TIF-HELEXPO: Renewable Energy Tech exhibition on renewables, storage, green and smart energy in Thessaloniki March 14-16, 2024

Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF)-HELEXPO’s unique – for exhibition standards in Europe and beyond – venture to expand into the promising green economy field is continuing and being enriched.

The 2nd Forward Green Circular Economy International Exhibition will be held at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Center March 14 to 16, 2024, while, at the same time, the 1st Renewable Energy Tech, a large-scale, European-standard trade fair exclusively focused on the green and smart energy market, will take place at a separate exhibition space.

As noted in a relevant announcement, Renewable Energy Tech will be staged in collaboration with energypress.gr, the largest news and information portal on energy matters, which also organizes the most important annual conferences on energy, covering all its sub-sectors.

This new exhibition will give the opportunity to dozens of companies, active in Greece and southeast European countries – in the fields of renewable energy, energy storage, hydrogen and “green” gases, electromobility, energy saving, smart management applications and, overall, in the sectors of the green energy economy – to exhibit their products and services and also come into contact with potential partners or competitors.

Renewable Energy Tech, within its framework, will host a major international conference on renewable energy, storage and green technologies, while the exhibition facilities will include specially designed areas for B2B meetings.

The Forward Green and Renewable Energy Tech events promise to serve as the region’s most dynamic exhibition duo for new energy production and consumption standards, as well as for technologies of the future, dramatically changing the economy and everyday life of modern societies.

For further information:

Panagiotis Hatziioannou pc@helexpo.gr

Katerina Benaki kb@helexpo.gr


Market players seek maximum benefits from revised NECP

Market players have expressed a range of reservations and concerns about targets set in the country’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan, whose finalization is a step away, following consultation that was completed early this month.

The revised NECP is designed to provide market range and policy guidance rather than to offer precise, pinpointed figures, one inside source has told energypress.

For its part, the industrial sector described the cost of the green transition included in the NECP as “exorbitant”, while at the same time stressing the need for investment support and funding for new technologies, such as hydrogen and renewable gases.

Produc-E Green, a subsidy program budgeted at 199.7 million euros and funded through the Resilience and Recovery Fund (RRF), was launched in May to provide financial support for the development of innovative, green-energy facilities.

Subsidies offered through the Produc-E Green program can reach up to 70 percent of investment cost for domestic companies establishing facilities manufacturing products concerning electromobility, renewable energy and energy saving.

SEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, noted the NECP is generally headed in the right direction but proposed greater solar-energy participation in the energy mix and increased targets for battery storage.

The new NECP foresees reduced installed photovoltaic capacity in 2030, compared to an earlier draft of the plan in January, 2023, down to 13.4 GW from 14.1 GW.

ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, in a letter to the energy ministry, has noted, among other things, that the target for onshore wind energy units is extremely low and not aligned with the market’s true potential.

Market conditions indicate that the country’s wind-energy capacity will total nearly 6.5 GW within the next three years, meaning that a 7.6-GW target set for 2030 would lead to a major slowdown from 2026 onwards, ELETAEN noted.

Environmental organizations have been highly critical of the revised NECP draft, describing it as a compromise favoring natural gas, compared to the plan’s previous draft.


Minor revisions to new NECP, aligned with European targets

Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan, passed on by the caretaker government’s energy minister Pantelis Kapros to the re-elected conservative New Democracy party’s new energy minister Theodoros Skylakakis, includes mild adjustments aligning the plan to EU targets but no major changes, energypress sources have informed.

“Together, with Mrs. [Alexandra] Sdoukou, [the ministry’s secretary general, in the previous and new energy ministry] and the other officials, we assembled a team and drafted a pending NECP plan. The work, of course, had been done during the ministerial term of Konstantinos Skrekas. An initial text was authored, as the deadline is on June 30,” Kapros noted.

Minor revisions to a draft originally announced in January have been made, without any change of direction, including for the role of natural gas in the energy mix, or distribution of RES technologies, the sources noted.

The amendments were prompted by revised EU targets seeking greater RES penetration and energy savings, the sources added.

The EU energy-mix target for the RES sector has been raised to 42.5 percent from 40 percent, still lower than a 45 percent target ratified by European Parliament.

The European Commission, driven by Russia’s war on Ukraine, had proposed a European energy savings target of 14 percent, up from 9 percent, before European Parliament ratified a target of 13 percent and an agreement for 11.7 percent was finally set.

It remains unclear if Skylakakis, Greece’s newly appointed energy minister, will move swiftly to forward the revised NECP draft to Brussels by the June 30 deadline or opt to hold on to it for a few more days.


Ministry preparing updated, more ambitious NECP draft

The energy ministry is preparing a Brussels-bound draft of an updated National Energy and Climate Plan to include more ambitious RES and energy savings targets, based on loftier goals agreed to by the EU, energypress sources have informed.

The ministry intends to soon forward its draft of Greece’s revised NECP to the European Commission for any observations and resulting adjustments. The resulting updated version of the NECP will then be presented for consultation.

Greece’s revised NECP will include a higher RES target, lifted to 42.5 percent of total energy consumed, the new European target, which is above a previous target of 40 percent but below a 45 percent target that had been overwhelmingly approved in European Parliament.

The country’s updated NECP will also include an energy savings target of 11.7 percent, the European goal that was eventually agreed to following negotiations to raise a previous goal of 9 percent to 14 percent and a European Parliament vote proposing a 13 percent target.

Industrial energy-saving incentives auction next month

An inaugural auction offering compensation amounts to high and medium-voltage industrial consumers for reduced electricity usage is set to take place in December as part of the country’s effort to limit energy demand by 5 percent during peak hours, a European Commission order that needs to be met by all EU member states.

Industrial consumers – high and medium-voltage – submitting the lowest compensation bids at monthly auctions will be offered energy savings through monthly auctions.

Separate auctions will be held for high and medium-voltage industrial consumers, energypress sources informed.

The compensation amounts to be offered to successful bidders will stem from the Energy Transition Fund.

A legislative revision facilitating these auctions has just ratified in parliament. However, other legislative and regulatory matters still need to be settled before the inaugural auction can go ahead, December being the target.

The Greek government has set the three-hour period from 6pm to 9pm, including weekends, as the country’s peak time for energy.

Monthly auctions for industrial energy-saving compensation

Industrial consumers – high and medium-voltage – will be offered energy-saving incentives through monthly auctions offering compensation for bids with the lowest compensation levels, it has been decided at an extraordinary meeting yesterday involving the energy ministry, RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy), distribution network operator HEDNO/DEDDIE and power grid operator IPTO.

The session was staged ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of EU energy ministers, whose agenda will include talks for the establishment of a formula reducing electricity usage.

The European Commission has prepared a plan for 5 percent reduction of electricity consumption during peak hours, but, following negotiations over the past few days, this reduction rate could be cut to 3 percent. Member states are expected to seek flexible terms.

Electricity consumption restrictions, in Greece, between 6pm and 9pm are seen as a certainty following yesterday’s meeting of Greek officials. Also, an additional hour during non-peak hours will most likely be introduced, but it remains unclear whether this hour will be set in the morning, from 9am to 10am, or in the evening, from 9pm to 10pm.

Energy saving compensation for industry, incentives for households, businesses

Industrial enterprise compensation packages, offered through auctions, in exchange for lower energy consumption, and energy-saving incentives for households to be announced at the end of this month, have been included in a Greek plan aiming to achieve a European Commission order for a 5 percent reduction of electricity usage by all EU member states.

It will be up to each EU member state to decide on the details of respective formulas achieving the crisis measure’s objective set by the European Commission.

The Greek plan is greatly relying on industrial players to embrace compensation packages to be offered through auctions.

Reduced energy usage by households and businesses will be optional as, contrary to other EU countries, smart meters, offering immediate online information on energy consumption, have yet to be installed in Greece.

A promotional campaign encouraging households and businesses to use less electricity will be launched at the end of this month, immediately after the energy ministry has announced subsidy-related incentives.


Brussels to demand reduced energy usage from member states

The European Commission is set to call on EU member states to implement a plan requiring consumers to use less electricity for three to four hours a day.

Though it will be at the discretion of EU member states to each decide their respective hours of reduced electricity usage, the fact that this energy-saving measure will be mandatory highlights the seriousness of the energy crisis.

A draft of Brussels’ plan was leaked yesterday ahead of a series of measures to be announced tomorrow by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Though the latest energy-saving proposal will offer some flexibility to governments, including the ability to implement the measure during hours when RES output is low, it is expected to prompt further disagreement between member states as to how the energy crisis should be confronted, as was the case last Friday at a meeting of EU energy ministers.

Other measures to be announced by the European Commission’s leader tomorrow will include compensation offers, through auctions, for industrial enterprises reducing energy consumption.


Government moves ahead with plan to reduce energy consumption

The introduction of energy saving measures, both compulsory and optional, for consumers has now become a priority for the government following growing shortage fears, throughout Europe, prompted by Russia’s indefinite closure of the Nord Steam I gas pipeline, supplying Germany and, by extension, central Europe.

At a meeting of government officials in Athens yesterday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis agreed to move ahead with measures intended to restrict electricity and natural gas consumption in an effort to avoid energy shortages during winter, sources informed.

The government will aim to decrease the amount of natural gas used for electricity generation by approximately 10 TWh, sector officials told energypress.

Annual natural gas consumption in Greece amounts to 70 TWh, of which 50 TWh is used for electricity generation.

An initiative was taken in early July, through a joint ministerial decision, to reduce electricity consumption at all public buildings, numbering 212,000, by 10 percent. The response, so far, has been poor, according to sources.

Campaigns raising the public’s awareness of the need to cut back on energy consumption will soon be launched by energy companies and operators. Citizens will be advised to keep heating temperatures at a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius and lights switched off in rooms not being used.

The government is also striving to limit electricity and natural gas consumption in the industrial sector.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas met yesterday with key industrialists at the helms of Titan cement group, Viohalco and the Mytilineos group, whose subsidiaries include Aluminium of Greece, to discuss plans limiting energy consumption, as well as the replacement of natural gas with diesel as an energy source wherever possible.



Government to introduce energy-saving rules, advice

The government is preparing a package of energy-saving measures, in the form of compulsory restrictions at public buildings and advice for households and businesses, plus subsidies and incentives contributing to energy efficiency.

Air conditioning systems at public buildings and ministries will need to be set at a minimum level of 26 degrees Celsius in summer and not above 19 degrees in winter, according to the measures. Also, lighting restrictions will also be imposed for idle rooms at public buildings.

Similar measures had also been introduced for the 2004 Athens Olympics, to overcome serious grid instability and sufficiency concerns.

Households and businesses will be given a series of recommendations, all aimed at preventing energy wastage.

These recommendations will include lower driving speeds, more walking, bicycle usage, self-imposed establishment of car-free days, lower heating-system temperatures in winter, avoidance of electricity consumption during peak-demand hours, as well as no heating and lights in unused rooms.

The government is also preparing new energy-savings programs in the form of subsidies and incentives.



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.

Saving at Home subsidy platform restarting following improvements

The Saving at Home subsidy program supporting energy efficiency upgrades of properties is set to be relaunched on January 25 after being suspended for two weeks to make technical improvements to its online platform accepting applications.

A severe imbalance in the processing of bids prompted the intervention.

Larger-scale professionals of the building industry, such as big civil engineering firms backed by specialized software, were able to achieve collective and swifter processing of their applications, blocking out, as a consequence, bids lodged by individuals or smaller professional firms.

Application deadlines for the remainder of regions around the country still not serviced have been deferred by two weeks.

Interested parties in the east Macedonia and Thrace region may lodge their subsidy applications as of January 25. The online platform opens for west Macedonia residents on January 27, property owners in central Macedonia can submit applications as of January 29, while interested parties in Thessaly can lodge bids as of February 1.

The category for apartment blocks opens February 3 for the entire country.

Energy efficiency upgrades subsidy platform facing delay

The launch date of a latest Saving at Home subsidy program for energy efficiency upgrades of existing properties may be delayed beyond its scheduled November 2 date as a result of increased technical and administrative demands concerning the preparation of this program, expected to be broadened and feature new categories, authorities have noted.

The possibility of a delay in the launch of the subsidy program’s latest edition was also suggested by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis in comments to local radio station Thema 104.6 FM.

All efforts are being made for a launch of the latest subsidy program in early November, the minister noted.

The online platform used to facilitate applications for previous editions of the Saving at Home subsidy program is being rebuilt with technical support from the Hellenic Development Bank.

The new Saving at Home subsidy program, whose budget will total 850 million euros, will offer energy efficiency upgrade subsidies of up to 85 percent.

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


Expanded energy efficiency upgrade program planned

A new subsidy program for domestic energy efficiency upgrades, to replace a preceding Saving at Home model in autumn, will feature more ambitious objectives than those set in the National Energy and Climate Plan, be constantly open for applicants, carry greater capital, and apply for a wider range of energy efficiency interventions, including smart home technology installations, deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas has pointed out in an interview with Greek daily to Ethnos.

Over the past decade, some 130,000 homes were upgraded at a cost of 1.3 billion euros, but a swifter rate will be sought through the new subsidy program, the minister noted.

The achievement of national energy policy objectives will require some 60,000 domestic energy efficiency upgrades per year and approximately 8 billion euros in funds until 2030, Thomas explained, adding that Greece will seek greater capital amounts through the EU recovery fund.

“Due to the requirements created in the context of the recent macroeconomic conditions and forecasts, we are working on a modern and much more ambitious framework to reinforce household energy upgrades for a transition to a support system offering energy upgrades and autonomy,” Thomas noted. “The new program is a direct government response to the post-pandemic era, the aim being to boost economic activity in domestic value-added sectors such as construction, manufacturing of building materials and solar systems, and also strengthen households by reducing energy costs.”

An even wider base of households will be eligible for the new subsidy program, while increased subsidy rates will be offered if predetermined energy efficiency targets are achieved by interventions, he added.


Income upper limit for ‘Saving at Home’ subsidy program raised to €80,000

An existing household income upper limit of 50,000 euros needed for qualification into the “Saving at Home” program, offering subsidies to property owners for domestic energy efficiency upgrades, will be increased to 80,000 euros for the program’s imminent next offering.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis is expected to announce the subsidy program’s revised terms, widening the pool of eligible parties, during the day.

The latest “Saving at Home” program, offering subsidies or interest-free loans for energy efficiency upgrades, is expected to be launched on July 12.

The new package is believed to be worth a total of 270 million euros. Applicants will be able to receive as much as 25,000 euros for their energy efficiency upgrades.

The “Saving at Home” program offers financial support for window and window pane replacements; installations or upgrades of external wall insulation systems; heating and cooling system upgrades; as well as RES-based water heating.



Co-funding with banks ‘needed to reach EU energy savings target’

Co-funding in association with private banks for environmental upgrades of houses and buildings will be necessary if an EU energy savings target of 32.5 percent by 2030 is to be achieved, European Commission officials believe.

EU subsidy programs, alone, cannot suffice to cover the annual cost, until 2030, of environmental upgrades around the EU, estimated at 170 billion euros, Brussels officials have noted.

The European Commission has established partnerships with 45 European banks committed to extending home loans incorporating extra amounts for energy upgrade work.

The European Commission also plans to support energy upgrades of public buildings.