Major changes to RES licensing procedure sought by ministry

Ambitious renewable energy targets included in Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) have energy ministry officials looking to overhaul current RES licensing procedures for a swifter, simplified process, currently far too slow and detrimental for investors.

A big number of RES project installations will need to be made over the next decade if the lofty NECP targets are to be achieved.

The installed RES capacity will need to be more than doubled, meaning emphasis will need to be placed on simplifying current licensing procedures, slowed down by bureaucracy and excessive laws, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during yesterday’s presentation of the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The energy ministry is looking for radical solutions that stretch beyond just cutting back on the excessive number of documents and procedures now needed, or digitizing procedures.

On the contrary, the ministry believes the entire RES licensing process needs to be reexamined and revamped. Some sub-permits that are currently needed amid the overall procedure, taking years to cover, may be scrapped if their elimination would not cause any dangers.

Any revisions deemed extremely urgent could be rushed into an energy ministry draft bill on the environment, now being prepared for parliament in January.

Other ministry priorities include developing legal framework for energy storage; a pricing framework for hybrid stations on the islands; further support for RES installations at buildings through net metering; as well as the establishment of legal framework for alternative RES systems, such as offshore wind farms, Sdoukou told the NECP event.

Floating wind turbines tender likely in second half of 2020

Greece is making plans to begin installing floating wind turbines and could introduce this renewable energy technology by the second half of next year, the energy ministry’s secretary general Mihalis Veriopoulos (photo) has announced.

The official, who took part in a recent related workshop co-organized by the Norwegian Embassy in Athens and ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, said the energy ministry intends to soon select one of the sea regions defined by an older study and stage a pilot tender in the second half of 2020.

KAPE/CRES, the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving, established 12 offshore zones in a study dating back to 2010. One of these will be selected for the pilot tender.

Investors backed by wind turbine technology suitable for Greece’s deep waters are expected to participate in the tender.

Floating wind turbines remain an expensive technology that is still at a relatively nascent stage. The objective is to reduce this technology’s energy production cost to a level of between 40 and 60 euros per MWh by the end of the next decade, Arne Eik, a representative of Norwegian firm Equinor, told the Athens workshop.

Floating wind turbines will significantly contribute to Greece’s effort to reach RES objectives, Dr. Dionysis Papachristou, a sector specialist heading the Public Relations and Press Office at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, told the event.

Panagiotis Ladakakos, director at ELETAEN, noted floating wind turbines promise to greatly contribute to the country’s GDP growth. Turbine technology constitutes just 40 percent of the overall cost, meaning that the other 60 percent, including floating platforms and anchoring systems, can be developed locally, Ladakakos stressed.

 

Norway’s Equinor eyeing Greek floating wind turbine potential

Norwegian energy giant Equinor, formerly named Statoil, is believed to be examining Greece’s market opportunities for floating wind turbine investments.

The Norwegian Embassy in Athens, which has taken initiatives in this direction, plans to co-organize a seminar here in April with ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, on floating wind turbines, offshore systems mounted on floating structures to generate electricity in water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible.

Through the event, the Norwegian Embassy will seek to highlight Norway’s experience in this domain and bring Greek renewable energy companies into contact with Norwegian experts. Greek government and energy sector officials are also expected to participate.

Despite the major potential offered by Greece, the local floating wind turbine market has remained stagnant since 2010. ELETAEN pointed out this lack of activity to the energy ministry in observations last December, during a public consultation procedure for Greece’s National Energy and Climate Plan.

The wind energy association called for renewed action on floating wind turbines, stressing the drastic cost reduction for this technology.