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.

 

RES auctions postponed throughout Europe

Governments throughout Europe are postponing RES auctions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on markets.

Germany, France and Ireland have already taken steps back to protect new RES projects, currently at various development stages, according to a Green Tech Media report.

Germany had planned seven RES auctions for this year. The country has so far offered 400 MW for solar energy projects and 675 MW for wind farms, while a further 2.9 GW for onshore wind farms and 1.4 GW for solar energy facilities remain pending. Strong investment interest had been expressed prior to the postponements.

In France, a RES auction for solar energy projects has been postponed by two months. In Ireland, a session that had been planned for April 2 has now been rescheduled for April 30. Portugal has also postponed a RES auction offering 700 MW for solar energy projects.

On the contrary, Dutch authorities intend to press ahead with a RES auction at the end of this month, offering 700 MW for wind farms. Swedish multinational power company Vattenfall’s Dutch subsidiary has announced it will not participate.

 

 

 

RES auction produces record-low bid, by PPC Renewables

A mixed RES auction staged yesterday by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, produced a record-low bid of 49.11 euros per MWh, submitted by PPC Renewables for a 200-MW solar park in Kozani, northern Greece.

A total of five major RES projects – four solar farms and one wind energy farm – secured tariffs at the session.

The auction’s average bidding price was 51.59 euros per MWh, far lower than previous levels.

The session’s only wind energy project, ENTEKA’s 153-MW facility in Vermio, northern Greece, struck a record low price, for the wind-energy category, of 54.7 euros per MWh. This project involves funding from US fund Quantum Energy Partners.

A 70-MW solar park project on EREN’s portfolio secured a price of 50.68 euros per MWh. A 42-MW park by EDF emerged from the session with a price of 50.87 euros per MWh. Also, Spes Solaris, a member of the Panagakos corporate group, secured a price of 54.82 euros per MWh for a 37.94-MW solar park project.

Four projects – two solar and two wind – failed to secure prices. ENTEKA missed out with two wind farm projects measuring 72 MW and 63 MW. A 50-MW solar park by PPC Renewables and a 23-MW solar park by EDF also missed out.

 

Reference prices for auction-free RES categories lowered

The energy ministry is set to sign a decision adjusting downwards reference prices for renewable energy stations not obliged to participate in competitive procedures.

This category includes small-scale hydropower stations, biomass, biogas and geothermal stations, wind energy facilities under 3 MW (6 MW for energy communities), as well as yet-to-be-launched wind energy facilities over 3 MW for which agreements were signed in 2016.

The new reference prices will apply for projects scheduled for launch and actual price settings following January 1, 2022.

Existing reference prices are based on legislation passed in 2016 and have not been adjusted since, except for wind energy facilities, which were subject to a price reduction following a related decision last year.

The forthcoming ministerial decision will seek to rationalize RES prices compensating the aforementioned RES categories, which, as a result of unique factors, are not required to participate in competitive procedures, as is the case for bigger wind energy projects as well as solar energy projects.

April RES auction as planned, other sessions face delays

A mixed RES auction for wind and solar energy projects planned for April 2 by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will go ahead as scheduled as, being on online procedure, it will not be disrupted by the extraordinary conditions prompted by the coronavirus spread, the authority has announced.

None of the procedure’s nine registered participants have called for the mixed auction to be postponed.

However, investors behind solar energy projects seeking connection terms from distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO will face delays because of the operator’s need to reorganize as a result of the coronavirus impact on its operations.

The operator was already troubled by an accumulation of applications prior to the coronavirus crisis.

RAE, currently understaffed and facing an array of projects, may have trouble preparing on time for separate wind and photovoltaic RES auctions planned for June and July, industry experts have warned.

These sessions will most probably be officially announced after summer and staged at the end of the year, pundits believe. The two auctions must be held within 2020, according to a related ministerial decision.

The supply chain for solar modules and related equipment from China, the world’s dominant supplier, has been severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak in China, adding to the concerns of RES investors.

 

RES auction to offer 200 MW for Cretan wind, solar energy projects

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is preparing to stage a RES auction for new renewable energy facility installations on Crete in anticipation of the island’s grid capacity increase to result from new interconnections with the mainland.

The authority intends to offer 100 MW for wind energy facilities and a further 100 MW for solar energy projects, all at a starting price of 30 euros per MWh.

Crete is rated as an area of very high RES potential, especially for wind and solar projects. These favorable conditions support further renewable energy development at the lowest possible cost and minimum burden on consumers.

Crete’s energy security has developed into a major issue and national priority as a result of the implementation of strict EU carbon emission limits requiring the withdrawal of high-polluting units as of the end of 2020.

 

Combined RES auction to be dominated by solar energy projects

Solar energy projects are expected to dominate a combined RES auction planned for April 2 by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, reflecting heightened investment interest in the PV sector of late. The April session’s application deadline expires tomorrow.

The level of investor interest for solar projects had overshadowed that of wind projects at a recent inaugural combined auction.

The total capacity for solar energy project applications is expected to be big, especially if PPC Renewables submits an application for a 200-MW solar energy park plan in Kozani, northern Greece, as the firm had also done in the previous combined RES auction.

PPC Renewables is expected to submit an application for another of its project plans, a 50-MW solar energy plant in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

RES project investors will be offered a total of 600 MW at April’s combined RES auction following a 100-MW capacity increase granted by the energy ministry.

However, this 600-MW will only be offered in full if application capacities exceed the tally by 40 percent for a total of 840 MW.

The April auction’s starting price has been set at 61.32 euros per MWh.

A number of combined RES auctions have been staged in various parts of Europe over the past couple of years, the objective being to cover energy needs at the lowest possible price.

The cost of PV equipment has fallen sharply and is continuing to fall, enabling PV auction participants to bid more competitively.

However, license procedure bureaucracy remains a problem, especially for wind projects, slowing down maturity. Greek market investors are waiting for the government to deliver on a promise to simplify RES licensing procedures.

 

 

 

Coronavirus prompting solar module shortage, higher prices

Solar farm investments in Greece are being affected by the coronavirus crisis in China, dominating global module supply in recent years.

Transportation difficulties, seen deteriorating further, have forced solar module  suppliers to trigger agreement clauses for extraordinary cases permitting delivery delays of at least 90 days.

Also, Chinese suppliers are making order revisions, sending out products in stock rather than items specifically ordered.

For the time being, this shortage has not prompted price changes for existing solar panel orders. However, price levels for new orders have risen by levels of as much as 10 percent, energypress sources have informed.

These revisions in delivery time and price level threaten to stretch certain projects beyond feasibility limits. In some cases, investors who had assumed a continual drop in solar module price levels may need to wait for prices to resettle before pursuing project plans.

A growing number of players in the Greek market feel the need for a deferral of solar project RES auctions. An official request is likely to be submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy. An immediate drop in price levels is seen as unlikely, even if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.

China intends to raise its domestic solar-panel installation objective in 2020 from 30 GW to 50 GW in order to offset its coronavirus-related GDP loss. If so, a far greater number of solar modules would be absorbed by the Chinese market, subsequently prolonging the global shortage and keeping prices higher for a sustained period.

According to various forecasts, Chinese solar module price levels will remain at escalated levels until the third quarter this year.

 

 

 

Small-scale RES investors to face tough big-project competition

The termination of a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) RES auction category for photovoltaics up to 500 KW means smaller investors will encounter tough competition from major projects. Reference price levels have fallen drastically, a trajectory seen continuing this year.

Privately owned photovoltaics of up to 500 KW developed beyond auction terms will, on the one hand, take on low reference prices that will not secure high investment returns, but, on the other, these price levels will be significantly higher than levels expected to be set by authorities for RAE’s photovoltaic auctions during the same period.

These are some of the key conclusions reached following an analysis of reference price scenarios from 2020 until early 2021 by energypress with scientific support from Dr. Stelios Loumakis, president of SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers.

The analysis was conducted following the publication of a new ministerial decision by deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas on MW quantities per renewable energy technology to be offered at RES auctions in 2020, given the interest expressed by thousands of small-to-medium scale sector investors for installations of photovoltaics up to 500 KW.

ELPE, well placed with marine fuels, also eyeing gas, renewable energy

Strategic decisions made by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) back in 2006 for an upgrade of the enterprise’s refinery in Elefsina, west of Athens, enabling production of the entire range of fuels, including new-era marine fuel, has provided flexibility for robust financial results.

Most refineries in the wider Mediterranean region are currently pressured by significantly narrowed profit margins. ELPE is an exception. Its ability to produce new low-suphur marine fuels has secured a strategic advantage over competitors.

Further investments currently being made in the company’s refinery division are expected to boost profit figures from levels of 700 to 800 million euros to one billion euros.

As part of its transformation for the future, ELPE is also striving for swifter growth in the renewable energy market. It aims to reach an operating RES capacity of 600 MW over the next two years. ELPE intends to participate in the next RES auction with facilities measuring 460 MW.

In the gas market, ELPE is closely following the forthcoming privatization of gas utility DEPA. The petroleum group, holding a 35 percent stake in DEPA, will either seek to acquire a full stake or sell its minority stake. The company wants a clear-cut solution.

Elsewhere, ELPE has already decided to sell its stake in distribution networks, promising a major cash influx.

In electricity, a final investment decision on the development of a new gas-fueled power station is expected by summer. This decision will greatly depend on the progress of the target model, as well as the government’s commitment to its decarbonization policy.

As for its hydrocarbon interests, ELPE plans to stage a first drilling operation at the Gulf of Patras block by the end of 2020. Seismic surveys at other blocks in its hydrocarbon porfolio are currently being conducted.

 

RES auction prices for PV projects drop as low as €53.8/MWh

RES auction prices for solar energy projects dropped to as low as 53.8 euros per MWh at a session earlier today.

Approximately half the participating solar projects secured prices of between 60.5 and 61.8 euros per MWh, energypress sources informed.

The auctioned capacity for Category I, concerning solar energy installations of up to 20 MW, totaled 105,464 MW, while the finalized catalog of participants listed 43 projects with a total capacity of approximately 147,650 MW.

A RES auction for wind energy is also scheduled for today. Its Category II, for wind energy projects of up to 50 MW, lists 16 projects with a total capacity of 491 MW.

A bidding upper-limit of 66.02 euros per MWh was set for the solar energy auction, while the wind energy session’s bidding upper limit has been set at 68.25 euros per MWh.

Extra 150 MW in wind energy capacity sought for auctions

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has proposed an additional wind energy capacity of 150 MW for RES auctions in 2020, which would take the sub-category’s total to 450 MW, believing the extra capacity is crucial for the country’s effort to achieve ambitious renewable energy targets over the coming years.

The proposal, which besides the 150-MW capacity boost, calls for the addition of any leftover capacity from the current year, has been forwarded to the energy ministry, which is expected to sign a related ministerial decision.

The ministry hopes to follow up on this week’s RES auction, on December 12, with an opening session for 2020 within the first two months of the year. This will greatly depend on the ability of RAE, currently understaffed, to handle required preparations.

The ministry is looking to stage separate auctions for the solar and wind energy sub-categories ahead of the first combined RES auction for 2020, expected around April.

A wind energy capacity increase for the combined auction is also expected to be sought by wind energy authorities. This would boost the total above the current level of 500 MW.

Extra 100 MW in wind capacity considered for RES auction

A large registration turnout by wind energy project investors for a RES auction to take place December 12 has prompted authorities to consider increasing the session’s wind energy capacity offer by 100 MW for a total of 325 MW.

The upcoming RES auction’s wind energy participants have already covered a quota requiring capacity registrations to exceed amounts on offer at each session by 40 percent if full quantities are to be auctioned. This rule has been adopted to ensure bidding competition.

Investors behind 16 wind energy projects have submitted applications representing a total capacity of 491 MW. In the solar energy category, 44 projects total 148 MW.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, initially set the session’s offer at 225 MW for wind energy parks with production capacities of up to 50 MW and 287 MW for solar projects with capacities of up to 20 MW.

Despite the considerable investor interest expressed for wind energy capacity, a decision to increase the auction’s capacity on offer will not be easy to make as administrative revisions are required.

The energy ministry, recently given the authority to determine RES auction capacity amounts, would need to deliver a ministerial decision resetting the quantity to be auctioned.

 

 

Shortage of wind, solar projects for December RES auction

The level of participation at a forthcoming RES auction announced by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for December 12 will be subdued and not cover capacities to be offered for wind and solar energy projects, market officials have forecast.

Strong investment interest for the renewable energy sector expressed in recent months is, for the time being, not expected to be followed up with action.

The subdued level of auction participation expected is linked to project maturation issues, sector officials explained to energypress.

Major license issuance delays encountered by wind energy park investors  resulted in a bottleneck of mature projects for previous auctions, leaving few projects for the upcoming December session.

The need to simplify RES licensing procedures in Greece is a key matter at present. RAE has already proposed framework revisions, while the energy ministry has established a committee tasked with delivering proposals by the end of the year for swifter RES project development.

As for solar energy projects, the priority offered to energy communities in securing connection terms with HEDNO, the electricity distribution network operator, stands as the sub-sector’s major issue at present. This has affected the ability of privately-owned solar parks from securing their grid connection terms, which, in turn, has stifled development and prevented auction participation.

The current RES framework no longer reflects the sector’s needs and is certainly not aligned with the government’s intention of setting more ambitious national RES targets and facilitating sector investments, energypress sources stressed.

 

 

Crete RES auctions, storage system tender planned for 2019

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, looking to protect Crete against energy shortages as of the end of this year, when old power generators operating on the island will need to be withdrawn, is planning new RES auctions for solar and wind energy units, as well as a tender for the installation of a modern energy storage system.

Crete faces a crucial energy sufficiency period between 2020, when the island’s small-scale grid interconnection with the Peloponnese will be launched, and 2023, when a large-scale link with Athens is expected to operate – if all goes according to plan.

The authority is planning to stage the RES auctions within 2019. RAE is also expecting a decision from DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s distribution network operator, determining two or three points on Crete’s grid as suitable for the installation of modern energy storage systems offering a total capacity of between 30 and 40 MW. Once the operator has forwarded its proposal, a RAE tender will follow, within 2019, inviting investors to submit offers for the energy storage systems to be installed on Crete.

They will be portable, enabling transportation to other islands, should the need arise, sources informed.

RAE is referring to the results of a study conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on the island’s energy sufficiency between 2020 and 2023.

Besides new RES facilities and the storage system, the RAE plan includes the conversion of 100-MW diesel-powered units at Atherinolakkos into natural gas-fired power stations, as well as the development of a new power station, preferably gas-fired, with a capacity of roughly 100 MW.

These measures are seen as optimal in terms of energy sufficiency, feasibility and environmental protection.

 

PPC boss wants fair terms for utility at competitive procedures

Power utility PPC’s new chief executive Giorgos Stassis wants fair and equal market terms for the utility when it participates in competitive procedures.

PPC cannot go on participating in RES auctions with rivals knowing the utility’s bid prices beforehand, as is required by law, the chief executive protested yesterday.

In addition, current Greek law obligates the state-controlled utility to stage open competitions, with related data exposed for all to see, when, for example, it needs to acquire equipment such as PV panels for solar energy parks. As a result, competitors end up knowing where PPC stands in terms of its supply costs.

Also, when the power utility participates in RES auctions stage by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Greek and foreign rivals, knowing PPC’s cost level, submit lower offers and secure progress for their investment plans at the expense of the utility’s.

Stassis is believed to have already received government assurances promising favorable revisions on the matter for PPC.

The new chief executive’s predecessor, Manolis Panagiotakis, had also raised the matter without getting a response from Greece’s previous Syriza government.

Smaller PV investments risk being sidelined, producers warn

Renewable energy producers have warned that new small-scale PV investments face a heightened risk of being sidelined as a result of the recent dominance of major-scale plans in the sector.

The overwhelming dominance in the number of large-scale production license applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, over the past year has smaller investors worried, sources at SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, have told energypress.

Virtually all production license applications submitted over the past year have concerned project plans with capacities of 10 MW or more.

Once these investment plans have matured and licenses have been acquired, small-scale producers fear it will be impossible to compete against big investors  at auctions for viable tariff prices. One auction category has been established for all, regardless of size.

These concerns, expressed by Stelios Loumakis, SPEF’s president, are also shared by the majority of sector professionals, including engineers and installers. A market dominated by large-scale projects and investors will severely diminish opportunities for all others, they fear.

“Nobody wants major-scale investments to be obstructed. But this does not mean that space cannot be safeguarded and ensured for small-to-medium sized players, with fair terms,” Loumakis pointed out.

This is not the first time officials have requested protection for small-to-medium sized players in the PV market. The energy ministry received such proposals last September.

 

 

Cost of green energy continuing decline, industry data shows

RES auction prices have dropped considerably, both for solar and wind energy, driving green energy prices to levels below the System Marginal Price (SMP) for longer periods, the results of the latest auction, staged on Monday, have confirmed following similar results in 2018.

A price level of 78.42 euros per MWh for output by solar facilities with capacities of less than 1 MW at the RES auction in July, 2018 was less than the SMP for 2.9 percent of the total time elapsed until that stage in the year.

Six months later, at a RES auction in December, 2018, the price for this category dropped to 66.66 euros per MWh and was lower than the SMP for 32.2 percent of the year’s total time.

The trend is similar in the wind energy sector. In the category for wind energy facilities with capacities of between 3 and 50 MW, the RES auction price fell from 69.53 euros per MWh to 58.58 euros per MWh between July and December in 2018. The SMP was greater than auction prices for 19.7 and 59.2 percent of the time, respectively.

Low RES auction turnout, licensing procedures ‘still complicated’

The participation level at today’s mixed RES auction will be subdued, or well under the accumulated capacities of company investment plans, meaning the planned 300-MW capacities for each of the wind and solar energy projects must be reduced.

Solar energy investors representing a total of 68 projects with a total capacity of 200 MW will take part. As for wind energy projects, investors behind 12 projects with a total capacity of 261.75 MW will participate at today’s RES auction.

A competition rule requires auction registrations to exceed the 300-MW levels for each category by 40 percent for the entire amounts to be offered. As a result of the subdued participation, the maximum capacity to be offered for solar energy will be 143 MW and, for wind energy, 189 MW.

In comments to energypress, market officials attributed the auction’s low turnout to a maintenance of complicated licensing procedures.

Call for early elections prompts understaffing issue at RAE

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, faces the danger of being left understaffed, despite growing work demands, as a result of the government’s decision for snap elections, expected to take place on July 7.

Prior to this announcement, made by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday night after his ruling Syriza party’s poor showing in the European elections, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis had prepared a legislative amendment intended to offer a six-month extension to work contracts of approximately 55 scientists employed at RAE. Their current contracts are set to expire on June 30.

However, the work extension plan’s ratification is now not possible as a result of the resulting pre-election period.

A RES auction offering investors wind and solar energy capacities, scheduled for July 1, is among the many tasks that need to be handled by RAE in the immediate future.

The job insecurity felt within the ranks at RAE has prompted a number of employees to resign for posts in the private sector.

 

 

RES auction amounts limited, mature projects insufficient

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will not offer the entire RES capacity amount allotted for 2019 at two upcoming RES auctions as market data has shown an insufficient number of mature projects for full absorption.

Solar energy investors with projects of between 500 KW and 20 MW will be offered 300 MW through the auction’s first category, while, in the other category, a further 300 MW will be offered to wind energy investors with projects of between 3 and 50 MW.

A ministerial decision signed by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, offering 430 MW for solar energy projects and 400 MW for wind energy projects through RES auctions in 2019, was published in the government gazette last Friday.

The results of RES auctions staged last July and December, as well as data on the current amount of mature projects, were used by RAE for its calculations restricting the RES auction capacities offered.

RES auction participants have until May 31 to register. However, the date of the RES auction has yet to be set.