect highlights the significant electromobility growth potential Tesla sees in the Greek market.

Tesla’s preparations for a trading division in Greece represent the third step in the company’s overall plan for Greek market entry following initiatives to establish an R&D department and develop a national recharging network.

Tesla has already established a Tesla Greece R&D division, expected to employ up to 50 specialized engineers once in full gear. This division’s current workforce figure remains well below the target, raising questions in the R&D community.

Tesla, since the beginning of the year, has been involved in talks with Greek government officials as well as representatives of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for the installation of recharging units on Greek highways.

However, speculation that Tesla could be seeking to develop a recharging network that would be compatible only for its electric vehicle models has raised concerns. It should be pointed out that the Tesla plan for Greece is still in the making. Clarity will be offered once the Tesla plan for Greece is finalized.

The energy ministry has introduced an electromobility law designed to attract investment in the sector.

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.