Major 154-MW renewable energy project on Evia nearing launch

One of Greece’s biggest renewable energy projects, a 154-MW complex comprising seven wind energy parks in the Kafireas area of the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens, is approaching its launch.

Test runs are expected to be staged in September while the facility should be ready to operate commercially by the end of the year, sources informed.

The project, developed by the Greek subsidiary of Italy’s Enel, will make the company one of Greece’s biggest RES firms, highlighting its determination for a strong Greek market presence.

The company’s Greek portfolio will grow to a total capacity of 461 MW – solar, wind and hydropower units – once the Evia project is launched.

The company has had to endure a long adventure for this RES project to reach the final stretch. Greek authorities first issued a project license to the Enel subsidiary back in 2003 but the company needed to persevere a further 12 years of bureaucracy to secure further approvals and additional permits before it could begin construction.

The Enel subsidiary ended up starting the project’s construction in June, 2017. However, heated reaction by local residents and subsequent legal cases filed by them to the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, prompted further delays.

The legal action was rejected in January, 2018, enabling the project’s completion.

The need to simplify local RES licensing procedures has once again emerged of late.

RES investors given extension for misjudged cable payment

Wind energy investors planning to connect their RES facilities in the southern part of Evia, Greece’s second-largest island located slightly northeast of Athens, with a submarine cable interconnection running across to coastal Nea Makri, on the northeastern outskirts of Athens, will be given an additional two to three months to deliver payments securing participation rights to the link as a result of a miscalculation that will increase the cost entailed by 33 percent.

Power grid operator IPTO has informed investors of the miscalculation, which promises to have a knock-on effect on related matters.

A tender planned to offer RES investors the remainder of the submarine cable’s capacity will, as a result, be further delayed. A date in 2018 had already been postponed for early 2019.

The link’s participation cost for producers has developed into an ordeal with a contentious past. A decision had been reached to set a participation rights price tag of 150,000 euros per MW. However, in the middle of last summer, the power grid operator informed investors of its miscalculation and the resulting 33 percent increase.

RES producers swiftly reacted by noting that RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, not IPTO, is responsible for cost revisions.


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.

Enel wind farm project strained by court’s temporary suspension

A ruling in a legal case filed by residents of Evia, the country’s second largest island, slighly northeast of wider Athens, and a local environmental protection group, challenging the development of an Enel wind farm investment budgeted at 300 milion euros, is expected to be delivered in no less than two months, possibly even early next year, which places great scheduling pressure on the investment plan.

Ratified RES framework revisions led to an extension of the project’s completion deadline to March, 2019, if the investor is to maintain a fixed feed in tariff already secured.

All work at the Evia wind farm site was interrupted on August 11, based on a Supreme Administrative Court decision that called for an immediate temporary suspension.

The trial was heard earlier this week at the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court. Both sides were given until October 18 to submit a final round of evidence in support of their arguments.

The temporary suspension of work at the Evia site led to the cancellation of an official project ceremony that was to be attended by Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni as part of his recent official visit to Greece.

Enel’s Evia wind farm case highlights investment hurdles

A legal case challenging renewable energy facility licenses issued by Greek authorities to Italy’s Enel for the development of what would be Greece’s biggest wind farm, in Evia, the country’s second largest island, slighly northeast of wider Athens, is now underway, once again bringing to the fore the obstacles and delays faced by major investments, especially ones concerning wind energy farm development.

The case was filed at the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, by three island residents representing a local environmental protection group. Construction of the Evia project, an investment worth 300 million euros, began last summer, on June 28, but was interrupted on August 11, when the Supreme Administrative Court issued a ruling calling for the immediate temporary suspension of all work on the project.

It is fully licensed, having obtained permits from various local authorities, including town planning, environmental and archaeological.

This court decision prompted the cancellation of an official ceremony in Evia, intended to mark the commencement of work. The ceremony was to be attended by the Greek and Italian prime ministers, as part of the Italian leader Paolo Gentiloni’s recent visit to Greece.

The Evia project, being developed by Enel’s Greek subsidiary, Enel Green Power Hellas, in Kafirea, southern Evia, is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2019. If finalized, it will represent Greece’s biggest wind farm possessing an annual production capacity of 483 GWh, cover the electricity needs of 129,000 households, and cut CO2 emissions by 433,000 tons per year.

The project plan entails linking the wind farm with a 150 kV submarine cable to transmit energy to the mainland.





Investors spooked by court block on Enel’s Evia wind farm

Wind energy players in Greece are deeply troubled by a temporary court order blocking the development of a major wind farm project being developed by Italy’s Enel in south Evia’s Kafirea region.

The company, itself, remained restrained in its reaction to the decision, issued by the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, noting that its acknowledges the ruling and will fully comply with its demands, while adding that it has fulfilled all licensing regulations and submitted to the court all documents required for the project’s recommencement.

Competitor RES firms were less subdued in their responses. “This is a negative message that does not at all contribute to the generation of a positive investment climate at a time when the country is seeking to become attractive to investors again,” one company official told energypress.

A final court verdict is expected in October. The project must remain stagant until then. Enel needed to clear a bureaucratic course requiring the approval of no less than 25 public sector agencies before gaining its environmental license for the project.

Enel, one of the world’s biggest renewable energy players operating locally through its Greek subsidiary Enel Green Power Hellas, has called for a special hearing in September, which could enable work on the investment in Evia, an island slightly northeast of the wider Athens area, to recommence sooner.

The court’s block was prompted after a local environmental protection group and three residents of Evia’s Karystos area legally challenged a series of 27 ministerial decisions made by the energy ministry to endorse the project’s development.

The plaintiffs argue that the project’s eight wind farms planned for development will be installed at forest land inducted into Natura 2000, a network of environmentally protected natural areas in the EU.

Enel’s Evia investment in Kafirea ranks as one of the biggest foreign investments to be made in Greece over the past few years. The project, initiated last June, is worth 300 million euros and planned to have a total capacity of 167 MW.



Investors to be charged Evia link’s non-utilization costs

IPTO, the power grid operator, plans to soon distribute bills to investors maintaining wind farm project licenses in their portfolios for Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, located slightly northeast of the wider Athens area, requiring payment of additional costs being generated by the non-utilization of a submarine interconnection linking the island with the mainland.

Payment of these additional costs, estimated to be worth tens of millions of euros, will be expected from the investors, along with an amount of roughly 82 million euros needed to develop the submarine interconnection.

Roughly 15 enterprises, including most of the country’s major energy market players such as PPC, Iberdrola-Rokas, Terna Energy, Gamesa, Protergia and Enteka, hold licenses with a total capacity of 400 MW to develop wind farms, most of these in Evia’s south and central parts. The submarine interconnection was developed to utilize the island’s considerable wind energy potential.

Approximately 55 MW of the 400 MW capacity licensed out concerns projects on the islands Andros and Tinos – 46.8 MW and 7.5 MW, respectively.

The holders of these licenses have submitted letters of guarantee but ought to have also covered their respective shares of costs. Intervening as a result of a wider cash flow problem in the energy sector, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis had a bill ratified in parliament that enables amounts to be paid over three installments by the end of this year.

By agreeing to this measure, the investors secured feed-in premiums of 98 euros per MWh, without needing to participate in auctions.

Wind farm investments of over 400 million euros are expected to be developed by investors as a result of the submarine interconnection’s completion.