Non-auction PV, wind unit exceptions over at end of ’22

A recent measure enabling small-scale PV installations of up to 500 KW without competitive procedures for tariffs, under the condition that applicants do not already possess two projects of such technology, has sparked renewed activity in the sector around the country with thousands mobilizing.

However, for a full picture, this development needs to be combined with the fact that the measure represents a temporary window of opportunity for small-scale producers that will slam shut at the end of 2022.

According to official policy, as of January 1, 2023, RES units will only be eligible for operational contracts with DAPEEP, the RES market operator, if they have participated in competitive procedures.

This essentially means that old 500-KW PVs, wind energy turbines of up to 3 MW and equivalent facilities of energy communities, plus new RES units will need to have established contracts with DAPEEP by the end of 2022.

Though this represents ample time from a technical perspective, investors typically face big delays for connection term offers from DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator. In most parts of the country, the operator’s examination of applications and eventual response takes several months.

Even more crucial for investors seeking to develop RES facilities without going to auction is the fact that the majority of DEDDIE/HEDNO responses are negative as network capacity availability is limited.

Applications for non-auction PVs will be submitted to an online platform planned to be developed by DEDDIE/HEDNO. First-come, first-served qualification criteria will be applied.

 

 

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.

 

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.

RES auction plan to be unveiled July, solution for saturated spots

The country’s new RES auctions plan, designed to offer investors six mixed wind and solar energy auctions until 2024, each with a capacity of 350 MW for a grand total of 2.1 GW, is expected to be announced in July, enabling preparations for the first of these sessions to begin in autumn.

Energy ministry officials have been involved in a series of virtual meetings with Brussels authorities for the new RES auction plan, the latest session taking place last week.

As previously reported by energypress, the negotiations have focused on specific details, not structural matters, concerning the new RES auction plan.

The provision of an additional 1-GW capacity for projects under special categories, including small-scale units with capacities of up to 1 MW, is considered a certainty.

In addition, ministry officials are confident Brussels will endorse a Greek proposal making available a portion of this additional 1 GW for saturated areas, namely the Cyclades, Crete, Evia and the Peloponnese.

The agenda for the ongoing talks does not include RES auctions for offshore wind farms, from the additional 1-GW capacity for special-category projects, energy ministry officials pointed out.

Any RES auction progress for offshore wind farms will need to wait until conditions have matured for the establishment of a support framework. This will need to be preceded by a legal framework.

 

PPC hold of industry ending, energy groups entering picture

The approaching end of a 60-year business association between power utility PPC and Aluminium of Greece, a member of the Mytilineos group, announced yesterday by the group’s chairman and CEO Evangelos Mytilineos, marks the end of an era with wider implications, as all the country’s energy and industrial groups are heading in the same direction.

“In 2023, Aluminium of Greece will no longer depend on PPC. It is moving into a new era as, for the first time since its establishment, the company will be freed from PPC in terms of electricity supply,” Mytilineos announced at a general shareholders’ meeting.

The future belongs to the vertically integrated groups, smaller versions of the power utility, set to enter and cover market needs.

Some enterprises have already prepared and positioned themselves for the new era, in which major-scale electricity consumers will no longer depend on PPC, instead covering needs through PPAs.

Companies that have been slower to incorporate Greece’s energy transition into their strategies must now move fast if they want to remain on the map.

The developments offer a glimpse of the energy sector’s new era. A more efficient PPC will no longer be weighed down by dependencies and compromises, private-sector groups will be structured for greener policies, RES investors will not depend on tariffs at RES auctions, but, instead, establish PPAs with industrial consumers, and competition will intensify through the many changes coming into play, such as the target model markets and the Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM).

Green-energy investments, breaking one record after another, now appear likely to achieve a 2030 objective aiming for eco-friendly energy coverage of the country’s total energy demand at a level of 63 percent.

This essentially means that RES facilities offering a total capacity of 17 GW will be operating by the end of this decade, lessening the need for natural gas-fired power stations, which will become unsustainable, in market terms, as a large proportion of energy exchange transactions will be covered by increasingly competitive RES units.

 

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.

 

Ministry, DG Comp continuing talks on new RES auctions

The energy ministry and Brussels’ Directorate-General for Competition are continuing negotiations aiming to shape Greece’s new RES auctions from 2021 to 2024, the attention of these talks focused on details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

Ministry officials are hoping the Brussels authority will offer its endorsement of the plan within the summer so that the first session of the new-look RES auctions can be announced in September and staged within 2021.

No changes to the fundamental structure of the Greek plan are expected. The ministry has proposed six mixed RES auctions (wind and solar) by 2024 and 350-MW capacities on offer at each session.

In its effort to ensure a balance in the opportunities for wind and solar projects at these mixed RES auctions, the ministry has proposed that either technology secures no less than 30 percent of the tariff agreements at each session.

Such a term is deemed necessary as protection for wind energy projects, facing far higher equipment costs than solar energy projects, and, as a result, unable to follow PVs along a path of reduced tariff offers. No wind energy projects secured tariffs at the most recent RES auction, last month.

Greece’s proposal for the inclusion of an additional 1 GW capacity into the new RES auction format, as a reserve amount for auctions to concern a series of special RES categories, is one of the aspects being negotiated.

RES investors keen to talk PPAs with suppliers, industry

RES investors, especially from the solar energy field, but also wind energy, are engaging in talks with electricity supply companies and industrial enterprises to establish power purchase agreements (PPAs) for their future or under-construction projects as they anticipate a reduction in capacities at forthcoming RES auctions and even lower tariff prices than the low levels registered at the most recent auction.

This increased focus on PPAs highlights the major shift taking place in green-energy production as fixed tariffs, at auction, are gradually being phased out and the energy-exchange era is taking over.

RES producers need to establish contracts for the sale of their output in order to develop their projects as banks are not willing to finance such investments if potential earnings, at sufficient levels, have not been secured in advance.

No bilateral PPAs have yet been established, but the negotiations are continual and tenacious.

Potential RES producers have – since the previous RES auction – been willing to accept lower prices, proposing levels of as low as 40 euros per MWh attached with demands for shorter contracts, including five-year periods, sources have informed.

Market officials expect PPAs to start emerging over the next six months, noting that banks will play a decisive role in the price levels to be established as their project financing decisions will depend on profit margins presented by investors.

Licensing procedure priority for RES investors holding PPAs

RES investors opting to establish bilateral power purchase agreements (PPAs) with industrial consumers will be given licensing priority for the projects over peers planning to secure tariffs the customary way, through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, according to an energy-sector bill expected to be submitted to Parliament in June.

This plan essentially aims to offer investors incentive to stop focusing their efforts on how they will secure fixed tariffs for their RES projects by offering favorable licensing treatment for projects holding bilateral tariff agreements.

Over the next three years, a RES capacity totaling 3.5 GW is expected to be offered by authorities to investors.

It should be pointed out that projects linked to fixed tariffs gained through RES auctions are likely to enjoy more favorable bank treatment for project financing. On the contrary, RES investors holding PPAs will need to have struck handsome deals to convince banks for money.

Details, not structure, holding back RES auction plan talks

Ongoing negotiations between the energy ministry and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition for Greece’s new RES auction system are currently being held back by Brussels concerns over certain details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

The energy ministry is prepared, if needed, to remove aspects causing issues so that negotiations on the new RES auction plan can be completed as swiftly as possible, sources have informed.

The new RES auction plan could be approved within the current summer, according to the more optimistic of forecasts, while the first RES auction under the new framework could be staged towards the end of this year.

At present, local officials are awaiting comments from Brussels following a Greek response to questions prior to Greek Orthodox Easter a couple of weeks ago. Ministry official are hoping Brussels’ comments will be kept to a minimum, which would pave the way for the RES auction plan’s approval.

According to the new RES auction plan, six combined solar and wind energy RES auctions will be staged until 2024, offering a total capacity of 350 MW at every session, for an overall capacity of 2.1 GW.

Competitive procedure for RES units over 250 MW examined

The energy ministry has begun considering a competitive procedure specified for wind and solar energy parks with capacities of over 250 MW, a move prompted by the European Commission’s clear-cut opposition to individual investor initiatives for RES projects of such scale, sources have informed.

However, it is still too early to tell if the ministry will end up implementing any such plan.

The European Commission, in response to a related enquiry made by the ministry, noted it cannot endorse any reference price formula for individual wind and solar energy project initiatives of such scale, stressing that such plans have not been endorsed by Brussels anywhere in the EU.

A number of investors are believed to have expressed strong interest to the energy ministry for the development, based on individual initiatives, of wind and solar energy parks with capacities exceeding 250 MW.

Producer certificate applications backlog ‘processed by June’

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will have processed all RES project applications for producer certificates by June, its chief executive Thanassis Dagoumas, has informed, describing the authority’s upgraded IT system, enabling swifter processing, as a key step in its digital transformation.

Processing of applications submitted through the February, 2021 cycle will commence once the appraisal of December, 2020 applications has been completed, the objective being to have cleared the entire backlog by this June, when the next cycle is scheduled to commence, Dagoumas noted.

The authority’s IT upgrade has enabled RAE to receive, in a secure and reliable way, 2,341 applications representing a total of 54.36 GW through the two cycles in December 2020 and February, 2021, Dagoumas highlighted.

The authority has managed to process a large percentage of producer certificate applications received through the December, 2020 cycle faster than ever before, the RAE chief informed.

RAE has offered preliminary approval for producer certificate applications representing projects with a total capacity of 34.5 GW, whose investors are expected to soon pay related fees to DAPEEP, the RES market operator, a step prompting automated issuance of producer certificates.

A large number of overlapping RES project plans was detected during processing, which will require RAE to conduct closer examinations of these cases, the RAE chief said.

Dagoumas also pointed out that intensified competition in the RES market is paving the way for a further reduction in tariffs, expected to drop to a level of less than 40 euros per MWh for major-scale solar energy production.

Registrations for a combined (solar and wind energy) RES auction on May 24 have greatly exceeded levels needed for strong bidding competition, as 128 projects representing 1,090 MW will participate, the RAE head informed.

Small-scale PVs, RES projects to be given deadline extensions

Investors behind small-scale solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs and RES projects that have secured their tariffs through auctions will be given more time to complete their projects,  with current tariffs intact, as a result of pandemic-related delays for which investors cannot be held accountable.

Investors have faced delays, both in delivery of equipment as well as project construction.

The energy ministry has prepared a related draft bill that will be submitted to parliament for ratification, ministry sources have informed.

Though it remains unclear when this could be, the ministry sources ascertained the bill would be ratified imminently, prior to an April 30 completion deadline for small-scale PVs.

Solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs are expected to be given six-month extensions, while RES projects that have secured tariffs at auction will be given an additional ten months for completion. Completion of projects by the new deadlines will certify the tariffs they currently hold.

A six-month extension for small-scale PVs would give this category until October 30 to begin operating, and, as a result, certify tariffs of 65.74 euros per MWh.

Also, small-scale PVs incorporated into energy communities will certify tariffs of 68.86 euros per MWh if they are completed by the October 30 date.

May RES auction applications total 128 for 1,092 MW, PVs dominant

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has confirmed previous reports of a strong turnout for its forthcoming RES auction in May, the number of applications reaching 128 for projects representing a total capacity of 1,092 MW, dominated by solar energy projects.

A minimum participation level set by RAE to ensure a competitive session was greatly exceeded.

The session, to offer tariffs for mature RES projects totaling a maximum of 350 MW, will help steer these plans towards swift development and also drive prices down as a result of bidding competition, to the benefit of consumers and the national economy, RAE noted in an announcement.

Approximately 70 percent of the RES auction applications submitted concern solar energy projects, the other 30 or so percent concerning wind energy projects.

The absence of quotas for the two RES technologies acted as a disincentive for wind energy investors, as bidding against solar energy investors will be difficult given the sharp drop in prices for PV equipment.

The overwhelming majority of wind energy applications, representing a total capacity of about 300 MW, concerns projects that failed to secure tariffs at the previous RES auction.

Solar energy applications, for major-scale projects between 10 and 20 MW, represent a much higher capacity total of approximately 700 MW.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections. The auction is scheduled to take place May 24.

PV units dominate applications for RES auction in May

Solar energy projects dominated the number of applications submitted by RES investors for participation in an upcoming May 24 auction to offer tariff prices for PV and wind energy facilities, sources have informed.

Wind farm project applications appear to have been greatly outnumbered. Also, the level of applications concerning wind farm projects that failed to ensure tariffs at a preceding auction was particularly low. This category of projects was automatically entitled to participate in the May auction, to be staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The application deadline for the May auction expired yesterday. An official announcement has yet to be released as a result of pending contractual issues between RAE and CosmoOne, the provider of digital platforms used for these auctions.

The May auction, the final session to be held under current rules, concerns solar energy projects up to 20 MW and wind farms up to 50 MW. Tariffs for a maximum capacity of 350 MW will be offered.

In accordance with rules designed to help make these auctions competitive, participants will need to represent a total of 700 MW if this 350-MW capacity is to be offered in its entirety.

According to sources, wind farm applicants appear to represent a total capacity of approximately 300 MW, while the total capacity sum for PV projects is expected to be far higher.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections.

 

DEDDIE network expansion plan held up by internal dispute

Though the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, encouraged by the energy ministry, appears to have decided to move ahead with plans for an expansion of its medium-voltage network, the decision is not being implemented as a result of disagreements, within the company’s ranks, on the plan.

According to sources, rival factions have been formed at the operator over the project, holding it back. Officially, the operator’s regional services, which have completed all required preliminary work, have yet to be given the green light.

Clarity on the network expansion plan is crucial for certain investors, especially solar energy investors, facing a March 22 deadline set by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a forthcoming RES auction in May.

The energy ministry has been informed of the deadlock at the operator and is expected to intervene to settle the dispute.

METKA winning bidder for PPC Renewables 200-MW solar farm

PPC Renewables has named METKA as the winning bidder of a tender for the development of a 200-MW solar farm in the country’s north, in the west Macedonia region.

PPC Renewables’ most ambitious project to date, it constitutes the third and largest section of a 230-MW solar energy complex.

Swift development of this third section is expected as PPC Renewables has already secured the project’s financing needs from a group of Greek banks.

Construction of the project, to be equipped with bifacial panels and trackers, is expected to commence in March.

As for the 230-MW solar energy project’s two smaller sections, both 15 MW, one is nearing completion while construction work at the other is in progress.

PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, is also moving ahead with a tender for a 50-MW solar energy project in Megalopoli, Peloponnese. Bids submitted by five major groups, Greek and foreign, seeking this project’s development contract have been opened.

The Megalopoli solar farm is planned to be Greece’s first RES project that will not participate in RES auctions for tariffs. Instead, PPC Renewables intends to establish two-way contracts through the target model framework.

Over the next 24 months, PPC Renewables plans to begin developing projects with a total capacity of 500 MW, which would put the company on track towards achieving an installed-capacity target of 1.5 GW by 2024.

Parent company PPC’s updated business plan includes investments totaling 3.4 billion euros by 2023, 34 percent of these in the renewable energy sector. PPC is aiming for a fivefold increase in RES output, from 0.3 to 1.6 TWh.

PPC Renewables, possessing the country’s biggest RES portfolio following its latest moves and plans, may utilize some of its RES licenses for joint ventures with Germany’s RWE. Recent meetings between the two sides have increased the likelihood of a partnership.

Terms soon for last mixed RES auction to be staged under old framework

A ministerial decision on the terms, conditions and scheduling of one last mixed RES auction for solar and wind energy capacities to be held under the current legal framework is expected within the next few days.

A capacity of 350 MW will be offered to the auction’s participants early in 2021. It remains unclear if the capacity on offer will be evenly distributed for the solar and wind energy sectors.

Once the ministerial decision is delivered, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will officially announce the auction.

Investors will be given more time than usual to obtain supporting documents needed for auction participation as a result of the extraordinary lockdown-induced conditions, sources informed.

The session’s 350 MW to be offered represents the remaining capacity from auctions in 2020.

The energy ministry has submitted an application to the EU for an extension of competitive procedures concerning RES projects until 2024.

The new auction model is expected to incorporate improvements based on increased competition through more active target model participation and price reductions benefiting consumers, while also ensuring a clear-cut framework for RES producers.

PPC chief supporting swifter end to RES auction tariffs

Power utility PPC chief executive Giorgos Stassis, in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini, has called for a swift end to RES investor support through auctions, offering fixed tariffs, noting that green energy investors, like all energy players, must operate under new market conditions to be shaped by the target model, scheduled for a November 1 launch.

The energy ministry is preparing to submit, within the next few days, its finalized proposal to the European Commission on a new framework concerning RES auctions.

In the interview, the PPC chief, indicating that the RES sector is now fully competitive, contemplates the extent of the transition period that could be needed by green energy investors in the shift from auction tariffs to the free market; and PV and solar capacity quantities that should be offered for new projects through RES auctions from 2021 onward.

RES investors and officials essentially agree that the renewable energy sector is now a fully competitive market, but details such as the aforementioned remain unresolved.

It remains unclear for how much longer RES producers should keep securing tariffs through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and what the total capacity to be offered through this remainder of auctions should be.

In the most recent RES auction, last July, investor bidding levels for PV tariffs dropped to as low as roughly 45 euros per MWh, clearly indicating bid price levels will descend further as RES technology advances and lowers production costs.

Critics favoring an extended transition period for RES auctions contend that PPC, like all other vertically integrated energy groups, would benefit from a swifter end to RES auctions, offering tariff security over 20-year periods, as this development will lead to two-way agreements within the group.

At PPC, for example, the parent company will be able to secure a wider profit margin by purchasing PV-generated electricity from subsidiary PPC Renewables rather than through the wider market.

Upper limit for non-auction PV units down from 500 to 200 KW

Local authorities have decided – in a proposal to be forwarded to the European Commission for approval – to lower to 200 KW from 500 KW a capacity upper limit requiring PV projects to participate in RES auctions for tariffs when this limit is exceeded, sources informed.

A satisfactory transitional period will be offered to investors to facilitate the actualization of scheduled RES projects up to 500 KW.

Greek officials expect to have finalized revising local RES auction rules within the next fortnight before submitting a plan to Brussels for an extension of competitive procedures.

Government officials have yet to decide on the duration of the RES auction extension to be requested as well as the total capacities for wind and solar energy to be auctioned.

However, the government officials have already taken initiatives to revise auction terms for greater bidding competition that would lower tariff prices for RES output.

Meanwhile, a prospective draft bill that would secure tariffs for RES units once they have been certified as ready by the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, instead of when electrified, as is the case at present, will take some before being submitted to parliament.

 

 

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.

Germany’s ABO Wind dominates RES auction’s PV category

Germany’s ABO Wind was the most dominant bidder at Greece’s latest RES auction, earlier this week, securing approximately one third of the photovoltaic section’s total capacity for five 10-MW projects in Igoumenitsa, northwestern Greece, according to a PV-Magazine report.

The German energy group submitted the auction’s lowest bids, 0.04586, 0.04587 and 0.04883 euros per KWh.

Wind energy projects secured a far greater total capacity than photovoltaics at the auction, 481 MW compared to 142 MW. Also, photovoltaics registered new record-low tariff prices for the Greek market.

Heliotherma secured tariffs for two solar energy parks of 11.9 MW each in Thiva, northwest of Athens at prices of 0.053 euros per KWh. Metka secured tariffs for four projects representing a total capacity of 11 MW.

Other successful bidders included PPC Renewables, securing tariffs for an 11-MW solar park, part of a planned 50-MW complex, in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

The auction’s highest tariff price was 0.06245 euros per KWh, while the average was 0.04981 euros per KWh. A total of 39 projects secured tariffs at the auction.

Tariff prices for the auction’s wind energy section ranged from 0.05386 euros per KWh to 0.0577 euros per KWh.

RES auction prices down in both wind, solar categories

Wind-energy capacity bids at a RES auction staged this morning fell as low as 53.86 euros per MWh, while, in the photovoltaic category, bids dropped to a level of between 45 and 46 euros per MWh, sources informed.

Levels were lower than those registered at the most recent RES auction, last December.

A capacity of about 10 MW was left over for wind energy installations while the entire capacity on offer for photovoltaics was taken up.

Successful bidders included PPC Renewables, for an 11-MW solar energy facility, part of a 50-MW solar park in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

A total of 52 projects representing an overall capacity of 199.43 MW took part in Category 1, for solar energy projects of up to 20 MW. Investors behind these projects competed for 142.45 MW.

Category 2, for wind energy projects of up to 50 MW, drew 25 projects representing a total capacity of 748.37 MW. Investors competed for 481.45 MW.

At the most recent RE auction, last December, the average price for solar energy projects of up to 20 MW ranged between 65.99 euros per MWh and 53.82 euros per MWh, averaging 59.98 euros per MWh.

Prices, last December, for wind energy projects of up to 50 MW ranged between 61.94 euros per MWh and 55.77 euros per MWh, averaging 57.74 euros per MWh.

RES auction for Crete wind, solar installations at end of year

A RES auction to offer respective 100-MW capacities for new wind and solar energy installations on Crete is still quite a long way off and will, at best, be staged towards the end of this year or early in 2021, energypress sources have informed.

Crete’s network for wind and solar energy facilities is currently saturated, according to technical standards provided in an older decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

However, studies conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and power grid operator IPTO both support that RES station output of between 180 and 200 MW can be safely absorbed by the Cretan network once the island’s grid is interconnected with that of the Peloponnese.

The island’s overall capacity boost is expected to reach between 2,000 and 2,500 MW once the major-scale grid interconnection, linking Crete with Athens, is completed.

A RAE proposal forwarded to the energy ministry has called for wind and solar energy auctions offering respective installation capacities of 100 MW, the aim being to cover investment demand and also boost power capacity on the island, still using diesel and pressed hard to resolve energy-sufficiency issues in the summers.

Mixed RES auctions extension sought, ‘vital for grid stability’

The energy ministry is preparing to seek approval from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition for an extension of at least two years for current RES auction regulations enabling separate auctions for wind and solar unit installations, as well as mixed sessions.

The current format is valid until the end of this year. If the DG-Comp rejects the ministry’s bid, then Greece will only be permitted to stage mixed RES auctions, until 2024.

Officials at the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, agree that RES auctions for separate technologies have been particularly effective and fruitful and should be given more time.

Energy ministry officials are currently preparing Greece’s application with supporting arguments.

In its extension bid, the ministry will stress that both major-scale wind and solar energy installations are necessary for grid stability.

It will also note that the characteristics of Greece’s landscape offer solar projects a competitive advantage, meaning that staging mixed RES auctions, only, would result in solar-project dominance and little capacity for wind energy tariffs.

Also, the ministry, in its quest, will insist that grid stability requires the development of smaller RES units at various network points and close to consumption centers. This, it will contend, cannot be achieved through mixed auctions, typically dominated by large-scale projects.

 

Ministry examining delayed RES auction feasibility for July date

Energy ministry officials are examining a number of factors to determine whether the next RES auction for new wind and solar energy project installations can be held in July.

An original plan to stage this auction in June has already been ruled out. If a date in July is not feasible, then the session will need to be delayed until the year’s final quarter.

Ministry officials would rather avoid such a scenario as they do not want to give investors the impression of wider coronavirus-induced devastation in the sector.

A successful RES auction on April 2 was greeted by the energy ministry as a positive sign for the sector.

The number of mature projects ready to participate in the next auction is a key factor being examined at the ministry.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, wants 482 MW of wind energy projects and a further 482 MW for solar energy projects offered this year.

A second factor being considered at the ministry is whether RAE, currently understaffed, can administratively support an auction in July.

Also, the tenures of RAE’s head official, deputy and a board member expire on June 23. This could also complicate the authority’s ability to stage an auction in July.

 

Common EU RES auctions discussed at informal video conference

EU energy ministers discussed the prospect of common RES auctions for all EU member states during an informal video conference staged this week to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the energy sector.

Participants also discussed the need to ensure energy-sector fund access for all EU member states amid the pandemic’s new conditions.

The topic of bank loan terms and credit policies enabling governments and banks to offer support to enterprises for green energy development was also tabled.

Tools and strategies to be implemented should be developed in a spirit of solidarity between EU member states, not only in dealing with emergencies, but also as a preventive measure, according to a report issued following the meeting.

In the report, the EU also urges member states to prepare for various challenges that may arise from now on as a result of the pandemic.

The EU also stressed the need for ambitious energy sector targets to be maintained, while taking into account differences between member states.

Energy ministry examining prospect of RES auction postponements

The energy ministry is examining current wind and solar energy market data to decide on whether to stage RES auctions for new project installation capacities in June or July, as was originally planned, or to postpone these sessions for the final quarter of the year.

The ministry would rather stick to the original plan as it wants to avoid creating an impression of a wider freeze by the coronavirus pandemic on plans.

A successful mixed RES auction on April 2 was heralded by the ministry as solid proof of a market still operating in proper fashion.

However, the extended lockdown has necessitated a reexamination of market data by ministry officials as project maturation in the RES sector has been impacted by the pandemic’s consequent conditions.

At the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, examination and processing procedures of investor applications for new connection terms have slowed down considerably.

The same goes for municipal authorities and other public agencies involved in the licensing process of new RES projects.

It is feared this overall slowdown could diminish the number of projects investors will be prepared to take to the RES auctions, staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

RES auction dates have been postponed in most other European countries in recent times.