Ellaktor, EDPR form alliance seeking greater RES market penetration

The Ellaktor group and EDP Renewables, both aiming for swifter and deeper RES market penetration, have established a strategic partnership following talks that began last summer.

The two companies plan to invest one billion euros over the next four to five years for the development of wind farms with a total capacity of 900 MW, sources have informed.

EDP Renewables was driven towards forming this partnership by the belief that its existing Greek portfolio of licenses, offering a capacity of 152 MW accumulated through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, would be insufficient to secure investment opportunities in the country.

The Ellaktor group, holding a RES portfolio of 460 MW, is looking to further bolster its position in the renewable energy market.

By uniting their portfolios, the two companies believe they will be better positioned for anticipated market changes and opportunities.

Ellaktor stands to also benefit from resulting access into lower-cost capital markets.

The plans of the two partners include development of two wind farms with a total capacity of 436.8 MW in central and southern parts of the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens. The two firms have acquired licenses for these projects from other companies.

A further 460 MW will be developed from a portfolio of existing licenses. These licenses are not linked with Ellaktor’s portfolio of wind parks already operating.

Ellaktor already holds a total of 26 RES projects, all operating. They are comprised of 24 wind energy farms with a total capacity of 484 MW, one small-scale hydropower plant (5 MW) and one solar energy farm (2 MW), offering a total installed capacity of 491 MW.

JinkoSolar to supply 204 MW of modules to juwi Hellas for major Kozani unit

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, has signed a module supply agreement for a project in Kozani, northern Greece, to be developed by juwi Hellas Renewable Energy Sources S.A., JinkoSolar has announced in a statement.

Construction of the solar park is scheduled to commence in November 2021, and will use 204 MW of Swan bifacial modules with transparent backsheet from DuPont, according to the statement.

Frank Niendorf, General Manager of JinkoSolar Europe, commented: “We are delighted that juwi Hellas, one of the most professional and experienced EPC companies, globally, has once again placed its trust in the superior quality and reliable performance of our solar modules for this impressive new project in Greece. The Kozani project will become Europe’s benchmark for renewable energy in terms of competitively priced and subsidy-free solar power. It is also one of the largest utility scale projects ever built in Europe to use bifacial modules and JinkoSolar is very proud to be a part of such a milestone.”

Dimitris Varlamis, JinkoSolar Head of Sales for South Eastern Europe, noted: “We are proud to contribute to this emblematic project which is by far the biggest solar project in Greece and one of the five largest projects in Europe featuring our high performance bifacial modules.”

Takis Sarris, Managing Director of juwi Hellas, commented: “juwi is launching a new era for PV in Greece – utility scale projects that bring clean energy to the Greek consumer at very low prices and do not require any subsidies at all. We are very proud that we have managed to fully develop such an important project for the country.”

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.”

PPC green plan includes pumped storage, hydrogen, old generator use

Power utility PPC’s green-energy plan represents a key part of the company’s new business plan, along with a newly adopted customer-oriented approach and the digital transformation of production and distribution networks, deputy chief executive Giannis Kopanakis has pointed out during a speech at the 3rd Athens Investment Forum.

PPC’s green energy plan will be based on decarbonization, through a gradual withdrawal of the corporation’s lignite-fired power stations, and RES market penetration, the deputy noted.

Telethermal need coverage, development of large-scale solar energy farms at former lignite mines, and investments in energy storage, biomass, hydrogen and other new technologies all feature in the transition plan for lignite-dependent local economies, Kopanakis told the conference.

As for energy storage, PPC, besides batteries, also intends to develop pumped-storage systems at depleted lignite sites, appropriate for use as small-scale reservoirs.

The development of hydrogen producing facilities, also included in the PPC plan, will greatly depend on decisions concerning the fuel mix the corporation’s new Ptolemaida V power station will run on beyond 2028.

PPC also plans to utilize existing mechanical equipment of lignite-fired power stations either closed or headed for closure through use at other company facilities. Generators at old power stations are planned to be converted into condensers for grid voltage stability. Such systems will be needed as a result of the sharp increase in RES stations.

PPC’s investment plan, budgeted at 2.2 billion euros, is expected to create at least 900 permanent jobs as well as 3,000 temporary positions, for the construction of new projects, Kopanakis said.

 

RES groups want rule changes to enable repowering, offering yield boosts

Renewable energy associations and investors have called for legal and regulatory framework revisions that would facilitate repowering, or the replacement of old RES equipment at wind and solar energy parks with upgraded modern technology offering far higher yields.

Prime RES locations around Greece are occupied by installations that date back ten to 20 years and are producing yields well below the potential promised by modern technology.

Aristotelis Hantavas, Enel Green Power’s head official for Europe and president of the Solar Power Europe association, spoke extensively on the matter at a recent industry conference.

“If repowering is facilitated, the country can, in a short period of time, cover one third or possibly half of the ground that remains to be covered to reach the 2030 goal without needing to open up many new wind and solar energy areas, a development that prompts reaction by local authorities, amongst others,” Hantavas pointed out.

The installation of modern wind and solar energy systems in place of older technologies could boost yields by up to three times, experts believe.

This does not necessarily mean investors will secure fixed tariffs as remuneration for any additional capacity installed. RES sector officials believe remuneration will still be based on older agreements for the remainder of their terms.

Once existing contracts have expired, investors should expect to be remunerated for any additional capacity offered by their upgrades through target model markets.

According to current regulations, capacity increases at sites hosting existing solar or wind energy parks are limited to 10 percent.

Also, investors are not permitted to sell RES output through more than one market channel, for example, through tariffs for one part of production and two-way agreements for the rest.

Repowering is currently being widely discussed around Europe, especially in countries with extended renewable energy backgrounds.

 

Hydrocarbon framework helping shape offshore wind farm rules

The energy ministry is utilizing the existing legal framework for offshore hydrocarbon licensing as a guide for the establishment of a respective set of rules for offshore wind farms, energypress sources have informed.

The energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou is heading a team assembled for this task, to include carving out offshore blocks in the Aegean and Ionian Seas that are deemed appropriate for offshore wind farm development.

Once defined, these blocks, which must neither trespass Natura environmental protection areas nor interfere with shipping and fishing zones, will be offered to investors through tenders.

An open-door procedure, or staging of tenders following official expressions of interest by investors for specific areas, as is the case with the hydrocarbon sector, may also be adopted for offshore wind farms.

The team led by Sdoukou is also examining equivalent legal frameworks used by other European countries.

Offshore block positioning and licensing; interconnections with the grid; and the remuneration formula for investments are three key aspects to be covered by the offshore farm sector regulations, Sdoukou recently told an ELETAEN (Greek Wind Energy Association) conference.

A related draft bill is expected to be ready towards the end of the year.

Floating wind turbine installations are most suitable for Greece as a result of the country’s deep waters and lack of obstacles for the development of this type of technology in international waters, studies have shown.

 

PPC’s new image a prelude to revised business plan, imminent

Retail outlets to open for extended business hours, digital products and new services, swifter withdrawals of lignite-fired power stations, as well as an acceleration in the development of major-scale and smaller RES projects are among the factors contributing to power utility PPC’s new corporate image, showcased yesterday, during a 40-minute event, by chief executive Giorgos Stassis, who described the new image as a prelude to a revised business plan to be presented towards the end of the year.

The revised business plan, to have a three-year duration, will be a more ambitious and confident plan than last year’s version as, besides swifter lignite unit exits, it will feature bolder digitalization steps, a more aggressive retail market policy, aim for a RES portfolio well over 1 GW over the next three years, through a pool of prospective projects totaling 6 GW, and also feature network and personnel investments.

Next year, the company will aim to double 24 existing retail outlets – they begin operating for extended business hours as of today – as well as 75 service centers that may be visited by appointment only.

Yesterday’s announcements represent just part of the developments to be gradually announced by PPC, the most imminent being a new series of digital products, dubbed PPC myHome, to be launched within the next few days.

The new business plan’s level of ambition will also depend on external factors, Brussels being pivotal. Settlement of the country’s ten-year lignite dispute with the European Commission will offer state-controlled PPC greater leeway.

PPC is also hoping for a favorable Brussels response within November on a compensation request for 200 million euros, annually, for every year lignite-fired power stations in the west Macedonia and Megalopoli regions will need to keep operating.

Energy ministry seeks recovery fund support for many domains

The energy ministry, seeking to ensure EU recovery-fund support for mature projects in key energy-related domains, has proposed their inclusion in a national plan whose first draft will be submitted by the government to the European Commission this month.

Greece is entitled to approximately 32 billion euros from the EU recovery fund, worth a total of 750 billion euros (390bn in subsidies and 360bn in loans) and established to counter the impact of the global pandemic.

Approximately 37 percent of the recovery funds will be used for green-energy development.

Energy efficiency upgrades of buildings; grid interconnections and RES initiatives, including energy storage; electromobility; nature protection; decarbonization; spatial planning for RES development; solid and liquid waste management; and smart power meter installations, a severely delayed project in Greece, are among the domains the energy ministry wants included in the national plan for EU recovery funds.

The energy ministry has previously sought support for some of these domains through the National Strategic Reference Framework.

A total of 130,000 efficiency upgrades of buildings have so far received subsidy support over a decade-long period through Greece’s Saving at Home program. The ministry is looking to significantly increase this rate to 60,000 upgrades per year through the recovery funds program.

Greece’s energy ministry will also seek recovery fund support for two major electricity interconnections – Crete’s major-scale interconnection,  to link the island’s grid with Athens; and the fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnection – both being developed by power grid operator IPTO.

 

PPC, going green, to present transformation plan on Monday

Power utility PPC’s new three-year business plan, to transform the company from a lignite-centered utility into a RES-focused enterprise backed by a range of modern and digital commercial services, will be officially presented on Monday by the state-controlled company’s board, headed by chief executive Giorgos Stassis (photo), with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in attendance.

A new company logo symbolizing PPC’s shift from lignite to renewables will also be unveiled at the event along with the launch of the motto “PPC welcomes the future”.

PPC’s trademark lightning bolt-bearing logo that has featured for years at the façade of the company’s Athens headquarters has already been removed to make way for the the new logo, to be unveiled at Monday’s event.

On the day, PPC will present details on its plan to develop a RES portfolio with a capacity of between 2,000 and 3,000 MW over the next three years. This effort will coincide with the utility’s phase-out of lignite-fired power stations.

The privatization plan for the forthcoming sale of a 49 percent stake in subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, expected to begin towards the end of this year, will also be presented at Monday’s event.

So, too, will an abundance of new services, including house repair and maintenance insurance.

PPC’s new three-year plan, at its core, will aim for high profitability and an annual EBITDA figure of between 700 and 900 million euros. It will also detail the company’s interest in DEPA Commercial, a new gas utility DEPA entity headed for privatization.

On Monday, PPC will also offer an update on ongoing talks with investors, including Germany’s RWE, for the development of solar farms worth 1.2 billion euros in northern Greece’s lignite-dependent west Macedonia region.

Funds of between 500 and 550 million euros stemming from PPC’s securitization of unpaid receivables will be used to help finance RES investments. The company is also considering a bond issue for the end of the year. Funds to be raised through the prospective DEDDIE/HEDNO sale will also be used for these investments.

Sensing a bright future at PPC, a growing number of institutional investors and hedge funds from abroad are considering the company’s share. They include Allianz Global Investors, Bell Rock Capital, Helm Investment Partners, Bluecrest Capital Management, Polygon, Fiera Capital, Zenon and Prince Street Capital.

 

 

 

First look at new ‘Saving at Home’ program imminent, launch long way off

A first impression of the latest Saving at Home subsidy program, supporting energy efficiency upgrades of existing properties, is expected within the next few days, possibly by the end of this week.

The energy ministry is preparing to announce details on categories eligible for the subsidy program, sources said.

Even so, the finalized plan is still be a long way off, the sources added, as numerous details need to be resolved before the subsidy platform can be launched.

Roof-mounted PVs, energy storage systems, smart home systems and electric vehicle recharging facilities will be added to the new program.

It will offer energy efficiency upgrade subsidies of up to 85 percent and be made available to virtually all property owners as income-related criteria will be relaxed. For example, families with annual income totals of as much as 120,000 euros will be eligible.

Greater subsidy amounts will also be made available for applicants following an increase of a previous 25,000-euro upper limit to 50,000 euros.

In addition, home owners with more than one property will be able to submit multiple subsidy applications. In such cases, a subsidy limit of 100,000 euros is expected to be imposed.

The new subsidy package will also include bonus amounts of 10 percent as COVID-19 premiums.

 

Supreme Court avoids ruling on new-deal RES tariff reduction

The Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, has decided, following a three-year procedure, it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case filed by RES investors in reaction to a significant reduction of their contracted tariffs for solar energy production at existing units, prompted by a so-called new deal in March, 2014, energypress sources have informed.

The court’s decision has not yet been officially announced.

By taking a step back on the tariff-reduction matter, the court will also avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the new deal and its compatibility with European law.

Though the court decision does not vindicate the RES investors, it leaves open the possibility of compensation claims against the State, an option that will be exercised by at least some of the investors who offered comments to energypress.

 

ELPE negotiating reopening of North Macedonia oil pipeline

Hellenic Petroleum ELPE, Greek government and North Macedonian officials have begun talks aiming for the reopening of an oil pipeline linking ELPE’s Thessaloniki refinery with the company’s Okta refinery in the neighboring country through an extrajudicial settlement by the end of the year.

The issue was discussed at a meeting in Thessaloniki yesterday, held on the sidelines of a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

At the meeting, the ELPE and North Macedonian government officials appeared keen on achieving an out-of-court settlement, sources informed.

The Greek petroleum group is seeking compensation of 32 million dollars for a breach, by the neighboring country, of contractual obligations concerning minimum supply amounts between 2008 and 2011.

ELPE has already won an older case, on the same issue, at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris for compensation worth 52 million dollars. This verdict was delivered in 2007, three years after the case was filed.

The Greek and North Macedonian sides, encouraged by the US, agreed to form a committee to work, until mid-October, on a solution that could enable the oil pipeline to reopen following a seven-year interruption, sources informed.

The officials have set a deadline to reopen the pipeline by the end of the year, sources added.

ELPE has completed all technical work needed for the oil pipeline’s relaunch, sources said. The pipeline’s use in place of oil tankers would offer drastic transportation cost cuts.

The ELPE officials updated North Macedonia’s government officials on the company’s investment plan for the neighboring country, sources said. It is believed to include RES investments and a conversion of ELPE’s Okta facilities into a petroleum products hub that would serve the western Balkans.

ELPE is already present in Serbia and Montenegro and is now targeting the markets of Albania and Kosovo for supply of ready-to-use petroleum products.

The oil pipeline stopped operating in 2013 after ELPE deemed its Okta refining activities were no longer feasible. The 213-km pipeline has a 350,000-metric ton capacity.

Until 2013, the pipeline was used to transfer crude oil from ELPE’s Thessaloniki refinery to the Okta unit in Skopje.

Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis chaired yesterday’s meeting, which involved the participation of secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou; deputy minister for economic diplomacy Kostas Fragogiannis; ELPE president Giannis Papathanasiou; ELPE chief executive Andreas Siamisiis; North Macedonian government deputies Liupko Nikolovski and Fatmit Bitikji; the country’s economy minister Kreshnik Bekteshi; US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon; and the US Ambassador to North Macedonia Kate Marie Byrnes.

DEPA Commercial to enter RES field, starting with 200-MW goal

DEPA Commercial, the new entity emerging from gas utility DEPA, will enter renewable energy production as part of the company’s transformation from a gas to energy company, its administration has decided.

The firm has already held talks with green energy players with the aim of involving DEPA Commercial in solar and wind energy projects about to enter the construction stage or already being constructed, sources informed.

An initial objective for the accumulation of a green-energy portfolio comprising approximately 200 MW has been set by the company, sources added.

Careful steps are being taken in the RES sector, Dr. Konstantinos Karagiannakos, the company’s Coordinating Director of Trading Activities, recently noted.

Having lost a steady and reliable market share in gas distribution, a sector that guaranteed DEPA annual profit of about 25 million euros, DEPA Commercial is now eyeing new activities and revenues from domains that offer more consistency than trade, entailing higher risk.

Besides the RES sector, DEPA Commercial’s lower-risk approach has also led to an interest in the prospective Alexandroupoli FSRU in northeastern Greece.

The company is also broadening its activities to cover gas supply for the industrial sector and customers in areas without gas networks, through small-scale LNG and remote CNG solutions, as well as the gas-run vehicle market through the development of a nationwide network of refueling stations.

In addition, the company is also making plans to enter eco-friendly alternative fuel markets such as hydrogen and biomethane.

 

GEK TERNA, Elpedison close to decisions on gas-fueled units

GEK TERNA and Elpedison are expected to announce finalized investment decisions for new gas-fueled power stations with total capacity over 1,400 MW within the next two months, energypress sources informed.

GEK TERNA plans to develop a 660-MW power station at the industrial zone of Komotini, northeastern Greece, while Elpedison, a joint venture involving Hellenic Petroleum ELPE and Italy’s Edison, intends to construct units with a total capacity of 826 MW at the ELPE facilities in Thessaloniki.

These project plans are estimated to be worth a total of at least 600 million euros.

The energy companies have already received energy production licenses as well as other licensing requirements, including environmental permits, for these prospective units, regarded as mature investment plans.

Both companies are awaiting new CAT mechanism details for gas-fueled power stations before finalizing their investment plans. The economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, plus the anticipation of a second wave, are also crucial factors influencing the thinking behind these investment decisions.

Market capacity exists for new combined-cycle gas-fueled power stations during the energy transition over the next ten to 15 years, electricity market officials insist.

The planned withdrawal of power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations over the next three or so years combined with a lack of development in RES energy storage systems offers gas-fueled power generation an opportunity to cover capacity to be lost by lignite-fired power station closures.

A recent BloombergNEF report noted big natural gas-fueled power stations are not necessary. However, market officials point to the National Energy and Climate Plan as proof of the need for such units.

The Mytilineos group is developing an 826-MW CCGT in the Agios Nikolaos area of Boetia, northwest of Athens, with the aim of a launch in late-2021.

Jinko posts big Q2 increase in module shipments

Jinko’s module shipments in the second quarter increased significantly compared with the first quarter, despite the negative impact caused by the global pandemic, Q2 2020 financial results just released by the company have shown. 

Strategic Business Updates:

  • Module shipments in the second quarter increased significantly compared with the first quarter, despite the negative impact caused by the global pandemic.
  • Large-area N-Type monocrystalline silicon solar cell reached a record high efficiency of 24.79%.
  • Demand and deployment of large-size modules exceeded expectations. The company recently launched its Tiger Pro N-type large-size module products with maximum power output of up to 610 W.
  • Industry consolidation is accelerating due to increased competition in a challenging economic environment. Module shipments of the top five module manufacturers are expected to account for 65% to 70% of the total shipments in the industry this year.
  • Announced the plan to list the Company’s principal operating subsidiary Jiangxi Jinko on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Sci-Tech innovation board, or the STAR Market.

Second Quarter 2020 Operational and Financial Highlights

  • Total solar module shipments were 4,469 megawatts (“MW”), within JinkoSolar’s guidance range of 4.2 GW to 4.5 GW, an increase of 31.0% from 3,411 MW in the first quarter of 2020 and an increase of 32.0% from 3,386 MW in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Solar Products Production Capacity – as of June 30, 2020, the Company’s in-house annual mono wafer, solar cell and solar module production capacity was 20 GW,  11GW (10.2 GW for PERC cells and 800 MW for N type cells) and 25 GW, respectively.
  • Total revenues were RMB8.45 billion (US$1.20 billion), exceeding JinkoSolar’s guidance range of US$1.10 billion to US$1.18 billion; a decrease of 0.4% from the first quarter of 2020 and an increase of 22.2% from the second quarter of 2019.
  • Gross margin was 17.9%, within JinkoSolar’s guidance range of 16.0% to 18.0%, compared with 19.5% in the first quarter of 2020 and 16.5% in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Income from operations was RMB434.7 million (US$61.5 million), compared with RMB732.7 million in the first quarter of 2020 and RMB260.3 million in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Net income attributable to the Company’s ordinary shareholders was RMB318.0 million (US$45.0 million) in the second quarter of 2020, compared with RMB282.4 million in the first quarter of 2020 and RMB125.4 million in the second quarter of 2019.

Operations and Business Outlook

  • Strong market demand is expected to continue until the end of the year. COVID-19 has negatively impacted demand and caused substantial challenges across the supply chain, which is expected to further accelerate market consolidation within the industry. The penetration of large-size modules exceed expectations.

Third Quarter and Full Year 2020 Guidance

  • For the third quarter of 2020, the Company expects total solar module shipments to be in the range of 5.0 GW to 5.3 GW. Total revenue for the third quarter is expected to be in the range of US$1.22 billion to US$1.30 billion. Gross margin for the third quarter is expected to be between 17% and 19%.
  • For full year 2020, the Company estimates total solar module shipments to be in the range of 18 GW to 20 GW.

Solar Products Production Capacity

  • JinkoSolar expects its annual mono wafer, solar cell and solar module production capacity to reach 20 GW, 11 GW (including 800 MW N-type cells) and 30 GW, respectively, by the end of 2020

 

IPTO moves to develop links for private RES projects on islands

Power grid operator IPTO has submitted a request to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a grid management rule revision that would enable the operator to take on the planning and development of new subsea interconnections for private RES projects whose licenses include cable installations.

The operator’s proposal includes a formula through which IPTO would assume the entire cost of subsea cable installations for private projects and recover these costs via network surcharges.

This formula mainly concerns bigger projects, over 250 MW, while the cable interconnections could, according to the operator’s proposal, remain independent or serve as capacity boosts for projects already included in IPTO’s ten-year development plan. They include the fourth stage of the Cyclades interconnection and links in the northern Aegean and the Dodecanese.

This is, after all, one of the advantages possessed by the operator, able to offer a complete plan, ensure equal treatment of investment plans, and utilize projects in a uniform way to achieve economies of scale and ultimately provide benefits for the electricity market as a whole.

In addition, IPTO, like other European operators, is seeking a key role in the development of offshore energy transmission infrastructure, promising  links for offshore wind farms, either floating or fixed.

PPC turn to renewable energy backed by BNEF report findings

Wind and solar energy production costs will be lower than those of existing natural gas-fueled power stations by 2025, according to a BloombergNEF analysis on Greece’s electricity market.

The projection vindicates the power utility PPC’s decision to turn to renewable energy, the corporation’s head has indicated.

“The conclusions of the BNEF report are in full agreement with the key pillars of our new strategy,” PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis said.

Installed wind and solar energy capacity will have quadrupled by 2025 compared to present levels, and renewable energy sources will have captured an energy mix share of nearly 50 percent, toppling fossil fuel from its dominant position, even if RES subsidies are not offered for existing technologies such as solar and wind, according to the BNEF analysis.

“The ever-increasing competitiveness of renewable energy sources also confirms, from an economic point of view, our choice to restructure our portfolio and transition our production towards renewable energy sources,” Stassis noted. “By focusing on clean energy, we can achieve a decarbonization of our activities in electricity generation and also reduce the cost of electricity for consumers.”

In addition, the report highlights the important role of consumers as key players in the future energy system, the PPC chief noted.

This supports PPC’s decision to develop a new customer-oriented approach and offer a reinforced portfolio of products and services, using new technologies and digital systems, according to Stassis.

Utilizing lower generation costs offered by wind and solar energy production, PPC will be well positioned for leading roles in other energy sectors, beginning with electromobility, the PPC head supported.

According to the BNEF report, Greece can establish itself as one of the EU’s energy transition leaders.

Lower-cost solar and wind energy production, as well as storage systems, plus increased CO2 emission right costs, are all radically transforming the country’s energy system, the BNEF report noted.

Greece is expected to gain an additional 18 GW in generation capacity by 2030, 67 percent of this increased output represented by wind and solar energy.

RAE freezes RES producer certificate process, prompting investor unrest

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, without explanation, has stopped issuing RES producer certificates for older applications submitted between October, 2018 and December, 2019, the first round of applications examined through new rules.

The development has prompted strong reaction and unrest among investors, who, according to comments made to energypress, have paid their related fees but not received RES producer certificates, as stipulated by the new law.

This round of applications underwent processing through a new online system adopted by RAE. RES investors were requested, via email, to pay a related fee through the banking system.

Responding to questions on the issue, the IT company handling RAE’s new software said it was ordered by RAE to not proceed to the next stage, offering automated RES producer certificates.

The authority is concurrently examining older applications submitted until June, 2018; applications lodged between October, 2018 and December, 2019; and also preparing new terms for a forthcoming round of applications rescheduled for December, instead of October.

EC calls for CO2 cuts; NECP revisions, RES boost ahead

The European Commission has announced a new European Climate Law proposal for even more ambitious CO2 emission cuts in the EU, calling for reductions of 55 percent by 2030, instead of the present goal of 40 percent. If adopted, this proposal will prompt further revisions of National Energy and Climate Plans and RES installation increases by EU member states.

Compared to previous NECP objectives, RES facilities in most parts of the EU will need to increase by levels of between 20 and 30 percent by 2030, while energy consumption must drop further, between 15 and 20 percent, if the new Brussels proposal is adopted, reliable sources have informed.

Adoption of the proposal will require greater green-policy effort by member states and much bigger investments.

CO2 emissions produced by vehicles and buildings could be taxed, while more generous subsidy programs could be offered for energy efficiency upgrades.

In Greece, a 55 percent CO2 emissions cut by 2030 would require a further increase in RES installations so that a 19-GW target, by 2030, included in the country’s current NECP may be exceeded.

This more ambitious objective will enable the actualization of a greater number of possible projects on stand-by, currently representing a capacity of 76 GW. However, bigger investments for network reinforcement, increased interconnections and energy storage facility installations will be needed.

 

PPC changing company logo to symbolize RES transformation

Power utility PPC plans to unveil a new company logo within the next month that will symbolize the corporation’s shift from lignite to renewable energy and also signal its transformation into a company offering a range of domestic services, including maintenance and repair work, such as electrical and plumbing.

Announced late last year, this transformation is now approaching its launch. PPC recently completed a tender for a partner to support the company’s emergency domestic technical services program.

This program, part of PPC’s new commercial policy, will enable customers who have taken up a related insurance policy to call a hotline at all times for emergency help. Insurance fees for this policy, to cover annual periods, will be payable through monthly installments.

Most major energy firms in Europe offer customers supplementary services such home insurance and energy efficiency equipment.

PPC recently also announced an online appointments program for personalized service over the internet.

Though the company does not intend to back these initiatives with any major promotional campaign, they do represent elements building PPC’s new commercial policy.

Big investment interest, target model to spark RES trade war

The enormous number of renewable energy projects currently at various stages of maturity, combined with market changes to be brought about by the imminent target model and the system’s limited ability to absorb and remunerate projects are factors expected to stir up a fierce economic battle between RES producers as they strive for their investment plans to prevail.

RES projects currently operating represent a total capacity of 10.5 GW and will need to reach 19 GW by 2030 if National Energy and Climate Plan goals are to be achieved, meaning a further 8.5 GW in RES capacity will need to be added over the next decade at an average rate of 850 MW per year, according to data presented by the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou.

At present, projects representing a total capacity of 26 GW are maturing, 5 GW of these projects being at a very mature stage.

License applications have been submitted for a further 35 GW in RES projects, while an additional 5 GW of small-scale projects and approximately 10 MW of major-scale projects regarded as strategic investments are all currently being connected to the grid.

Overall, this activity represents 11,000 RES projects of all technologies and scale with a total capacity of 76 GW, or investment interest ten times over the NECP’s needs.

Admittedly, not all of these projects will be actualized, but ten years of investment and licensing activity still lie ahead. A new round of applications in December is expected to attract major investment interest and add to the current total of 76 GW.

 

 

No turning back on decarbonization effort, PM stresses

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaking at a press conference at the Thessaloniki International Fair, has described the country’s decarbonization effort as personal challenge and one for the government as a whole.

He was responding to questions on whether the plan can be successfully implemented given resistance by unions and local communities at the lignite-dependent regions of west Macedonia in Greece’s north and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese.

Mitsotakis was critical of any thoughts concerning extended operations at power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, stressing a decision for their gradual withdrawal has been reached as a result of financial and environmental factors.

State-controlled PPC is incurring losses worth hundreds of millions of euros as a result of hefty CO2 emission right costs, he noted.

The Prime Minister informed he would soon visit the west Macedonia region and also launch a 204-MW solar energy farm, Greece’s biggest to date, currently being developed in Kozani by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).

 

Ministry preparing to request RES auctions extension

The energy ministry is preparing to submit an official request to Brussels for an extension of up to three years for RES auctions – both mixed and separate (solar, wind) technologies – a support system securing fixed 20-year tariffs for new wind and solar energy installations.

Greece’s current auction system expires at the end of this year. The energy ministry may seek an extension until the end of 2023, when RES auctions will no longer be available in the EU. A request for a shorter extension is also being contemplated at the ministry.

The energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou has called a meeting for September 18 to involve the participation of all related authorities for decisions before the official extension request is drafted.

A technical report published by global service provider GIZ, analyzing  Greece’s RES auctions over the past three years, RES market achievements during this period, as well as problems that have emerged, will serve as a base for the talks at the upcoming meeting.

The energy ministry wants to prevent any momentum drop in the RES market and believes fixed tariffs, through auctions, over extended periods are necessary as they secure financing for RES projects, and, by extension, their development.

On the other hand, the ministry does not want to overburden the market through excessive RES special account obligations.

Dutch offshore wind energy experience a guide for Greece

Local authorities and investors have turned to the Netherlands for information on the development of offshore wind energy parks.

Offshore wind energy parks in the Netherlands currently represent a capacity of 1 GW, expected to soon rise to 2.5 GW.

Local interest in this RES technology is growing, as highlighted by ongoing talks and public consultation for a related legal and regulatory framework.

In addition, the economic and commercial affairs department of the Greek Embassy in The Hague has prepared a detailed report on the Dutch wind energy sector, focused on offshore wind energy parks.

The Dutch government offers a number of competitive incentives to stimulate energy innovation and promote RES use, which, as a result, has strengthened the country’s position in RES research and development and in particular in wind turbine technology, the report notes.

This is further strengthened by strategic public-private partnerships and world-class institutions such as the Top Consortium for Offshore Winds (TKI Wind op Zee), the Energy Research Center (ECN) and Delft University of Technology, a leading specialist, worldwide, in the field of renewable energy, the report added.

 

JinkoSolar earns top ranking on Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition scorecard

JinkoSolar, an innovative global solar module manufacturer, has earned a top ranking as the leading manufacturer in Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition’s latest Solar Scorecard.

JinkoSolar earned a score of 100/100, more than the other 36 module manufacturers in the scorecard, the company announced in a statement.

The scorecard is a resource for consumers, investors, developers, EPCs, distributors, and installers who want to purchase PV modules from responsible product stewards. Scorecard criteria includes environmental, health, and safety metrics.

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition is a nonprofit organization engaged in research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to promote human health and environmental justice in response to the rapid growth of the high-tech industry.

This JinkoSolar achievement comes a year after the company became the first PV module manufacturer to join the RE100, pledging to power 100% of its operations with renewables by 2025, the company statement noted.

Kangping Chen, Chief Executive Officer of JinkoSolar, commented: “We support SVTC’s goal to ensure that the solar industry does not overlook the importance of equitable environmental and holistic sustainable approaches to all business operations. We hope more of our peers follow our lead, so the solar industry as a whole can become a beacon of sustainable practices.”

Sheila Davis, Executive Director of SVTC, remarked: “We applaud JinkoSolar for its transparency, leadership, and commitment to producing modules in a clean and responsible way. Customers have choices when they make purchases, and we hope that the Solar Scorecard can help them make informed decisions.”

PPC business plan to include more ambitious RES goals

Power utility PPC’s new business plan, to be announced towards the end of the year, will feature a more ambitious transition towards the corporation’s RES objective of between 2,000 and 3,000 MW, as well as bolder steps concerning digital products, the retail electricity market, electromobility and the decarbonization schedule.

PPC, undergoing strategic changes, has decided to present three-year business plans that will be revised annually instead of its customary five-year plans.

This reflects the corporation’s determination to remain connected with rapid developments in the energy sector, capable of outdating business plans announced just a year earlier.

The new PPC business plan, expected in December, will aim for a RES portfolio of 2,000-3,000 MW within two years; swifter digitalization; increased collaboration with the private sector for electromobility development; greater emphasis on cost-reduction synergies; as well as revenue reinforcement through the application of new technologies in all fields.

The business plan will be complemented by a new regulatory framework for PPC’s privatization-headed subsidiary HEDNO, the distribution network operator, as well as European Commission negotiations, crucial for the new generation of retail products.

The new PPC business plan will offer fundamentals for the establishment of a corporation delivering annual operating profit of between 750 and 900 million euros between 2021 and 2023.

A smooth ride is not guaranteed. Fluctuations are possible. Gas and petroleum prices, currently low, will most likely rise over the next few months, PPC’s decarbonization plan represents an enormous challenge, while difficulties and delays in the absorption of amounts from the recovery fund are feared.

For the time being, the market is approving PPC’s approach. The company share has risen 187 percent over the past six months, up from 1.55 euros in March to 4.45 euros yesterday.

 

Officials to decide on next round of RES applications, RAE overloaded

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, overloaded with a backlog of RES production license applications ahead of a new round, will discuss its pressing situation with the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou at a meeting tomorrow.

The energy ministry will then decide on a date for the new round of applications. Officials have scheduled a next round for October, also stipulated by law. RES investors have expressed heightened interest during the approach.

RAE is concurrently examining older applications submitted until June, 2018, applications lodged between October, 2018 and December, 2019, and also preparing new terms for the forthcoming applications.

Older applications submitted until June, 2018 are being processed with support from software designed specifically for this purpose. These applications, numbering approximately 300, will also need to be examined, one by one, by the RAE board.

Similar software is also being used for the processing and examination of applications submitted between October, 2018 and December, 2019. Though this process is simpler, the numbers are bigger, tallying some 1,400.

RAE still has plenty of work to do to finalize a detailed proposal for producer certificate terms, intended to simplify the RES licensing procedure. Once ready, this proposal will need to be forwarded to the energy ministry, which, in turn, must sign a ministerial decision to bring the plan into effect.

Record-level interest by RES investors has been projected for the next round of applications. Two previous rounds that had been scheduled for March and June were not staged.

Crete-Peloponnese subsea cable installation to start soon

Power grid operator IPTO plans to begin installing a 135-km subsea cable for the Peloponnese-Crete grid interconnection, part of a larger project to ultimately extend this line to Athens, within the next few weeks. The installation’s exact starting date will depend on the weather conditions.

Also, a subsea cable interconnecting the islands Naxos and Syros, the final step in the third phase of the Cyclades grid interconnection, is expected to be electrified next month, according to the operator.

The Peloponnese-Crete project, in particular, is pivotal in the effort to reduce public service compensation (YKO) surcharges for consumers. The interconnections will also help utilize the renewable energy potential of islands.

The Peloponnese-Crete subsea cable installation, made challenging by deep waters reaching 1,000 meters, will require about two months to complete, IPTO sources noted. It will be the world’s longest subsea cable grid interconnection.

Installation work for a second subsea cable (107 km, 150 kV) between Syros and seaside Lavrio, on the southeastern tip of the wider Athens area, was completed last month in preparation for the electrification of the Naxos-Syros line, expected early October. High-voltage testing, over a 24-hour period, will precede the line’s electrification.