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.


Three bids submitted for crucial RES spatial framework tender

Three technical firms have submitted bids to an energy minister tender offering a contract for the development of a national spatial framework concerning the renewable energy sector, a project budgeted at 120,000 euros.

The framework’s content of incentives and restrictions will be crucial for investors when deciding whether to pursue investment plans, said to be worth billions, or hold back.

EDP (Environmental Design Partnership); an alliance involving the Stelios Tsakiris and Geohoros firms; and Theorema Development Consultants are the tender’s three bidding teams. All three are collaborating with various specialists in the spatial, environmental, legal and engineering domains for this project’s tender.

Energy ministry officials estimate a preferred bidder will be announced before summer. Should the winner be announced in May, the new RES spatial framework should be ready towards the end of 2020, as it is scheduled to require 18 months to complete.

Market officials have expressed fears that spatial restrictions being promoted overtly and covertly could undermine investment plans estimated to be worth at least 9 billion euros over the next few years.

This ambitious projection has been made by ESEK, the National Council for Research and Innovation, the country’s supreme advisory body for the formulation and implementation of the national policy for research, technology and innovation.

Various restrictions could prevent Greece from achieving RES targets set for 2030, wind energy market officials have warned.


RES sector fears wind energy opposition within Syriza party

RES energy players fear a wing of governing Syriza party officials opposing the installation of wind energy parks could influence government decisions despite the energy ministry’s apparent support for green energy development.

The energy ministry is currently preparing a tender in search of a consultant to be tasked with studying and preparing a new spatial plan for renewable energy sources, according to sources. The ministry is aiming to announce a preferred bidder by April.

Local authorities see the spatial plan as a move possessing potential for organized and well-structured RES development in Greece, in accordance with the country’s ambitious green energy targets.

However, certain local renewable energy players, especially wind energy investors, fear Greece could risk missing ambitious targets set for 2030 as the implementation of the country’s green energy plan could be hampered by various damaging restrictions – explicit and illicit, legal and illegal – being promoted and imposed.

Some of these restrictions have already impacted spatial planning frameworks of certain regions, including on Crete and in mainland Greece.

It is feared these restrictive measures will be officially adopted through the RES sector’s Special Spatial Plan to emerge through the latest initiative.