Siemens Gamesa signs contract for 40-MW wind farm in Macedonia

Siemens Gamesa has signed a 40-MW contract with Vendavel to supply eight SG 5.0-145 model turbines, one of the company’s most powerful onshore wind turbines, which is increasingly gaining ground in the country, and is especially suitable for sites with medium level winds.

The Vissima wind farm is located in Macedonia, northern Greece, and is scheduled to be commissioned in the last quarter of 2022. The contract with Vendavel also includes a long-term service agreement for a period of 20 years.

This is the second contract Siemens Gamesa has signed with Vendavel. The first one corresponds to the Melia project, a 35-MW wind farm which started producing energy at the beginning of this year.

The 40-MW of clean energy that the Vissima wind farm will produce will provide electricity to around 35,000 households. In addition, its size will help to avoid the emission of 105,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent to the emissions of more than 60,000 vehicles. To achieve this CO2 saving, close to two million trees would need to be planted.

“The second agreement reached with Vendavel reflects our mutual confidence and will contribute to the growth of the wind energy sector in the country. It will also helping increase our presence in the Greek market, where we have installed 98 MW in the first half of this year, 38% of the total installed capacity in the country,” said Spyros Rozis, managing director of Siemens Gamesa in Greece.

Siemens Gamesa currently has 761 MW installed in Greece, with a market share of 17.4%, according to the latest available data from HWEA, the Hellenic Wind Energy Association.

Pilot auction for 200-MW RES units combining energy storage worked on

A new RES support framework prepared by the energy ministry for the European Commission to examine includes provisions for a pilot auction offering tariffs to 200-MW RES projects combining energy storage, energypress sources have informed.

This is the first time a specific tariff-related procedure is being prepared for this category of projects, expected to play an instrumental role on the country’s energy map in the years ahead.

However, it remains unclear when such RES production-energy storage project combinations could mature.

A recent legislative revision delivered by the energy ministry freezes, until the end of the year, applications and issuance of production licenses, environmental permits and connection terms for energy storage projects combining RES units until a related framework is, in the meantime, established.

The new RES support mechanism, nearing finalization as details are being worked on by energy ministry and Brussels officials, is expected to facilitate the continuation of competitive procedures for tariffs until 2025.

 

 

Authorities on alert, heatwave leads to record price levels

The country’s latest prolonged heatwave conditions have made huge impact on the energy market, driving up today’s wholesale electricity average price to 136 euros per MWh and the price of natural gas to a 16-year high, once again testing the grid’s limits, as well as those of suppliers and their household and business customers.

Today’s wholesale price ascent to 136 euros per MWh adds to the steady rise of recent days, which began the week at 93 euros per MWh on Monday, following an average level of 75 euros per MWh last week. The increase represents an 83 percent wholesale electricity price increase in a week.

Continual use of air condition systems over the next few days of extreme hot weather, that has been forecast, is expected to further increase electricity demand and price levels, placing on high alert market players and officials, from the operators to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy ministry, power utility PPC and independent energy producers.

Despite the increased pressure, grid sufficiency, for the time being, appears to be under control. No power station damages have been reported, while PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, nowadays representing a high-cost option, along with big RES units, have been mobilized, creating safe conditions for the challenging evening hours, from 7pm until midnight.

At present, supply is exceeding demand, typically reaching levels of approximately 9.5 GW in recent days, all hot.

 

 

NSRF offering €5.2bn for green transition, decarbonization

Nearly one quarter, or 5.2 billion euros, of the new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) amount allotted to Greece, covering 2021 to 2027, will be used to support the country’s green-energy transition and decarbonization efforts.

The funding will be divided into two programs, one for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, worth 3.61 billion euros, and the other for Fair Developmental Transition, worth 1.63 billion euros.

The two programs will offer support for investments promoting RES penetration, environmental protection, a circular economy, the climate change defense, while also supporting the decarbonization effort in the western Macedonia and Megalopoli regions, both lignite-dependent local economies, as well as the islands.

The Environment, Energy and Climate Change section of the NSRF funding package, presented in Athens yesterday, has been designed to lead to: “A greener and more resilient Europe with low carbon emissions, through the promotion of clean energy, green and blue investments, a circular economy, climate change mitigation and adjustment, risk prevention and management, and sustainable urban mobility.”

 

Cable development obligations for island RES projects dropped

Older RES project plans whose licenses obligated holders to also develop related cable connections can now proceed with the installation of projects without needing to develop the cable connections, according to a legislative revision drafted by the energy ministry.

The revision concerns RES projects with electricity production licenses issued prior to January 1, 2016 and planned for development on islands or island complexes that have been interconnected with the mainland or are planned to be interconnected by December 31, 2024, based on power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year development plan.

 

 

Heatwave pushes up wholesale prices to over €100/MWh once again

The latest rise in temperatures, prompting further heatwave conditions around Greece, is impacting the wholesale electricity market as the average clearing price in the day-ahead market has risen again to levels of over 100 euros per MWh, following days of more subdued levels, according to energy exchange data.

The average clearing price for today is up to 103.8 euros per MWh, up from yesterday’s level of 93.47 euros per MWh and Sunday’s level of 75.34 euros per MWh.

According to the day-ahead market figures, overall electricity generation today is planned to reach 167,437,017 MWh, with lignite-fired power stations covering just 11,172 MWh, natural gas-fired power stations providing 86,541,739 MWh, hydropower facilities generating 11,829 MWh and all other RES units providing 57,894,278 MWh. Electricity imports are planned to reach 16,159,231 MWh.

Today’s electricity demand is expected to peak at 12.30pm, reaching 8,580 MW, according to data provided by IPTO, the power grid operator.

Three of power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, Agios Dimitrios III, Megalopoli IV and Meliti, will be brought into action today, while five of the utility’s natural gas-fired power stations, Aliveri V, Lavrio IV and V, Komotini and Megalopoli V, will also be mobilized, along with gas-fired units operated by the independent players Heron, ENTHES, Elpedison (Thisvi), Protergia and Korinthos Power.

Net metering upper limit set to be increased to 3 MW

A net metering capacity upper limit of 1 MW will be increased to 3 MW through a ministerial decision expected to be delivered this week.

In addition, through this same decision, a number of revisions will be made to simplify net metering procedures, especially for projects with capacities below 50 KW.

The net-metering capacity increase will enable energy cost reductions for many enterprises, PV company officials have noted.

Logistics centers, airports, hotels, supermarkets and small-scale industries all stand to benefit as such enterprises typically possess abundant spare space that could be utilized for solar energy system installations. They consume considerable amounts of electricity that could be offset through net metering.

The PV company officials informed that many customers who had installed net-metering facilities for up to 1 MW are already expressing interest to invest in capacity boosts, highlighting the market need being satisfied by the upcoming related ministerial decision.

 

RES investors in rush to avoid €35,000/MWh guarantee cost

Thousands of RES investors already holding producer certificates are racing against time to avoid letter-of-guarantee payments of 35,000 euros per MW, which will be avoided if they manage to submit complete applications for finalized connection offers by a February 28, 2022 deadline to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO or power grid operator IPTO.

This same deadline applies for imminent producer certificates to be issued through last month’s application cycle. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has already begun processing these applications submitted in June. If these investors miss the February deadline for finalized connection offers, they too will also face letter of guarantee costs.

From the next cycle – in October – onwards, most applicants will need to submit letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW. Investors behind smaller projects with capacities of less than 1 MW, strategic investments, projects for public-benefit purposes, as well as projects developed by local authorities and foundations, will be exempted from the upcoming letter of guarantee requirement.

Its prospect is expected to increase the pressure on DEDDIE/HEDNO and IPTO, expected to face an increased inflow of applications over the next few months as investors scramble to meet the February 28 deadline.

The 35,000-euro per MWh letter of guarantee is being introduced to prevent saturation caused by applicants submitting bids but not following up with actual project development.

RES capacity boosted, auctions to be extended until 2025

Greece’s new RES support mechanism, whose details are being finalized in talks between the energy ministry and European Commission officials, is expected to offer producers greater capacities, maintain the current system of 20-year tariffs for output through auctions, which will run until 2025, not 2023, as was originally planned.

The changes reflect the country’s revised and more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), aligned with loftier EU objectives for a greater number of RES installations.

The new auctions will be mixed, enabling the participation of both solar and wind energy producers, but wind energy producers will be entitled to at least 30 percent of capacity offered at each auction.

The country’s original RES auction plan, drafted by former energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, now holding the labor and social affairs portfolio, had proposed 6 RES auctions each offering 350 MW for a total of 2.1 GW, but this total is now expected to be raised to at least 3 GW.

RES tariffs remunerating output have fallen considerably at recent RES auctions, driven lower by the intensified competition.

Also, the plan appears likely to include special geographically based RES auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as provisions for small-scale PV installations.

 

‘DAPEEP should manage PPAs platform, not energy exchange’

Preparations for the country’s Market Reform Plan, expected to soon be submitted to the European Commission for approval, have prompted a reaction from RES market operator DAPEEP, asserting it should be appointed operator of green-energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) instead of the energy exchange, as has been stipulated in the plan, now undergoing public consultation.

DAPEEP’s objection to the PPA plan, included in the Market Reform Plan, emerged at a meeting staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, uring discussion on the road map for domestic wholesale electricity market revisions.

DAPEEP’s operator’s chief official Yiannis Giarentis protested that the operator has supported the RES sector’s development for years, being at the helm of this market for 20 years, but has now been sidelined as green-energy PPAs, to facilitate bilateral agreements between RES producers and industrial consumers, are about to come into the picture.

RAE will now examine various proposals and views before taking a stance on the matter.

Energy storage subsidies to ‘cover up to 40% of project cost’

The energy ministry is close to finalizing the shape of its proposal for a competitive procedure concerning investment support qualification for energy storage units through the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou informed yesterday during a speech on the first day of a conference titled “Investing in Green Energy Transition: Energy Storage – New Technologies – Energy Saving”.

According to Sdoukou, the ministry is striving to forward its proposal to the European Commission as soon as possible as Athens aims to launch the competitive procedure in the first quarter of 2022.

Investors are expected to be offered 200 million euros through the competitive procedure as investment support for energy storage systems totaling at least 500 MW.

Greece is expected to have determined and notified all qualifying parties by the second quarter of 2023.

The government aims to offer a total of 450 million euros as investment support for energy storage and pumped storage projects.

Sdoukou asserted that this amount will suffice to cover subsidies of up to 40 percent for the development of energy storage systems, necessary to support the country’s increased RES penetration objective set for 2030.

New wave of 100-KW solar farms planned for 4 regions

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has announced a legislative plan to facilitate a new generation of small-scale solar energy farms of up to 100 KW in Crete, the Peloponnese, Evia and the Cyclades, which, through a new platform, would offer investors non-auction tariffs at relatively higher levels than existing tariffs for bigger projects.

Higher tariffs would be offered to investors as this smaller-scale solar parks face increased development costs, the minister noted.

The platform for applications concerning this new category could be ready to operate in October, a month beyond an initial intention, to give distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, its developer, and interested parties more time to prepare, the minister indicated.

Once ratified, the legislative revision will offer an 86-MW solar capacity for the Peloponnese, 45 MW in the Cyclades, 15 MW of which will be reserved for net metering, 40 MW for Evia and 140 MW for Crete, 40 MW of which will be for net metering.

Connection terms list topped by PPC Renewables, key projects

Power grid operator IPTO has released a list of pending finalized connection terms for RES and combined heat and power (CHP) projects, prioritizing strategic investments and RES projects planned for lignite-dependent areas being phased out as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

At the top of the list is an application for a 40-MW solar energy park project in Larissa, central Greece, listed under the strategic investments category.

It is followed by applications submitted by PPC Renewables for RES units planned in northern Greece’s west Macedonia area, until now a lignite-based local economy.

These applications submitted by PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, concern 19 projects promising a capacity of approximately 1.9 GW, planned for the provincial cities Kozani and Florina. They include a 550-MW solar energy park in lignite-dependent Ptolemaida.

Also on the list are a further 76 connection-term applications for RES projects representing a total capacity of approximately 2.5 GW.

Overall, the list includes 96 applications for projects totaling 4.5 GW. Of these, 92 are PV projects, 2 are wind-energy projects, one is a combined PV and wind energy project, while the remaining application is for a small-scale hydropower station.

 

IPTO, Terna to co-develop second Greece-Italy subsea link

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Italy’s Terna have agreed to join forces for the construction of a second subsea cable grid interconnection to reinforce the market coupling of the two countries.

The chief executives of the two operators, IPTO’s Manos Manousakis and Terna’s Stefano Donnarumma held talks in Rome earlier this week, reaching a decision to co-develop the project through a joint venture, sources informed.

Officials in Greece and Italy consider this project, a 200-km cable offering a transmission capacity of between 500 and 1000 MW, will contribute to further RES growth in both markets, while also boosting activity in their target-model energy exchange markets.

The EU has just revised its climate change targets, increasing its RES energy-mix target for 2030 to 40 percent from the previous goal of 32 percent.

GEK TERNA building vertically integrated energy group

Listed GEK TERNA construction and energy group has further reinforced its position in the energy market following its acquisition of stakes held by Engie and Qatar Petroleum in the Heron energy group.

As a result, GEK TERNA has now gained control of Heron’s energy production and supply activities.

The group’s objectives for an increased installed capacity in RES and conventional electricity generation promise to make GEK TERNA the country’s second biggest energy group, following PPC, the power utility.

Group member Terna Energy aims to increase its installed RES capacity to 3 GW by 2025, while, during the same period, or possibly one year earlier, the group intends to boost its conventional energy production capacity to 1.5 GW.

Heron is equipped with two gas-fueled power stations offering a total capacity of 600 MW, while the company has also announced it will co-develop an 877-MW power station in Komotini, northern Greece, with Motor Oil.

The GEK Terna group, with its subsidiaries Terna Energy in renewable energy, and Heron, for conventional energy production and supply, has created a 4.5-GW portfolio capable of providing electricity products through decarbonized operations.

The listed group has taken a big step into the new era of energy supply through power and purchase agreements (PPAs) as Heron will be able to offer major-scale energy consumers bilateral supply contracts for green and conventional energy.

Legislative revision designed to cool overheated PV market

A legislative revision whose ratification will require RES investors to provide letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW for producer certificate applications concerning projects of more than 1 MW, the intention being to desaturate solar energy market capacity clogged up by excess applications not being followed through by investors, will be submitted to parliament either today or tomorrow.

Making letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW mandatory for investors means that a PV project with a planned capacity of 50 MW, for example, will require its investor to forward a sum of 1.75 million euros.

The RES market, especially its solar energy sector, is seen as an overheated market, prompting authorities to take action that will decongest and hasten the licensing procedure.

 

EU to present tougher climate change rules with ‘Fit For 55’

The EU’s upcoming “Fit For 55” package of measures, setting stricter and more ambitious objectives for a 55 percent carbon emission reduction by 2030, promises to bring about widespread change in the energy sector, impacting renewable energy, energy efficiency, the Emissions Trading System (ETS), energy taxation and forestry regulations.

National Energy and Climate Plans will need to be adjusted once the package comes into effect.

The package, whose details are planned to be presented by the European Commission on July 14, will, without a doubt, have an immediate impact on CO2 emission rights, seen rising even higher than yesterday’s new all-time high of 57.90 euros per ton, even though some time will be required before disagreements are overcome and the package is ratified in EU parliament.

“Fit For 55” has already prompted negative reaction from EU members states in the east.

The ETS is expected to apply to a greater number of sectors, the objective being to push CO2 emission right prices higher so that polluters are forced to reduce emissions rather than pay exorbitant amounts.

The RES sector’s representation in the EU energy mix, currently set at 32 percent for 2030, will be pushed higher to levels of between 35 and 40 percent, according to sources. Environmental organizations have been pressuring for an even more ambitious level of 50 percent.

Also, the measures will introduce transboundary taxes on non-EU countries regarded as making a lesser effort, than the EU, to combat climate change.

The new rules are also expected to reinforce Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) regulations set by the UN Climate Change Secretariat.

Competition intense in solar panel market, JinkoSolar ruling

Major investment interest for prospective solar energy projects, as indicated by the number of applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, as well as projects already in progress, has established Greece into a particularly important market for the photovoltaic sector.

A large number of investors have now entered the Greek solar energy market, many of these major international players. As a result, competition has intensified, as is reflected in lower price levels offered at auctions. Tariffs per KWh have fallen to levels well below those for customary electricity generation.

Competition between solar energy equipment suppliers has also greatly intensified. All the major international players have already entered the Greek market, or are preparing to do so. Driven by the market prospects in the years to come, they are looking to capture solid market shares.

Even so, 2021 has not been a comfortable year so far, while projections for the remaining months are unfavorable. Solar panel deliveries have encountered enormous problems as a result of shipping issues, which has prompted higher prices in the market.

As a result, the intense competition between PV equipment suppliers has not been limited to solar panel prices, which vary depending on quality, but also concerns, to a great extent, availability, flexibility and delivery-schedule reliability. This is an important aspect for investors as it often determines whether projects can be developed or not.

Amidst these market conditions, data has shown that JinkoSolar has managed to prevail and register high-level performances.

In the large-scale project category (utilities, 10 MW and over), setting the market tone and generating major revenue levels, the company appears to have now captured a market share of around 70 percent. JinkoSolar has signed contracts for a total capacity of 370 MW in 2021. Also taking into account smaller projects, orders for 2021 exceed 550 MW, representing more than 1.2 million PV panels.

In west Macedonia, a region in the country’s north attracting the interest of investors as a result of its existing electricity transmission networks, four major-scale projects promising a total capacity of approximately 370 MW, all equipped with JinkoSolar panels, are currently being developed.

One of the four solar farms, a 15-MW investment by PPC Renewables, is being developed by MYTILINEOS. Also, an ELPE 204-MW facility is being developed by juwi, while Kiefer is preparing a 110-MW unit and Total Eren a 40-MW facility.

Responding to a question on the reasons behind JinkoSolar’s strong performance, Dimitris Varlamis, Jinko Solar’s Head of Sales, South Eastern Europe, noted: “The advanced technology and quality of the panels, reliability of the company, but also the high level of our services, are the key factors customers judge us by and place their trust in us.” He made particular note of the company’s collaboration with COSCO, the Chinese shipping and logistics company. “Realizing, on time, the needs of our customers, especially for major-scale projects, we have collaborated, since 2019, with Cosco and Eurocom, making the most of the potential offered by related legislation innovatively drafted and by the public administration so that we could give shape to the system that could provide these services. We invested time and money and finally managed to be in a position to deliver panels to the Greek market in the shortest possible time, without VAT costs, while, at the same time, reducing to a minimum any risk for the customer during the panel delivery process.”

Through the use of this model, “we have, under the extremely adverse conditions of this year, continued to deliver successfully and consistently, previously notifying our customers on time about the situation and what they should expect,” Varlamis explained.

Investor experience

Major contractor representatives of the sector offered comments to energypress on their close cooperation with JinkoSolar, and the fruitful results:

“MYTILINEOS, as one of the world’s biggest energy players in the photovoltaic sector, always relies on the most reliable suppliers in order to incorporate the best technology into its projects, as well as to ensure that equipment will be delivered on time, so that projects can be connected on schedule. As a result, for years now, we have chosen JinkoSolar as one of our strategic suppliers of solar panels for projects all over the world,” explained Nikos Papapetrou, General Manager of the Renewables and Energy Storage division at MYTILINEOS. “In the first quarter of 2021, in a project of symbolic significance for PPC Renewables, as it is the first of a series of projects being developed by the company in [northern Greece’s] the Kozani area as part of the decarbonization effort, MYTILINEOS, following a competitive procedure and significant support from JinkoSolar, managed to emerge as the preferred bidder and develop, in little time, a 15-MW solar energy farm,” he continued.

On the same wavelength, Christina-Natalia Mela, General Manager at Total Erene Hellas, commenting on a 40-MW solar energy farm project in Sidera, Kozani currently being developed by the company as part of its investment plan for Greece, underlined: “The more difficult the supply chain becomes, the more necessary it is to work with reliable suppliers to ensure on-schedule launches of energy parks,” making note of the importance of “JinkoSolar’s successful delivery – amid a difficult period for supply of photovoltaic panels – of all modules within the first half of 2021, which enabled us to make unimpeded progress with all work so that the project can be connected with the network as scheduled.”

JinkoSolar’s reliability factor was also stressed by Christos Petrocheilos, General Manager at Kiefer. “At a time of extremely adverse conditions in the supply of panels, with sharp price increases for raw materials needed for photovoltaic panels, as well as major delivery delays, JinkoSolar has, yet again, proven to be the most reliable supplier, as the company successfully delivered, within the first quarter of 2021, our entire order of 240,000 Tiger bifacial panels,” he noted. “Carrying on from our collaboration for a project in Amfilohia [northwestern Greece], where, in 2020, we installed over 100 MW, JinkoSolar remains our strategic supplier of panels,” Petrocheilos said, referring to Kiefer’s trust, once again, in JinkoSolar for a project in Kozani’s Vathylakkos area, northern Greece, where the company, as EPC Contractor, is developing one of Greece’s biggest solar park clusters, totaling 110 MW, for approximately 100 investors.

“The supplier of PV panels possibly represents the most crucial factor in the development of a solar energy plan, which is the reason why we have chosen JinkoSolar as our strategic supplier,” noted Maria Mitsiolidou, General Manager at Green Line Energy. “Besides the quality of the panels and their technical characteristics, JinkoSolar successfully delivered over 120 MW during a particularly difficult period, a time when punctual delivery of materials and equipment is not at all a given,” she added.

Over the past three years, Green Line Energy has moved ahead with a major investment plan, developing and constructing numerous PV projects at various points around Greece. The company’s portfolio of projects, both completed and prospective, is expected to exceed 600 MW.

Piraeus port, an entry point

JinkoSolar’s collaboration with Cosco and transportation services company Eurocom at Piraeus port has been pivotal, as previously stressed by JinkoSolar’s Mr. Varlamis, for the company to be able to deliver panels to customers in Greece in the shortest possible time, without VAT charges.

Cosco and Eurocom representatives offered related comments to energypress.

Aggelos Karakostas, General Manager at COSCO:

“JinkoSolar is among Cosco’s biggest customers worldwide and we are reinforcing this important relationship through our strategic partnership at Piraeus Port, which JinkoSolar has chosen as the entry point for its solar panels to Europe.

This important relationship offers added value to Greece as the products are cleared through customs in Greece and then transported to other markets.

Piraeus port is the closest European mainland port to China, making the shipping time the shortest possible, while COSCO provides the maximum possible support to JinkoSolar so that solar panel deliveries are made on time.”

Hristoforos Varveris, CEO at Eurocom:

“Eurocom SA, in collaboration with Cosco, has designed innovative procedures facilitating JinkoSolar’s inflow to both the European and Greek markets through certified logistics centers and simplified customs procedures.

The Greek public administration has risen to the occasion, enabling the provision of value-added services at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, at par, and in many cases, superior in quality to those provided by ports in northern Europe.”

 

 

Solar panel market hit by high prices, major delivery delays

Transportation delivery problems from China, combined with a continuing rise in the cost of raw materials, are maintaining solar panel prices at elevated levels, and, even more crucially, leaving the market dry.

According to PVInfoLink data, current price levels for silicon, the basic component for solar cells, have risen by 300 percent since July, 2020.

Container shipping costs have increased by 350 percent since April, 2020, reaching 12,000 dollars per container, while, according to some forecasts, will soon reach 15,000 dollars per container.

These developments have created unfavorable and unprecedented conditions for investors seeking to develop solar energy parks as they are unable to find panels that could be delivered within reasonable periods, even at higher prices.

Investors who had not placed orders for solar panels in anticipation of further price reductions now find themselves in big trouble. This is especially so for investors who face nearing electrification deadlines for solar energy parks.

According to projections by international analysts, PV price levels are not expected to start declining until at least the end of the first half of 2022.

Demand levels for PV panels will remain high, according to analysts, as investment plans in Europe and around the world are continuously growing in scale, and, even more crucially, the Chinese and Indian markets are moving ahead fast.

Many RES plans will be shelved as competition intensifies

A sizeable number of RES plans, especially smaller-scale projects, face dead-end paths as new market conditions now being shaped undoubtedly favor the big players, domestic and foreign.

The limited RES capacity to be offered at ensuing RES auctions, lower tariff prices expected at these sessions as a result of intensified competition, also seen lowering power purchase agreement (PPA) levels for RES producers, are all contributing to this changing market scene.

Only a small fraction of the abundant RES investment plans that have emerged will end up being developed, once they have secured lower-level tariffs, offering narrower profit margins, at the next RES auctions.

RES projects representing a total capacity of approximately 3.1 GW are planned to secure tariffs, for their output, at auctions over the next three years.

Stressing the diminished prospects for most RES investment plans, over 3,000 producer-certificate applications for units representing a total capacity of 71 GW were submitted to local authorities in last December’s cycle alone.

Clearing price hits record level, averaging €128.15/MWh

The clearing price at the energy exchange will exceed 130 euros per MWh for 15 hours today, pushing the average price to a record level of 128.15 euros per MWh.

Driven by the heatwave, electricity demand will climb to a 9,044-MW peak at 12.30pm, according to a forecast by power grid operator IPTO.

Four lignite-fired power stations, power utility PPC’s Agios Dimitrios I, II and IV and Meliti, have been recruited to support the grid’s needs today.

In addition, all of the country’s natural gas-fired power stations – PPC’s Aliveri V, Lavrio IV and V, Komotini and Megalopoli V, as well as the independent units Heron, Elpedison Thessaloniki, Elpedison Thisvi, Protergia and Korinthos Power – are expected to operate today.

Overall electricity demand is expected to reach 175,803 MWh. RES output is seen reaching 30,565 MWh, natural gas-fired power station generation should amount to 115,868 MWh, and hydropower production is expected to total 12,824 MWh.

Small wind turbine connection applications in early 2022

Local authorities are expected to have approved specific small-scale wind turbine models with capacities of up to 60 KW by the end of the year, paving the way for the market entry of endorsed models shortly afterwards, sector players anticipate.

Individuals interested in installing small-scale wind turbines are expected to be able to start lodging their connection-term applications to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO by early 2022.

Specific small-scale wind turbine models will need to be certified by KAPE/CRES, Greece’s Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving as a condition for market entry. Many firms appear set to apply for KAPE/CRES certificates concerning various small-scale models.

The certification requirement for small-scale wind turbine models was included in a ministerial decision delivered last July, leading to the legislation of a licensing procedure covering installation and connection of such units.

The energy ministry has permitted a modest capacity for this RES technology. Individuals will be able to install small-scale wind turbine models for net metering, virtual net metering, as well as the sale of output to the network through fixed-tariff agreements whose price levels were determined by a ministerial decision in March, 2020.

This ministerial decision added small-scale wind turbines to RES unit categories for fixed tariff remuneration, at a price level of 157 euros per MWh for the technology.

This price level will be reduced by 3 euros for every 4 MW of small-scale wind turbines installed in Greece. Also, sale agreements will be suspended once this technology’s installed capacity has reached 20 MW.

Wholesale prices driven higher by heatwave, lignite units enter

The heightened electricity demand prompted by the country’s ongoing heatwave is applying intense pressure on wholesale price levels. Given today’s grid requirements, expected to exceed 8 GW, the clearing price at the energy exchange is seen rising to over 100 euros for 16 hours, peaking at 9pm at a price level of €127.82/MWh.

According to a power grid operator IPTO forecast, the system’s demand peak is expected to exceed 8 GW for a three-hour period, reaching as high as 8,108 MW. Overall demand today is seen totaling 156,115 MWh.

In order to cover the grid’s electricity needs for today, IPTO, in addition to the natural gas-fired power stations operated by power utility PPC and independent players, has also recruited four PPC lignite-fired power stations, these being Agios Dimitrios I, II and IV and Meliti.

The RES sector is expected to cover 27,540 MWh of total demand, while natural gas-fired power stations and hydropower units are seen contributing 99,651 MWh and 10,449 MWh, respectively.

As for the natural gas-fired power stations recruited for today’s grid needs, the list is comprised of PPC’s Aliveri V, Lavrio IV and V, Komotini and Megalopoli V, as well as the independent units Heron, Elpedison Thessaloniki, Elpedison Thisvi, Protergia and Korinthos Power.

Letters of guarantee at €35,000 per MW possible for bigger PVs

RES investors applying for producer certificates concerning facilities over 1 MW may need to also submit accompanying letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW as part of the application process, the objective being to make this procedure more demanding and restrict applications to investors with serious intentions of following through on their plans.

Heightened investment interest has led to an overheated RES market, especially in the large-scale PV category, prompting saturation at various stages of the licensing process.

Restricting applications to investors with serious intentions will help free precious system capacity currently taken up by PV investors acting in a haphazard fashion without full commitment to their plans.

If the measure is eventually implemented, an investor behind a solar energy project plan with a capacity of 50 MW, for example, will need to submit a letter of guarantee worth 1.75 million euros.

The energy ministry does not intend to take immediate action but is likely to adopt a wait-and-see approach over a six-month adjustment period before deciding on whether to require letters of guarantee.

 

PPC-Aluminium of Greece agreement paves way for other major consumers

The forthcoming end of a long-lasting business association between Aluminium of Greece, a member of the Mytilineos group, and power utility PPC, announced at the former’s general shareholders’ meeting yesterday, marks the end of an era in the energy ties between the country’s biggest electricity consumer and the Greek market’s dominant supplier.

In 2023, Aluminium of Greece will no longer depend on PPC’s supply, a development concurrently marking the beginning of its goal to become the first eco-friendly aluminium producer.

The latest PPC-Aluminium of Greece agreement promises to pave the way for solutions in negotiations currently in progress between the power utility and other energy-intensive industrial producers.

Other than the fact that the duration of Aluminium of Greece’s new supply agreement with PPC will run until 2023, no other details have been disclosed. Its expiration in two years’ time will mark the end of a 60-year association between the two companies.

One thing already clear is that Aluminium of Greece, beyond 2023, will receive electricity from the Mytilineos group’s new natural gas-fired power plant being developed in the Agios Nikolaos industrial zone in Viotia’s Agios Nikolaos area, northwest of Athens, to be direct cable-linked to the Aluminium of Greece facility, as well as through RES production.

The combination of these two electricity sources will offer Aluminium of Greece greater energy-source flexibility, the group’s chairman and CEO Evangelos Mytilineos noted yesterday.

PPC’s administration, headed by chief executive Giorgos Stassis, displayed realism that will “help industry, as a whole, move ahead with the energy transition that is inevitably approaching,” Mytilineos acknowledged. “We can establish PPAs at good price levels, and we will play a significant role in this domain,” he added.

 

RES investment interest high in June cycle, attracting 17 GW

RES investment interest remained high in a latest cycle for  producer certificate applications offered by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, between June 1 and 10, amassing over 700 applications representing a total capacity of 17.3 GW, energypress sources have informed.

This heightened level of interest has defied the forecasts of certain analysts who expected more subdued figures as a result of lower tariff prices at a recent RES auction.

Solar energy projects represented 12.7 GW of the total, while wind energy applications made up 4.1 GW.

The level of investment interest expressed through this June cycle greatly exceeds figures registered in the preceding cycle, in February, when a total of 477 RES producer certificate applications, representing 8.86 GW, were submitted.

Also taking into account last December’s cycle, when new rules were introduced, the grand total of applications, in all three cycles, exceeds 3,000 for projects representing 71 GW.

At the current rate, a single cycle is attracting more applications than the number submitted over the course of more than a year in the past.

A 20 percent proportion of producer certificate applications submitted in the December cycle was rejected as criteria were not fully met, the most common issue being overlapping properties declared as project sites by investors.

 

Solar, wind, energy storage system costs ‘exceed’ RAE figures

The cost of installing and launching solar and wind energy facilities, as well as storage systems, exceeds levels presumed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, RES agencies and investors have pointed out in public consultation staged by the authority on the cost of new entry for all electricity generation technologies.

RES equipment costs have not only failed to stabilize in recent times, but, on the contrary, struck an upward trajectory, RES officials highlighted.

Some public consultation participants pointed out that RAE’s figures only factor in equipment supply and construction costs without taking into account the connection costs entailed.

SEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, rejected RAE’s capital expenditure estimate for domestic roof-mounted solar panel installations, presumed to be €550,000/MW, noting this figure is extremely low and does not reflect actual market conditions.

The association also noted that RAE’s €400,000/MW CAPEX estimate for commercial PVs is also too low, contending this cost ranges between €500,000-€550,000/MW.

The capital expenditure figure for offshore wind farms is far greater than RAE’s estimate of 3.1 million euros per MW, contended ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

“Given the lack of relevant experience in Greece, depth of the seas, and the still-undeveloped supply chain, the €3.1m/MW estimate is probably very optimistic,” ELETAEN stated.

Municipal solar parks to help low-income household energy needs

Municipalities and prefectures will be offered 100 million euros in subsidies, through the recovery fund, for the development of solar energy farms whose resulting earnings will be used exclusively to cover the energy needs of approximately 30,000 low-income household around the country, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has announced in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini.

These solar parks will offer a total capacity of 120 MW, the minister noted.

The minister also noted, in the interview, that a further 40 million euros from the recovery fund will be used to subsidize the replacement of 2,000 conventional taxis with electric-powered models.

Taxi owners will be entitled to 22,500 euros in subsidies for each vehicle replaced, the minister said, while adding that a variety of criteria, including car age, will be taken into account.

Support is also planned for energy communities, according to the minister.

“Energy communities are important when they serve their purpose and not merely promote capital-intensive investment. That is why we will support energy communities that will benefit those in need,” Skrekas explained.

Responding to a question regarding widespread resistance of local communities against wind energy installations and criticism faced by the ministry for being too cooperative with investor plans in this domain, the minister remarked: “We don’t license everything. Investor proposals currently exceed 100 GW, but we, through the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), estimate that, realistically, approximately 10 GW will be installed – in other words, one in ten.”

Revisions to a revised, and stricter, RES spatial plan will be completed by the end of the year, the minister told.

Ministry committee set to deliver energy-storage framework plan

Facilities operating purely as energy storage stations will be placed under one category for licensing and regulatory purposes, while a separate category will be established for operations combining storage and RES stations, according to a proposal being prepared by a special committee assembled by the environment and energy ministry.

Also, all electricity markets, such as the day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets, will be open to all energy storage units, regardless of category, according to sources.

Units operating as energy storage stations, alone, are likely to receive licenses through an existing framework already used to grant licenses to natural gas-fired power stations, sources informed.

RAE has resorted to this existing framework as a solution to offer production licenses to a number of companies that have lodged applications for large-scale battery facilities.

The committee, set to stage its final session tomorrow, is expected to present a finalized proposal early next week to authorities, including political officials, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, energy market operators, and the energy exchange.

The energy ministry, placing great emphasis on energy storage as part of the country’s decarbonization strategy, intends to forward the committee’s framework plan for public consultation at the end of June. The ministry plans to submit a related draft bill to Parliament by October 31.