RES investors pressured by increased project development cost

Investors behind solar energy projects still in development are facing budget pressure as a result of a steep rise in equipment costs, prompting talks of increased tariffs for non-auction projects.

Price increases, compared to early 2021, have reached 35 percent for solar panels, 75 percent for AC electricity cables, 35 percent for DC cables, 20 percent for low and medium-voltage sub-stations, while the cost of metal bases has also risen.

Data presented recently by SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, at a recent energy conference showed that the construction cost of a standard solar farm has increased by 15 to 20 percent, in line with figures presented by IEA, the International Energy Agency.

Wind energy projects face similar rises in cost, which has prompted the energy ministry to increase non-auction tariffs for new projects of up to 6 MW to 89 euros per MW/h from 72 euros per MW/h.

 

 

Offshore wind farm framework imminent, consultation in June

A framework for the development of offshore wind farms in Greek sea territory is nearing completion at the energy ministry and, according to sources, is expected to undergo consultation within the next month.

Sea plots will be offered through one auction, offering investors the opportunity to secure both plots and tariffs for prospective offshore wind farms. A previous plan had entailed two auction stages.

Interested parties will need to submit related applications to EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, coordinator of the overall procedure. Investors, if deemed by EDEY to meet financial criteria, will be given the green light to study the generation potential of specific sea plots.

Investors will be given a period of between one to two years to study the prospects of sea plots to be offered through the auction.

Offshore plots, primarily northeast of Evia, off Skyros, Limnos, as well as port city Alexandroupouli, in the northeast, will be offered to investors. These plots are expected to offer wind energy potential of up to 10 GW.

It remains unclear how a number of investment plans that have already been granted licenses will be handled.

 

New REPowerEU plan may boost recovery fund by €2bn

The EU’s revised energy sector targets for 2030 – 740 GW in solar energy output by 2030, a RES sector energy-mix share of 45 percent, up from the previous target of 40 percent, and energy savings of 13 percent, up from a 9 percent increase – raise the standards for member states.

The EU is pouring an additional 210 billion euros into the effort. The share of this total to be made available to Greece remains to be seen.

According to initial calculations by government officials possessing knowledge on this subject, Greece should be entitled to an additional 2 billion euros for the country’s recovery and resilience plan.

If so, this amount will increase the value of Greece’s recovery and resilience plan to 34 billion euros, from 32 billion euros at present.

Of this additional two billion-euro amount, for RES and energy savings projects, over one billion euros could be offered to investors in the form of low-interest loans, while approximately 700 million euros, or possibly less, may be offered as subsidies.

 

 

REPowerEU details unveiled, RES acceleration a key aspect

The European Commission has unveiled details of its REPowerEU plan, a road map intended to eliminate Europe’s reliance on Russian energy sources.

Brussels’ road map will aim to eliminate Russian gas, oil and coal imports into the EU by 2027. The renewable energy sector is planned to play a key role in this effort. The European Commission has increased the RES sector’s energy-mix target to 45 percent, up from 40 percent, by 2030 and will seek to accelerate RES investments.

Solar energy utilization will be a pivotal factor of this strategy, to be promoted through the European Solar Rooftop Initiative, part of the REPowerEU plan.

The wider plan will push for an energy savings increase of 13 percent by 2030, up from the present objective aiming for a 9 percent increase in savings.

The European Commission estimates investments totaling 210 billion euros will need to be made by 2027, as an addition to the previous Fit for 55 plan, which set a target for a 55 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Draft bill RES limitations raise investor concerns

A government measure to restrict the operations of RES projects until the regulatory authority RAE has approved a grid capacity increase has prompted concern among RES investors, fearing that these limitations, if not implemented correctly, could undermine the sustainability of projects.

Participants of related consultation staged by the energy ministry have all stressed that these changes, incorporated into a draft bill for RES licensing simplification, should not affect the financial terms of RES projects whose licensing procedures are at an advanced stage.

ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, highlighted that the revisions, for reasons of investment security, need to have been be set at the time RES producers have accepted finalized connection terms, otherwise business plans and their financing could be undermined.

Freeze on new RES connection terms throughout Greece

An energy ministry draft bill for a second round of RES licensing simplification measures will freeze, throughout Greece, RES grid connection applications accepted as well as connection terms that would otherwise be offered by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for pending new RES projects until RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved the operator’s plan for a grid capacity increase.

However, even when this grid capacity boost is approved by RAE, very few RES projects will be able to make progress as a minimal number of existing substations currently have minimum capacities of 10 MW, a draft bill prerequisite for distribution of capacity percentages concerning grid connections of small and medium-sized projects.

RAE does not face any time limits for its approval of the grid capacity boost. Officials fear the delay could last months. Until RAE’s approval, DEDDIE/HEDNO will only accept RES project applications and offer connection terms for net-metering systems, virtual net-metering as well as roof-mounted solar panels.

Offshore wind farm potential in Greece highlighted at industry event

Offshore wind farms have tremendous potential for development in the Greek market, and could be a game changer, Panagiotis Ladakakos, president of ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has told an industry event.

Floating offshore wind farms are a better option for Greece than fixed-bottom offshore wind farms as a result of the country’s great sea depths, which would increase the installation difficulties of fixed-bottom units, event participants agreed.

The ELETAEN president proposed the establishment of a framework offering a clear and detailed road map, adding that targets should be set for the next decade and beyond, all the way to 2050.

RES spatial map revisions incorporating Greece’s sea territory, as well as an action plan for the development of needed infrastructure concerning ports, shipyards and the supply chain are also needed, the ELETAEN president noted.

He added that power grid operator IPTO must take initiatives to plan sea transmission hubs for offshore wind farms, as this technology’s growth also depends on network development.

A pilot competitive procedure for a large-scale offshore wind farm project or projects would serve as a catalyst, the ELETAEN president added.

Greece’s potential in this sector was also highlighted by Francois Van Leeuw, co-CEO of Belgium’s ParkWind, one of a number of Belgium companies that participated in the event, staged as part of a three-day official visit to Greece by Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

 

Platform facilitating green PPAs approaching launch

The details of a platform to enable green PPAs for company use are close to ready and should be forwarded for consultation by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, within the next few days, energypress sources have informed.

The platform will enable companies and electricity suppliers to partially cover their electricity needs with green-generated electricity.

The mechanism will also offer RES investors greater flexibility when offering their output to the market. It will be open to green aggregators as well as independent RES stations. A corresponding mechanism has already been launched in neighboring Italy.

RAE commissioned Afry, a Swedish-Finnish supplier of engineering, design, and advisory services, for the project.

 

 

Up to ten floating solar farms to be introduced as pilot projects

A framework for the development of floating solar farms has been included in a RES licensing simplification and energy storage draft bill forwarded for consultation yesterday by the energy ministry.

According to the draft bill, new rules will enable the spatial planning, licensing, installation and operation of up to ten floating solar farms, to be introduced as pilot projects.

The first wave of floating solar farms will offer investors a series of exemptions, sparing them of the need for producer certificates, environmental permits and building permits.

Also, these early floating solar farms will be able to secure finalized connection offers without licensing requirements.

Investors, directly or indirectly, will be able to hold interests in contracts for up to two floating solar farms, according to the draft bill.

Installation and operation of floating solar farms will be incorporated into one license for 22-year periods.

 

 

RES project deadlines trim accumulation, still considerable

Three key deadlines set by authorities to terminate idle RES project plans have expired, reducing the number of accumulated pending projects, still considerable.

Producer certificates for pending projects have, as a result, been reduced to represent a total capacity of approximately 80 GW, still enormous, from 95 GW.

RES investors, for one of the expired deadlines, had until March 15 to cancel producer certificates received for projects – a preliminary licensing step – and be able to have related issuance fees returned. Investors who missed this deadline are no longer entitled to receive this payment return should they not proceed with their projects.

Another deadline expired on March 31, until which RES project investors needed to submit to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, production licenses and spatial details of projects, or have licenses for these projects revoked. Authorities had extended this deadline.

Most recently, a third deadline expired on April 15. It required RES project investors to deliver guarantee payments of 35,000 euros per MWh for older RES producer certificates obtained through applications submitted to a June, 2021 cycle. These certificates have been cancelled for investors who failed to meet the deadline.

 

 

 

Swifter guarantee payment for RES connection terms

RES project investors granted connection terms, old and new, for projects are likely to be required to pay guarantees within a two-month period, a shortened period that is expected to filter out idle, undeveloped project plans occupying capacity.

The details of this revision will be finalized once consultation on a related draft bill prepared by the energy ministry has been completed.

The draft bill will cover the next round of RES licensing simplification measures and a framework for the development of energy storage units.

 

 

 

 

Lignite extraction boosted as part of emergency plan

Power utility PPC has boosted its lignite mining output by an additional 5,000 to 6,000 tons a day for its Meliti and Agios Dimitrios power stations in northern Greece and by an extra 7,000 to 8,000 tons a day for its Megalopoli power station in the Peloponnese, in response to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ call, early in April, for increased lignite reserves should Russia disrupt its natural gas supply to Europe.

The objective is to increase lignite extraction by 45 to 50 percent over a two-year period for reserves amounting to more than 15 million tons, up from the present quantity of 10.5 million tons, which would enable lignite-fired production to reach 6.5 TWh annually, up from 4.5 TWh projected in the current energy plan.

The majority of PPC’s seven lignite-fired power stations will need to be temporarily withdrawn if increased lignite quantities are to be accumulated at the yards of these power stations.

Of the country’s seven lignite-fired power stations, just one, Agios Dimitrios IV, is scheduled to operate today.

The additional 2 TWh of electricity generation that could be produced annually as a result of this initiative would still not suffice if Russia were to stop supplying natural gas to Europe.

Greece’s annual electricity consumption is estimated at 55 TWh. Last year, natural gas-fueled electricity generation covered 20 TWh of the country’s overall electricity demand, with 40 percent of the natural gas used supplied by Russia.

This means Russia’s natural gas was responsible for 8 TWh of Greece’s electricity generation last year. The Greek plan for an additional 2 TWh in generation through greater lignite production would only cover 25 percent of electricity currently produced using Russian natural gas.

Additional LNG shipments, accelerated development of RES projects, and an energy-saving policy for households, businesses and industry will also be needed to cover the gap.

Revised NECP’s 2030 energy storage target to be doubled to 3 GW

Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan will set a doubled energy-storage capacity target of 3 GW by 2030, to support the RES sector’s greater penetration of the energy mix, as part of the country’s contribution to CO2 emission reductions.

The previous energy-storage capacity target of 1.5 GW will be moved closer, to 2025, so that additional energy storage projects may be installed during the latter half of the decade, energy minister Kostas Skrekas told a recent energy sector conference.

The revised NECP will also set a higher target for RES installations, at 25 GW, from the existing plan’s 18.9-GW objective, as energypress has previously reported.

Investors are expected to receive a total of 450 million euros from the Energy Transition Fund as support for the first wave of RES projects to be installed by 2025.

 

 

SPEF: PV costs up 30-75%, tariff reduction thoughts must be abandoned

Solar panel prices were up 30 percent for orders placed in March compared to a year earlier, while prices for AC cables, also used for solar panel installations, are as much as 75 percent higher compared to levels in 2019 and 2020, Dr. Stelios Loumakis, president of SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, has pointed out.

In response to these higher costs, the SPEF president called on authorities to abandon any thoughts of reduced tariffs for new solar energy projects currently being developed.

Installation costs for XT/MT substations have also risen considerably, up by 20 percent over the past year, according to Dr. Loumakis.

In addition, power grid operator IPTO’s connection term costs have also risen to levels double those of a few years earlier.

These connection term increases are not exclusively linked to higher-priced equipment but also to network upgrades being carried out by IPTO in order to boost capacity, projects whose cost is passed on to investors.

Solar, wind energy facility installation costs up over 30%

Solar and wind energy park installation costs have risen considerably, internationally, since early 2021, driven higher by the pandemic’s impact on the global economy, supply chain and labor,  unfavorable market developments now exacerbated by the impact of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

According to a new study conducted by LevelTen Energy, monitoring RES sector transactions worldwide, installation costs last year rose by 28.5 percent in North America and by 27.5 percent in Europe, and have continued rising this year, up 9.7 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, taking the average RES installation cost to 57 euros per MWh.

These unfavorable developments have wiped out RES sector gains achieved over the past decade or so, during which RES installation costs have fallen.

Steel prices in Europe skyrocketed to 1,650 euros per ton in March, up from 1,100 euros per ton last October, and have since eased slightly to levels of around 1,400 euros per ton.

The increased RES costs come as a challenge to the EU’s objective for major RES growth as a means of achieving climate-change targets and drastically reducing Europe’s reliance on natural gas.

Despite these price increases, the cost of RES-based electricity generation still remains far lower than that of fossil fuel-generated electricity.

 

Egyptian grid operator team in Athens for Greek grid link talks

A team of highly ranked officials from the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), headed by president and CEO Sabah Mashali, is in Athens for two days of talks, beginning today, on the development of the Greek-Egyptian grid interconnection.

The EETC officials are scheduled to meet today with a team of Greek power grid operator IPTO officials, headed by president and CEO Manos Manousakis, for a discussion on technical details concerning the grid interconnection.

Tomorrow, the EETC team is scheduled to meet with Greece’s energy minister Kostas Skrekas as well as development and investment minister Adonis Georgiadis.

A first step for the project was taken last October when the Greek and Egyptian energy ministers signed a related Memorandum of Understanding. As part of the agreement, the power grid operators of both countries have assembled a working group to conduct necessary preliminary work.

The group’s responsibilities, according to the MoU, include technical coordination to ensure the grid interconnection’s compatibility; facilitating the project’s licensing matters; as well as providing support for the project’s classification as an EU Project of Common Interest, which would ensure EU funding support.

The Greek-Egyptian grid interconnection is planned to exclusively transmit green energy from Egypt to Greece as a means of increasing the energy-mix share of renewables in Greece and the wider region and also bolstering energy security in Europe, prioritized following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, during a recent meeting with European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, stressed the importance of the Greek-Egyptian grid link, noting it should receive European backing.

 

Major RES input lowers electricity price to near zero Sunday afternoon

Greatly increased renewable energy contributions – covering over 80 percent of demand – during yesterday’s weekend siesta hours of 2pm to 5pm pushed down the wholesale electricity price to virtually zero, or 0.09 euros per MWh.

RES input reached approximately 5 GW (wind and solar energy units), while demand was limited to just over 6 GW, enabling authorities to withdraw from the market lignite and gas-fired power stations.

On the same day, when RES input eventually fell and gas-fired power station contributions were brought back into the grid, the electricity price level rebounded to 283 euros per MWh by the evening.

The wholesale electricity price averaged 168.22 euros per MWh on Sunday, a 27 percent reduction compared to Saturday.

Similar price fluctuations were also recorded in other parts of Europe over the weekend. Negative prices were recorded in Germany and the Netherlands, at -2.49 euros per MWh, and they were even lower in Belgium, at -17.97 euros per MWh. These negative prices essentially mean that consumers are paid to use electricity.

Today, electricity market conditions are back to the ongoing energy crisis’ normal levels. The average wholesale electricity price is at 243.08 euros per MWh, up 44.5 percent compared to yesterday, despite RES input representing 51.1 percent of the energy mix.

JinkoSolar delivers over 500,000 modules for Kozani project, one of Europe’s biggest

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, has announced that it has delivered its bifacial modules to a 204-MW Solar Power Plant in Kozani, northern Greece.

The Kozani project consists of 18 project sites adding up to a total capacity of 204 MW. JinkoSolar has delivered more than 500,000 bifacial modules to juwi Hellas Renewable Energy Sources S.A.

The Kozani project, inaugurated yesterday, will deliver up to 320 million kilowatt-hours per annum when fully ramped up, supplying electricity to more than 75,000 households. The Kozani project is one of the largest bifacial projects ever built in Europe.

Mr. Frank Niendorf, General Manager of JinkoSolar Europe, commented: “We are delighted that juwi Hellas, one of the leading renewable energy specialists globally, has once again placed their trust in the superior quality and reliable performance of our solar modules for this impressive mega project in Greece. The Kozani project has become Europe’s benchmark for renewable energy. It is also one of the largest bifacial projects ever built in Europe, and JinkoSolar is very proud to be a part of such an important milestone for our industry.”

Mr. Dimitris Varlamis, JinkoSolar Head of Sales for South Eastern Europe, commented: “We are very proud to contribute to this emblematic project which is by far the biggest solar energy project in Greece and one of the largest project in Europe featuring our high-performance bifacial modules. We would like to thank juwi Hellas, and HELPE for their trust in JinkoSolar and we look forward to a long-term strategic partnership with the juwi team.”

 

ELPE to seek Ionian Sea partner, Crete delayed by case

Hellenic Petroleum ELPE has successfully completed seismic surveys at offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and the Gulf of Kyparissia, west of the Peloponnese, for which the company holds 100 percent exploration and exploitation rights, and once results have emerged, will seek to establish partnerships for these ventures, CEO Andreas Siamisiis noted yesterday.

The chief executive, who was speaking at ELPE’s official launch for a solar energy farm in Kozani, northern Greece, one of Europe’s biggest, informed that the group’s hydrocarbon exploration activities for potential natural gas deposits, part of the group portfolio, will focus on offshore areas and be accelerated.

The results of data collected through seismic surveys at the Ionian Sea and Gulf of Kyparissia blocks will now be studied, while 3D seismic data will also be collected, a procedure to require a further 12 months.

As for ELPE’s interests at Cretan offshore blocks, for which the company has formed a consortium with France’s Total and America’s ExxonMobil, surveys conducted have shown similarities with areas in the eastern Mediterranean, where major hydrocarbon discoveries have been made.

ELPE’s chief executive attributed delays affecting exploration work at the Cretan blocks to a legal case filed with the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, targeting the venture’s environmental impact study. No serious company would continue exploring with such a legal case pending, Siamisiis noted.

 

 

Updated NECP raises RES capacity target to 25 GW by 2030

The updated National Energy and Climate Plan is expected to increase the country’s RES installation target for 2030 to 25 GW, up from the existing edition’s 18.9 GW.

The NECP’s greater ambition for increased RES installations and a bigger green-energy share of the country’s energy mix is based on the Fit for 55 agreement reached by the EU last April for a carbon emissions reduction of at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, revised from the previous reduction target of 40 percent.

Given the latest developments concerning Russia’s war on Ukraine, the EU is now determined to achieve even faster RES development to greatly reduce its reliance on Russian gas imports long before 2030.

The Repower EU plan, recently designed for this purpose, is aiming for an average 20 percent increase in new green projects that would cut natural gas consumption by a further 3 bcm. The Repower EU plan has also raised green hydrogen targets.

Greece’s RES units operating in 2020 totaled 10.1 GW, a capacity that will need to be increased by a further 10 GW by 2030, if the Fit for 55 target is to be met. This ambitious target increases the urgency of the energy ministry’s plan for further RES project licensing simplification.

Network upgrades already planned more than cover the country’s ambitious green targets. Power grid operator IPTO estimates that planned transmission network upgrades will enable RES units with a total capacity of 28.5 GW to operate by 2030.

EU’s Fit for 55 revisions to include reduced gas use

The European Commission is preparing to present, in May, details of its Repower EU program, a strategy aiming to greatly reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy. Until now, the plan has been limited to objectives, without specifics on how these targets could be achieved.

Further revisions of the EU’s energy and climate policy – as presented in the recent Fit for 55 package, which set a target of a 55 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels – will be needed, through legislative revisions and directives.

The revisions could include greater tolerance for lignite and gas infrastructure, until recently treated strictly, as well as measures for an acceleration of RES and energy storage development.

As was pointed out at the recent energypress Power & Gas Forum by Pantelis Kapros, Professor of Energy Economics at the National Technical University of Athens, the EU’s energy policy, concurrently managing economic, energy security and environmental concerns, is now shifting towards greater emphasis on energy security as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the move’s wider repercussions.

Even so, the Fit for 55 objectives for 2030 are expected to be maintained, while RES targets may be raised to more ambitious levels.

The EU will also look to reduce natural gas consumption for electricity generation and heating through the use of biomethane quantities in excess of 35 billion cubic meters by 2030, green hydrogen quantities of 20 million tons by 2030, as well as energy storage system development, noted Professor Kapros, one of the architects of the EU’s energy policy.

The EU’s Fit for 55 package had originally planned for 164 bcm of Russian gas imports in 2025 and 131 bcm for 2030, but these quantities are now expected to be greatly reduced to 74 bcm and 33 bcm, respectively.

Energy storage unit payment based on RES feed-in premiums

The energy ministry is preparing a legislative revision to secure remuneration levels for energy storage facilities, deemed necessary to ensure sufficient earnings for such units and their sustainability as investments.

The energy-storage framework being prepared for the Greek market, regarded as innovative, resembles the feed-in premium system adopted for renewable energy units and will secure remuneration levels for energy storage facilities through competitive procedures.

Units that qualify for remuneration through the competitive procedures will be entitled to participate in all markets (day-ahead, intraday and balancing).

If earnings secured by energy storage units through this market participation are smaller than remuneration levels agreed to, the difference will be fully covered by a compensation amount stemming from the RES special account. On the contrary, if earnings exceed remuneration levels agreed to, then the operators of energy storage units will need to return excess sums to the RES special account.

The energy ministry’s legislative revision will also incorporate a framework for investment support to energy storage units, to be given access to 200 million euros from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

 

PPC capable of boosting lignite extraction by 43%, utility tells

Power utility PPC has the capacity to increase its lignite extraction to as much as 15 million tons annually, from 10.5 million tons at present, for a 43 percent increase to full-capacity lignite-fired generation, in the event of a Russian disruption of natural gas supply to Europe, according to an updated annual mining plan submitted by the utility to the energy ministry.

Even so, this increased production could still not be enough to fill the enormous gap that would be left by a Russian cut in natural gas supply.

The country’s lignite-fired electricity generation can increase to 6.5 TWh annually from the present plan of 4.5 TWh, according to the utility plan. However, PPC would need to hasten the development of a series of projects to boost productivity at its lignite mines and increase the amounts of lignite stocks at the yards of its seven lignite-fired power stations – five Agios Dimitrios units, as well as Meliti and Megalopoli.

The annual plan’s objective is to increase lignite stocks at each of the five Agios Dimitrios facilities to 1.75 million tons from 1.2 million, while also increasing the amount at Meliti to 300,000 tons from 220,000 tons this month, as well as the lignite stock at Megalopoli to 500,000 tons from 270,000 tons.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to comment on Greece’s lignite alternative, given the Russian threat, at the official launch, tomorrow, of a major-scale solar energy farm developed by Hellenic Petroleum ELPE at Livera, close to Kozani, northern Greece. Offering a 204-MW capacity, this facility is one of Europe’s biggest.

RES and energy storage licenses in less than 2 years from 5 at present

The time needed by investors to secure RES project and energy storage licenses will be reduced to less than two years, from five at present, according to a RES licensing simplification draft bill prepared by the energy ministry, expected to be announced within the next few days.

Through the simplified licensing procedure, the ministry will aim to facilitate RES licenses representing a total capacity of 12,000 MW and investments estimated at 10 billion euros by 2030.

The ministry’s legislative initiative will be carried out over two stages, the first concerning RES and energy storage project licenses, and the second offshore wind farms.

The revisions will enable investors to push ahead with licensing steps simultaneously rather than successively, as is the case at present.

Also, the procedure will include criteria filtering out prospective RES applicants deemed to not be genuinely interested in developing projects.

 

 

 

 

Fast-track transmission project licensing to slash time needed

The energy ministry is preparing a new set of rules for fast-track licensing of grid transmission projects, the aim being to slash, by 75 percent, the overall time required for issuance of licenses concerning transmission projects deemed essential for the updated National Energy and Climate Plan, sources have informed.

The revisions, adopting proposals forwarded by power grid operator IPTO, promise to accelerate and simplify licensing procedures for grid transmission projects that have remained complex and too long for many decades. Under the current rules, licenses take as long as five years to be issued.

Environmental permits, just part of the overall licensing procedure, take at least 24 months to be completed. This time period is expected to be restricted to a maximum of seven months once the licensing procedure for grid transmission projects is simplified.

Also, the time needed for related building permits will be reduced from six months, at present, to just 15 days, sources informed.

The new licensing framework for grid transmission projects will serve as an integral part of the national plan for RES management, IPTO sources noted.

 

Decarbonization fund €4bn boost for island energy transition

The energy transition plan concerning the Greek islands could receive as much as 4 billion euros in support from the decarbonization fund, authorities participating at an event staged by HAEE, the Hellenic Association for Energy Economics, have indicated.

The HAEE event, titled “Green Transition Cost and Island Decarbonization”, involved the participation of leading authorities, including the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou.

A change in the energy production model of islands is fundamental for the decarbonization effort concerning the islands, Sdoukou pointed out.

The government is aiming to incorporate as many RES facilities as possible on islands, either in the form of hybrid projects with energy storage or as independent solar and wind energy units, wherever grid interconnections are available, Sdoukou told the event.

Kostas Andriosopoulos, professor at the Audencia Business School and CEO of Akuo Energy Greece, estimated that funds to be made available from the decarbonization fund for the island energy transition may reach 4 billion euros, beginning with 2 billion euros, based on current emission right prices.

Operators coordinate for swifter RES connection terms

Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO have begun coordinating by exchanging information on available grid transmission and distribution network capacities, respectively, in an effort to accelerate connection terms offered to RES facilities.

At present, IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO are struggling to keep up with a flood of applications submitted by RES investors for connection terms.

The two operators have formed a working group which has already held one session involving the participation of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

It was agreed that the two operators need to establish better pictures of available capacities concerning the grid transmission and distribution networks.

Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030. RES investor applications submitted so far are estimated to already exceed this sum by 10 GW.

Sweden’s OX2 buys 500-MW RES portfolio, eyeing further moves

Swedish company OX2 has acquired wind and solar energy projects in Greece with a total capacity of 500 MW, a development that serves as a reminder of the steadily growing interest of European and international investors in the country’s RES market.

OX2 already possesses an extensive past in the Greek market, having collaborated with local companies to develop RES projects offering a total capacity in excess of 4 GW, the Swedish company has pointed out.

Further details on the deal’s seller, or sellers, have not been disclosed, but it is understood OX2’s acquisition concerns projects that are currently at different stages of development in various parts of Greece.

The Swedish company is preparing to assemble a team in Greece comprised of personnel from the Greek market as well as employees already with the company, sources have informed energypress.

OX2 plans to also examine further investment opportunities in the Greek market and is eyeing offshore wind farm, energy storage and hydrogen-related investments, a top-ranked company official has told energypress.

“Greece is a very interesting market for OX2. Approximately 20 percent of energy consumed is imported and 15TWh of lignite-fired power will be replaced by 2028,” noted Paul Stormoen, chief executive officer at OX2. “The country has strong sources, serious prospects for development of green energy projects, and plans to install over 5 GW in solar units and more than 3 GW in wind units by 2030. OX2 is aiming for a long-term presence and can accelerate the energy transition by utilizing its high expertise in the development of RES projects,” he continued.

Last year, OX2 formed subsidiaries in Romania and Italy and also developed a solar energy hub in Spain. The company is active in ten European markets.

 

Green power injection cuts as a result of network saturation

Green power injections into the grid will be cut by as much as five percent, when required for the system’s safe operation, as a result of the grid’s saturation, according to information obtained by energypress on an imminent legislative revision concerning non-guaranteed absorption of RES-based electricity production.

This revision will be included in a draft bill being prepared by the energy ministry for a second round of RES licensing simplification as well as framework for the development of energy storage facilities.

The ministry’s draft bill is expected to be forwarded for consultation within the next few days, most probably next week, before being submitted to parliament for ratification.

The RES injection cuts will concern the country’s entire grid, the objective being to create grid space for as many RES units as possible in the upgraded transmission network to be developed by power grid operator IPTO projects planned until 2030.