Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat on Crete event

The Clean Energy for EU islands secretariat is looking forward to participating in the 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Energy Exhibition of Greece and share our experience in supporting European islands in their clean energy transition.

In cooperation with the European Parliament, the Commission set up a Secretariat to deliver the objectives of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative in 2018. The Secretariat acts as a platform of exchange of best practice project examples for islands’ stakeholders and provides dedicated capacity building and advisory services. The secretariat mainly covers topics related to clean energy such as energy production, Energy efficiency, Heating and cooling, Transport to and from the island, and transport on the island

The Clean Energy for EU islands secretariat was created to facilitate the clean energy transition on EU islands with a bottom-up approach. It is built on the vision that to assure the best environment for change, and to benefit all members of the island communities, a balanced collaboration between public and private stakeholders is essential. For this reason, the Secretariat is using the quadruple helix approach, helping citizens, local authorities, local businesses, and academic institutions work together to advance the clean energy transition on their island.

To facilitate the islands’ transition to renewable energy and encourage them to act, the secretariat is organising various events and activities like workshops, forums, calls for technical assistance or video calls. It not only supports islands in planning and getting funding for projects, but also helps them to promote their projects through its social media channels, newsletters, or events. Connecting islands and giving agency to people who want to transfer their island towards a clean energy future, is one of the secretariat’s goals. Its events provide islands with a chance to explore, shape, and act. They can explore other islands’ ongoing projects or agendas to draw inspiration for their own ambitions. Islands have the opportunity to engage in workshops and in turn finalise or pitch their projects and find investors. During these events and regardless of events, the secretariat provides support to apply for financing or finding investors.

It is especially difficult for islands to create and import energy since they are often not connected to continental electricity grids. This makes energy more expensive than in other regions. Switching to renewables is an important step, not only for the environment, but also for the energy security of islands. There are various possibilities to use an island’s potential for renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar farms, or wave energy.

The secretariat hopes to motivate even more islands to take the first step towards their clean energy transition during the 5th Cretan Clean Energy Conference – International Energy Exhibition of Greece

 

 

 

Energy investment activity rising, focus on RES projects, energy transition

Investment activity in the domestic energy sector is rising with major deals being negotiated, the main focus being on renewables and the energy transition, participants at yesterday’s Delphi Economic Forum made clear.

This activity promises significant growth for all RES technologies, even the more innovative, such as offshore wind farms and energy storage units.

Major energy players are moving to capitalize on opportunities that are emerging as the country pushes ahead with its decarbonization effort. Also, investor talks concerning domestic and international partnerships, the latter promising to secure expertise in sectors such as offshore wind farms, are in progress.

Power utility PPC, moving ahead with RES investments, aims to have launched projects with a total capacity of 1.5 GW by 2023. The utility’s redevelopment plan for the country’s two lignite-dependent regions, Ptolemaida, in the north, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, is in progress.

PPC plans to invest 3.4 billion euros on RES project development in these regions, and an upgrade of their distribution networks, Konstantinos Mavros, chief executive of PPC Renewables, a PPC subsidiary, told the forum.

PPC is also expected to establish partnerships facilitating its entry into the offshore wind market. In addition, the company also aims to have formed a joint venture with German power company RWE by the end of summer for development of RES projects totaling 2 GW.

Elsewhere, energy company Mytilineos is also preparing a strategic alliance with a major international group for its entry into the offshore wind farm sector.

Mytilineos is also close to completing, this year, a major post-lignite investment in natural gas-fueled electricity generation. In addition, the company plans to develop 300 MW in wind farms and 1.5 GW in solar farms over the next two years.

Furthermore, Mytilineos plans to develop 20 energy storage projects, each with 50 MW capacity, by utilizing its immense knowhow gained in this field through involvement in such projects abroad.

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is preparing RES and digital transition projects and will concurrently focus efforts to reduce carbon emissions and develop more eco-friendly products, including biofuels and hydrogen.

The Copelouzos group is nearing an investment decision on the development of a natural gas-fueled power station in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece. A decision is expected this summer. The group is currently engaged in talks with neighboring North Macedonia’s power utility for its possible entry into this project as a minority partner.

As for networks, power grid operator IPTO has planned numerous projects as part of a ten-year investment plan worth five billion euros. The operator anticipates new RES project penetration of 17 GW, a forecast exceeding the National Energy and Climate Plan’s goals.

DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, has put together a 3 billion-euro investment plan for the two next regulatory periods, each four years long. Projects include network undergrounding, service upgrades and improvement, new technologies, as well as grid digitalization projects.

Legislative priority for energy storage, offshore wind farms

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

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

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

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

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

PANTERA, EIRIE platform in support of R&I in EU for energy transition

Dr. Venizelos Efthymiou, FOSS Chairman, Cyprus, writes for IEEG/CEC2021 

The smartening of the electrical grid infrastructure has taken by storm over the last decade the traditionally slow-moving electrical industry and work done up to now by the related stakeholders can be considered mammoth. Although, effort spent in this process is considered extensive, the achieved results are considered one dimensional as far as involvement, expenditure and benefits achieved. For this reason, the Commission has seen the need of supporting low activity countries in building on their potential and raising their R&I activities in the energy transition to capture the benefits that this transition will undoubtedly bring.

For this reason, a call was put out and PANTERA Coordination and Support Action project was entrusted with this responsibility starting on 1st January 2019. Working closely with stakeholders from the low activity countries the PANTERA team promises to give answers to burning questions through an innovative approach that will stimulate participation from all involved actors in the field and provide the EIRIE (European Interconnection For Research Innovation & Entrepreneurship) dynamic interactive platform through which actions / benefits will be inviting and pleasing (for more details visit the website: https://pantera-platform.eu/)

What are we delivering through PANTERA and the EIRIE platform?

  • A participatory governance that will bring on board all active stakeholders in Europe under the same umbrella for collaboration, collective thinking and actions thus avoiding duplication, repetition and limited innovation in work plan and developing the roadmap forward. Collaborative work is pivotal in the development work that the consortium is delivering through the PANTERA project. The EIRIE platform that is being delivered through the PANTERA project, aims to bring together the attractiveness of successful partnerships being national, regional or European building through them the will for enhanced adaption to areas and partnerships that can broaden active participation for mutual benefit (see the drawing with the initial results of this constantly growing activity).

Deliver the EIRIE platform as a pan-European multi-dimensional collaborative platform, capable of leveraging coherence and trust as a pull towards enhanced R&I in energy systems centered around an integrated grid, active and responsive. Easy access, readymade tools, real data from projects with results build in case studies for exploitation / utilization, building of future scenarios and equally important an attractive environment for generating the vision of tomorrow through innovative tools and methods to be tailored for wider understanding and use. It is our ambition to deliver the collaborative platform that will lay the seeds for growth with tangible benefits to the wider industry partners that currently underspend in R&I in the field of smart energy systems. Based on pan-European entities that are active in the PANTERA process, the envisaged platform strives for long term solidarity to build the required trust capable of delivering the much-wanted benefits of sharing results and knowledge and learning from best practice activities in related fields. Working closely with the services of the Commission the sustainable future of the developed platform will only go stronger making the ambition of single point of access for related work, a reality.

  • Specific attention is given for supporting local energy systems accessing real data through ready-made tools for analysing and designing utilization scenarios that will benefit the integrated grid and local communities.

The PANTERA Consortium is a partner to the “International Energy Exhibition of Greece 2021” under the Cretan Energy Conferences series organised in Crete of Greece and is organising an interactive workshop “The key role of the R&I unified approach across EU for boosting smart grids investments: The EIRIE platform”, during which real evidence will be presented of the strengths of the EIRIE platform and how its rich content and functionalities will be a constant support to your endeavours in the years ahead. In July 2021 when we will meet in Heraklion Crete for the conference, the EIRIE platform will be up and running and we will be in the happy position of making real all our promises. Come and join us and we are sure that you will stay tuned and connected in the years ahead benefiting from the constantly growing wealth of EIRIE.

Dr. Venizelos Efthymiou is the chairman of the FOSS Research Center for Sustainable Energy, University of Cyprus, coordinator of the PANTERA project and f. Executive Networks Manager, EAC and Operational Manager of the Distribution System Operator of Cyprus (DSO).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EBRD: Green projects in Greece a priority, RES-based economic recovery

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is strongly interested in Greek energy market investments, Andreea Moraru, the bank’s head of Greece and Cyprus, has stressed in an interview with energypress.

The EBRD official spoke extensively on significant investment opportunities being created by the energy transition.

Since 2015, the EBRD has invested over four billion euros in Greece, participating in numerous major projects, Moraru informed, noting its recent support for power utility PPC, an investment worth 160 million euros, one of the bank’s largest, to cover customer payment volatility following the outbreak of the pandemic, exemplifies EBRD’s strong support for Greece.

The full interview follows:

What is the role of the EBRD compared to that of other banking institutions? 

The EBRD is a development bank committed to furthering progress towards ‘market-oriented economies and the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative. Our role is to be complementary to the commercial banks, to work alongside them and to support them.

Αdditionality is among the founding principles underlying our work and the particular support and contribution that the EBRD brings to an investment project which is not available from commercial sources of finance. Alongside transition and sound Banking, it is one of the three founding principles underlying our work. By ensuring that we are additional in everything we do, we ensure that our support for the private sector makes a contribution beyond that available on the market and does not crowd out other private sector actors.

Whenever we consider financing a project, we analyze whether similar financing can be obtained from private sector local banks or non-banking institutions.

Many of our markets are relatively high risk, and the private sector will only lend for short periods of time or at such high rates as to make the project unfeasible. For major new projects in the field of infrastructure, for example, longer-term financing may not be available on reasonable terms or conditions. This is where the EBRD fits in.

Additionality can also be non-financial in nature, where EBRD’s interventions contribute to better project outcomes that would not have been required or offered by commercial financiers. This can include the provision of comfort to clients and investors by mitigating non-financial risks, such as country, regulatory, project, economic cycle or political risks. Additionality may also be derived from the EBRD’s involvement in helping projects and clients achieve higher standards than would have been required by the market, such as through sharing its expertise on better corporate governance or above ‘business as usual’ environmental or inclusion standards.

Do you consider the energy sector in Greece to be suitable to contribute to the development and reconstruction of the Greek economy? For what reasons?

Absolutely. In general, the EBRD’s vision for the energy sector is of a partnership between industry, governments and consumers that delivers the essential energy needs of societies and economies in a manner that is sustainable, reliable and at the lowest possible cost.

In Greece the energy sector is embarking upon its biggest transformation yet, moving away from its reliance on lignite (c. 20% of total electricity production in 2019) to renewables and a smaller fleet of significantly less carbon intensive gas generating units. The NECP aims to achieve reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 55% by 2030 compared to 2005, planned to be achieved through: (i) decommissioning of all 4 GW of lignite-fired generation capacity by 2028 (3.4GW by 2023), (ii) 8.7 GW of new renewable generation capacity to added by 2030, reaching a total of 19 GW, and (iii) 2 GW of new gas generation capacity added for system support and security. The country remains committed to implementing the NECP as planned despite the negative impacts the CV19 crisis is expected to have on the Greek economy in 2020 and beyond.

Greece’s withdrawal from coal is a fundamental transformation that will create substantial sector and social challenges with the following broad implications: (1) constructing large volumes of low carbon generating capacity in order to ensure energy security in an increasing electrified economy, (2) reengineering the country’s transmission and distribution networks to reflect the additional penetration of distributed, intermittent renewable energy, and (3) addressing the social and economic impacts of the closure of a major part of its existing energy infrastructure, i.e. ensuring a just and inclusive transition.

We have supported many energy projects so far, especially renewables, working together with leading companies, such as GEK Terna, Mytilineos and HELPE among others.

A recent milestone is our support for the largest renewable energy project in Greece and the largest solar energy project in south-eastern Europe to date, the new solar park in Kozani. In 2017, we also approved a framework committing up to €300 million to finance renewable energy investments in the country.

The main reasons why this sector is important for the development of the Greek economy and thus our participation, is first to help the decarbonization of the country and the transition to a greener economy, as well as to strengthen local linkages and regional integration.

What is the EBRD’S philosophy about its presence in the Greek economy and especially in the energy sector?

In Greece in particular, supporting sustainable energy and infrastructure is among our top priorities. In fact supporting sustainable energy and infrastructure is one of the pillars of the newly approved country strategy. Our investment strategy in the energy sector going forward will aim at further liberalization and diversification of the energy market focusing on renewables and increased renewable energy capacity and a more diversified energy mix to promote decarbonization of the economy. EBRD could support a second phase of feasible renewable energy projects with project preparation / technical assistance and financing (biomass and biogas plants, use of waste heat in greenhouses for high value-added agriculture, electricity storage facilities, green hydrogen production plants and other forms of energy storage.

We see that it’s challenging to meet EU climate goals in Greece and our goal is to support the country with that. Our approach and philosophy is in line with the National Energy and Climate Plan and we are very glad the Greek government is committed to close all lignite plants. We need to keep this momentum, despite the current Covid-19 crisis, and turn the country greener.

One good example is our recent support for PPC (DEI). This has been one of our largest investments (€160 million) and the first time we supported the public sector in Greece. This facility supports PPC’s working capital needs at a time of customer payment volatility following the outbreak of the crisis. It also strengthens the resilience of the electricity sector as a whole by ensuring the stability of essential utility supplies and maintaining the momentum towards decarbonization.

What are the characteristics of private companies that could apply to be supported by the EBRD?

When we consider financing a project we analyze different aspects, such as how it supports the green economy, if it promotes women or youth inclusion, if it can enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the Greek economy etc. We look at the financial strength of the project as we operate according to sound banking principles. We cannot finance companies in certain sectors like defence-related activities, tobacco, substances banned by international law or gambling facilities.  As I have already mentioned, we also need to be additional.

We work in a wide range of sectors, from energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, property, tourism, agriculture to trade and financial institutions. We also support SMEs with business advice, know-how transfer and trainings.

What are your conclusions from your cooperation so far with Greek companies and institutions?

We’re very proud of all our projects in Greece so far. Since commencing our operations in 2015, the Bank has invested more than €4 billion in the country, helping respond to the financial crisis. Against a turbulent political and economic backdrop, the EBRD helped stabilize the financial sector, support private companies through export-oriented growth and lay the foundations for greater private sector participation in critical energy and infrastructure projects that have also strengthened regional integration.

We faced several challenges because of the financial crisis, but this was expected and was exactly the reason why we came to the country. Our main conclusion is that Greek companies have strong potential and very talented workforce, who we’re glad to be working with. The COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly interrupted Greece’s steady recovery, but we’re confident that the country can build back better.

We have an excellent cooperation with the Greek Government whom we are supporting on a number of initiatives.  In late 2020, the EBRD joined forces with the Ministry of Development and Investments of Greece to establish a new public-private partnership (PPP) preparation facility cooperation account, following a request from the Greek authorities. We are also working close with the Ministry of Finance on development of a capital market strategy, a project supported by DG Reform.

What are your plans for the new year?

We will focus on supporting the recovery of the Greek economy, by helping with the immediate needs of the Greek businesses because of coronavirus, as well as with their long-term growth plans. Green projects, including in the energy sector, will be our priority, but we’ll also be active in other sectors. We’ll continue supporting the banking sector, too.

Do you consider the investment risk in our country increased after the great economic crisis and in the light of the current crisis due to a pandemic?

The financial crisis had a strong impact on Greece, but we recognize that the Greek economy had started recovering and growing in the recent years. It’s true that COVID-19 containment measures are likely to depress economic output and cause particular disruption to the tourism industry, reversing the economic recovery and hindering investments in the near term, not only in Greece, but also in most countries. There are still many things that need to be improved in the country to attract more investors, but we don’t consider the investment risk much higher than it used to be. The Greek economy can recover after the pandemic.

 

Preliminary talks for 9th post-bailout review begin today

Power utility PPC’s lignite monopoly ordeal, the effort to ensure proper functioning of target model markets, the progress of privatization plans, and Greece’s decarbonization master plan for the lignite-dependent local economies of west Macedonia, in the country’s north, and Megalopoli, Peloponnese, are the key issues on the agenda of the ninth post-bailout review set to be conducted by the European Commission.

Preliminary review talks are scheduled to commence today between energy ministry officials and Brussels technocrats. These will be followed by higher-level talks involving technocrat chiefs and Greece’s newly appointed energy minister Kostas Skrekas.

Though his predecessors faced plenty of pressure, especially over PPC’s dominance, the new minister could be in for a hard time if pending energy-sector issues are not directly dealt with.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and power grid operator IPTO are still seeking solutions to tackle problems faced by the target model’s new markets. They got off to a problem-laden start in November, prompting a sharp rise in balancing market costs during the first few weeks.

As for energy-sector privatizations, the plan to offer a 49 percent stake in distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO appears to be making sound progress and attracting strong interest, as exemplified by the participation of 19 participants in December’s market test.

On the contrary, the privatization plan for gas supplier DEPA Commercial could be destabilized by the company’s ongoing legal battle with ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals) over an overcharging claim made by the latter. This battle could delay and affect the DEPA Commercial sale.

The Just Transition Plan for Greece’s decarbonization effort is now beginning to make some progress, but this unprecedented endeavor’s degree of complexity cannot be overlooked. Vast amounts of land controlled by PPC need to be repurposed, Brussels must approve investment incentives, and licensing matters need to be resolved, amongst other matters.

Natural gas-fueled generation reaches energy-mix record share of 56.64%

The energy mix contribution of natural gas increased to a record-level share of 56.64 percent in October, a latest energy exchange monthly report has shown.

This significant rise in the energy-mix share of natural gas – to a level never before reported since the full liberalization of Greece’s electricity market – has been attributed to a major slowdown of power utility PPC’s lignite-based generation.

Natural gas-fueled power stations operated by power utility PPC and independent producers further consolidated their place in the energy mix standings, stretching further ahead of other fuel categories.

October’s 56.64 percent energy-mix share captured by natural gas broke this fuel’s previous record of 53.76 percent, registered in August. The natural gas energy-mix share had dipped slightly to 51.74 percent in September before rebounding for October’s record-breaking result.

A year earlier, the natural gas energy mix share was below 50 percent, at 49.86 percent, while lignite’s share was at approximately 22 percent.

Returning to the latest energy-mix figures, natural gas was followed by the RES sector, capturing 33.86 percent, lignite’s share shrunk further to 4.25 percent, and hydropower followed with a 3.21 percent share.

PPC’s lignite-based generation could rise slightly in coming months to cover telethermal needs.

The role of natural gas in the ongoing energy transition towards renewable energy dominance is expected to play a pivotal role for the grid’s sufficiency and security.