Even split in wind, solar systems optimal balance, studies show

An even split between prospective solar and wind energy installations in Greece is the perfect balance in terms of cost-effectiveness and investment, studies conducted by two Greek universities have shown.

Emphasis on the development of either of the two RES technologies is not optimal for RES growth in Greece, Panagiotis Papastamatiou, chief executive of ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, told the recent Power & Gas Forum in Athens, citing the university studies.

Although solar energy installations are lower in cost, they require large storage capacities for energy transmission, coming at an increased cost, the ELETAEN official noted, adding that, on the other hand, investment costs for wind energy installations, especially offshore systems, are elevated.

This view raises questions about the National Energy and Climate (NECP) plan, envisaging greater development of solar energy installations, and whether this approach would maximize benefits for consumers, compared to a 50-50 split.

A study conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) showed that a combination of 10 GW in solar energy systems and 10.5 GW in wind energy systems would reduce overall generation cost.

Another study, by the University of Piraeus, also showed that a 50 to 60 percent wind-energy share of prospective RES installations is the optimal combination that should be pursued.


Top energy sector officials taking part at Power & Gas Forum, March 22-23

The government’s top-ranked energy sector officials as well as a host of other leading figures from political, institutional, academic and business domains will be talking part in the Power & Gas Forum on March 22 and 23 at the Wyndham Grand Athens Hotel, an event being staged by energypress for a fourth time. Conference speakers and attendees will participate in person.

Speakers at the event will include Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas; the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou; secretary-general of transport at the ministry of infrastructure and transport Ioannis Xifaras; RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) president Athanasios Dagoumas; EFET’s (European Federation of Energy Traders) Jerome Le Page; Tomás Llobet of European Energy Retailers (EER); two former Greek energy ministers, Giannis Maniatis and Giorgos Stathakis; Sokratis Famellos, a member of the main opposition leftist Syriza party; and Haris Doukas of the PASOK-KINAL socialist party.

Other conference participants will include power grid operator IPTO’s chief executive officer Manos Manousakis and his deputy Giannis Margaris; gas grid operator DESFA’s chief executive Maria Rita Galli; RES market operator DAPEEP’s president and CEO Giannis Giarentis; distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s chief executive Anastasios Manos; EDEYEP (Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company) president Aristofanis Stefatos; the Hellenic Energy Exchange’s newly appointed CEO Alexandros Papageorgiou; EDA THESS general manager and EDA ATTIKI CEO Leonidas Bakouras; the Greek prime minister’s special adviser for energy Nikos Tsafos; energy ministry adviser Theodoros Tsakiris; and energy markets guru Alex Papalexopoulos.

The academic community will be represented by professors Pantelis Kapros, Stavros Papathanasiou, Pantelis Biskas, Nikolaos Hatziargyriou and Antonis Metaxas.

As always, energy-sector authorities will also participate at the event. They include Loukas Dimitriou (ESAI/HAIPP – Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers); Antonis Kontoleon (EVIKEN – Association of Industrial Energy Consumers); Giannis Mitropoulos and Miltos Aslanoglou (ESPEN – Greek Energy Suppliers Association); Irodotos Antonopoulos (ESEPIE – Hellenic Association of Electricity Trading & Supply Companies); Panagiotis Lostarakos and Panagiotis Papastamatiou (ELETAEN – Greek Wind Energy Association); Stelios Loumakis (SPEF – Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers); and Stelios Psomas (SEF/HELAPCO – Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies).

Key sector entrpreneurs and executives who have so far confirmed their participation include: Ioannis Kalafatas (Mytilineos); Kyriakos Kofinas (PPC); Nikolaos Zahariadis (Elpedison); Anastasios Lostarakos (NRG); Dinos Nikolaou (Energean); Kostis Sifnaios (Gastrade); Nikolaos Satras (Dioryga Gas); Panos Nikou (Volterra); and Ioannis Kokkotos (ABB).

The forum’s full agenda will be finalized and announced in the coming days.

Greek onshore wind energy generation tops European output

Onshore wind energy generation in Greece yesterday was the biggest recorded in Europe, capturing a 55 percent share of the country’s energy mix, according to data provided by the WindEurope association on wind energy yields across the continent.

Greece was followed by Spain, where onshore wind energy production yesterday captured 49 percent of the country’s energy mix, and Portugal, whose wind-energy share was 35 percent.

The increased wind energy generation in Greece helped lower the country’s wholesale electricity price, at 58.44 euros per MWh today. The price level is below 10 euros per MWh for half the day, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, noted in an announcement.

This lower wholesale electricity price directly benefits consumers and the Greek economy, the association added.

Crete added to first-round list of offshore wind farm areas

Crete will be included on a list of regions selected for first-round development of offshore wind farms, planned to offer an installed capacity of 2 GW by 2030, joining Alexandroupoli, in northeastern Greece, already chosen by the energy ministry through a legislative procedure, Alexandra Sdoukou, the ministry’s secretary-general, has revealed at an industry conference.

No further details were given on the Cretan offshore area to be chosen for the first-round development of offshore wind farms, through licenses offered at auction.

One or two more offshore areas, already identified, will be added to the list of Organized Offshore Wind Farm Development Areas (POAYAP), Sdoukou informed the event. However, the energy ministry official did not name these areas, noting she could not elaborate as related talks with respective local authorities were still in progress.

Sdoukou noted the 2030 target will be to mobilize private investment of 6.3 billion euros, when referring to the results of research conducted by consultancy group Grant Thornton on the added value for the national economy to result from this new RES sub-sector.

Of these funds, 4.3 billion euros will flow directly into the domestic economy, creating up to 8,220 new jobs by the end of this decade, she added.

During the creation of an institutional framework for offshore wind farms, Sdoukou commissioned a team of experts to survey the Greek seas, as a covert operation, with assistance from the foreign affairs, defence and tourism ministries, she told the conference.

It was organized by the Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (HEREMA/EDEYEP), the Greek Wind Energy Association (ELETAEN), and Grant Thornton, under the auspices of the energy ministry.



‘Environmental assessments undermining green transition’

At a time when the European Commission is urgently promoting renewable energy growth, development in the Greek RES sector is being held back by special environmental assessment requirements for projects that threaten to undermine the country’s green energy transition, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has underlined in a statement.

The delay in the energy transition poses a threat for the environment, perpetuates the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, and does not allow for a reduction in energy prices, the association added.

Special environmental assessments are being demanded too easily and for extensive areas, prohibiting RES project applications from making progress, the association pointed out.



Wind farms not earning windfall profits, association notes

Wind farms are not earning windfall profits as they are remunerated based on long-term fixed tariff agreements not influenced by wholesale electricity prices, which have skyrocketed as a result of soaring natural gas prices, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has clarified.

A 90 percent windfall profits tax imposed on electricity producers essentially does not apply to wind farm producers as they have always been returning any amounts exceeding their long-term fixed tariffs for output they have agreed to, ELETAEN noted.

Wind farm investors have secured fixed tariffs for the output of their facilities through long-term contracts with DAPEEP, the RES market operator, the association noted.

Older wind farm investors have agreed to tariff prices, through administrative procedures, based on the cost of their projects at the time of their development, while newer wind farms have secured fixed tariffs through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, ELETAEN reminded.

As a result, wind farms are not benefiting from elevated energy market prices and are not earning windfall profits, ELETAEN underlined, adding remuneration prices in the sector are low.

The average price paid for wind energy production in Greece is approximately 94 euros per MWh, just 22 percent of the average price of electricity last month, the association pointed out.





Draft bill RES limitations raise investor concerns

A government measure to restrict the operations of RES projects until the regulatory authority RAE has approved a grid capacity increase has prompted concern among RES investors, fearing that these limitations, if not implemented correctly, could undermine the sustainability of projects.

Participants of related consultation staged by the energy ministry have all stressed that these changes, incorporated into a draft bill for RES licensing simplification, should not affect the financial terms of RES projects whose licensing procedures are at an advanced stage.

ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, highlighted that the revisions, for reasons of investment security, need to have been be set at the time RES producers have accepted finalized connection terms, otherwise business plans and their financing could be undermined.

Offshore wind farm potential in Greece highlighted at industry event

Offshore wind farms have tremendous potential for development in the Greek market, and could be a game changer, Panagiotis Ladakakos, president of ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has told an industry event.

Floating offshore wind farms are a better option for Greece than fixed-bottom offshore wind farms as a result of the country’s great sea depths, which would increase the installation difficulties of fixed-bottom units, event participants agreed.

The ELETAEN president proposed the establishment of a framework offering a clear and detailed road map, adding that targets should be set for the next decade and beyond, all the way to 2050.

RES spatial map revisions incorporating Greece’s sea territory, as well as an action plan for the development of needed infrastructure concerning ports, shipyards and the supply chain are also needed, the ELETAEN president noted.

He added that power grid operator IPTO must take initiatives to plan sea transmission hubs for offshore wind farms, as this technology’s growth also depends on network development.

A pilot competitive procedure for a large-scale offshore wind farm project or projects would serve as a catalyst, the ELETAEN president added.

Greece’s potential in this sector was also highlighted by Francois Van Leeuw, co-CEO of Belgium’s ParkWind, one of a number of Belgium companies that participated in the event, staged as part of a three-day official visit to Greece by Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.


Solar, wind, energy storage system costs ‘exceed’ RAE figures

The cost of installing and launching solar and wind energy facilities, as well as storage systems, exceeds levels presumed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, RES agencies and investors have pointed out in public consultation staged by the authority on the cost of new entry for all electricity generation technologies.

RES equipment costs have not only failed to stabilize in recent times, but, on the contrary, struck an upward trajectory, RES officials highlighted.

Some public consultation participants pointed out that RAE’s figures only factor in equipment supply and construction costs without taking into account the connection costs entailed.

SEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, rejected RAE’s capital expenditure estimate for domestic roof-mounted solar panel installations, presumed to be €550,000/MW, noting this figure is extremely low and does not reflect actual market conditions.

The association also noted that RAE’s €400,000/MW CAPEX estimate for commercial PVs is also too low, contending this cost ranges between €500,000-€550,000/MW.

The capital expenditure figure for offshore wind farms is far greater than RAE’s estimate of 3.1 million euros per MW, contended ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

“Given the lack of relevant experience in Greece, depth of the seas, and the still-undeveloped supply chain, the €3.1m/MW estimate is probably very optimistic,” ELETAEN stated.

Grant Thornton Hellas developing Greek offshore wind farm framework

Business adviser Grant Thornton Hellas, commissioned and funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has taken on the development of an institutional, legal and regulatory framework for offshore wind farms in Greece, in support of an overall effort being made by the energy ministry, energypress sources have informed.

Grant Thornton Hellas has already received an assortment of proposals, including on spatial and licensing matters, from interested parties, among them ELETAEN (Greek Wind Energy Association), ESIAPE (Greek Association of Renewable Energy Source Electricity Producers), EDEY (Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company), and IPTO (power grid operator).

Grant Thornton Hellas intends to also examine frameworks developed by other countries for their offshore wind farm sectors.

The energy ministry is striving to finalize the Greek framework’s key sections by June, as has been announced by ministry officials, or, at the very latest, within the summer, ahead of legislative procedures by the government.

A high-level plan, the framework’s nucleus, is planned to be completed within May so that legislative procedures can take place in June, sources said.

To serve as a road map, the high-level plan will need to provide details on: the selection criteria to be applied when choosing offshore areas to host initial projects; licensing steps for investors; the agency to be given responsibility of the licensing and project maturity processes; and the timing of auctions for tariffs.


Three key factors pivotal for offshore wind farm development

Spatial planning-licensing, grid connectivity and the remuneration formula for investors are three key factors pivotal to the development of the country’s offshore wind farm industry, investors and authorities agree.

Speaking at an event staged yesterday by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou stressed that the right formula for the sector’s development needs to be based on these three factors.

This industry’s course abroad, so far, has shown that a variety of options can be adopted for each of these factors. Fellow European countries have followed a range of paths, often contradictory. Greece’s energy ministry will need to seek solutions that best suit local conditions.

The spatial planning-licensing options range from a liberal model adopted by the UK, offering offshore wind farm investors maximum freedom to develop their investment plans, as they deem best, including in choice of appropriate location for maximum commercial potential, and, at the other end, a state-regulated model, as practiced in countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands. In this latter case, state regulatory authorities are responsible for determining installation locations and capacities, through studies of their own, before staging auctions.

ELETAEN’s proposal favors a mixed approach, through which the state would initiate the process by allotting wider areas for offshore wind farm development.

The wind energy association also favors a mixed approach for network connectivity that would require power grid operator IPTO to develop main lines in areas designated by the state for offshore wind farm installations.

Local authorities and players still appear to disagree on whether non-auction fixed tariffs will need to be offered to investors as a catalyst for this industry during its early stage of development.

Sdoukou, the energy ministry’s secretary-general, did not rule out such an approach at yesterday’s ELETAEN event. But, regardless of whether a preliminary stage of non-auction fixed tariffs will be offered, all sides seem to agree that tariffs, later on, will be exclusively made available to offshore wind farm investors through auctions.


Offshore wind farm framework within first half, auction in ‘22

A legal framework for offshore wind farms will be ready within the next few months, no later than the end of the year’s first half, enabling investments in this sector to begin in Greece, the energy ministry has assured.

The energy ministry’s leadership is expected to reiterate this stance, without offering further scheduling details, at an event to be staged today by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association. Energy minister Kostas Skrekas and the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou will be participating.

Norway, a country with extensive offshore wind farm knowhow, will be strongly represented at the ELETAEN event. The Norwegian Ambassador to Greece, Frode Overland Andersen, and Daniel Willoch, a representative of NORWEA, the Norwegian Wind Energy Association, will take part.

So, too, will Giles Dickson, CEO at Brussels-based WindEurope, promoting the use of wind power in Europe.

If all goes as planned with efforts being made by the energy ministry, as well as ELETAEN, a first auction for offshore wind farms in Greece could be staged within the first half of 2022.

Considerable progress has been made in recent months, but pending issues on important details concerning spatial and licensing matters, connectivity with power grid operator IPTO’s network, as well as a remuneration formula for investors, all still need to be settled. The overall effort is complex and involves a number of ministries.

Investor interest in offshore wind farms is high as studies project electricity costs concerning floating units in Greece will experience a 40 percent decline by 2050. This cost, according to an older European Commission study, was estimated to drop from 76 euros per MWh in 2030 to 46 euros per MWh in 2050.

The same study estimated Greece’s offshore wind farm capacity would reach 263 GW, a prospect promising investors sustainability for the development of such projects.

Norway’s Equinor has already expressed the strongest interest for offshore wind energy development in Greece. Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners, also a major global player, has also shown some signs of interest.

As for Greek companies, TERNA Energy, the Copelouzos Group, and RF Energy have, in the past, submitted applications for offshore wind energy parks to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.


Hydrocarbon framework helping shape offshore wind farm rules

The energy ministry is utilizing the existing legal framework for offshore hydrocarbon licensing as a guide for the establishment of a respective set of rules for offshore wind farms, energypress sources have informed.

The energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou is heading a team assembled for this task, to include carving out offshore blocks in the Aegean and Ionian Seas that are deemed appropriate for offshore wind farm development.

Once defined, these blocks, which must neither trespass Natura environmental protection areas nor interfere with shipping and fishing zones, will be offered to investors through tenders.

An open-door procedure, or staging of tenders following official expressions of interest by investors for specific areas, as is the case with the hydrocarbon sector, may also be adopted for offshore wind farms.

The team led by Sdoukou is also examining equivalent legal frameworks used by other European countries.

Offshore block positioning and licensing; interconnections with the grid; and the remuneration formula for investments are three key aspects to be covered by the offshore farm sector regulations, Sdoukou recently told an ELETAEN (Greek Wind Energy Association) conference.

A related draft bill is expected to be ready towards the end of the year.

Floating wind turbine installations are most suitable for Greece as a result of the country’s deep waters and lack of obstacles for the development of this type of technology in international waters, studies have shown.


Wind energy covered 32.6 pct of total energy demand in Greece on Monday, EWEA reports

Wind energy covered 32.6 pct of total energy demand on Monday, according to figures given by the European Union for Wind Energy (EWEA), of which ELETAEN is a member.

This places Greece second in the European rankings (after Romania with 35 pct and marginally above Denmark with 32.4 pct). The Greek performance is more than double the European average (16.1 pct) .

According to the relevant estimates, the good Greek performance was due, on the one hand, to the weather conditions on Monday, with strong winds prevailing in the country, as well as, on the other hand, to the relatively low demand that is always observed at this time of year.

Wind energy remained constant throughout the past 24 hours at 1.8-1.9 gigawatts and was four times that produced by lignite, which hovered at around 500 megawatts. The contribution of photovoltaics fluctuated at around 650 megawatts during sunny periods while natural gas-burning plants ranged from 680 megawatts to 3 gigawatts at peak hours (5-6 in the afternoon) when they were called to meet the highest demand of the day.


HWEA: COVID-19 crisis issues for wind sector still manageable

Wind energy companies in Greece are making every effort – within their responsibility – to respond effectively to the current critical period, closely monitoring and applying the announcements of the government and the experts to limit travels and contacts, targeting to protect the health of workers and citizens and -at the same time- to secure high availability of their facilities, HWEA/ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has noted in a statement.

The association’s full statement follows: 

The COVID-19 crisis has already brought problems which -up to now and in most of the cases – are manageable. The problems relate to four categories of projects:
1. Wind farms under development / licensing
2. Wind farms with an installation permit that have not been started
3. Wind farms under construction
4. Operating wind farms
One of the few areas that has not been affected is the expected joint RES auction of 2.4.2020. The auction is electronic, and any document -required in physical form- has already been submitted (e.g. participation letters of guarantee). The problems and the potential risks for the projects are the following:
1. Wind farms under development / licensing
Delays in the licensing due to the absence of some staff of the competent authorities.
This affects mature investments that require modifications to their permits, including projects selected through auctions and projects that have been awarded binding grid connection offers.
Potential delays in the issuance of the bank guarantees which are required for the acceptance by the developers of a binding grid connection offer.
2. Wind parks with an installation permit that have not been started
A few weeks of delays in the delivery schedule of equipment are already evident. That delay is not long, but there are cases of projects with marginal time-schedules that may already be critical to maintaining an approved Reference Value (RV). This risk mainly concerns projects whose RV has been defined administratively but, potentially, projects selected through auctions as well.

3. Wind farms under construction
These projects appear to have immediate problems. Specifically:

The priority is, of course, the health of the workers on sites, which results in reduced construction rates.
Problem is caused by the special quarantine regime already imposed by the government on the islands and may be imposed in other areas if needed. A specific regulation that would allow workers to move is under preparation. This may be a solution whose effectiveness should be proven in practice.
The hotels closure seems more important due to the problems it creates for the accommodation of the workers and on-site staff. According to the relevant government’s decision only one hotel should remain open per prefecture.
Even more difficult is the problem posed by the need for foreign workers to supervise and coordinate the installation and commissioning of the wind turbines by the supplier. So far, that problem, where it has emerged, has been temporarily addressed by the arrival of staff from countries that did not have a major COVID-19 problem. The situation is exacerbated by the quarantine of those arriving from abroad.
4. Operating wind farms
As noted, our member companies make every effort to keep their wind farms available. This is important for the security of energy supply in Greece. On Friday 29.3.2020 our wind farms injected 21.6 GWh into the system, covering 21% of the electricity in the country. On Monday, March 16, 2020, wind generation was 42.5 GWh, covering 32.1%.
Based on the picture to date, there are not insurmountable problems with spare parts availability. Nevertheless:
There are problems with the mobility and residence of the workers as mentioned above.
Problems may arise in the event of a major fault requiring replacement of a main component in the presence of foreign workers from the supplier, who have provided the associated guarantees.
There are cases of projects that have completed the construction and need to issue the Operation License. We expect delays due to non-response to requests by the administration and unavailability of public officials for on-site autopsy etc. Based on all the above HWEA has proposed appropriate legislation extending, if necessary, several deadlines for the licensing and the construction of the investments, as follows:
1. Extension of Installation Licenses and binding Grid Connection Offers (for at least 6 months)
2. The deadline for maintaining the Reference Value by projects which were not obliged to participate in an auction, to be postponed to 1.9.2021 (from 1.1.2021).

3. The deadline for maintaining the Reference Value by projects selected through auction, to be extended (at least for 6 months).
4. The deadline of the last subparagraph of article 3 par. 12 of Law 4414/2016 to be extended by 6 months.
5. The deadline for acceptance of a binding Grid Connection Offer and submission of the required bank guarantee to be extended (for at least 2 months). Especially this extension we think should be given immediately.

Special RES Account

In addition to the above problems, the COVID-19 crisis poses a risk to the market’s liquidity. Care should be taken that any relief measures for consumers or suppliers are not unfairly burden the Special RES Account. The risk for the Account is increased due to the decline in the wholesale marginal price and the ETS price. Referring to the week -15/3, the weekly average marginal price of electricity moved downwards to a 102-week low 43.02 €/MWh, having declined by 6.21% compared to last week. The electricity price decrease can be attributed primarily to lower weekly electricity demand as result of the coronavirus epidemic, which plummeted to 853.87 GWh (-2.74% or -24.04 GWh w-w) and to lower regional electricity prices.

ELETAEN: Environmental legislation in the right direction

Τhe provisions of the draft law “Modernization of the Environmental Legislation” announced by the Ministry of Environment & Energy are in the right direction. Their proper implementation can achieve the golden balance between effective environmental protection and economic development. However, improvements are needed to some critical aspects. This is the message of the detailed memorandum submitted by the Hellenic Wind Energy Association ELETAEN to
the Minister of Environment & Energy.

ELETAEN believes that the draft law will form a better new overall framework for renewables, if combined with the forthcoming, much-needed, interventions in the remaining licensing process. Adoption of ELETAEN’s proposals is also needed.

The fundamental principle of ELETAEN’s proposals is to establish a genuine relationship between the State and the Businesses based on transparent rules and mutual commitments.

The draft law is taking steps towards this direction as it involves simplifications in the licensing of RES and introduces clear deadlines for the Administration at certain stages of the environmental licensing process. It also includes provisions on how investments will not freeze.

However, it is important to extend this approach to all relevant provisions of the draft law, including the procedures for modifying issued environmental licenses and the procedures for issuance of the opinions by the archaeological councils.

It is even more important not to provide an automatic cancellation of the production license (the Certificate 1) of a RES investment, if it has not been matured enough within the time limit set by the draft law due to the Administration’s delays. Moreover, there should not be any burden on RES companies by paying the maintenance license fee (for 2017-2019) if they have already been committed for huge amounts through letters of guarantee or they are developing special projects (e.g. wind projects with underwater cables).

Regarding the protected areas, ELETAEN considers their new management system to be more effective.

However, a more integrated approach is needed for the elaboration and the approval of the Special Environmental Studies (SES) for the protected areas, so that these will ensure environmental, economic and social balance in the context of sustainable development.

To achieve this, the draft law should foresee that (i) these Studies should be accompanied by an impact assessment of the proposed measures on the climate, the development and the society and (ii) their approval will involve the other competent directorates i.e. the ones for spatial planning, energy and forestry.

The draft law should not delete the provision that, after an environmental impact assessment, RES can be installed in areas that are not strict nature reserved, nature reserved, RAMSAR nor priority habitats. Otherwise, the proposed amendments may be interpreted as a political retreat to pseudo-environmental populism or as undermining the national climate policy.

Wind farms – and RES in general – are environmentally friendly investments as they contribute to tackling climate change. A specific application for such an investment can only be rejected if it is
substantiated by factual scientific evidence and specific analysis – and not general declaration – that it will cause irreversible significant damage to a high value protected object which cannot be remedied by other measures.

It is noted that in its letter addressed to the Minister, ELETAEN makes a special reference to the  crucial situation for our country due to the COVID-19 crisis. ELETAEN assures the Minister that the wind sector and wind energy companies in Greece are closely following the announcements of the Government and they are adopting them targeting to protect the health of the employees and the  citizens and to ensure the high availability of their power plants.

1 This is the name of the new Production License which will be issued with the simplified criteria of the draft law

Note: The main proposals of ELETAEN included in its letter to the Minister are attached. 


1. The new deadlines for environmental licensing procedure and the new 15-year duration of the EIA approval should apply on the pending procedures and the existing EIA approvals as well.

2. Must not be required the submission of whole new EIA Study for the modification of an existing EIA approval when the modifications in the project design reduces the impact on the environment (Article 4) eg. when the number of wind turbines decreases by increasing their geometrical characteristics within the licensed polygon.

3. In Article 46 of the draft law, the provision of Article 19 (8) of Law 1650/1 1986 must remain. According to that clause it is possible to install RES in Natura areas following EIA and Special Ecological Assessment.

4. The RES installations should not be horizontally and selectively prohibited (as provided in Article 46) by the “Habitats and species protection Zones” or the “Zones of sustainable natural resource management”.

5. The Special Environmental Studies should include impact assessment of the proposed measures on climate policy and development. The approval of the Special Environmental Studies should be done with the involvement of the Spatial Planning, the Energy and the Forestry Directorates of the Ministry (Article 47 (2) and (4)).

6. The Minister should not be able to lay down transitional protection measures for an area without Presidential Decree if he has not previously approved the relevant Special Environmental Study (Article 47 (6)).

7. The validity of a Certificate (i.e. production license) should not be terminated if the Administration violates its own deadlines and therefore the investor misses the deadline set by Article 12.

8. The procedures for modifying Certificates should be more flexible, e.g permit licenses merger or capacity transfer between existing licenses (Article 11 (13)).

9. The License Maintenance Fee (Article 21) should be further reduced and not burden (i) projects that have already submitted a Letter of Guarantee and (ii) special projects.

10. The restrictions for the polygons (Article 13) should be adapted and do not apply on existing licenses nor modifying requests of new or existing licenses.

Towards the post-lignite era through RES development

Panagiotis Papastamatiou, chief executive of HWEA/ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, who took part in a seminar held by the British Embassy of Athens this week, declared the following:

Greece is coming out of the financial crisis and presents significant investment opportunities for Greek and foreign investors. The macroeconomic stabilization achieved in the previous years, is combined with a period of political stability. This is an important window of opportunity, which we should take advantage of.

The Government must move towards the necessary structural and institutional reforms in order to create the environment for sustainable economic growth that will provide jobs and prosperity.

In the sector of energy, the future is challenging. We are all forced to face our responsibilities and we cannot avoid them. For over two decades, battles have been fought against the opening of the market. The political system had not been able to effectively promote liberalization. In my opinion, this is the main reason – along with others – that our energy system has remained bound to an anachronistic and expensive model, at the expense of consumers, entrepreneurship and the environment.  Abandoning this model is inevitable. Care should be taken to ensure that the transition to a new, clean and competitive energy model is as smooth as possible. This will not be an easy task, as we are already running late.

Τhe consumers must be our policy criterion; and how to offer them many good and low-priced choices. The policy tool for achieving that, is the free market and entrepreneurship.

We are pleased that the political will for the energy transition has been clearly expressed at the highest possible level. The Prime Minister has announced two major strategic choices:

  • The phase-out of all lignite units by 2028
  • The increase of the RES target by 2030 to 35%

These two parallel goals are of great importance.

Greece must abandon lignite without jeopardizing its energy security, the stability of its trade balance and the provision of low-priced energy.

De-lignification must be achieved through the development of renewable energy sources. And it must be accomplished by improving energy efficiency and energy-saving, if the targets and forecasts for savings are realistic.

What we are called upon to do is exploit our 100% proven renewable energy resource, which can be utilized immediately.

Many wonders if the RES market can deliver that target. The answer is YES.

Renewable companies operating in Greece, continued to invest even in the midst of the recent, deep financial crisis. They have vast experience, high level of human resources and a strong capital base. It is the responsibility of the state to release the healthy forces of entrepreneurship and the scientific world from bureaucracy and reaction. So, let’s not wonder if we can. We can and we have proven it. It is now up to the state to demonstrate the same.

What is needed, is to create the conditions, which will enable the Prime Minister’s two commitments to be fulfilled without delay. This can be achieved through a variety of policy actions:

  1. Radical and immediate simplification of the licensing procedures, in order to develop new projects, re-design already licensed ones and promote repowering.
  2. Promote large investments. Large onshore wind farms in the interconnected system. Wind parks with underwater interconnections. Offshore wind farms. Promotion of large projects with floating wind turbines.
  3. Energy storage. Centralized and decentralized units. Storage is the bridge that will bring us from today’s polluting model to the 100% green energy future.
  4. International interconnections with all neighboring countries and Europe. The strategic goal of these new interconnections should be to exclusively use them for electricity produced by renewable sources, in order to make Greece a green energy exporter.
  5. Domestic interconnections, emphasizing on interconnecting islands and overcoming local saturation.
  6. Secure the sustainability of the mechanism for payments to renewable producers.

All of this requires an overall National Energy and Climate Plan. The new NECP should be accompanied by a specific action plan, with intermediate measurable objectives, clear KPIs and monitoring mechanisms, a clear administrative structure.

But, above all, the new NECP must respond to the essence of the Prime Minister’s two commitments, it must be radical and ambitious.

We are optimistic that we will have such a NECP. A NECP that will base de-lignification on RES and Energy Saving.

Wind energy investments seen reaching €1.3bn over next 5 yrs

ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has prepared three scenarios for wind energy project development between 2019 and 2023, the likeliest version foreseeing 1,310 MW in installations at an overall investment cost of 1.3 billion euros.

The association’s less optimistic scenario sees installations of 1,170 MW during this five-year period, an overall investment estimated at 1.2 billion euros, while its best-case scenario sees  installations totaling 1,490 MW at an investment cost of 1.5 billion euros.

The total cost of installing wind energy projects is estimated at one million euros per MW.

The wind energy association’s projections take into account the maturity levels of various projects. An eagerly expected simplification of RES licensing procedures, along with improved business conditions, overall, as promised by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, have not been taken into account.

Simplification of RES licensing procedures is needed if renewable energy is to capture a 35 percent share of the country’s energy mix by 2030, as promised by the country’s leader.

Acquiring a RES license in Greece takes between 8 and 10 years, compared to the European average of two years. A total of 29 agencies become involved in Greece’s current licensing procedure for wind energy projects.

“Investors cannot be heroes and have to wait ten years for a wind energy license,” Mitsotakis noted earlier this week during a speech at the opening ceremony for a wind energy complex, Greece’s largest and one of Europe’s biggest, developed by Italy’s Enel Green Power on the island Evia, in the Kafireas region.


RES sector growth a top priority for new energy minister

Further and swifter renewable energy growth is a top priority for the newly appointed energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, as he made clear at the ministry’s handover ceremony earlier this week.

The Prime Minister-elect Kyriakos Mitsotakis has also ranked the RES sector as a top priority in instructions forwarded to his energy minister.

In the lead-up to last weekend’s elections, highly ranked RES sector officials complained that the current level of bureaucracy and other administrative obstacles were stifling renewable energy plans.

Citing related studies, Giorgos Peristeris, president at ESIAPE, the Greek Association of Renewable Energy Source Electricity Producers, warned that investment plans worth 8.5 billion euros for renewable energy, energy storage and grid interconnection projects are in danger of not being executed as a result of the bureaucracy.

Panagiotis Ladakakos, the chief official at ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has also complained of high levels of bureaucracy troubling the RES sector.

The accumulation of problems created by slow licensing procedures at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, as well as slow court decisions and environmental approvals for projects, can end up delaying projects by as many as 20 years, officials have noted. This is a major disincentive for foreign investors otherwise interested in the Greek market, they added.

RES targets, sector investments of €8.5bn at risk, officials warn

Greece needs to move swiftly to simplify renewable energy licensing procedures, ratify energy storage regulations and push ahead with electricity grid interconnections, especially the Dodecanese project, if RES objectives set for 2020 is are to be met and investments made, two key RES sector associations have stressed.

An objective aiming for RES-generated energy consumption of 40 percent by 2020 will be difficult to achieve, officials of ESIAPE, the Greek Association of Renewable Energy Source Electricity Producers, and ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, have highlighted at a news conference.

RES-generated electricity represented 26.5 percent of total consumption in 2018, they noted.

Major bureaucratic issues continue to plague the sector despite significant steps taken both at an international level and locally, through the implementation of new terms, the respective chiefs of ESIAPE and ELETAEN, Giorgos Peristeris and Panagiotis Ladakakos, pointed out.

RES storage and grid interconnections investments worth 8.5 billion euros and planned for over the next five years, according to a related study, are in danger of not been executed, Peristeris warned. These promise to provide a 1.5 percent GDP boost, the ESIAPE president added.




Floating wind turbines tender likely in second half of 2020

Greece is making plans to begin installing floating wind turbines and could introduce this renewable energy technology by the second half of next year, the energy ministry’s secretary general Mihalis Veriopoulos (photo) has announced.

The official, who took part in a recent related workshop co-organized by the Norwegian Embassy in Athens and ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, said the energy ministry intends to soon select one of the sea regions defined by an older study and stage a pilot tender in the second half of 2020.

KAPE/CRES, the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving, established 12 offshore zones in a study dating back to 2010. One of these will be selected for the pilot tender.

Investors backed by wind turbine technology suitable for Greece’s deep waters are expected to participate in the tender.

Floating wind turbines remain an expensive technology that is still at a relatively nascent stage. The objective is to reduce this technology’s energy production cost to a level of between 40 and 60 euros per MWh by the end of the next decade, Arne Eik, a representative of Norwegian firm Equinor, told the Athens workshop.

Floating wind turbines will significantly contribute to Greece’s effort to reach RES objectives, Dr. Dionysis Papachristou, a sector specialist heading the Public Relations and Press Office at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, told the event.

Panagiotis Ladakakos, director at ELETAEN, noted floating wind turbines promise to greatly contribute to the country’s GDP growth. Turbine technology constitutes just 40 percent of the overall cost, meaning that the other 60 percent, including floating platforms and anchoring systems, can be developed locally, Ladakakos stressed.


Norway’s Equinor eyeing Greek floating wind turbine potential

Norwegian energy giant Equinor, formerly named Statoil, is believed to be examining Greece’s market opportunities for floating wind turbine investments.

The Norwegian Embassy in Athens, which has taken initiatives in this direction, plans to co-organize a seminar here in April with ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, on floating wind turbines, offshore systems mounted on floating structures to generate electricity in water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible.

Through the event, the Norwegian Embassy will seek to highlight Norway’s experience in this domain and bring Greek renewable energy companies into contact with Norwegian experts. Greek government and energy sector officials are also expected to participate.

Despite the major potential offered by Greece, the local floating wind turbine market has remained stagnant since 2010. ELETAEN pointed out this lack of activity to the energy ministry in observations last December, during a public consultation procedure for Greece’s National Energy and Climate Plan.

The wind energy association called for renewed action on floating wind turbines, stressing the drastic cost reduction for this technology.


New wind turbine connections to grid rise by 7.2% in 2018

A total of 103 new wind turbine facilities with a combined capacity of 191.6 MW were connected to the country’s grid in 2018, a 7.2 percent year-on-year increase, the ELETAEN figures showed, according to latest data released by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

EREN, the renewable energy group founded and headed by Greek-French entrepreneur Paris Mouratoglou, has emerged as a new entry in Greece’s top-five list of RES investors with investments offering a total capacity of 210.9 MW, a 7.5 percent market share.

EREN, which recently established a strategic agreement with Total, is now ranked fifth, replacing Enel Green Power, which has dropped to sixth place.

The top-five list’s four other enterprises held their places. Terna Energy leads with 536.1 MW, a 19 percent share; El. Tech Anemos is ranked second with 285.6 MW (10.1%), Iberdrola Rokas is third with 250.7 MW (8.9%); and EDF EN Hellas is placed fourth with 238.2 MW (8.4%)., according to the ELETAEN data.

CF Ventus, a venture of the Fortress Fund, has emerged as Greece’s new RES market arrival following its acquisition of wind energy parks from the Libra group. CF Ventus is continuing to invest in the sector.

Facilities at old wind energy parks with a total capacity of 15.43 MW operated by PPC Renewables, primarily in Crete and the North Aegean, were uninstalled in 2018.  Work on their replacements has already begun.

Vestas continued to dominate Greece’s wind turbine supply market, providing an impressive 78.2 percent of all turbines installed in 2018.

As for the spatial distribution of wind capacity in Greece, the central mainland continues to be ranked first with 907 MW (32%) and is followed by the Peloponnese with 550 MW (19%) and eastern Macedonia-Thrace with 375 MW (13%).


More Peloponnese RES offers, bigger Crete-Athens link requested

ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has, among other recommendations, called for new RES project connection offers in the Peloponnese ahead of the nearing completion of a new 400-kV line from Megalopoli to Antirrio.

The association’s recommendations were included in an ELETAEN letter for Greek authorities. It was contributed to a public consultation procedure staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for an ESMYE (Greek Association for Small-Scale Hydropower Projects) ten-year development plan covering 2019 to 2028.

ELETAEN, in another request, calls for authorities to seriously consider – even at this belated stage – a transmission capacity increase for the planned Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

ELETAEN hails the ten-year development plan’s recognition of the need to develop the system in order to facilitate major RES penetration and growth.

It also approves the plan’s priority for the interconnection of the Aegean islands with the mainland system. However, ELETAEN calls for an acceleration of Aegean island interconnections concerning the Cyclades project’s fourth phase, the northeast Aegean, as well as the Dodecanese, noting these should be operational well before the development plan’s ten-year period expires.

Clarification and improvement of measures aiming to end regional RES saturation in certain areas such as Trizinia, in the northeast Peloponnese, as well as southeast Peloponnese and the mainland’s southern territory, is also called for in ELETAEN’s public consultation contribution.

The association also requests more ambitious and specific planning for international interconnections.



ELETAEN: Evia wind energy park benefits worth €82m so far

Wind energy parks developed and operating on Evia, Greece’s second-largest island slightly northeast of Athens, have so far offered benefits worth over 82 million euros to the local economy, according to a study conducted by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

The ELETAEN study points out that installed wind energy facilities are annually  contributing 3.9 million euros to the local economy, not including job creation and indirect benefits.

A 3 percent surcharge benefiting municipalities and citizens is imposed on wind energy facilities.

Authorities monitoring the sector’s developments in the region believe that new wind energy projects currently being developed on Evia promise to multiply the benefits, the study noted.

ELETAEN based its study on data collected from most enterprises operating or involved in wind energy projects in the region – Rokas Iberdrola, Terna Energy, Enel Green Power, Protergia, Jasper Energy, Epen, Enteka, Enercon, Vestas and Siemens Gamesa.

According to the ELETAEN study, the total capacity of wind energy facilities developed in Evia’s south between 1998 and 2017 amounted to 218.7 MW at the end of 2017. Projects offering a further 28.2 MW had been built but were not yet operating at the end of last year, the association’s study added.

RES auction questions trouble ministry, date shift possible

A flood of questions by prospective participants of upcoming RES auctions to offer wind and solar energy project installation capacities has troubled the energy ministry, which is considering delaying the auctions.

The ministry, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, have all been swamped by questions raised by investors, a main issue being whether guarantees demanded from participants in advance will be returned if their bids ultimately prove unsuccessful.

As has been previously reported by energypress, the energy ministry intends to satisfy this concern and take measures enabling the return of guarantees to participating investors who fail to secure RES capacities at the auctions.

However, this will require a legislative revision. As a result, investors are hesitating to take the next step and submit applications by a June 5 deadline, now less than a month away. The auctions are scheduled to be staged on July 2.

Besides not taking up unutilized capacity that could obstruct other investors from proceeding with their projects, auction participants who have their guarantees returned may have RES production licenses revoked, meaning their project plans would be cancelled.

The energy ministry has responded to the overall sense of unrest by stressing it is well aware of the situation and intends to soon push through the required legislative revision. Even so, a slight postponement of the auction date is possible, according to certain energy ministry officials.

The objective is to provide appropriate conditions for investors and secure a high level of participation at the auctions.

“Very different messages will be projected if the country emerges from the auctions with an additional 600 MW of RES projects as opposed to a far lower level,” one pundit remarked.

The upcoming RES auctions have been split into three categories. One will concern photovoltaic installations with capacities less than 1 MW. Another will offer photovoltaic installations with capacities of between 1 and 20 MW. A third auction will cater to wind energy installations between 3 and 50 MW. A limit of 300 MW has been set for each of the two categories.

Meanwhile, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, will hold a RES investments conference in Athens tomorrow at the OTE Academy Amphitheater (Pelika & 1 Spartis, Marousi). RAE officials will participate.