Work on PPC Renewables 200-MW solar park starting April

Development of a major-scale 200-MW solar farm planned by PPC Renewables in Ptolemaida, northern Greece, a project budgeted at 110 million euros, is expected to begin in approximately one month.

A series of pre-construction procedures are expected to be completed within the next four weeks, enabling the Mytilineos Group’s METKA EGN, the project’s contractor, to begin work on this project. It represents the biggest part of a 230-MW solar energy project cluster planned by PPC Renewables.

A first 15-MW cluster has already been completed, while a second section representing an equivalent capacity is now being developed and should be ready by autumn.

Work on another big solar farm project planned by PPC for Megalopoli in the Peloponnese, to offer a capacity of 50 MW, is expected to begin in June.

On another front, PPC Renewables is currently working on establishing a major joint venture with Germany’s RWE by July or August.

PPC Renewables and RWE are currently working through a series of matters, including a number of legal issues. RWE will hold a 51 percent stake in this venture.

The two partners plan to equally contribute solar energy projects for a total capacity of 2 GW and a total value of approximately one billion euros, once developed, to this joint venture.

Talks on which projects each partner will choose to contribute to this joint venture remain at an early stage.

PPC Renewables is expected to contribute PV licenses concerning the west Macedonia and Megalopoli areas, while RWE is seen contributing project licenses or anticipated Greek project acquisitions being eyed by the German company for quite some time.

 

Brussels forwards new PCI list, to be finalized late this year

The European Commission’s fifth PCI (Projects of Common Interest) list in the electricity and natural gas sectors, being forwarded for public consultation, features, for now, a number of project additions and removals, compared to the previous edition.

Market officials and state authorities will have the opportunity to offer their views and observations over the consultation procedure’s twelve-week period before the European Commission adopts a finalized version of the fifth PCI list towards the end of 2021, based on an existing Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) framework, focused on linking the energy infrastructure of EU countries.

PCI projects are entitled to EU funding support. Brussels authorities introduced selection criteria revisions in December, ascertaining, however, that the impact of all projects, especially on CO2 emissions, will be appraised when finalizing the PCI list’s fifth edition.

The provisional list includes a number of electricity and gas sector projects concerning Greece.

Electricity-sector projects involving Greece include: a Bulgarian-Greek grid interconnection, expected to be completed in 2023; an Egyptian-Greek-Libyan grid interconnection headed by Green Power 2020 and scheduled for delivery in 2025; as well as three Egypt-Greece interconnections, two of these featuring Kykladika Meltemia SA as project promoter and expected to be respectively completed in 2025 and 2028, and a third headed by Elica SA and scheduled for completion in 2028.

An energy storage project planned by Eunice for Ptolemaida, northern Greece, and scheduled for completion in 2022 is a new entry on the PCI list.

In the natural gas sector, the PCI list includes: the Alexandroupoli FSRU (2022); a subsea pipeline between Greece and Italy, known as the Poseidon Pipeline (2025); EastMed, a pipeline planned to carry natural gas from the east Mediterranean to European markets, via Crete (2025); a compressor station in Thessaloniki’s Nea Mesimvria area (2022); a metering and regulating station in Megalopoli, Peloponnese (2025); a compressor station in Abelia, in Greece’s mid-north (2023); a compressor station in Kipoi, northeastern Greece (2024); a pipeline link for the Alexandroupoli FSRU (2022); a TAP pipeline capacity increase (2025); and the development of an underground gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in northern Greece (2023).

PPC Renewables portfolio boosted by 1.9 GW in producer certificates

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has granted PPC Renewables producer certificates for a total capacity of 1.9 GW, a pivotal step in the power utility PPC subsidiary’s effort to realize its ambitious investment plan. It features the installation of major-scale solar energy parks in north Greece’s west Macedonia region, facing a post-lignite transition.

A proportion of these new producer certificates, which elevate PPC Renewables into a major PV market player, could be utilized for state-controlled PPC’s planned collaboration with Germany’s RWE. A prospective partnership between the two sides appears near, recent meetings between the two sides have indicated.

The establishment of this partnership is close to being finalized, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis told Parliament yesterday, confirming an energypress report.

PPC and RWE signed a memorandum of understanding last March. A team of RWE officials then visited lignite fields in the west Macedonia region. Ensuing talks have since intensified. A finalized agreement by the end of the year has not been ruled out.

PPC Renewables is already developing two key PV projects, a 230-MW solar energy facility in Ptolemaida, northern Greece, and a 50-MW solar park in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

Development of about 15 MW of the Ptolemaida project and a high-voltage sub-station are expected to be ready around January. Construction of a further 15 MW is already in progress, while work on the project’s additional 200 MW is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2021.

As for the Megalopoli project, PPC Renewables is currently staging a tender offering a construction contract. Five major foreign and Greek groups have submitted bids.

PPC to offer lignite-dependent area residents 5% stakes in solar farms

Power utility PPC intends to offer residents of lignite-dependent areas in Greece stakes totaling 5 percent in solar farm projects planned by the company as part of its decarbonization strategy, chief executive Giorgos Stassis disclosed in an interview published by Greek daily Kathimerini yesterday.

PPC plans to develop and operate solar farms with a total capacity of 2.5 GW in west Macedonia, northern Greece, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, both lignite-dependent economies.

Besides creating jobs through these investments, PPC plans to offer locals the opportunity to invest in the power utility by acquiring shares for total stakes of 5 percent, Stassis noted.

Through this procedure, residents will join PPC in its investments and enjoy the exact same returns as the company, he said.

“I want to underline the annual investment return on these investments will range between 8 and 10 percent, at a time when deposit interest rates are almost negative,” Stassis said. The offer will be restricted to decarbonization-area residents, he added.

Commenting on local resistance against prospective RES installations, especially on islands, Stassis noted: “Islanders who, for years, have enjoyed low-cost electricity generated in Megalopoli and Ptolemaida at a cost for the environment and human lives, cannot object turbine installations on islands for production of electricity they will consume now that lignite-fired generation has become ultra-expensive and is being abandoned.”

DESFA 10-year plan approved, virtual pipelines not included

Gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year development plan has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a lengthy procedure, including consultation, that lasted several months.

A virtual pipeline proposal envisioning LNG supply to Crete, the north Aegean islands and the Dodecanese via tankers from the operator’s Revythoussa terminal just off Athens was left out of the approved plan. This is the ten-year plan’s only notable change compared to the draft forwarded for consultation.

LNG virtual pipelines serve as a substitute for conventional gas pipelines to enable the transport of LNG to points of use by sea, road or a combination of these.

The virtual pipeline proposal was removed from the DESFA ten-year plan following concerns expressed by consultation participants over higher surcharge costs for consumers that could have been imposed as part of the project’s cost recovery procedure.

The gas grid operator’s ten-year plan includes, for the first time, a natural gas outlet along the TAP route for the west Macedonia region in Greece’s north.

This TAP outlet, a project budgeted at 3 million euros and expected to be launched late in 2022, is intended to supply natural gas to the area’s provincial cities of Kozani, Ptolemaida, Florina and Amynteo for use at telethermal facilities as well as other energy needs in the post-lignite era.

The area’s telethermal system currently relies on energy produced by power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, soon set for withdrawal as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

 

PPC Renewables set for second of three Ptolemaida PV unit tenders

PPC Renewables plans to announce a tender next week for the development of a 15-MW solar energy project, the second of three sections making up a bigger 230-MW photovoltaic project planned for Ptolemaida, northern Greece.

The renewable energy firm, a wholly owned subsidiary of power utility PPC, has already forwarded all relevant information concerning this tender to the European Commission for publication on its official website.

A tender has already been staged for an initial 15-MW package. As for the project’s third and final package, by far the biggest, 200 MW, PPC Renewables intends to stage a tender for its development by summer.

During its construction stages, the project is expected to create at least 300 jobs, while, when completed, the facility should generate 390,000 MWh, enough to cover the needs of 290,000 persons.

PPC Renewables is expected to be among the first companies to induct projects into the Target Model, in other words, two-sided contracts with consumers whose prices will no longer be determined at auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

PPC Renewables’ portfolio currently totals 150 MW of completed energy projects, while RES projects representing a further 100 MW are now under construction. In addition, tenders for 280 MW have either been announced or will be announced. This additional 280-MW capacity includes the Ptolemaida project, expected to require between 24 and 36 months for completion.

Solar-based hydrogen output considered for Ptolemaida PVs

The government and its energy ministry are considering a solar-based hydrogen production initiative through major-scale photovoltaic facilities planned at state-controlled power utility PPC’s lignite fields in northern Greece’s Ptolemaida area, on the way out as a result of Greece’s decarbonization plan.

Discussions for solar-based hydrogen production are still at an early stage. However, if pursued, the initiative would be launched in the Ptolemaida area, until now a lignite-dependent local economy.

Major-scale photovoltaic facilities such as a 230-MW project being planned by PPC in Ptolemaida, as part of a wider 2-GW initiative for the region, are considered ideal for solar-based hydrogen production, requiring considerable amounts of energy.

Solar-based hydrogen production utilizes photovoltaic (PV) cells in combination with water electrolysis. The resulting hydrogen can be stored and used to reproduce electricity whenever needed by the grid.

Current electricity production costs linked to this technology are high. However, technological developments such as the mass production of electrolytes could lower power production costs and lead to economies of scale, making such an investment feasible.

Greece is already taking part in a European initiative looking to promote hydrogen production. Germany, preparing to take over the EU’s rotating presidency from Croatia in July, appears determined to push ahead with hydrogen production initiatives.

Gas supply for post-lignite west Macedonia added to grid plan

A natural gas outlet – stemming from the TAP project – for supply to Greece’s west Macedonian region intended to help cover the region’s energy needs in the post-lignite era is one of the few new features added to a gas grid operator DESFA ten-year development plan covering 2020 to 2029, slightly revised compared to its previous version.

The aim is to supply natural gas through pipelines to the region’s provincial cities of Kozani, Ptolemaida, Florina and Amynteo for use at telethermal facilities, currently operating through heat produced at power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations.

These PPC units, however, will soon be withdrawn as part of the government’s plan for a decarbonized Greece by 2028, incorporated into a new National Energy and Climate Plan.

The national gas grid’s 10-year development plan, prepared by DESFA, is undergoing public consultation for the second time since August for feedback on its minor changes, including the gas supply plan for west Macedonia.

The first round of public consultation was staged by DESFA while the second round is being held by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

A total of 49 projects budgeted at over 2.5 billion euros, overall, are included in the ten-year plan. Responses to the latest public consultation procedure face a January 10 deadline.