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.

(ANA-MPA)

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. 

ANNEX:
MOST SIGNIFICANT PROPOSALS FOR THE DRAFT LAW

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.

 

 

Wind energy output up 12% in 2017, sector association reports

The total amount of wind energy generated in 2017, both for commercial use and test runs, reached 2,651 MW, a 12 percent increase compared to the previous year, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has announced.

Of this amount, 321.7 MW was generated on non-interconnected islands and 2,329.9 MW for the country’s grid.

Broken down geographically, 877.85 MW, or 31 percent, was generated on the mainland, 502.8 MW (18.9%) on the Peloponese, and 335.45 MW (12.6%) in eastern Macedonia-Thrace, northeastern Greece.

Wind energy facilities were installed in the Epirus region, northwestern Greece, for the first time in 2017.

Terna Energy was the country’s biggest wind energy producer in 2017 with an output of 530.1 MW, or 20 percent. As for the country’s other firms making up the top five, the Ellaktor group followed with 256.7 MW (9.7%), Iberdrola Rokas was next with 250.7 MW (9.5%), EDF EN Hellas was the fourth biggest producer with 238.2 MW (9%), and ENEL Green Power was ranked fifth with 200.5 MW (7.6%).

As for the development of wind energy installations, Vestas is the market leader with a 50.6 percent share. Enercon follows with 22.3 percent, Siemens-Gamesa is ranked third with 19.9 percent and Nordex is placed fourth with 5.4 percent.

In 2017, Vestas installed 47.1 percent of new wind energy facilities, Enercon followed with 22.9 percent, Siemens-Gamesa was next with 19.4 percent, and Nordex was fourth with 10.6 percent.

Late in 2017, wind energy facilities representing a total capacity of 550 MW were under construction. These projects are expected to be launched within the next 15 months.

A national RES production target set for 2020 is unlikely to be reached. New RES installations totaling over 3,700 MW would need to be installed between 2018 and 2020 if this objective is to be achieved, ELETAEN noted.

Wind energy installations exceeded 300 MW in 2017

Preliminary data has shown that the total amount of wind energy installations made in 2017 exceeded 300 MW, which rates as the renewable energy sub-sector’s second strongest annual performance, ELETAEN (Greek Wind Energy Association) director Panagiotis Ladakakos told an event held to usher in the New Year.

A record number of wind turbine orders were made in 2017, according to data provided by sector firms, which sets high hopes for new wind energy installations in 2018, expected to exceed 250 MW, Ladakakos told the event.

Sector firms remained resilient and took investment initiatives in foreign markets without neglecting the domestic market, the ELETAEN chief pointed out.

Ladakakos stressed that the country’s energy strategy needs to focus on emission targets set for 2030 and beyond. He commended the Greek government for setting ambitious targets that place Greece at Europe’s renewable energy forefront.

The association’s chief noted that market players do not fear the renewable energy sector’s transition towards a new market model and RES auctions, but highlighted that careful steps need to be taken along the course towards the target model and, even more so, with the winter package.

Market officials have questioned whether a sufficient number of mature RES projects exist to meet new and ambitious RES auction terms requiring participants to submit bids for amounts exceeding the total capacities on offer by at least 80 percent if planned capacity amounts are to be offered. In other words, for every 100 MW offered, bids will need to amount to 180 MW.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, who attended the ELETAEN event, noted that the wind energy sector will play a leading role in the country’s new energy mix.

 

Forbidding wind farms in Natura areas ‘unfair’, ELETAEN head tells

The wind energy sector is extremely concerned about prospective RES site plan revisions which, given the limited amount of information provided so far by authorities, could lead to stricter regulations on permissible locations for projects.

These concerns were highlighted by Panagiotis Papastamatiou, general manager of ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, in an interview for local business news channel SBC’s Energy Week show, hosted by energypress journalist Thodoris Panagoulis.

RES sector enterprises, especially ones active in the wind energy sub-sector, fear that Greece’s existing uniform approach for project site planning could be superseded by regional conditions.

Enterprises fear stricter site regulations. Papastamatiou, in the SBC interview, stressed that the current rules are based on an already-conservative framework of rules that were implemented in 2008. Any further tightening of these regulations would affect investments, the ELETAEN official warned.

Papastamatiou noted it would be unfair to forbid wind farm installations at Natura areas – – EU network of protected areas – given the fact that other forms of building and human activity are permitted in such areas.

RES sector officials are worried about Greece’s Natura-related restrictions as a considerable proportion of the country’s land mass is included in this category. Papastamatiou noted that roughly 37 to 38 percent of Greek territory at altitudes of more than 500 meters has been included in the Natura zone. It is these elevated spots, offering high electricity generation potential, that primarily interest wind farm investors.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis recently approved a regional RES site plan for Crete that forbids the installation of new RES facilities within the island’s Natura 2000 areas, prompting wider alarm in the sector. The ministry is currently seeking a consultant for the new RES site plan’s national framework.

In comments to energypress, energy and environment ministry officials contended that the national RES site plan overpowers regional plans and, as a result, the Natura restrictions for Crete could not take effect.

Terms for RES auctions, offering capacity for new wind farm installations, need to be further clarified, Papastamatiou stressed in the SBC interview. Technology in this domain has progressed and competition promises to provide benefits, including more choices for customers, and lower energy costs, he added.

 

Wind energy parks threatened by civil aviation authority restriction

Prospective and existing wind-energy projects appear set to face Civil Aviation Authority restrictions over their distances from VOR navigation systems.

It is believed that a ministerial decision, expected to soon be published in the government gazette, will limit the number of wind park projects to five per 15-km radius of each VOR base.

A total of 47 VOR navigation systems operate around various parts of Greece. The measure threatens to halt the licensing procedures for prospective wind-park projects. It remains unclear how many projects, including existing facilities, could be affected.

According to sources, the Civil Aviation Authority has already reacted against at least one wind energy project, a development that has raised fears of multiple blockages.

ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, is preparing to react as the sector’s growth prospects are under threat.

Wind energy installations in 2016, 238 MW, rank as second best

The country’s wind energy sector gained an installed capacity of 238.55 MW in 2016, the second-best annual performance following 2011, when a capacity of 313 MW was installed, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has announced.

The association noted that the wind energy sector ended 2016 with a total capacity of 2,374.3 MW, up 11.2 percent compared to the previous year.

Of this total, 321.2 MW concerns wind energy capacity installed on non-interconnected islands and 2,053.1 MW the country’s interconnected grid.

From a regional perspective, mainland Greece holds the greatest share of installed wind energy capacity with 736.7 MW (31%), followed by the Peloponnese with 453.9 MW (19.1%) and the eastern Macedonia-Thrace region with 298.65 MW (12.6%).

As for the energy companies involved, Terna Energy is the market leader with an installed capacity of 460 MW (19.4%), followed by Iberdrola Rokas with 250.8 MW (10.6%), Eltech Anemos Ellaktor with 238.6 MW (10.1%), EDF with 238.2 MW (10%) and ENEL Green Power with 200.5 MW (8.5%).

Vestas is the market leader in construction of wind energy projects with a 51.1 percent share of the Greek market. Enercon follows with 22.2 percent, Gamesa with 11.6 percent, Siemens with 8.3 percent and Nordex with 4.8 percent.

In 2016, Vestas developed 73 percent of all wind energy projects in Greece, Gamesa was next, installing 17.8 percent, and Enercon was ranked third with 9.2 percent.