Brussels pressures Athens for energy storage support plan

The country’s plan for a competitive procedure to be applied for energy storage unit subsidies needs to be finalized as soon as possible, the European Commission has informed Greece’s energy ministry.

Brussels has called for swift action so that its assessment of the Greek plan can be based on current EU directive criteria concerning state aid in the environment and energy sectors.

Given the fact that these EU directives will be revised as of 2022, the procedure will need to be completed by the end of this year.

If Brussels is to offer its approval of the Greek plan by the end of December, Athens will ideally need to deliver its proposal by the end of this month as a two-month period for any observations and exchange between the two sides will be needed.

According to energypress sources, two auctions each offering energy storage capacities of 350 MW, for an overall total of 700 MW, is seen as the likeliest scenario.

Funds worth 200 million euros are planned to be made available for energy storage support through the national recovery plan, dubbed Greece 2.0. Also taking into account support planned for pumped storage stations, this sum is expected to reach 450 million euros.

The energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou recently noted that this sum should provide subsidies covering up to 40 percent of the cost of energy storage projects needed to support the planned increase in RES penetration by 2030.

Excess RES producer permit applications subdued by action

An energy ministry strategy applied to subdue, to more realistic levels, the number of applications submitted by investors for RES producer certificates, by requiring applicants to provide letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW, has proven effective.

The number of producer certificate applications submitted to RAE’s (Regulatory Authority for Energy) latest round, for October – the first with the new restrictive measure in place – was limited to approximately 130, representing prospective RES units with a total capacity of 1 GW, energypress sources have informed.

This is well below the levels of all preceding rounds since a legislative revision was ratified to offer investors producer certificates as a first, and more simplified, step in the RES licensing process.

A total of 743 producer certificate applications representing a total RES capacity of 17.45 GW had been submitted to a round in June.

New household solar program to offer €87/MWh for 25 years

The energy ministry has taken a first step towards implementing a new RES program dubbed “Solar Panels on Roofs”, to offer households fixed tariffs of 87 euros per MWh over 25-year contracts, by including a relevant provision to a draft bill designed to adopt EU directives concerning energy efficiency. The bill was submitted to Greek Parliament last night for ratification.

An ensuing ministerial decision will specify conditions and terms, including beneficiaries, the offer’s duration, maximum capacities per installation, the licensing process and necessary supporting documents, as well net metering details.

The program’s 87-euro tariff on offer had been announced through a ministerial decision delivered back in March, 2020.

The energy ministry appears to have decided on setting a maximum capacity of 10 kWp per installation, up from a level of 6 kWp previously noted in a ministerial decision, sources have informed.

A 10 kWp solar panel system remunerated at 87 euros per MWh would generated annual revenue of 1,200 euros. At current prices, installing such a system would cost between 10,000 and 11,000 euros, including VAT, meaning the investment would require approximately eight years to break even before offering an annual income of 1,200 euros for the remainder of the 25-year contract, roughly 17 years.

Ministry official to hold strategic energy talks in Washington

Strategic opportunities emerging as a result of the Greek energy market’s ongoing transformation as well as the geopolitical significance of certain major projects, such as the Southern Gas Corridor, intended to diversify Europe’s gas sources and reduce the continent’s dependency on Russian gas, will be discussed by the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou with American officials during her visit to Washington this week.

The Greek official, travelling to Washington today, plans to hold discussions covering the entire range of energy policy issues, from new RES technologies, hydrogen, the energy mix, as well as investments of geopolitical nature, including Balkan gas interconnections, the Alexandroupoli FSRU project in northeastern Greece, the underground gas storage (UGS) facility at the almost depleted gas field of South Kavala in the Aegean Sea’s north, as well as Greece’s role as a regional hub for energy source and route diversification.

Inevitably, the talks will also cover the current energy crisis troubling the world, especially Europe.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm has directly criticized Moscow for deliberately subduing its gas supply to Europe in order to manipulate the energy market and pressure Brussels for approval of Nord Stream 2, an underwater gas pipeline directly connecting Russia with Germany through the North Sea.

Certain countries that stand to lose significant gas transit revenues oppose this new pipeline. It has also generated years of conflict between Berlin and Washington. Nord Steam 2 has almost been completed and is now undergoing trial runs.

Europe is heavily dependent on Russian gas, while some countries in central and eastern Europe, including the Balkans, are almost entirely dependent. The US is seeking the greatest possible share for supply of American LNG.

PPC must market over 2,100 GWh in lignite-fired power by end of month

Power utility PPC needs to move fast this month with its offering of lignite-fired electricity packages to rival suppliers as part of a recent antitrust agreement reached between the energy ministry and the European Commission.

According to the agreement, PPC must market lignite-fired electricity packages for the first, second and third quarters of 2022 by October 31, either through the European or Greek energy exchange.

The three packages also face imminent sale deadlines. All transactions for electricity quantities offered to PPC’s rivals through the first package will need to be completed by the end of November, while transactions for the 2Q and 3Q packages must be done and dusted by December 31.

As for the quantities to be offered, PPC’s 1Q and 2Q lignite-fired packages must total 872 and 515 GWh, respectively. The power utility’s 3Q package will need to offer rivals 50 percent of the company’s lignite-fired power generated in the third quarter this year.

According to data provided by power grid operator IPTO, PPC’s lignite-fired power stations produced 1,081 GWh in July and August, while September’s output has been estimated at 370 GWh.

Given these figures, totaling 1,451 GWh, PPC will need to offer a lignite-fired package of 725 GWh for the third quarter next year, taking the total offering for 1Q, 2Q and 3Q in 2022 to just over 2,100 GWh in futures contracts that must be marketed through either of the two aforementioned exchanges by the end of this month.

 

Suppliers question sufficiency of €150m subsidies to tackle energy costs

Electricity suppliers have questioned the sufficiency of a 150 million-euro amount to be made available by the government through a new Energy Transition Fund as support for households and businesses to combat increased energy costs.

The doubts were raised during an energy ministry meeting yesterday involving the country’s electricity suppliers, facing pricing-policy pressure – especially the non-vertically integrated – as a result of elevated wholesale electricity prices that have been driven considerably higher by a combination of factors in international markets.

According to Greek energy exchange data, the day-ahead market price average for today is 172.27 euros per MWh, while the day’s maximum price level in this wholesale market exceeds 200 euros per MWh.

The subsidy plan’s calculations are based on wholesale electricity prices ranging between 117 and 120 euros per MWh.

Energy markets throughout Europe are being severely impacted by the price surge. In the UK, for example, wholesale electricity prices have risen as high as 400 euros per MWh following colder weather and higher energy demand.

PPAs soon as measure against higher industrial energy costs

A model for green-energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) will be preannounced to the European Commission by the end of next week in an effort for a swift approval, energy minister Kostas Skrekas told a news conference yesterday, held for an update on measures being prepared to lessen the burden of increased energy costs for consumers.

The minister offered an update on the green PPA plan when asked about government measures that could protect large enterprises against increased energy costs.

The energy ministry sees the green PPAs as a cost-reduction tool for industrial energy as industrial consumers will be able to cover a significant percentage of their energy needs using RES-based electricity, a lower-cost option. The effort is expected to be based on a Green Pool model.

 

 

PPC chooses Greek energy exchange for lignite-fired electricity packages

Power utility PPC has chosen to offer lignite-fired electricity packages to third parties through the Greek energy exchange, not the European energy exchange, as it was also entitled to, sources have informed.

This main reason behind this decision, part of an imminent mechanism to be implemented as a remedy to a long-running antitrust case concerning PPC’s monopoly in the lignite sector, is that PPC sees the forthcoming mechanism as a good opportunity for the domestic futures market to gain momentum and, by extension, help improve the utility’s cash flow.

The mechanism’s launch, coming at a time of elevated wholesale electricity prices, will help PPC’s rivals offset the period’s price volatility, which is crucial support that will enable independent players to compete more effectively in the retail electricity market and offer stable prices to consumers, the European Commission’s Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, also Brussel’s Commissioner for Competition, noted in an official announcement.

A legislative revision for the mechanism offering lignite-fired electricity packages to third parties is likely to be submitted to parliament today by the energy ministry.

The plan is expected to begin offering lignite-fired electricity packages to third parties by the fourth quarter.

 

PPC local, European exchange option for lignite packages

Power utility PPC will be entitled to choose whether to offer lignite-fired electricity packages to third parties through the Greek energy exchange or European energy exchange, according to details of an upcoming mechanism to be implemented as a remedy to a long-running antitrust case concerning PPC’s monopoly in the lignite sector.

PPC preference for the domestic energy exchange would keep open the option of physical delivery of these lignite electricity packages and ensure the company greater flexibility in its portfolio management. Opting for the European energy exchange would not permit physical delivery, making the deals purely financial transactions.

All that remains for the implementation of the mechanism, whose details have been agreed to by the government and European Commission, is a decision by the energy ministry on when to submit a related legislative revision to parliament, according to sources.

The legislative revision has been completed and the ministry is believed to be on standby for an appropriate date, the objective being to make a first round of lignite-fired electricity packages available to third parties by the fourth quarter this year.

All electricity suppliers will be entitled to purchase these packages, to have three-month durations.

As previously reported by energypress, the electricity quantity planned to be offered to suppliers through the mechanism in the fourth quarter this year will represent 50 percent of lignite-fired output in the equivalent period of 2020.

Then, for every quarter in 2022 and 2023, lignite-fired electricity packages to be offered to PPC’s rivals will represent 40 percent of lignite-based production in equivalent quarters of the respective previous years.

According to the country’s decarbonization plan, all existing lignite-fired power stations will cease operating by the end of 2023.

 

Lignite-fired electricity packages to PPC rivals by fourth quarter

The energy ministry plans to soon submit to Parliament a legislative revision for a mechanism offering third parties access to power utility PPC’s lignite-fired electricity production. This move will enable the implementation of an agreement on the matter between the government and the European Commission as a remedy to a long-running antitrust case concerning PPC’s monopoly in the lignite sector.

Officials are aiming for a first round of lignite-produced electricity packages to become available to third parties imminently, by the fourth quarter of this year.

All electricity suppliers will be entitled to purchase these packages, to have three-month durations.

Electricity quantities planned to be offered to suppliers through the mechanism in the fourth quarter this year will be calculated to represent 50 percent of lignite-fired output in the equivalent period of 2020. Then, for every quarter in 2022 and 2023, lignite-fired packages to be offered to PPC’s rivals will represent 40 percent of lignite-based production in equivalent quarters of the respective previous years.

According to the country’s decarbonization plan, all existing lignite-fired power stations will cease operating and no longer participate in the electricity market by the end of 2023.

A prospective PPC facility, Ptolemaida V, is planned to be launched as a lignite-fired power station early in 2023 before it is withdrawn in December, 2024 for a fuel conversion and reintroduction.

 

 

Longer wait for small-scale PV investors in desaturated areas

Investors behind new small-scale PV units planned for Crete, the Peloponnese, Evia and the Cyclades, now desaturated following recent measures, will need to wait until around November, at least, to submit applications for connection terms as a pending ministerial decision needed for the launch of a DEDDIE/HEDNO distribution network operator platform accepting applications is not expected any sooner than October, energypress sources have informed.

As a result, investors behind small-scale PV units planned for Crete, the Peloponnese, Evia and the Cyclades, areas where RES capacity has become available following a legislative revision ratified in July, will need to wait for a longer period than had been originally announced.

Besides launching the applications platform, the pending ministerial decision will also provide details on letters of guarantee to accompany applications, as well as any other information or supporting documents.

July’s legislative revision made available 86 MW in the Peloponnese, 45 MW in the Cyclades, including 15 MW for net metering, 40 MW in Evia, and 140 MW in Crete, including 40 MW for net metering.

Maximum capacity levels of 400 KW have been set for PV units in these areas, except for Evia, where the limit is 1 MW.

These projects will secure tariffs based on an official price catalogue for non-competitive procedures. The energy ministry does not plan to make any revisions to this price list in the near future, meaning small-scale PVs that are operating or have declared a readiness to operate between March 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022, will secure feed-in tariffs at 63 euros per MWh.

New RES support framework, featuring changes, imminent

The energy ministry appears to have taken initiatives intended to increase capacity quantities offered at RES auctions and also retain national control over the determination of these quantities, depending on developments, given the more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the installation of a greater number of RES units, reflecting loftier EU goals, energypress sources have informed.

A draft detailing the new RES support framework for Greece has been finalized following talks between the energy ministry officials and European Commission officials and is now in the hands of the finance ministry’s Central State Aid Unit (KEMKE), responsible for the framework’s official implementation, expected in a few days.

Considerable changes have been made to an initial plan announced by former energy minister Kostis Hatzidakis, not only in terms of the number of auctions to be staged and capacities offered, but also in terms of its overall principles, sources noted.

The new framework makes no mention of an initial Greek proposal for six auctions, each offering 350 MW, for a total of 2.1 GW, but it does call for a capacity of at least 3 GW.

It also includes provisions for geographically based auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as special procedures for small-scale PVs.

In addition, the auctions will not need to be held by 2023 but will be extended until 2025, based on EU directives.

Through the new RES support framework, wind and solar farm energy investors will, through competitive procedures, secure feed-in tariffs for twenty-year periods.

 

 

New regulatory framework for oil product, natural gas facilities

The energy ministry is planning to upgrade the regulatory framework for petroleum product and natural gas facilities, regarded as necessary in order to align the framework with modern technological developments and optimal solutions. Also, through the upgrade, the energy ministry will also introduce new regulations for areas not covered by national legislation.

The energy ministry has announced a related tender for a specialized consultant to be  tasked with designing and delivering technical regulations in the form of a regulatory framework.

Issues to be covered by the upgrade include defining technical specifications, configuration, design, construction, inspections, safe operation, maintenance and fire protection of hydrocarbon extraction facilities, including the sealing of wells, as well as for overland pipelines transporting crude and petroleum products and subsea pipelines carrying crude, petroleum products, natural gas and hydrocarbon extraction.

An 18-month contract will be offered to the winning participant in the tender for the regulatory framework upgrade, budgeted at 304,838 euros. Based on the current schedule, the framework’s upgrade will be completed by 2023.

Ministry working on Electra program for public building upgrades

Besides its preparatory work for the next edition of the Saving at Home program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades of homes, the energy ministry is also moving ahead with its Electra program, designed to subsidize upgrades of public buildings.

The Electra program, worth 500 million euros, will aim to provide energy savings totaling 230,000 MWh by 2025 as result of energy efficiency upgrades to public buildings.

Energy ministry officials aim to announce the Electra program’s details within the next two months so that interested eligible parties can begin preparing their applications.

Public office buildings, hospitals, medical clinics, schools and other education institutions, cultural centers, sport facilities, as well as care centers for the elderly, underprivileged and children will all be eligible for Electra program upgrade subsidies.

Buildings will need to be used at least eight months per year to be eligible for the program, according to one of the prerequisites expected to be set.

The Electra program will remain open for applicants until all its available funds have been absorbed.

Details imminent for October’s ‘Saving at Home’ subsidies

The energy ministry is set, any day now, to announce the details of the next Saving at Home program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades ahead of its launch, planned for October, according to an announcement made by energy minister Kostas Skrekas late last month.

Once launched, the Saving at Home online platform will remain open for one month, the minister has informed, to give interested households sufficient time to submit all required supporting documents.

The ministry has set an objective for energy efficiency upgrades of 50,000 homes through the new program, a 38 percent increase compared to the previous cycle.

The new subsidy program, worth a total of 632 million euros, is expected to offer subsidies averaging 62 percent of energy efficiency project costs.

The annual objective for energy savings is expected to be exceeded by 108 percent.

A first-come, first-served criterion is being abandoned for this latest edition of the subsidy program. Instead, applications will be assessed based on energy-efficiency potential, income, and social criteria.

Priority will be given to low-income households, individuals with special needs, single-parent families, long-term unemployed, large families and households with increased energy needs.

The energy-saving potential of applications will be the most important criterion, representing a 50 percent coefficient in the overall assessment. Personal or family income levels will be the next most important factor, representing 15 percent of the overall assessment.

Incentive boost for company electromobility upgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NSRF possibilities considered for power line undergrounding

Energy ministry officials intend to examine National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funding possibilities for power line network undergrounding, triple the cost of overhead power lines, following the recent destructive fires around the country.

The country has specific EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) money, totaling 187 million euros, at its disposal for power line projects.

Given the average cost for power line network undergrounding, at 85,000 euros per kilometer, factoring in low and medium-voltage prices, the aforementioned RRF amount would be enough to develop about 2,200 kilometers, just a tiny fraction of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s total network. Undergrounding the country’s entire network would require an estimated 18.3 billion euros.

The high cost has limited the country’s power line undergrounding plans for the next five years to approximately 2,150 kilometers.

The operator has already undergrounded 10 percent of its 240,000-kilometer network, leaving a further 216,000 kilometers for potential undergrounding.

Overhead medium-voltage power line development costs approximately 30,000 euros per kilometer. Overhead low-voltage lines cost 25,000 euros per kilometer, compared to 70,000 euros for undergrounding.

Given the increased threat of forest fires brought about by hotter temperatures attributed to the climate change crisis, power line network undergrounding would provide protection to the network.

Fires, UN climate change report to raise NECP objectives

Not long after the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s decision to reduce greenhouse emissions by 55 percent, compared to 1990 levels, the National Energy and Climate Plan will, once again, need to be revised into an even more ambitious strategy following the extensive wildfires around Greece over the past week or so that have scorched over 90,000 hectares of land in Evia, the northern section of the wider Athens area, as well as the Peloponnese.

The climate change crisis and faster ascent to a global temperature limit set by scientists, as highlighted in a UN report released yesterday, increases the sense of urgency for an even more ambitious NECP, a challenge of paramount importance for the government, as it is  expected to made clear in coming days.

New NECP figures have yet to emerge, but a government committee has already delivered a gap analysis with new policies and measures that need to be tabled. A deeper analysis of the data, in association with external scientific associates, will soon follow before revised targets are set.

The RES sector, according to the country’s latest NECP, is expected to constitute at least 35 percent of energy consumption by 2030, but this goal will now surely be raised.

 

Energy poverty plan, worth €2.1bn, for affected households

An energy ministry action plan for 2021 to 2030 intended to tackle energy poverty, includes funding programs worth a total of 2.1 billion euros that promise long-term support to vulnerable households by improving energy efficiency and promoting the use of RES options at homes.

The plan, forwarded for public consultation last Friday, is expected to benefit approximately 300,000 low-income households.

The plan envisions subsidies covering up to 80 percent of energy efficiency upgrades for affected households as well as RES system installations covering their energy needs.

The action plan’s section supporting energy efficiency upgrades will be combined with the existing Saving at Home program, now into its third edition.

In the EU, households are deemed to be below the energy poverty line if their energy costs needed to maintain an adequate level of warmth exceed 10 percent of income.

 

 

Non-auction PVs, up to 500 MW, allowed for persons with 2 old projects

A latest legislative revision drafted by the energy ministry permits citizens to install small-scale solar energy systems with capacities of less than 500 MW, even if they have installed two such units in the past, without having to participate in competitive procedures to secure tariffs.

Citizens behind such small-scale PV projects would not be able to compete for auction tariffs against bigger players.

Under previous rules, citizens who had already installed two small-scale PV units were no longer eligible for developing non-auction projects. This restriction blocked individuals who were keen to make further small-scale RES investments.

The restriction remains intact with the latest revision but enables persons behind two existing small-scale projects to sell or transfer at least one of these and become eligible for the installation of a new RES unit.

Pilot auction for 200-MW RES units combining energy storage worked on

A new RES support framework prepared by the energy ministry for the European Commission to examine includes provisions for a pilot auction offering tariffs to 200-MW RES projects combining energy storage, energypress sources have informed.

This is the first time a specific tariff-related procedure is being prepared for this category of projects, expected to play an instrumental role on the country’s energy map in the years ahead.

However, it remains unclear when such RES production-energy storage project combinations could mature.

A recent legislative revision delivered by the energy ministry freezes, until the end of the year, applications and issuance of production licenses, environmental permits and connection terms for energy storage projects combining RES units until a related framework is, in the meantime, established.

The new RES support mechanism, nearing finalization as details are being worked on by energy ministry and Brussels officials, is expected to facilitate the continuation of competitive procedures for tariffs until 2025.

 

 

Ministry bill for small-scale PVs without competition procedure

The energy ministry has submitted legislative revisions to Parliament facilitating the installation of small-scale PVs, up to 500 KW, without competitive procedures as long as interested parties do not already own two such units that have also been installed without competitive procedures.

The draft bill also includes a revision designed to rectify unfair terms of the past for small-scale PVs on non-interconnected islands by offering 10 percent tariff increases for their output.

Another article in the bill enables older RES projects with licenses including provisions for the installation of connecting cables to now be developed without cable links if the hosting island has been interconnected or is in the process of being interconnected.

The bill also transfers distribution network operator DEDDIE’s assets on Crete to power grid operator IPTO, a pending issue that must be resolved for the launch of market activity concerning the island’s small-scale interconnection with the Peloponnese.

RES capacity boosted, auctions to be extended until 2025

Greece’s new RES support mechanism, whose details are being finalized in talks between the energy ministry and European Commission officials, is expected to offer producers greater capacities, maintain the current system of 20-year tariffs for output through auctions, which will run until 2025, not 2023, as was originally planned.

The changes reflect the country’s revised and more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), aligned with loftier EU objectives for a greater number of RES installations.

The new auctions will be mixed, enabling the participation of both solar and wind energy producers, but wind energy producers will be entitled to at least 30 percent of capacity offered at each auction.

The country’s original RES auction plan, drafted by former energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, now holding the labor and social affairs portfolio, had proposed 6 RES auctions each offering 350 MW for a total of 2.1 GW, but this total is now expected to be raised to at least 3 GW.

RES tariffs remunerating output have fallen considerably at recent RES auctions, driven lower by the intensified competition.

Also, the plan appears likely to include special geographically based RES auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as provisions for small-scale PV installations.

 

RES simplification, energy storage bills in September

The energy ministry plans to submit a draft bill to Parliament in September, following public consultation, for a second round of RES licensing simplifications concerning new projects.

During this time, the ministry intends to have also finalized and forwarded its legislative framework for the emerging energy storage sector, to play a crucial role in the country’s ambitious RES output targets.

The energy ministry plans to jointly submit the RES licensing simplification and energy storage bills to Parliament.

The new RES licensing simplification revisions will be based on a key proposal made by the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, heading the ministry’s RES licensing committee, entailing the termination of non-binding connection offers.

Instead, investors behind new RES projects will directly proceed to applications for finalized connection offers, once environmental permits have been issued.

Also, RES investors will be set time limits to submit installation permit applications for projects. Time will begin counting as soon as the investors have accepted finalized connection offers. If the time limit is not met, RES production certificates for corresponding projects will automatically expire.

According to the ministry plan, PV projects, land-installed wind turbines and hybrid stations will be given 12-month periods, while all other RES technologies and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) units will have 18 months.

Licensing authorities will also be set time limits, according to the plan. They will be given 20-day limits to request any additional information or clarification from investors. Also, authorities will have 20 days to issue RES licenses once applications are deemed complete.

Market Reform Plan, Adequacy Report rush ahead of break

The energy ministry is striving to offer a swift response to a set of European Commission queries concerning Greece’s updated Market Reform Plan, forwarded for public consultation by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The energy ministry is aiming to submit a finalized plan to Brussels by the end of July, so that the European Commission can process and approve the plan before its officials take off for their summer breaks in August.

The queries forwarded by the European Commission primarily seek clarification and do not raise any fundamental issues, which has given Greek officials hope of the plan’s imminent finalization.

Brussels’ approval of the Market Reform Plan is crucial as it is one of two prerequisites faced by Athens before the government can submit an application for a support mechanism, either a Strategic Reserve, which would compensate power utility PPC for maintaining its lignite-fired power stations on emergency stand-by, or a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism.

The second requirement is Brussels’ approval of an Adequacy Report being prepared by IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator. Its finalization was originally planned for the end of July but this aim now seems set to be delayed by a week or two.

New low-end income category for energy efficiency upgrade subsidies

The energy ministry plans to add a sixth income bracket, covering low-income earners, to a latest and forthcoming edition of a Saving at Home program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades of homes.

The additional category, promising to offer greater subsidy amounts for low-income earners, will apply for individuals with annual income levels of up to 5,000 euros and families with total annual income of up to 12,000 euros.

Applicants belonging to this category will be entitled to subsidies covering up to 65 percent of energy efficiency upgrade costs at homes.

According to sources, a project-cost maximum of 50,000 euros will be applied.

The latest edition of the Saving at Home, close to being finalized, is set for pre-announcement in preparation for the subsidy platform’s September launch.

Details imminent for next energy-efficiency subsidies offer

The latest edition of the Saving at Home program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades of homes is just about ready. Its details will most likely be announced next week by energy minister Kostas Skrekas in preparation for a launch of the applications platform in September, sources have informed.

The new edition will aim for energy efficiency upgrades of 50,000 homes and investments totaling one billion euros, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou informed during a speech at a recent TEE (Technical Chamber of Greece) event.

As has previously applied, applicants will need to submit plans upgrading the energy-efficiency ratings of their homes by three levels, determined by a points system, in order to qualify for subsidy support.

A revised appraisal system will be introduced. It will factor in the degree of energy savings promised by respective home upgrades as well as a points system with factors such as regional climate conditions; existing energy-efficiency ratings of buildings; age of buildings; as well as income levels of applicants combined with social criteria such as unemployment records, disabilities and single-parent family status.