The energy ministry and the European Commission have completed talks for a support framework concerning hybrid RES units on non-interconnected islands. The finalized Greek proposal for the plan, based on the agreement, is expected to be forwarded to Brussels this week, energypress sources have informed.
This development resolves yet another pending issue regarding the support framework for green energy investment. The new framework for new RES auctions has already been announced and forwarded to Brussels by KEMKE, the finance ministry’s Central State Aid Unit.
Brussels set competitive procedures as a condition for its approval of a new hybrid RES support framework. However, some exemptions have been made.
The energy ministry, for example, will be able to avoid competitive procedures for tariffs when mixed auctions are intended for very small islands such as Erikousa, Gavdos, Antikythira or Othonoi, where the requirements of the local grid do nor create appropriate reference-price conditions for prospective projects.
The ministry will also be able to implement an alternative formula for the implementation of pilot projects concerning RES projects that promise high penetration in electrical systems. The island Agios Efstratios (Ai Stratis), southwest of Lemnos in the northern Aegean, is one such example. RES units are expected to cover over 85 percent of the small island’s annual electricity needs.
The energy ministry appears to have taken initiatives intended to increase capacity quantities offered at RES auctions and also retain national control over the determination of these quantities, depending on developments, given the more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the installation of a greater number of RES units, reflecting loftier EU goals, energypress sources have informed.
A draft detailing the new RES support framework for Greece has been finalized following talks between the energy ministry officials and European Commission officials and is now in the hands of the finance ministry’s Central State Aid Unit (KEMKE), responsible for the framework’s official implementation, expected in a few days.
Considerable changes have been made to an initial plan announced by former energy minister Kostis Hatzidakis, not only in terms of the number of auctions to be staged and capacities offered, but also in terms of its overall principles, sources noted.
The new framework makes no mention of an initial Greek proposal for six auctions, each offering 350 MW, for a total of 2.1 GW, but it does call for a capacity of at least 3 GW.
It also includes provisions for geographically based auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as special procedures for small-scale PVs.
In addition, the auctions will not need to be held by 2023 but will be extended until 2025, based on EU directives.
Through the new RES support framework, wind and solar farm energy investors will, through competitive procedures, secure feed-in tariffs for twenty-year periods.
A new RES market support system, FOSETEK, appears unlikely to be launched on its imminent October 1 scheduled starting date as too many issues remain unresolved for the little time remaining.
In an announcement, RES market operator DAPEEP has noted that a 15-day document processing period is required from the date of applications before RES facility owners can be summoned to sign new support agreements. The system’s launch date is now just one week away.
Under the new system, RES producers operating through Feed-in Premiums (FIP) and possessing facilities with capacities of more than 3 MW in wind energy or over 500 KW in solar energy are obligated to participate in the day-ahead market. So, too, are operators with RES stations over 20 years old – primarily wind energy – and tariff agreements set to expire.
RES producers with FIP agreements have not been paid since July 1 and are currently unable to issue invoices for electricity produced and provided to the grid as a result of the changing support system.
The energy ministry is considering fusing two separate RES auction categories for solar energy producers of up to 1 MW and between 1 and 20 MW ahead of the year’s first auction to be staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.
This revision, one of a series being considered for the country’s RES support framework, is intended to resolve various issues that troubled Greece’s two previous RES auctions, especially the most recent, whose session for large-scale solar projects needed to be postponed.
Certain revisions are believed to have been finalized while others are being further examined.
Overall, energy ministry officials are aiming for increased energy community investments, rationalization of tariff levels, as well as the adoption of a formula to boost the investment activity of small-to-medium scale investors, especially in the solar energy sub-sector, whose RES auctions appear to be dominated by a limited number of major players.
Revisions already finalized include a reduction of an existing 98 euros per MWh tariff for wind energy producers with capacities below 3 MW.
The energy ministry has formed a committee to examine issues concerning RES and high power cogeneration units. It is expected to deliver its findings around March.
Under Greece’s current RES market regulations, solar facilities with capacities of over 500 KW and wind energy facilities of over 3 MW are obligated to participate in RES auctions for their tariffs. All other RES groups are remunerated for their output through fixed tariffs.